The title is Great Ladies of Rock & Roll: The 70's, but compiler Joe McCoy of New York oldies radio station WCBS-FM must have gotten the wrong message and thought it was supposed to be "Great Ladies of Disco & Soul: The 70s." True, there are some token ladies who don't fit into those categories -- Melissa Manchester, Bonnie Tyler, Nicolette Larson, Linda Rondstadt -- but they are the anomalies in this 23-song collection of R&B and dance records with female vocals from the '70s. McCoy seems to have had his pick of material, since Collectables has licensed tracks from all five major labels and some other sources as well. One could cite numerous great ladies of '70s rock & roll more worthy than, say, Bonnie Pointer, but even within the apparently self-imposed criterion of using pop hit singles, the omission of Carole King, Carly Simon, Heart, and Fleetwood Mac is striking. Maybe McCoy felt that more pop-oriented women and female-led acts such as Helen Reddy, Cher, Olivia Newton-John, and Captain & Tennille didn't rock hard enough to earn the "rock & roll" title, but every one of them has a harder-rocking '70s hit than Minnie Riperton's insufferable "Lovin' You." And what about Janis Joplin, Melanie, Maria Muldaur, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Snow, Rita Coolidge, and Rickie Lee Jones? None of this is to criticize the great ladies of disco and soul heard here, among them LaBelle, Gloria Gaynor, the Staple Singers, Sister Sledge, and Donna Summer. Some of the decade's best dance tracks can be heard on this album. But the few non-dance tracks should have been jettisoned and the title changed, or a more balanced compilation really worthy of the title should have been assembled.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann