Carole King. I bought this woman's first two albums. Because I liked them. I still play them, and they're still good. But God, is she sterile. I happened to be in front of the Music Hall a year and a half or so ago when she played Boston last; I'd just seen Elton John and her audience made John's look like the Angels: radiant blondes, whose age gravitated between 18 and 24 or so, men in seersucker pants (it was spring), and madras. It was also the only concert I'd ever seen end before 9:30. Anyway, Carole, whose version of "Natural Woman" was two-thirds of Aretha's, which was all I was asking at the time, is back possibly the biggest woman, in terms of sales, in modern music history, and I can't help thinking she's got a mouth full of molasses.
Rick Lyon. Is certainly not Jerry Lee Lewis. Which is certainly to his credit, considering how Jerry Lee's records are selling lately. Rich lives in Adams House, is probably one of the University's ten or so best on-campus musicians, and is dickering with God knows how many major firms for his potentially valuable services. His problem may be one of accessibility; he and his lyricist, Tom McNamee, don't exactly go out of their way to trod the middle of the road. Rick's strongest point may be his piano playing, full, explicitly derivative of the best of the foregoing traditions; he's made solo piano interesting and exciting again. The words, well the words'll certainly make you think. F.V.B.
Carole King. Monday and Tuesday, May 21 and 22. The Boston Music Hall.
Rick Lyon. Friday, May 18, Schneider Center, Wellesley College. This one's free.