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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Highly acclaimed singer-songwriter Carole King reads her own life's story, beginning in New York City as a young Jewish girl whose mother was into music of all kinds and whose father was a humanitarian. As a youngster, born in 1942, Carole was highly influenced by rhythm and blues music but she was disturbed when "black" songs were redone by whites and only then went high on the "pop charts.” Carole saw a brief stint at Performing Arts High School in New York City ending it quite too soon. She went back to her regular high school, Madison, in Brooklyn, at a time when Neil Sedaka attended rival Lincoln High School. Carole loved writing music on the piano and teaching people to sing her songs. Married at 18 to gifted songwriter Jerry Gotham, Carole worked as a secretary while Jerry worked as a chemist to bring in money while at night he wrote lyrics and Carole the songs on her piano. Inspired by Neil Sedaka, they signed a three year, $6000 contract with Alden Publishing which served as a "boot camp for songwriters" as Carole recalls. "A Natural Woman" tells of Carole's deep involvement in the world of music and the birth of her children, Louise, Sherry, Molly and Levi, but more than that, this is Carole King telling her own story about her personal relationships, her climb to the top in the world of music and her performances with Bob Dylan and James Taylor and her writing of songs for the Monkees and The Carpenters.
"A Natural Woman" is a treasure of a CD collection as it features Carole King reading the account of her life and success. The author/songwriter clears up some misconceptions. For instance, she explains that Little Eva, who sang King's famous "Locomotion", was her babysitter, not someone who cleaned offices. The last CD contains Carole King music and a photo album but the first eleven CD's have greater value as they feature a famous songwriter/singer telling of her life and its great ups and downs. "A Natural Woman" in CD format will be treasured by readers, listeners and music lovers everywhere.