American Masters “Troubadours
Dec. 30, 2011
Features never-before-seen archival footage and performances from
Carole King/James Taylor Troubadour Reunion world tour
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Carole King’s landmark album Tapestry and signature song “You’ve Got a Friend,” a Grammy®-winner for both King and James Taylor, whose friendship and performance legacy was cemented at Doug Weston’s famed West Hollywood club the Troubadour. American Masters continues its 25th anniversary season with Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer- Songwriter, a first-hand account of the genesis and blossoming of this 1970s music movement, centering on King and Taylor’s historic collaboration and the nightclub that nurtured a community of gifted young artists and budding critical and commercial sensations. American Masters “Troubadours” airs Friday, December 30, 2011 at 10 p.m. on Eight, Arizona PBS
The narrative begins in the ’60s, when Carole King and Gerry Goffin were writing their now-iconic songs at Manhattan’s 1650 Broadway hit factory, and James Taylor was emerging as a folksinger/songwriter. The location then shifts westward to L.A.’s Laurel Canyon, the breeding ground for the burgeoning singer-songwriter community, and to Doug Weston’s Troubadour, where the King/Taylor partnership begins to blossom and a close-knit crew of future legends — including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Eagles, and Elton John—performs on the small stage and holds court in the bar, the epicenter of the action.
The story is told through archival footage, much of it never before seen, which is intercut with the vivid recollections and incisive reflections of a wide cast of characters. Along with King and Taylor, contributors include David Crosby, Elton John, King’s daughter Sherry Goffin Kondor and more. King says early in the film, “When we sprang out of the box there was just all this generational turbulence, cultural turbulence, and there was a hunger for the intimacy, the personal thing that we did.” Browne provides a further explanation for the singer-songwriter phenomenon: “Maybe what it was is that people who wrote their own songs were in ascendance. The authenticity of somebody telling their own story was what people were interested in.”
Taylor and King’s first performance at the Troubadour was in November 1970. Thirty-seven years later, in November 2007, the two longtime friends, joined by members of their renowned original band – featuring guitarist Kortchmar, bassist Sklar and drummer Kunkel – returned for a three-night, six-show run to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary. Those historic shows, documented in Hear Music/Concord Music Group’s RIAA goldcertified Live at the Troubadour and broadcast on PBS, serve as the connecting thread of Troubadours. Neville’s film beautifully captures the vital early days, the poignant homecoming and the subsequent “Troubadour Reunion” world tour, forming a comprehensive and unforgettable portrait of this golden age.