From the Vault...


Various Artists
"Soul Hits Of The '70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Volume 2"

© Rhino Records

Year of Release: 1991

track listing
  • "The Bells"--
    The Originals
  • "Love Or Let Me Be
    The Friends Of
  • "Girls It Ain't Easy"--
    The Honey Cone
  • "Viva Tirado Part 1"--
    El Chicano
  • "Turn Back The
    Hands Of Time"--
    Tyrone Davis
  • "Love On A
    Two-Way Street"--
    The Moments
  • "Compared To What"--
    Les McCain &
    Eddie Harris
  • "Love Land"--
    Charles Wright &
    The Watts
    103rd St
  • "O-O-H Child"--
    The Five Stairsteps
  • "Band Of Gold"--
    Freda Payne
  • "Are You Ready"--
    Pacific Gas &
  • "Maybe"--
    The Three Degrees

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    Various Artists
    "Soul Hits Of The '70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Volume 2"

    Rhino's Soul Hits Of The '70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind series focuses on Soul music, which in today's frame of mind, is completely different. Soul music today is that of R&B, hip-hop and rap, and comparing that music to the 1970s Soul, there is a huge difference: They don't make songs [1970s Soul] like that anymore...

    In observing the 12 tracks on Volume 2, to my knowledge, there are only three songs that I remember as I was growing up: The Five Stairsteps' "O-O-H Child" is a great tune, and I can't help but see the resemblance in the lead singer's vocal style to that of a performer who would emerge in the last year of the 1970s decade, Elvis Costello. An uncanny resemblance to Costello's vocal style, this is a song that I could easily see Elvis mastering on his own.

    The second tune I remember is Freda Payne's "Band Of Gold". A song that definitely has the Motown sound, this song's lyrics was unique at the time, as the disappointment of the typical wedding night duties, was not as typical as most married couples would endure. This song is another great 1970s classic, despite the song's lyric content.

    The third and remaining song I remember is the soulful "Are You Ready" by Pacific Gas & Electric. This song combines both soul and rock together, as this song could easily get the grooves flowing, and repeatedly playing this song never loses its flavor.

    An additional mention: "Maybe" by The Three Degrees is featured here, as I remember this song by The Chantels and Janis Joplin. However, The Three Degrees version has much more soul and grit than The Chantels version, and in later years, Janis Joplin would also record a remake of this song, in the same style of The Three Degrees. The Three Degrees would later have their own big hit, "When Will I See You Again."

    Now for the songs that I, (as well as others), may not have remembered...

    Forming three categories, many 1970s Soul hits were ballads. And even though these songs may not have been well remembered, they are part of music history, realizing the fact that all 1970s Soul was truly a great time for music, and it also had its own era. The two songs that fall into this category are: "The Bells" by The Originals, and "Love On A Two-Way Street" by The Moments.

    Our second category are the typical upbeat Soul tunes. Three songs fall in the category: "Love Or Let Me Be Lonely" by The Friends Of Distinction, "Girls It Ain't Easy" by The Honey Cone, and "Love Land" by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street. All three of these songs have the typical upbeat soul style, enjoyable for any 1970s Soul fan. And speaking of upbeat, we can't forget the funky soul of the 1970s, where Tyrone Davis fits this bill with his hit, "Turn Back The Hands Of Time."

    Our third and remaining category, is the "Different" category, meaning soul songs that not only features soul, but other styles of music as well: El Chicano's "Viva Tirado, Part 1" combines the latin sounds that Carlos Santana had featured in the late 1960s/1970s, and it also has the R&B style of the instrumental group, Booker T. & The MG's. Ramsey Lewis Jazz comes to mind when hearing "Compared To What" by Les McCain & Eddie Harris.

    All of the twelve songs on the Soul Hits of the '70s, Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Volume 2 were popular in the year 1970. As Motown was the leading source of black pop music heading into the 1970s decade, black music took another direction, as it became more soulful, more energetic and funky. Rhino Records captured all these flavors in their powerful Soul Series, and as many of the volumes may contain some well-known songs that everyone can remember, it's always a thrill to discover the other songs that you may not have remembered, and there will always be that thrill, in hearing particular songs, and saying to yourself, "Oh! I remember THAT one!" All in all, discovering 1970s Soul music is a classic treat; and as mentioned before in this review... "They sure don't make records like that, anymore..."

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