Various Artists

Dick Bartley Presents Collector's Essentials: The 70's

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This companion piece to Dick Bartley Presents Collector's Essentials: The '70s tries even harder to satisfy its stated "hard to find" edict, jumping all over the decade and uncovering some impressively obscure gems. Five of these 15 songs missed the Top 40 altogether, only two hit the Top Ten, and only Orleans and April Wine had more than one other hit of note. In other words, this collection is for hardcore rock archivists. With that caveat, this is a frequently enjoyable album: many of the songs deserved better chart placements than they got (except for Gallagher & Lyle's snoozy "Heart on My Sleeve"), and there's a nice diversity of stylings here, from the majestic brass-rock of Lighthouse's "One Fine Morning" to the AC staples "My Angel Baby" and "Love Takes Time." All the songs but one are rendered in stereo, but listeners should be forewarned: "One Fine Morning," the equally brassy "Radar Love," the First Class beach pastiche "Beach Baby," and the apocalyptic "Are You Ready" are all noticeably edited for length. These needless truncations detract from what is otherwise a well-planned and executed oldies collection.

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