Ace’s songwriter series continues with a most fascinating compilation on the Goffin & King partnership. In addition to a group of unforgettable milestone performances such as Tony Orlando’s pre-Billy Fury original version of Halfway To Paradise and Aretha Franklin’s glorious interpretation of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Tony Rounce and Mick Patrick have fashioned a collection that includes some spellbinding rarities and captivating glimpses of a few singers whose recording careers ended aeons ago.
As an example, you rarely get the chance to hear Bertell Daché. For years, reference books claimed his name was a pseudonym for Tony Orlando but, as Mick Patrick confirms, that wasn’t the case. He sang on many Goffin & King demos and recorded some sides for United Artists in 1961. On display on this CD set is Love Eyes which appears here in stereo for the very first time.
Another standout rarity is Some Of Your Lovin’ by the Honey Bees (the Cookies under another name). This is the song which was a huge UK hit for Dusty Springfield, though it never charted in the US. The Paris Sisters, who’d left the mark on chart history books with Barry Mann & Larry Kolber’s I Love How You Love Me, tried reviving it in the late 60s without success - which is unfortunate because Some Of Your Lovin’ remains one of the true gems in the Goffin & King canon. The Honey Bees’ version is a classic in the girl group tradition and was produced by Gerry Goffin.
You’ll also discover such treasures as Just A Little Girl sung by surf queen Donna Loren, I Can’t Make It Alone by the underrated P J Proby and I’ll Love You For A While by Jill Jackson (Paula of Paul & Paula fame).
Along with revealing quotes from the songwriters themselves, the booklet notes track the histories of each song. For instance, I’ll Love You For A While is best known by Dusty Springfield; however, her version was originally relegated to a B-side (of Some Of Your Lovin’) which just goes to show how great songs were often hidden away.
What stands out is not only Carole King’s superb, enthralling melodies but also Gerry Goffin’s outstanding lyrics. One of Gerry’s great strengths is that he can write from a woman’s vantage point as in, for example, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
The output and histories of songwriters from the Brill Building era represent a formidable slice of American popular culture and this indispensable set allows you to step inside the musical hearts and minds of the indisputably essential team of Carole King and her then-husband, Gerry Goffin.
By Alan Warner