Of the three new releases of Carole King albums never before available on CD in the U.S. (including 1979’s Touch the Sky), two can be considered companion pieces. For one matter, both Simple Things (July 1977) and Welcome Home (May 1978) reflect the short-lived collaboration between King and her then-husband, guitarist and artist Rick Evers.
Recorded relatively close together, both collections were very different from the singer/songwriter stylings of Tapestry . In addition, both albums were produced by King and Norm Kinney with more of an emphasis on her backing band, with more electric guitar than her earlier solo work had employed. One can only speculate what might have happened if Evers had not passed away of a drug overdose on March 18, 1978, just two months after the Welcome Home sessions had completed.
Simple Things was a transitional album for King, as she left producer Lou Adler and his Ode Records to sign with Capitol. Her debut for that label showcased her new back-up band, Navarro, consisting of Rob McEntee and Mark Hallman (guitars and vocals), Rob Galloway (bass), Michael Wooten (drums), Miguel Rivera (percussion), and flutist/saxophonist/clarinetist Richard Hardy. While other singers and musicians supplemented this core group, including King’s daughters, Louise Goffin and Sherry Goffin, Navarro would return on Welcome Home. As a result, the two King/Evers albums would be notable as much for their performances as the songs they try to bring to life.
Perhaps this is where Evers made his most important contribution to the collaborations, at least musically. After all, we can presume they served as muses for each other’s lyrics, moods, and emotions. While there are only a few songs on Simple Things where the husband and wife share co-writing credit, presumably Evers was influential in the greater use of a slightly heavier rock band sound.
For this set, the pair wrote three songs including the joyful, lushly orchestrated title song. The extended production piece, "Hold On," features acoustic and electric guitars in one of the punchiest numbers in the King canon. Later, on what was once side two of the original vinyl version, "To Know That I Love You," is another simple thing, in this case a simple happy love song.
Now, one serious oversight with this package is the most minimal of liner notes, if a list of credits can be called liner notes. As a result, we have no idea who the second lead vocalist on “To Know That I Love You” is despite some important solo verses. the only clue we have is Mark Hallman and Robert McEntee are listed as background vocalist, but apparently not Evers.