Various Artists

Only Country 1970-1974

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It's Only Country 1970-1974 follows the pattern of JCI's It's Only series, offering a seemingly random collection of 20 hits from a given genre for a period of five years. These songs weren't necessarily the biggest hits of these five years, although there are a number of classics and smashes here. It may be hard to deduce exactly why these songs were chosen, but the end results are nevertheless quite entertaining. All of the songs are featured in their original hit versions, not remakes, which isn't always the case with midline country collections. Furthermore, there a few cuts that aren't easy to find on other collections or even greatest-hits albums, which means it's interesting to collectors as well as casual fans. Most importantly, each volume captures the feeling of the era, even if it's missing several big hits, and that's what makes the series a nice introductory overview for curious listeners. Among the highlights on It's Only Country 1970-1974 are Conway Twitty's "Hello Darlin'," Donna Fargo's "The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.," Mickey Gilley's "City Lights," Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter," Ray Price's "For the Good Times," Billy Swan's "I Can Help," Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors," Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn," Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden," Merle Haggard's "Fightin' Side of Me," Johnny Cash's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," George Jones & Tammy Wynette's "We're Gonna Hold On" and Willie Nelson's "Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)."

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