Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King and Time Gone By are an ideal pair of Carole King albums to put on the same CD -- the former looks like a compilation but was actually comprised of new recordings, covering her history across the 1960s; the latter, by contrast, was a compilation of the best of her late-1970s work on her own Avatar label (distributed by Capitol Records), from the albums Simple Things, Welcome Home, and Touch the Sky, none of which were ever released on CD. Both sets of recordings date from what one might call her post-stardom/living legend period -- when she was still a household name among twenty-, thirty-, and forty-something's, but not selling many records. Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King actually sold moderately well at the time of its release; it serves as a prime example of an artist exploring their past joyfully and freely in contemporary terms which, luckily, didn't compromise the best elements of her songs; indeed, that album was a tonic to many, in the same manner that, in a slightly different way, the Searchers' Sire Records albums were. The CD remastering on both albums is a wonder, loud and detailed and revealing the nuances of singing and playing -- it's a crying shame that none of the musicians are credited on the CD -- as well as the full majesty and richness of tone that King could muster -- nine years after Tapestry, and nearly 20 years after some of these songs were written. Obviously, the material on Time Gone By will be less familiar than the songs off of Pearls -- the collection draws material mixing an upbeat mood with introspective lyrics, wrapped around a solid rock beat. The overall CD package is a little threadbare in design, but where it counts, in the sound quality, no apologies are needed.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder