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Pop / Rock 20/04/2022

The Sweet Soul Of Valerie Carter On Full Display In The Lost Tapes Volume 2

The Sweet Soul Of Valerie Carter On Full Display In The Lost Tapes Volume 2

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Valerie Carter, the late Laurel Canyon vocalist, shines a bright light with the newly released album, The Lost Tapes Volume 2, on Cowboy Angel Records. Following up on the 2018 first issue of unreleased material, Volume 2 uncovers more musical gems and original material. Once again, Val's sister Jan and close friend Kathy Kurasch have rediscovered hidden tracks and reengineered a collection of sonic beauties.

Valerie was a mainstay in the Southern California music scene, best known for her long-time touring with James Taylor, and collaborations with Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt. Whereas Volume 1 presented more of Val's pop and rock sides, the music in Volume 2 takes the listener on a journey rooted in Americana and sweet soul influences. Imagine being transported on a musical magic carpet ride from Laurel Canyon to Austin to Philly.

On the album's opening track, "Day After Day," Val and Jackson Browne serenade a folk-fused, narrative duet with lyrics (by John O'Neil & Deena Shoshkes) adapted from the British novel, The Commodore. In "Two Sides (To Every Situation)," Val powers out an early 80's pop vibe interlacing vocal harmonies of The Waters Family with accompaniment by Al Kooper, Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter, and the Tower of Power horns.

"I'm in Love with You" is vintage Valerie, blending her soul and R&B roots with a jazzy expression of joy. This Larry John McNally composition highlights Val's impressive vocal range as she runs up and down a few octaves, complimented by Ray Parker Jr. on guitar. "Indivisible" brings Valerie back with Mr. McNally and Jon Lind for a cinematic, power ballad fused with heart and soul.

"Feeling So Fine' bands together Val with Hirth Martinez for a south of the border, Tejano inspired arrangement, blending the smooth accordion of Van Dyke Parks with the duos natural presentation. On the acoustic "Dove," Valerie is joined by Tom Kell for a simple story of lasting peace and love.

"Texas When the Sun Goes Down" reunites Val with legendary songwriter, Will Jennings, who famously penned "Valerie" for Steve Winwood. This western-themed tune bridges Texas and Nashville with a new downbeat country sound. Mr. Jennings returns with co-writer Nicolas Peyrac for "Why Do All the Good Times Go Away?" This folk rock influenced ballad provides the perfect vehicle for Valerie's voice, emoting a sense of longing and hope.

The long-lost track, "Your Christmas Day," is a gift for Val's family and friends. Written by Laura Allan, this simple holiday story best exemplifies Valerie's youthful exuberance as she sings to the children and angels. "Falling Down on You" pairs Valerie with Kate Markowitz, her long-time vocal partner with James Taylor's band. The duo spellbinds an ethereal tune taking the listener on a musical journey.

"Close Your Eyes" by Tricia Tunstall and Donald Johnston is adapted from a Broadway musical based on the Hermann Hesse fable, "Steppenwolf." Valerie embraces this ballad as her own, presenting a stellar performance accompanied by vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid, filled with sincerity and emotional balance. The album's final track, "Cook With Honey," brings the music of Valerie Carter full circle. As her breakout composition with the 70's folk rock group, Howdy Moon, later covered by Judy Collins, this song has become the theme for the Carter Family with its beautiful lyrics and melody.
"I always cook with honey to sweeten up the night
We always cook with honey,
tell me, how's your appetite for some sweet love."

The Lost Tapes Volume 2 is simply a magical collection of sweet songs. Valerie Carter was a kind, gentle soul who made the world a better place by sharing her gifts and bringing out the best in others. Her recordings reflect a family of musicians working together in concert, who best exemplify the Laurel Canyon sound of harmony and community.

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