Sounds of the Seventies was a 38-volume series issued by Time-Life during the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s, spotlighting pop music of the 1970s.
The surprising thing about K-Tel's staggering ten-disc box set burdened with the title Ultimate History of Rock & Roll is that it actually approaches delivering on its huge promise. Of course, a collection of this sort of any size is immediately sunk by lacking the presence of Elvis Presley or virtually any British act (only the Troggs and Tornadoes leap to mind). The focus here is on early rock & roll and rockabilly (Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, Duane Eddy), the girl groups (the Angels, the Shirelles, the Shangri-Las, Lesley Gore, the Dixie Cups, the Chiffons) and an almost overwhelming concentration on the R&B side of rock (the Coasters, the Drifters, the Platters, the Del-Vikings, Ben E. King, the Clovers, the Duprees, the Olympics, the Penguins). Also well-represented is the increasingly white-bread '60s pop/rock artists: the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Ventures, and the Association. For fans of the above types of music, Ultimate History of Rock & Roll is an immensely rewarding set which delivers with all the best tracks from the biggest artists. Just don't expect to find "Heartbreak Hotel" or "Can't Buy Me Love."
As soul music moved into the early '70s, it became dominated by smoother sounds and polished productions, picking up its cues from Motown, Chicago soul, and uptown soul. By the beginning of the decade, soul was fracturing in a manner similar to pop/rock, as pop-soul, funk, vocal groups, string-laden Philly soul, and sexy Memphis soul became just a few of the many different subgenres to surface. Often, the productions on these records were much more polished than '60s productions, boasting sound effects, synthesizers, electric keyboards, echoes, horn sections, acoustic guitars, and strings.
The liner notes that accompany this collection note that '70s soul music has never really gotten its due. One could argue that point for days, but hubris aside, there's no denying that Can You Dig It pays serious homage to the golden years of American soul. The new box set contains 6 CDs and 136 cuts, 65 of which hit the No. 1 spot on the R&B and/or pop charts. As you'd expect with a project that mines such a rich era (the CDs are compiled chronologically), it represents a who's who of stars. Among the notables: Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, the Spinners, the O'Jays, the Staple Singers, James Brown, Chairmen of the Board, Laura Lee, Freda Payne, and Jean Knight. Lesser lights also get to shine, i.e., El Chicano, who deliver the salsafied hippie anthem "Tell Her She's Lovely." But let's be honest–the selling point is the hits, and from the uplifting "Ooh Child" to the sassy "Want Ads," if you grew up in the '70s (hands up), then these tracks are beloved. Sure, the hard-core fan will probably wish for more obscurities, and the exclusion of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and George Clinton is troublesome, but anyone wanting an at-home jukebox loaded with classic R&B will certainly dig this.
Tyrone Davis was a leading American blues and soul singer with a distinctive style, recording a long list of hit records over a period of more than twenty years. He had three no. 1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart: "Can I Change My Mind," "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" and "Turning Point." Davis released about 25 singles during his seven years with Dakar, most of them big R&B sellers produced by Willie Henderson. He finally returned to the top spot with "Turning Point" in 1975. Soon afterwards, Davis switched to the major Columbia record label and recorded seven albums over the next five years with producer Leo Graham and arranger James Mack who had collaborated with him for "Turning Point". Major hits with Columbia included "Give It Up," "This I Swear" and "In The Mood." Dubbed the "King of Romantic Chicago Soul" by MTV, Davis' perceived vulnerability and class endeared him to female soul fans through the 70's.
Born May 4, 1938 in Greenville, Mississippi, Tyrone Davis is considered the "king of romantic Chicago soul". He moved to Chicago in 1959, where he found work as a valet for bluesman Freddie King. Eventually, Davis began singing in clubs on the city's West and South Sides, and by 1965 he had signed to the Four Brothers label.. Three years later, Davis moved to producer Carl Davis' Dakar Records and earned his first hit, "Can I Change My Mind," when a local DJ played the B-side of his Dakar debut. The song went to Number One on the R&B charts, and hit the pop Top Five. In the Seventies, he scored other R&B chart-toppers with "Turn Back the Hands of Time" and "Turning Point" before switching to Columbia Records and discofying his soul. It was his smooth bedroom ballads like "In The Mood", however, that burned up the charts. Davis went onto record successfully on various labels like Ichiban and Malaco up to his death. He is one of the most imitated soul singers of the modern era.
Great work from Tyrone Davis' under-recognized years at Columbia Records – a wonderful set of mature modern soul numbers that really let the singer find a whole new groove! The whole thing's nicely free of any sort of commercial overtones – and instead, the album has Davis really spinning out this rich, warm groove – arranged throughout by James Mack, who brings in a perfect Chicago balance of soul and sophistication – elements that many of Tyrone's contemporaries cooked up in the past, but hardly did this well at the time! And Davis' vocals somehow seem better than ever – more expressive in more ways, but never overtone – really illustrating that path that deep soul took to the Windy City, while changing up its sound in the process. Titles include a remake of "Turn Back The Hands Of Time", plus "Just My Luck", "I Won't Let Go", "You're Heaven Sent", "You Made Me Beautiful", and "Let's Be Closer Together".