She had to tap some very old resources to accomplish it, but Carole King has finally come up with her first album of consistently good material since 1972. Even casual music fans will be familiar with the program on Pearls—Songs of Goffin and King, which features some of the best-known products of her famous songwriting partnership with ex-husband Gerry Goffin. There’s “Locomotion,” which has been successfully recorded by Little Eva, Grand Funk Railroad, and others; “Chains” (Cookies, Beatles); “Goin’ Back” (Byrds); “One Fine Day” (Chiffons); and more.
King’s relatively simple arrangements and the sparse production here render many of the tracks inferior to the lively, lighthearted originals. But throughout, it’s interesting to hear what she does with songs that launched her career; and several of the tunes are strong enough to suggest a renewed spirit that might pervade future releases.