REQUIRED LISTENING: a musician's personal notes about favorite artists.
VARIOUS ARTISTS (70S SOUL COLLECTION).
Can You Dig It? The 70s Soul Experience.
This six CD collection is an excellent testament to the wealth of great soul music recorded in the early 70s. With this
compilation, I discovered many great songs that I had never heard before, as well as many familiar ones (classics of the
time). Packaged to look like a bunch of stacked 8-track tapes this collection is well worth seeking out -- the package
even includes a quite funny jive dictionary. Among the 135 songs included, many have had a profound impact on me (and my
"Rainy Night In Georgia," Brook Benton; "Everybody Iis A Star," Sly & the family Stone; "Band Of
Gold," Freda Payne; "Turn Back The Hands Of Time," Tyrone Davis; "Don't Knock My Love," Wilson
Pickett; "Drowning In The Sea of Love," Joe Simon; "I've Been Lonely For So Long," Frederick Knight;
"In The Rain," Dramatics; "I'll Be Around," Spinners; "Backstabbers," O'Jays; "Ain't No
Woman (Like The One I Got)," Four Tops; "So Very Hard To Go," Tower Of Power; "That Lady," The
Isley Brothers; "The World Is A Ghetto," War; "The Love I Lost," Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes;
"Show & Tell," Al Wilson; "Be Thankful For What You Got," William Devaughn; "Just Don't Want
to Be Lonely," The Main Ingredient; "The Payback," James Brown; "Supernatural Thing," Ben E. King;
"So In Love," Curtis Mayfield.
When listening to the collection, I feel that moments of real brilliance are achieved when just the right amounts of self-indulgence
and soul are in place. Strings, horns, lush vocal arrangements were the calling card of the time. Out of the songs that were new to me,
or maybe a faint memory from childhood, I picked a few to single out because they are some of the finest songs ever made.
"Be Thankful for What You Got," by William Devaughn features great laid back production values, optimistic lyrics, fantastic
falsetto vocals and an uncategorizeable warmth that just draws you in and refuses to let go.
"Just Don't Want to be Lonely," by the Main Ingredient, has the requisite strings and backup vocals along with a great guitar
hook and a lead vocal barrage that builds into a fury by the end of the song. I find it impossible to listen to this song only once.
"The Love I Lost - Part I," by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The combination of Gamble & Huff making production magic
and Teddy Pendergras giving every ounce of soul in his body is about as good as it gets. This is The Philadelphia sound at its BEST.
"The World Is A Ghetto," War. This song begins with a whisper and contains the right dynamics and (ominous) lyrics to transcend
"So Very Hard To Go," by Tower Of Power has a horn arrangement that is unlike what anyone else would have thought of. It's never
overdone and leaves room for a soulful vocal.
These songs, I admit to never having heard before I heard them here. I realized that they were on par with any music I've EVER heard. As
the 70s went on, some good funk (Average White Band; Earth, Wind and Fire) gave way to disco and soul music went into hibernation. I hope
this isn't the last of the good stuff.
posted: October 2004.