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Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 7 ()

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This could easily be the most enjoyable single volume of the Have a Nice Day series, filled with memorable singles (most of them good) by a range of artists (some of them one-shots) who reached their respective commercial peaks in 1971-1972. A few of these songs also seemed to define the audience sensibilities of their era, if not necessarily their artists. The producers even admit that "Precious and Few" by Climax, featuring Sonny Geraci (formerly of the Outsiders), was the underlying motivation for conceiving this series in the first place; typical of its era, it is the perfect pop/rock single, cut by an artist that simply didn't leave behind an accompanying album even remotely as popular or successful musically. "Precious and Few," "Brand New Key" by Melanie, and "Don't Say You Don't Remember" by Beverly Bremers (which sounds like a '70s version of "End of the World") comprise the soft side of this disc, and the folky-serious side is provided by Jonathan Edwards and his Top Five hit "Sunshine" -- a perennially popular ode to iconoclasm, it transcends its time. Much more evocative of the era is "One Tin Soldier" by Coven, which is a great big-band folk-rock number about the futility of war (this dates from a time when even a lot of people on the right had wearied of war as a national pastime) belted out by the lead singer like she's performing for her life -- at least, the song sounds like the band really means it, much more so than the feature film Billy Jack to which it was attached. Mostly, though, this disc is characterized by its very ballsy rock numbers, most notably "Hallelujah" by Sweathog, Lee Michaels' soulful girl-trouble lament "Do You Know What I Mean" (featuring the drumming of Frosty, aka Bartholomew Smith, whose percussive skills also drive "Hallelujah"), and Redbone's Cajun rocker "The Witch Queen of New Orleans." Those were all, in the context of the time, very hot-sounding sides. Progressive rock even reared its head on the pop charts that year, with "Joy" by the English studio band Apollo 100 adapting Johann Sebastian Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," and "Softly Whispering I Love You" by the English Congregation, complete with full boys' choir, both of which used classical music in a different way as the jumping-off point for some rock experiments that worked, at least commercially, as novelty records. The sound is superb on this volume, and the whole disc constitutes a pretty full order of the kinds of sounds that were filling the airwaves in the transition years from the '60s to the '70s. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi Hide synopsis

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