Various Artists

Listen to the Music: '70s California Sound

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Sixteen tracks epitomizing the mellower aspects of the singer/songwriter sound, a genre that either serves as a comfortable home base or a symbol of all that was most repellent about the '70s, depending upon your tastes. It's been selected with care, though, mixing critical favorites like the Flying Burrito Brothers, Little Feat, Crazy Horse, Gram Parsons, and Warren Zevon with much cornier outings by the Doobie Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and Nicolette Larson (her lousy cover of Neil Young's "Lotta Love"). Few of these are little-heard, although it does sneak on the Burritos' cover of Jagger-Richards' "Wild Horses" (released a year before the Rolling Stones' version) and Spirit's "Nature's Way." Those somewhat offbeat selections are balanced, though, by sappy tunes from Kenny Rankin, Walter Egan, Livingston Taylor, Bob Welch ("Sentimental Lady"), and others.

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