The O'Jays

Collectors' Items

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Collectors' Items is an O'Jays compilation with a narrow range (basically 1972-76), a contradictory title, and odd sequencing, but a parade of huge hits that make up for any of its other faults. Using two LPs (or one CD, in its digital incarnation) to collect songs from only six albums, the set has plenty of room to anthologize all of the smooth Philly soul trio's biggest singles from the early- to mid-'70s: "Love Train," "Back Stabbers," "I Love Music," "Give the People What They Want," "Livin' for the Weekend." Even though all of the songs that had to be here are here, a few bizarre choices make this less than the definitive compilation of their time: why take "Sunshine" from 1972's Back Stabbers, but not the far superior "Time to Get Down" or "992 Arguments" (or both)? Why use "Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet Tender Love)" from 1976's Message in Our Music, but not the gorgeous title track? These few questionable decisions aside, Collectors' Items delivers exactly what fans expect, and there is actually one item for the collectors: a previously unreleased cover of "Wildflower," a recent hit for the Canadian group Skylark as well as the New Birth.

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