Various Artists

Body + Soul: The '70s

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TimeLife's Body + Soul: The '70s is subtitled "Eighteen Sensual Grooves," and it certainly lives up to that. Switching between sultry ballads, mid-tempo funky groovers, and romantic soul, the 18 tracks make up a perfect soundtrack for romance. It also makes for fine listening other times too. The lineup of artists is like a roll call of greatness: Al Green ("L-O-V-E (Love)"), Lou Rawls ("You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine"), Marvin Gaye ("I Want You"), Gladys Knight & the Pips ("Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me"), the Chi-Lites ("Have You Seen Her"), and Teddy Pendergrass ("Close the Door") make up the first string, but the backups are fine too. The Staple Singers ("Let's Do It Again"), Minnie Riperton ("Lovin' You"), Tyrone Davis ("Turn Back the Hands of Time"), and the Originals ("The Bells") provide spine-tingling highlights, and no one could ever deny the power of one-shots like Luther Ingram's incredible "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" and King Floyd's supremely funky "Groove Me." The only weak tracks come from the later stages of the decade, both Peabo Bryson's "I'm So Into You" from 1979 and Natalie Cole's "Our Love" from 1978 lack the grit and soul of the rest of the tracks. They aren't terrible and represent only a small drop-off in quality, not enough to ruin the disc. You may not think so by looking at the cover, but this is one of the better mainstream collections of '70s soul that you are liable to find in your local chain store.

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