Only Soul 1970-1974 follows the pattern of JCI's Only... series, offering a seemingly random collection of 20 hits from a given genre or style 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 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 Only Soul 1970-1974 are the O'Jays' "Love Train," Dionne Warwick's "Then Came You," the Ohio Players' "Fire," Al Wilson's "Show and Tell," 100 Proof Aged in Soul's "Somebody's Been Sleeping in My Bed," the Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate," Joe Tex's "I Gotcha," Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft," Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly," Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," the Moments' "Love on a Two Way Street," the Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her," and the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There."
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine