The 1999 Ode/Epic/Legacy CD reissue of this album marks its first appearance in the American catalog since 1969, when a switch of distributors by Ode, from Columbia to A&M, ended up getting it deleted prematurely. The original LP became a collector's item with a triple-digit price and was even bootlegged with a bad black-and-white reproduction of the original jacket. It was briefly in print on CD in Japan during the early 1990s, but this reissue is an improvement --King lacked some confidence, and this remastering captures the subtle, deep, expressive aspect of King's singing, which was easy to lose, especially because King sometimes sounds a little outnumbered, trying to work within a "group" context. The City has more of an integrated ensemble sound, and less prominence to King, than her subsequent records, even though she used bigger backing groups on most of her solo sides. The new CD squeezes the best out of her voice (and piano, which sounds gloriously resonant) as it existed then. The soft but clear, gently tapped percussion in the opening seconds of "Snow Queen," and the close-up twang and crunch of Danny Kortchmar's guitar on "Wasn't Born to Follow," also enhance the listening. King wasn't yet filling her albums wall-to-wall with memorable songs, and there's some material here that might better have been held back at the time, but this release is the best way to hear this record. AMG.
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