Carole King is a help to James Taylor.
Taylor and King were a match made in 1969 at Hollywood's famed Troubadour nightclub. They were rehearsing there Tuesday afternoon for a series of benefit concerts coinciding with the club's 50th anniversary.
Taylor reached the top of the Billboard pop chart in 1971 with "You've Got a Friend," written by King, who performed the song on her Grammy-winning "Tapestry" album.
"I was standing right up there," Taylor, 59, recalled, pointing over to the bar. "And I would listen to Carole play it every night. I was working it up on guitar. She heard me playing it, and she said, `You should cut that. That sounds real good."'
King and Taylor had worked together in New York City, but their 1969 Troubadour debuts were significant.
"It is the first place that we played as two separate acts," King, 65, told The Associated Press. "Before that, I had been playing backup for James, and James had nudged me forward to be my own performing artist."
They have rarely performed together since then - so rarely that King and Taylor could not recall the last time they had shared a stage.
"Carole and I bump into each other all the time," he said. "We end up doing benefits together, or different kinds of efforts, and we always say to each other, `We've got to get together and play again."'
They acknowledge this is not just about friendship and nostalgia. King is promoting a new live-concert DVD, "Welcome to My Living Room." Taylor has a new live-concert CD and DVD, "One Man Band."
For both artists, who have filled concert halls for decades, the new releases mark a return to the sort of intimacy that comes when playing for just a few hundred people in a venue such as The Troubadour.
King and Taylor seem to have come full circle.
"I can't figure if we're on our way out or if we're just starting a second lap," Taylor said, chuckling, "or if we're just going out the way we came in."
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969