Various Artists

Rolling Back the Years: 1972-1973

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As with previous volumes in British budget label Prism Leisure's Rolling Back the Years series, which surveys popular music from the 1950s to the 1970s in two-year increments, the 12th entry, devoted to the music of 1972-1973, suffers from one major drawback. The tracks, licensed primarily from a clearinghouse called, usually are not the original hit recordings, but rather a hodge-podge of concert performances and later re-recordings, sometimes by groups featuring only one of the original members. Here, for example, the version of Rick Nelson's "Garden Party" is a live take; the version of Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" has a noticeably different arrangement from the original, slower and jazzier; and the version of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" clearly features a later edition of the Temptations than the one that recorded the first version. Many of the albums in the series have been oriented toward American rather than British hits. This one is almost evenly divided, with perhaps a slightly greater emphasis on the U.K. Songs like Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly" and "I Am Woman" did not figure in the British charts while scoring in America. On the other hand, Americans are unlikely to recognize Lieutenant Pigeon's "Mouldy Old Dough" (a British number one in 1972) or Mud's "Dyna-mite."