Various Artists

Cruisin' 1970

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An instantly recognizable bargain-bin staple since the late '70s, thanks to their colorful comic book covers tracing the romantic life of an Everycouple named Peg and Eddie, the Cruisin' series of discs is built on a brilliant concept: Each disc is devoted to a single year, with hit songs, local commercials, station jingles, and news headlines, all presided over by a noted DJ from the era, for a near-perfect recreation of that year's AM radio experience. Pretty much everything about Cruisin' 1970 is kind of sad, from the cynicism of the album cover (the career-obsessed Eddie is ignoring Peg, who's having an affair with her tennis instructor) to the last track, Mama Cass' "New World Coming," which in this context sounds full of depressing portents. The play list, hosted by Kris Erik Stevens of WLS in Chicago, contains more actual material from the year in question than the oldies-obsessed Cruisin' 1969 had but, aside from the Fifth Dimension's sublime "One Less Bell to Answer" and Wilson Pickett's cautionary "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You," it's a pretty low-quality lot typified by the Ides of March's lame Blood, Sweat & Tears imitation (redundant, yes), "Vehicle." There's also the fact that the commercial for an LP sale at Sears hawks albums like Wings' Wild Life and Badfinger's Straight Up, which would not be released until 1971 and 1972, respectively. The other volumes of the Cruisin' series don't have this type of annoying anachronism, and this one suffers from the obvious sloppiness.

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