Tapestry Unravelled

Artist: Christine Tobin

Date of Release: 28/06/2010

Catalogue no: 1841

Label: Trail Belle Records

Price: £10.99

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Track Listing










You've Got A Friend



It's Too Late



Home Again



So Far Away



I Feel The Earth Move



Way Over Yonder



Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow



Smackwater Jack



(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman






Closing Time





Appearances by

Liam Noble




13/07/2010 All About Jazz- Bruce Lindsay

Tapestry Unravelled
Christine Tobin and Liam Noble | Trail Belle (2010)
By Bruce Lindsay

For many jazz singers, the Great American Songbook is the body of work that must be delved into and reinterpreted. In more recent years, the work of writers such as Tom Waits and Nick Cave is emerging as the source for some fine jazz-based interpretations. The singer/songwriters of the '70s, perhaps surprisingly, have yet to become such a central part of the jazz vocal canon, but singer Christine Tobin and pianist Liam Noble may be set to change things with Tapestry Unravelled. This re-visioning of Carole King's multi-million selling Tapestry (Ode, 1971) is a beautiful, innovative and very personal take on King's songs, which delves deep into the originals' emotions and imagery.

The idea for this album came from Tobin, who was introduced to Tapestry as a child by her sister Deirdre. After Deirdre's untimely death in 2009, Tobin sang "Beautiful" at her memorial service. Soon afterwards Tobin enlisted Noble, an innovative pianist who has played in the singer's band for some years, to play these songs at a club gig, and the response led them both to Curtis Schwartz's recording studio. The entire album was recorded at a single session.

The songs on Tapestry Unravelled are instantly recognizable, but Tobin and Noble lend each of them a unique twist. In most cases Noble stays close to the melody, but he's also happy to make the occasional shift and turn to move the tune in unexpected directions. "Smackwater Jack" epitomizes this—a solo piano piece played with a percussive, jagged, style that gives the tune an edge missing from its original incarnation.

Tobin's voice is exceptional—strong, soulful and capable of delivering slow ballads like "So Far Away" and up-tempo tunes such as "I Feel the Earth Move" with equal skill. Her performance of "You've Got a Friend" is stunning—a strong vocal, but with small inflections and shifts in emphasis that reinvigorate the tune and invest the lyric with a genuine emotional resonance. Piano and voice come together most effectively on "So Far Away"—Noble keeps it simple, with soft, rich chords that leave plenty of space for Tobin's voice before moving into a delightfully atmospheric solo. A Tobin original, "Closing Time"—written specially for the album—is the final track. It's a delicate, slightly mysterious, ballad on which Noble's percussive piano sits perfectly with Tobin's vocal interpretation.

Comparisons with the original Tapestry will inherently figure largely in discussions about Tapestry Unravelled, but in many ways do this current recording a disservice. Tobin and Noble have created an extremely affecting collection of beautifully-crafted songs about love and life that stands on its own as a potential classic.

Track listing: Beautiful; You've Got a Friend; It's Too Late; Home Again; So Far Away; I Feel the Earth Move; Way Over Yonder; Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow; Smackwater Jack; (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman; Tapestry; Closing Time.

Personnel: Christine Tobin: vocals; Liam Noble: piano.

Style: Modern Jazz


29/06/2010 The Jazz Breakfast- Peter Bacon

The Jazz Breakfast review by Peter Bacon

Disc of the day: 29-06-10

Christine Tobin & Liam Noble: Tapestry Unravelled (Trail Belle Records, distrib Proper
Note TBR01)

In addition to writing some pretty fab stuff herself, the Irish-born, Kent and London resident singer has shown herself to be a wonderful interpreter of other people’s songs. She has leaned increasingly to covering Leonard Cohen rather than Rodgers and Hart, and when her older sister, Deirdre, died last year, Christine recalled how Deirdre had played Carole King’s Tapestry so much when the sisters were young, and how strongly she linked that album to her. So this project is dedicated to the memory of Deirdre. One doesn’t need to know that to feel the rich resonances in the music.

The singer and her pianist collaborator have changed the order of the songs and Christine has added her original Closing Time to round the album out, but otherwise this is all the songs on King’s Tapestry LP given new interpretations. What is remarkable is how much is achieved in such an apparently unadventurous way. No,that’s not quite the right word, because in a way the most adventurous thing to do is to sing these songs fairly straight and unadorned, and to play them in a relatively unjazzy way, too.

There are few leaps off into improvisation, certainly not from Tobin and only from Noble in the most sensitive and subtle ways. Both musicians have come to that point in their art, it seems, where they have realised the beauty of simplicity and straightforwardness. It’s often the most difficult thing for jazz musicians to do – to avoid the tendency to show off – and yet it is the key to really great music. And I think this is really great music.

Of course you might be wondering – probably especially so if, like me, you also grew up with the original Tapestry album and have it kind of hard-wired into your youth – why you would need another version of it. It’s a thought that completely dissolved for me about 42 seconds into the opening track, Beautiful. Noble’s chunky yet graceful piano
intro and the nuanced phrasing of Tobin’s first line were enough to convince me that this disc was going to become even more special to me than King’s.

Songs you have heard a million times and often murdered by poor singers – like You’ve Got A Friend, for example – come up reinvigorated and filled with new depth of feeling. The pair do some lovely spontaneous things at the end of It’s Too Late, while Home Again features a beautiful solo from Noble in the middle of a beautiful bit of singing from Tobin.

It’s not really a CD that I would want to spend a lot of time analysing and trying to describe –
that would be to interfere with the magic of it. So suffice to say, if this disc sells as many as Carole King’s original, the world will undoubtedly be a better place. It might have been made as a response to a death, but I can’t remember when I last heard a more direct and profound
affirmation of life.


25/06/2010 Ray Comiskey- The Irish Times *****


Tapestry Unravelled

Trail Belle Records


Keeping it simple as well as good is one of the most difficult things in any art. And it’s a sign of maturity when someone pulls it off as superbly as Christine Tobin does, with the significant help of pianist Liam Noble., in this visit to one of the most celebrated pop albums of all time: Carole Kings Tapestry (1972).

It’s also a surprise. As a singer and songwriter, Tobin has forged a strikingly original voice out of diverse jazz, folk and classical influences, and her albums have mostly featured her own richly suggestive writing. On the rare times she has done material by, say, Dylan or Leonard Cohen, it is reworked and transformed. But she takes the generally uncomples vision of King’s Tapestry – songs of love, loneliness, relationships, occasionally allegorical – and treats it with compelling, visceral directness.

The original album is bound up with memories of Tobin’s sister, who died last year and to whom the new one is dedicated, so in a sense it’s a conduit for Tobin’s feelings about those memories and a way of keeping them alive.

Personal resonances aside, there is the sheer quality of Tobin’s performance and the collaboration with Noble that makes this album so special. There’s a kind of alchemy at work, particularly in how she uses her warmly distinctive voice, malleable, poised phrasing and impeccable intonation to get inside the material and make it personal. Eve the most well-known songs (You’ve Got a Friend, Home Again, So Far Away, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow) have their intimate, one-to-one feelings, tender, sensual and vulnerable, renewed and intensified.

More assertive songs are similarly absorbed and refreshed. It’s Too Late and the limited I Feel the Earth Move are delivered with authority and plenty of oomph, while the yearning, gospel-flavoured Way Over Yonder and the allegorical Tapestry unite a sense of otherness with the feel of life lived.

Noble’s role as accompanist and soloist combines the individual and the apt so well that it’s impossible to conceive of the album without him; the folk ballad Smackwater Jack, with no vocal, is his solo feature.

Incidentally, the original album’s Where You Lead is left out: it’s servile lyrics don’t chime with how women, rightly, see themselves now.

See christine-tobin.com



01/06/2010 Jazzwise Magazine- Peter Quinn ****


Christine Tobin & Liam Noble

Tapestry Unravelled ****

Trail Belle Records TBR01

Christine Tobin (v) and Liam Noble (p).

How do you improve on pop perfection? Quite simple, really.
First, enlist the help of musical polymath Liam Noble
on a wonderfully rich Steinway grand piano. Second,
strip away the string quartet, the backing vocals and all
the other excess textural baggage. Third, sing the songs as
honestly and purely as possible, while adding your own subtle twist.
See, easy. Dedicated to the memory of her eldest sister, Deirdre,
who first introduced Christine to Carole King’sTapestry, the genius of
Tapestry Unravelled is the way in which it pays sincere homage to the
spirit of the original while simultaneously opening up an entirely new
window onto these classic songs.

From the majestic falsetto leap in ‘Beautiful’ to the emotional candour
of ‘So Far Away’ to the summary feel of the self-penned ‘Closing Time’,
it draws you into a world of elegiac reflection, plaintive melody and
unalloyed soulfulness. Liam Noble brings the entire spectrum of his
pianistic brilliance to the date, creating watercolour accompaniments
which support and enfold the voice quite magnificently. Definitely one
for my year-end ‘Best of’ list.


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