Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Various Artists - Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 10 (1990)


Disc 10 of 25.  This volume of the series contains singles that peaked on the charts in December 1972 - November 1973 and contains an usually high number of top ten hits (including two chart toppers) when compared to other volumes.  Even so, this is one of the weaker discs in the series - not even Stealers Wheel and Stories could rescue it.

Tracks:
  • It Never Rains In Southern California - Albert Hammond: Peaked at #5 in December 1972.  This country rock ditty doesn't do much for me.  The long, drawn out lyrics don't seem to match the pace of the rhythm section.
  • Oh, Babe, What Would You Say? - Hurricane Smith: Peaked at #3 in February 1973.  A flashback to vaudeville from the Beatles' former engineer (come to think of it, this sounds a little like a Carol Channing singing Ringo Starr tune, doesn't it?).  I have no recollection of it from 1973, but it's enjoyable now.
  • Last Song - Edward Bear: Peaked at #3 in March 1973. I can't put it any better than this sentence I found in the liner notes: "Heartfelt but kinda mopey and dopey, Last Song plays like the junior-high version of Since I Fell For You."
  • Dead Skunk - Loudon Wainwright III: Peaked at #16 in March 1973.  My childhood friend Troy had the 45 single of this novelty tune so I know all the words even though I find it a little hard to listen to these days.  Still, I'll have a hard time getting the chorus out of my head today.
  • The Cover Of Rolling Stone - Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show: Peaked at #6 in March 1973.  Shel Silverstein's satirical lyrics about rock 'n' roll excesses are the star of this song.  About the same time this song peaked, Rolling Stone thanked the group for the free publicity by putting them on the cover.

  • The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence: Peaked at #1 in April 1973. This murder mystery song is ok, but I'm reminded of the crush I had on Vicki Lawrence when she was on the Carol Burnett Show.  I like the modulation from minor to major for the chorus.
  • Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealers Wheel: Peaked at #6 in May 1973. A fantastic blues pop song; I've always liked Gerry Rafferty's voice.  The cowbell break at the end of the bridge is brilliant in its simplicity.  And, if you're like me, these days you can't separate this song from the movie Reservoir Dogs.
  • Drift Away - Dobie Gray: Peaked at #5 in May 1973.  I know I should support Gray since he's a fellow Texan, but I've never liked this country soul song ("country soul" - I'm not so sure those two words should ever go together).  Guaranteed to make me change the radio station.
  • Wildflower - Skylark: Peaked at #9 in May 1973. A Canadian version of Philly soul - and it woulda worked if they had just left out the guitar solo.  Take that out and the song is a blue-eyed soul classic.
  • Brother Louie - Stories: Peaked at #1 in August 1973.  A fantastic cover of a Hot Chocolate tune, this is one of my favorite '70s songs.  In 1973, I didn't know anything about the lyrics (I'm sure I was totally unfamiliar with the concept of interracial romance back then), but that didn't keep me from singing this loudly, especially that catchy chorus.
  • Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne - Looking Glass: Peaked at #33 in October 1973.  This follow-up to 1972's Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) sounds much the same, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I like the syncopated rhythm section groove, particularly in the verse.  Overall, I prefer Josie Cotton's cover version.
  • Heartbeat - It's a Lovebeat - The DeFranco Family featuring Tony DeFranco: Peaked at #3 in November 1973.  If I didn't know better, I'd swear this was Donny Osmond and his brothers.  Harmless bubblegum pop, but nothing I'd seek out.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: when I was in high school in the early '80s, the church I attended got a new youth pastor.  She tried so hard to fit in with us that she was willing to try anything, including pulling out an acoustic guitar and singing the few songs she knew.  Unfortunately, one of those songs was Dead Skunk.  Of course, I was the only one under twenty that knew that song and I weakly sang along, but nobody was interested in hearing a 10 year old novelty song.  Needless to say, Dead Skunk was closely followed by chirping crickets.

Previously revisited for the blog:

2 comments:

  1. Out of the 12,000 CDs that comprise our combinded collections, what are the odds we both feature discs in posts today that lead off with Albert Hammond's ode to SoCal's beautiful weather? (Even though you can't tell what the first track is on the disc I featured:)

    What comes as no surprise is our opposing views on a couple of songs: "Drift Away" and "Heartbeat (It's A Lovebeat)"

    In defense of "Country Soul", it can be heard in the records that came out of the house of Stax, the music cooked up in Muscle Shoals and, of course, the legendary C&W stylings of the man who invented soul, Ray Charles.

    "Drift Away" itself is testifying to the joy and power of music, plain and simple. The song is so strong, even covers by Uncle Kracker, The Neville Brothers and Rod Stewart couldn't mess it up. (Michael Bolton's cover is another story.)

    The first hundred or so times I heard "Heartbeat" on AM radio in 1973 and 1974, it left little impression on me. Then one day in 1976 or 1977 I heard it on an FM radio station while riding in the family street rod ('68 Chevy SS) and it sounded like an all-new song: thundering drums, crystal clear hi-hat, and that funky phased out part. I was hooked and asking for it at the record store the very next week but of course they didn't have it. Or the album. That was so three years ago. It wasn't until 1978 or 1979, when labels started re-releasing their catalog singles as double A-sides that I finally nabbed the single. It's on the Remember Series from 20th Century Records. (Elektra/Asylum had their Spun Gold series, A&M had their Memories series and Columbia had their Hall Of Fame series.)

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  2. I have to side with Herc on a few of these tracks as well.

    The DeFranco Family is very memorable to me. My cousin Joan had the 45 for "Heartbeat" so I heard it a lot back in the early 70's. They faded into the sands of time for me until the late 90's when I got a CD that pretty much covered all of their music from their first two albums. Sure, it is bubblegum pop but it really worked for me. The early 70's were all about family acts (Jacksons, Osmonds, DeFrancos, the Sylvers...).

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