Another Monday, another truncated ‘n’ squished collection of pop hits from the polyester apocalypse of the early 1970s.
The album is the creatively titled 22 Explosive Hits, Vol 2, released by K-Tel in 1972. I purchased it for the same reason I purchased the thematically similar Believe in Music compilation — to cheaply acquire a smattering of killer cuts scattered among a veritable ocean of period-setting filler.
Here’s the track list:
A1 Sammy Davis Jr. – The Candy Man
A2 Gallery – Nice To Be With You
A3 Lobo – A Simple Man
A4 Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You
A5 Osmonds – One Bad Apple
A6 Fortunes – Rainy Day Feeling
A7 Pop Tops – Mammy Blue
A8 Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – Don’t Pull Your Love
A9 Daddy Dewdrops – Chicaboom
A10 April Wine – You Could Have Been A Lady
A11 Hot Butter – Popcorn
B1 Derek & The Dominos – Layla
B2 Flash – Small Beginnings
B3 Giorgio – Son Of My Father
B4 Danyel Gerard – Butterfly
B5 Sugar Bears – You Are The One
B6 James Last – Wedding Song
B7 Detroit Emeralds – Baby Let Me, Take You
B8 Chi-Lites – Power To The People
B9 Millie Jackson – My Man, A Sweet Man
B10 James Brown – Honky Tonk Part 1
B11 Joe Simon – Power Of Love
The main draws here were Hot Butter’s Moogtastic instrumental “Popcorn,” the Wrecking Crew driven soft rock of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds’ “Don’t Pull Your Love,” and the musical equivalent of a smiley face that was Gallery’s “Nice to Be With You.”
On the collateral value-added front, there are ONJ’s cover of Dylan’s “If Not For You,” the politically charged heavy soul of the the Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People,” and Derek & The Dominos’s “Layla” (which actually benefited from K-Tel’s no so subtle snips to its runtime).
The rest I can take or leave (sorry, Godfather Brown), but the overall quality is still head and shoulders above the sophomore slump material that padded out Believe in Music‘s runtime. As a result, 22 Explosive Hits, Vol 2 offers up a more listenable snapshot of a chaotic pop era in search of a singular, salable sound.
The record came out the year I was born, and most of the featured tracks date to the year prior to that. Technically, that should rule out any direct nostalgic association on my part, but the window for such bonds to be forged was bumped up a few years. Thanks to an early childhood spent parked in front of a TV set, the music of my primordial period got drilled into me via a medley of three second snippets used by K-Tel’s compilation crafting rivals to hawk their mail-order wares.
The commercials for these albums and sets (also available on 8-track) were in heavy rotation — alongside tractor trailer driving schools and ecology-themed PSAs — during the syndicated Gilligan’s Island and Monkees repeats that constituted mid-morning UHF fare in those bygone days. So deeply did those ads burrow their way into my impressionable gray matter that my middle-aged brain still braces for specific transitions between tracks.
To this day, my subconscious assumes the follow-up line to “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me” will be “WON’T COME BACK FROM DEAD MAN’S CURVE.”