Various Artists

Superstars of Seventies Soul

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AllMusic Review by

Of all people, ex-Rhino Records founder Richard Foos ought to know how many collections of '70s soul already glut the marketplace as of this box set's arrival in 2004. He himself put out the definitive 20-volume library of Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, not to mention the six-disc distillation The 70's Soul Experience, and cloned them multiple times for his old label. That's not to discount the merits of this three-disc box for his follow-up imprint, but it does question how necessary it is to recycle the same songs yet another time. The cover art is unimaginative and almost shoddy, the liner notes and book layout bland, the presentation follows no discernible order, and there are even a few '80s-era tunes sprinkled throughout, but there is little else to quibble about concerning this audio time capsule. Stuffed with 20 cross-licensed tracks, each disc pushes the 80-minute limit, and the songs -- although generally obvious -- are well chosen. It's a terrific overview of the decade's R&B, with upbeat pop, ballads, funk, and even disco sharing space. The selections emphasize radio hits, so none of George Clinton's many projects get the nod. The omission of Sly & the Family Stone, though, is a significant misstep/oversight. But there is so much wonderful music here that grousing about particular selections (the Ohio Players' "Funky Worm" over "Love Rollercoaster"?) isn't worth getting upset about. Just push "play" and let the tunes bring back memories of the days before hip-hop, sampling, and the reliance on drum machines homogenized and nearly destroyed pure soul music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:38
2 4:08
3 3:30
4 4:46
5 3:52
6 4:04
7 4:57
8 3:57
9 4:43
10 2:37
11 4:21
12 3:31
13 2:56
14 4:57
15 2:54
16 4:44
17 2:48
18 4:03
19 3:37
20 3:03

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:11
2 5:01
3 2:58
4 3:32
5 4:27
6 3:54
7 2:50
8 3:15
9 3:28
10 3:28
11 3:34
12 4:29
13 3:49
14 4:48
15 5:40
16 4:03
17 2:39
18 3:28
19 3:33
20 4:51

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:40
2 2:51
3 5:25
4 4:27
5 3:28
6 3:19
7 3:11
8 3:31
9 4:28
10 3:15
11 4:09
12 2:03
13 3:32
14 3:46
15 3:38
16 5:24
17 4:10
18 3:10
19 3:26
20 8:14
blue highlight denotes track pick