Picks and Pans Review: Words & Music
Pearl is a veteran TV jingle writer (New York Telephone, Pepsi-Cola, Ford and Clairol, among others), and her songs have been recorded by Johnny Mathis, Dr. Hook and Crystal Gayle. Pearl finally persuaded RCA to let her make her first LP, and it is a fascinating effort. A number of cuts seem almost parodies of fluffy love songs—If the Love Fits, Wear It; Look Before You Love; Love Makes Better Lovers. But Pearl is not totally vacuous; she has both talent and training. She grew up in Bucks County, Pa. and studied classical harpsichord. She turned to pop music after hearing the instrument featured on the 1966 Left Banke hit Walk Away Renee and later showed her commercial appeal with Gayle's 1981 hit You Never Gave Up on Me (which Pearl sings here). If Leslie is a little too reminiscent of Helen Reddy at times, she sings with an intriguing rhythmic sense. Some of her songs are melodically catchy and lyrically clever enough to make Nashville's finest envious—There Is Nothing So Expensive as a Woman Who's Free for the Night, Anything But Yes Is Still a No, You're the First Thing I Want but the Last Thing I Need. There's a definite frothiness to Pearl's composing and singing, but it's usually cheery and invigorating.