Various Artists - Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9

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A celebration of hits from 1972, this volume of Have a Nice Day opens with a great one-two punch and stays strong until near the end, when it falls into a boringly conventional vein. The intro is "Brandy" by Looking Glass, one of the most powerful one-shot hits of the decade, and in second spot is the upbeat, catchy acoustic-textured "Beautiful Sunday" by Daniel Boone, which, if it isn't in the same league with Looking Glass's entry, at least has great hooks and holds up to repeated listening. Gary Glitter's strange, quasi-instrumental (or at least wordless) Top Ten hit "Rock and Roll Part 2" represents one of the more successful glitter rock entries onto the U.S. charts, and "Speak to the Sky," a number 15 hit by Rick Springfield in 1972, is closer in spirit to the good-time music of the later Easybeats than to the earnest emoting of "Jessie's Girl" a decade later. "Popcorn" by Hot Butter was an almost proto-disco number that, despite its underlying silliness, had an almost hypnotic power over listeners with its swirling synthesizer arrangement and the soaring melodic arc at its center. Some of what's here isn't quite as distinctive as those entries; "I'd Love You to Want Me" is merely a superb piece of pop/rock from Lobo, and "I Believe in Music" is a suitably upbeat pop adaptation of a much more spiritually oriented original by Mac Davis. Cashman & West's "American City Suite," after an opening that seems to imitate "Younger Girl" (and several other Lovin' Spoonful numbers), turns into one of the more daring pop-music efforts of its era -- the seven-minute conceptual piece starts out as an acoustic guitar-based folk-rock piece and ends in a style closer to Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park." Chi Coltrane's name was bounced around the airwaves for a while, courtesy of a heavy advertising and promotion campaign by Columbia Records, and her larger-than-life voice deserved more success, but if she was only to be remembered for one hit, she could have done a lot worse than "Thunder and Lightning" -- an original by the singer with a powerful horn and sax arrangement that fits her singing perfectly. The disc concludes with the Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein," a chart-topping instrumental that seems even harder than it is in the wake of Gilbert O'Sullivan's slow romantic ballad "Clair." ~ Bruce Eder

1) Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass (02:55)
2) Beautiful Sunday - Daniel Boone (03:00)
3) Rock & Roll, Pt. 2 - Gary Glitter (03:10)
4) Speak to the Sky - Rick Springfield (02:42)
5) Popcorn - Hot Butter (02:30)
6) I'd Love You to Want Me - Lobo (03:59)
7) I Believe in Music - Gallery (02:26)
8) American City Suite - Cashman & West (07:42)
9) Thunder and Lightning - Chi Coltrane (02:56)
10) Something's Wrong With Me - Austin Roberts (03:07)
11) Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan (03:00)
12) Frankenstein - Edgar Winter (03:28)

Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9
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Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 9 | Various Artists