Carole King - still a Queen of Rock

The last few weeks have brought to Boston two performers who have spent 20 years in the turbulent world of popular music, and not only survived, but actually forged ahead. Judy Collins (see review 2/16) and now Carole King (who played Saturday at the Berklee Performance Center) have changed the trappings but not the heart of what has made them last.

For two decades, King has been giving us gutsy, danceable rock tunes combined with sensitive lyrics that other groups picked up and sailed off to hit-land with. She and partner Gerry Goffin had a special knack for capturing the flavor of teen-age romance in such early '60s classics as ''Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'' and ''One Fine Day.''

Backed up by a tight and responsive band, King showered us with jazzed-up versions of those old favorites as well as later ones: ''It's Too Late,'' ''So Far Away,'' and ''Jazzman,'' with its soaring sax solo by Richard Hardy.

Sprinkled in were a few of her newest, more politically minded songs: ''One Small Voice,'' a call to get involved; and ''Chalice Borealis,'' about strip mining. The concert was a benefit for presidential aspirant Gary Hart.

Like Judy Collins, King has sartorially grown with the times - exchanging denim for diamonds. Her elegant duds did not repress her spirits, though, and even if her voice was a bit hoarse at times, the performance was all spunk and exuberance.

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