Here at the CD Project, any and all donations of CDs are welcome (our unofficial motto: "If it's free, I'll take three!"). This donated soft rocktastic compilation arrived here at corporate headquarters just the other day. It's part of a "Absolute Best" series from the Warner Special Products label. This isn't what I'd consider the absolute best, but I wasn't consulted. Let's have a listen to these oldies - errrr, ummm, I mean familiar hits.
- A Horse With No Name - America (1971, #1 Pop, #3 AC): Not a favorite of mine (too much like Neil Young?). I've always thought this minor key ditty with the banal lyrics simply rolls along and never gets anywhere. When I heard this as a kid, I would think, "Why doesn't he just give the horse a name?"
- Diamond Girl - Seals & Crofts (1973, #6 Pop, #4 AC): This one's got a bit of the Steely Dan sound to it, right? As such, I dig.
- Miracles - Jefferson Starship (1975, #3 Pop, #17 AC): Previously heard on Casey Kasem presents America's Top Ten: 1970s Rock's Greatest Hits; here's what I wrote then:"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?"
- Couldn't Get It Right - Climax Blues Band (1976, #3 Pop, #43 AC): Previously heard on Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 19; here's what I wrote then: "Not a fan. I suspect this group isn't really a blues band." I must have been having a bad day when I wrote that - this song has a good groove, a catchy chorus, and cowbell throughout. I wouldn't identify it as soft rock, but it's a nice flashback to the AM radio of the mid-70s.
- You're So Vain - Carly Simon (1972, #1 Pop, #1 AC): A great song and I'm surprised this is its first appearance in my CD library. I'm hooked from that immediately recognizable bass line. Who is the song about? I couldn't care less. As a young tot, I never understood why she was singing about "grounds in my coffee." ;-)
- The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies (1974, #6 Pop, #3 AC): I want to dislike this song because the verse is so bland, but oh those vocal harmonies on the chorus get me every time and I find myself singing along. Fortunately, there's a lot more chorus than verse in these 4 minutes.
- Cat's In the Cradle - Harry Chapin (1974, #1 Pop, #6 AC): Previously heard on Billboard #1 Hits Of The '70s; here's what I wrote then: "Not very subtle. Perhaps the most irritating song of the '70s. It is hard to listen to; I would normally skip this track. Chapin's only #1, it topped the charts for one week in December, 1974. I remember John Davidson singing a gawd-awful arrangement of this tune when he had a syndicated talk show in the early '80s. Man, I guess TV was slim pickings back then if that's what I was watching."
- All By Myself - Eric Carmen (1975, #2 Pop, #6 AC): Liberally borrowing from Rachmaninoff and himself, Carmen put together a catchy little number. Lots of strings, muted guitar, and piano. Unfortunately, I hear it most often these days in an attempt underscore a joke (I'm looking at you, Jimmy Fallon). Sure, it's plagiarized, but the song deserves better than that.
- How Much I Feel - Ambrosia (1978, #3 Pop, #11 AC): Previously heard on Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 25; here's what I wrote then: "One of the best soft rock groups of the late '70s. Catchy melody, smooth background vocals, tasty piano and string arrangements - it's like a soft rock blueprint. As I've written before, 'I always enjoyed hearing this band on the radio; I'm surprised I've never picked up a greatest hits package.'"
- I'd Really Love To See You Tonight - England Dan & John Ford Coley (1976, #2 Pop, #1 AC): Previously heard on Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 18. We're having quite a run of good songs here at the end of the disc. Good music from good Texas boys. I like all their Top 40 singles.
- You Are The Woman - Firefall (1976, #9 Pop, #6 AC): Hummable tune, uplifting lyrics, the only problem here is the flute. One of those songs I wouldn't call up on iTunes, but don't mind hearing on the radio every now and then.