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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Various Artists - The Absolute Best Soft Rock of the 1970's (2001)

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.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  None


  1. Finally got it right with "Couldn't Get It Right". Good for you!

    Could see myself popping this one in, rolling down every window in The Blueberry and heading down Old Spanish Trail one cool day, playing the soft rock LOUDLY! Will have to make due with Spotify playlist in absence of the disc.

  2. Pretty standard-issue collection here... Undoubtedly intended for the Starbucks or Walmart crowd. Not the "absolute best" for many of these artists, in my opinion; so just for s**ts & giggles, I thought I'd replace their artists' "absolute best" softies of the 70's with my own:

    • Tin Man – America (1974, #4 Pop)
    • We May Never Pass This Way (Again) – Seals & Crofts (1973, #21 Pop)
    • With Your Love – Jefferson Starship (1976, #12 Pop)
    • (They got that one "Right")
    • You Belong To Me – Carly Simon (1978, #6 Pop)
    • (The "Air" looks fine up there)
    • Taxi – Harry Chapin (1972, #24 Pop)
    • (You're "All" right, Eric... That evil Celine Dion couldn't hurt you)
    • (Still "Feel" it after all these years)
    • Love Is The Answer – England Dan & John Ford Coley (1979, #10 Pop)
    • Just Remember I Love You – Firefall (1977, #11 Pop)

    Eat it, Warner Special Products!