REVIEW: You’ve Got A Friend: The Music of James Taylor and Carole King

You've Got a Friend. Picture by Jacqui Elliot-Williams.
You've Got a Friend. Picture by Jacqui Elliot-Williams.

Emily Jollands and Bill Lennon took on the mighty songbooks of Carole King and James Taylor at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley in a tribute show You’ve Got a Friend.

The sounds were soulful and the perfect antidote to the drizzle outside on this June evening.

The talent of these two musicians was evident throughout the two hour show. With toe tapping tunes and beautiful harmonies it was a great evening. Scott Poley and Danny Grant provided backing vocals as well as playing the pedal steel and bass respectively with Jim ‘E’ Williams completing the musical quintet providing the precussion and drums.

Good friends Carole and James have between them notched up some huge hits, more than you realise you know. James Taylor was the first non-British act to sign with Apple. While Carole’s Tapestry album gained her four Grammys.

In 40 years or friendship they have earned the accolades of “two of the world’s greatest songwriters of all time” The hits “Fire and Rain”, “I Feel the Earth Move” and “Beautiful” were amongst my personal favourites from the show.

During “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” Emily was sublime. The musical numbers were authentic and powerfully emotive.

For me the brief sections of narration whilst providing insight into the lives Carole and James was at times a little uncomfortable and jarring. I would leave Jollands and Lennon to perform the songs and bring in a narrator. That does not diminish from the overall impact of the show which was a very enjoyable night out.

One off tribute nights such as You’ve got a friend often visit the Hawth and are a perfect opportunity to enjoy the music of various artists with several more shows in coming months including The Simon and Garfunkel Story which plays at the Hawth tonight (20th June) Arrival - The Hits of Abba (July 27),

The Rat Pack Vegas spectacular (August 4), Someone Like You: the Adele Story (September 22) and the Carpenters Story on September 23 between them provide something for everyone with such a wide variety of musical styles. Ultimately you can’t beat an evening of live music.

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