The second volume of Soul Hits of the '70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind isn't quite as consistent as the first installment, nor is it quite as musically diverse. These, however, are relative disappointments, since the disc is filled with extraordinary singles. Again, many of the names have not entered into legend -- only Les McCann
& Eddie Harris
, two jazz musicians, and perhaps Charles Wright
are instantly recognizable names -- but the songs are familiar, and even if they aren't, it's not because they are subpar. A few of the cuts aren't memorable, but there's a wealth of terrifc moments, from recognizable hits -- the Five Stairsteps'
sighing "O-o-h Child," the Friends of Distinction's
inspired "Love or Let Me Be Lonely," Tyrone Davis'
"Turn Back the Hands of Time," the Three Degrees'
"Maybe" and Freda Payne's
"Band of Gold," the best song about impotence ever written -- to songs like the Honey Cone's
"Girls It Ain't Easy," the Moments'
"Love on a Two-Way Street" and Charles Wright's
"Love Land," which may not have been huge hits, but certainly deserved to be. On the whole, the disc spotlights the pop side of '70s soul, and what's remarkable is that the singles are smooth, melodic and soulful all at the same time. It's a fine collection, worthwhile not only for hardcore soul fans, but casual listeners, who may be surprised at how consistently great these songs are.