Various Artists

Top of the Pops: Europe Edition, Vol. 2

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Even among confirmed collectors of the long-running Top of the Pops series, there are a few avenues that remain, if not completely unknown, at least relatively unexplored. A short run of European editions is one such, issued during the very early '70s and scarcely available in the U.K. itself. Volume one went gold in two countries, however, and winter 1971's volume two was, apparently, just as successful. The formula, of course, remained the same as for the domestic issues -- a dozen current hits, as performed by anonymous sessioneers. A handful of the album's contents, too, should need no introduction -- Britain's musical domination of continental tastes at that time allowed a full 50 percent of the disc to be drawn from corresponding U.K. releases. The remainder of the set, however, delves into considerably less-familiar waters, hauling material from the Dutch, Greek, and French hit parades and subjecting them to the same treatment that the British charts had long grown accustomed to. As such, it's a far more scattershot offering than the regular series, but that, in a way, is its appeal. To listeners of a certain age, other albums in this series are a powerful memory-jogger. The Europe series actually introduces you to brand new sounds.

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