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, September 27, 2014

Various Artists - Casey Kasem presents America's Top Ten: 1970s Rock's Greatest Hits (2005)

I very recently picked up this compilation out of a used CD bin simply because it had the name Casey Kasem on it.  We love and miss Casey around here.  This disc is one of an extensive Kasem series available at the website.  I hadn't heard of the series or visited that website until today and I'm currently fighting every compulsive bone in my body not to buy all of the more than 20 discs in the collection.  Deep breaths.  

I haven't even looked at the track listing so I have no idea if I already own these recordings or if they've appeared previously on this blog; let's find out:
  • Hot Blooded - Foreigner: Peaked at #3 in September 1978.  Already had a copy on a 2002 Foreigner greatest hits compilation.
  • I Want You To Want Me - Cheap Trick:  Houston, we have a problem.  What we've got here is the 1977 studio version which failed to chart in the US.  The later live version peaked at #7 in July 1979.  The studio version was new to my collection, but I have the live version on a 1991 Cheap Trick greatest hits compilation.
  • Bang A Gong (Get It On) - T. Rex: Peaked at #10 in March 1972.  I've somehow had a digital copy of this song in my library since the advent of Napster (I admit to nothing), but this is my first copy on CD.  That fact surprises me because I'm a huge fan of the song - the guitar riff/groove, the driving chorus over a bed of lush strings, the background vocals - it all works.
  • Evil Ways - Santana: Peaked at #9 in March 1970.  Already had a copy on the Ultimate Santana compilation.  Love the organ solo.
  • Don't Look Back - Boston: Peaked at #4 in October 1978.  Previously appeared on the Don't Look Back album and a 1997 greatest hits compilation.
  • Feel Like Makin' Love - Bad Company: Peaked at #10 in September 1975.  The first appearance of Bad Company in my collection.  This not-very-subtle song starts off sort of folky then rocks the chorus.  I wouldn't go looking for this song, but I don't change the station when it comes on the local classic rock radio station.
  • The Joker - Steve Miller Band: Peaked at #1 for one week in January 1974.  Love it, got it on vinyl, but I've never replaced the vinyl with a CD.  I should make that purchase soon because that's embarrassing [hangs head].
  • Long Train Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers: Peaked at #8 in June 1973. Previously appeared on the group's 2007 double-disc set, The Very Best Of The Doobie Brothers
  • Frankenstein - Edgar Winter Group: Peaked at #1 for one week in May 1973.  Previously appeared on Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9
  • Love Is Alive - Gary Wright: Peaked at #2 in July 1976.  New to the CD library.  This thing is catchy as hell with hooks for days.  That guitar & bass hook during the intro/verse is funky and leads straight to the disco chorus.  One of those songs that I sang when I was ten years old and completely butchered the lyrics because I couldn't make them out very clearly on my AM transistor radio from Radio Shack.  I prefer this Wright tune over Dream Weaver, but I may be in the minority there.
  • Spill The Wine - Eric Burdon and War: Peaked at #3 in August 1970.  New to the CD library and it shouldn't be.  That laid back bass line punctuated by organ hits is irresistible and as good today as it was back then.  Add some flute work to bizarre lyrics about gnomes and whatnot then you've really got something.  But the real hook is in the chorus.  A classic.

  • Lady - Styx: Peaked at #6 in March 1975.  I don't listen to much Styx these days, but I did back in the late '70s and early '80s.  I really dug this song when it came on the radio back then, but the overly dramatic triplet pattern at the end of the tune amuses me now.  Dennis DeYoung did a #1 cover of this tune a few years later; he used different lyrics and retitled it Babe.  But like I always say, you can't plagiarize yourself.
  • Some Kind Of Wonderful - Grand Funk: Peaked at #3 in February 1975.  Yet another one I didn't previously own.  This is a great blues boogie.  There's not much to it, but maybe it's that simplicity that makes it work.  Can I get a witness?
  • Magic Man - Heart: Peaked at #9 in November 1976.  I've liked every Heart tune I've ever heard on the radio, yet I've never bought or even listened to any of their albums.  And I couldn't begin to tell you why - just one of those things.  I will say that I prefer their earlier work to their later stuff.
  • Mama Told Me (Not To Come) - Three Dog Night: Peaked at #1 for two weeks in July 1970.  Always liked this one, too.  This compilation is turning out to be a good purchase.  Not much to the verse, but the contrary motion between the bass and piano lines in the chorus makes it sooooo good.
  • Me And Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin: Peaked at #1 for two weeks in March 1971.  I'll just say I'm not a Joplin fan and leave it at that.
  • I Hear You Knocking - Dave Edmunds: Peaked at #4 in February 1971.  I thought I had a CD copy of this song, but if I do, I can't find it.  That's surprising, because I've always liked this one as it successfully straddles the line between novelty song and R&B/roots rock.  The odd production actually makes the song better.
  • Miracles - Jefferson Starship:  Peaked at #3 in October 1975.  This one's a great soft-rocker, complete with smooth vocal harmonies, string accompaniment, electric piano, and a sax solo.  What's not to like?
  • School's Out - Alice Cooper: Peaked at #7 in July 1972.  Previously heard on the Dazed And Confused soundtrack.
  • Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - The Hollies:  Peaked at #2 in September 1972.  Sounds way too much like CCR for this guy's liking.
So of the 20 tracks here, I previously owned only 6 on CD.  For an impulse buy, this wasn't a bad pick up at all.

 Personal Memory Associated with this CD: With the sole exception of the Cheap Trick tune, all these songs immediately take me back to the arid climes of Odessa, Texas, where I spent the first 12 years of my life.  I can guarantee that most, if not all, of the pre-1979 tunes were heard in this house and/or that Pontiac Catalina in the driveway:

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