Various Artists

Slow Jams: The 70's, Vol. 2

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Slow Jams: The 70's, Vol. 2 Review

by William Ruhlmann

Like its predecessors in EMI reissue imprint The Right Stuff's Slow Jams series, the second volume devoted to the '70s features tracks licensed from several labels (including majors like Warner and Sony) to create a consistent set of slack-paced soul ballads meant to steam up the dancefloor or the bedroom. Though nine Top 40 hits from the soul singles charts are included (four of which hit number one and four of which went gold), the compilers have also investigated the riches to be found among LP-only tracks and turned up the Commodores' "Zoom" from their 1977 album Commodores and Phyllis Hyman's "I Don't Want to Lose You" from her 1977 album Phyllis Hyman. Teddy Pendergrass may be the king of '70s slow jams, and he is represented here both as the lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes ("If You Don't Know Me by Now") and on his own ("Turn off the Lights"). Many of these tracks originated in Philadelphia, from the writer/producer teams of Gamble & Huff or Thom Bell and Linda Creed, and whether the performer is a male or female solo star or a group, there is a consistency of sound from one song to another. No particular criterion other than mood seems to have guided the selection and sequencing; often these artists had bigger hits and better songs. But that mood is maintained, which may be more important than any critical analysis of the contents.

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