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Super Hits of the '70's
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  • Liner Note Author: Paul Grein.
  • Photographer: Michael Ochs Archives.
  • The inaugural volume of what is now a 30-CD series moves from strength to strength in several different categories, and buying it is not only a no-brainer but also essential to one's education in pop music (assuming one needs it). Starting as it does in late 1969, this '70s volume is a bit heavier and more substantive and serious than many of its successors, and more even listenable on repeated plays as a result -- there are also some perfectly respectable examples of hard rock here ("Mississippi Queen" by Mountain), sharing space with dreamy, ethereal pop like the wistful "Come Saturday Morning" by the Sandpipers, and some enduring pop/rock sounds and songs. The Spiral Starecase opens the disc with the upbeat sounds of "More Today Than Yesterday," which is sung with extraordinary passion by composer Pat Upton, backed by a radiant horn arrangement, in what proved to be the group's only moment of commercial glory. The disc gets more serious with Smith's slow, bluesy rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Baby It's You," with Gayle McCormick's hard, dissolute, bluesy, Joplin-esque performance backed by Jerry Carter's pounding bass and Larry Moss' swelling keyboard sound. And some of what is here is just plain confusing -- the light pop "Smile a Little Smile for Me," which was a Top Five single in late 1969, credited to the Flying Machine, represents the most disposable track on this 12-song compilation; but for those who must know, there wasn't any "Flying Machine," at least as far as the "group" that recorded this single was concerned. Rather, it was the creation of producer/songwriter Tony Macaulay, who cut it with co-author Geoff Stephens and a group of studio musicians. No one in their right mind could have anything bad to say about Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," which is one of the most catchy throwaway tunes of the '60s or '70s (or '80s, in the hands of Bananarama). The British girl group also pulled off a successful cover of the next number, "Venus," by the Dutch band Shocking Blue, led by vocalist Mariska Veres and guitarist Robby Van Leeuwen. The Sandpipers may represent the best of the pop-vocal groups here, but Vanity Fare's "Early in the Morning" and the Cuff Links' "Tracy" can be appreciated as well. One gets a real sense, listening to this disc, of the wonderful diversity that characterized Top 40 radio at the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s, hard and soft sounds sharing space on the same air. ~ Bruce Eder
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone - 4 Stars - Excellent

Entertainment Weekly - "...10 zany vols of 70s pop trash..." - Rating: A

Goldmine - Highly Recommended (this review is for the whole series)
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