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Super Hits of the '70s
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  • Latching onto this volume of Rhino Records' Have a Nice Day series is like finding a rich vein of tin -- yes, mining it might make you rich and successful, but there's no glamour in it. The opening track, Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis," fools you because it's actually a worthwhile and enduring piece of pop/rock that wouldn't do anything but delight audiences in any era -- and some of the stuff here, such as Golden Earring's "Radar Love" and Wet Willie's "Keep on Smilin'," does endure about as well as the Muldaur cut. On the other end of the scale are numbers like Jim Stafford's "My Girl Bill," which is too cute for its own good no matter how you take it, and is the kind of record that made many '60s listeners think of giving up radio, and "Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods, which could have pushed people over the edge if the Stafford song didn't -- although it was at least encouraging as a change in attitude from earlier songs such as "The Ballad of the Green Berets" and "Long Live Our Love," which seemed to celebrate the meat-grinder carnage of Vietnam. In between those poles are Andy Kim's "Rock Me Gently" and Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods' "Who Do You Think You Are," passable airwave fillers that are of interest here for the clarity that the CD mastering gives them, which allows one to appreciate the playing and craftsmanship of those records. Similarly, one is unlikely to own First Class' Beach Boys-like "Beach Baby" -- a worthwhile latter-day beach classic -- or the less good but so bizarre it ought to be heard "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" by Joey Levine (working as Reunion) anywhere except on a collection like this. And Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died" -- awesome in its awful, hook-laden, pop culture pandering glory -- will thrill anyone buying this disc with a straight face. ~ Bruce Eder
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