Hard Rock Essentials: The 70's

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Frijid Pink, Humble Pie, and It’s All Right Now

Jul 14, 2001 (Updated Jul 14, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Pretty tasty collection that surpassed my expectations

Cons:2-3 “epic” songs grate on me

The Bottom Line: "Not bad for what is is" just doesn't rise above 2 stars for me.


Admittedly, I pulled a random cassette out of the closet and did a search on it on Epinions. There it was, and here’s my review. I probably picked up this tape for just a few dollars on some sale bin, because it’s not something that’d cause me to fork over a lot of cash. It’s surely a lot of fun, though, and worth the money if you’d enjoy this cross-section of essential ‘70s hard rock. Let me take you on a sentimental journey.

Side 1. What rock n roll fan around in the late ‘70s doesn’t know All Right Now by Free? If not by the title, they’d know it on hearing it. It’s a good old-fashioned, let-loose and relax kind of summer song, meant to be cranked up in the backyard or in the car. Also a common cover tune. I’d forgotten how damn cool Frijid Pink’s House of the Rising sun was. All that
unabashed use of effects and feedback. Great cover - a psychedelic rendering of a song traditionally done by folkies such as Joan Baez or bad boys like Eric Burdon. Listening to it again whets my appetite for a loud, live rock show.

Ooh, next I get a taste of what I wished for, a loud and live version of I Don’t Need No Doctor from Humble Pie. Pretty much a rush of drums and admirable all-out vocals. Repeats the chorus ‘til you’re plenty sick of it, but it’s mostly good fun. The Moody Blues add The Story in Your Eyes, which brings back memories of a couple of friends in a band that played this song at a party in somebody’s basement. The pounding piano part at the end stirs a memory. “Listen to the tide slowly turning. Wash all our heartaches away. We’re part of the fire that is burning and from the ashes we can build a better day.” This song also played a part in my phoenix obsession. I still believe.

OK, now, I do have a respect for this southern rock blues stuff, I really do. I just prefer to respect it from a distance. Statesboro Blues is a good slice of that style. Makes me wanna pop open a beer and bang my head a little. Something people might crank up waiting for the dead pig to finish roasting. Personally, I prefer pizza. A tolerable, workmanlike guitar solo appears, accomplishing nothing astonishing. I’m more a fan of Melissa type songs by The Allman Brothers Band.

Side Two. I’m certainly not a fan of Rod Stewart’s later pop stuff, although the ‘70s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and (even the president needs)Passion were fun. Listening to (I Know I’m) Losing You, it’s got a pretty good groove going. It’s good for what it is, it’s just that this particular epic song isn’t one of my favorites. Again, like the Humble Pie song, this one felt
repetitive to me.

I hold a respectful place in my heart for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, if only for the song Lucky Man, if that indeed is its correct title. Included here is
Nutrocker, which provides a welcome break from the screaming and instead treats us to a fast-paced, live drum and keyboard extravaganza not unlike circus music, with a few “yeahs” sprinkled in near the end. Remember Renegade by Styx? My mind goes back to the lyrics somebody in high school wrote on a desk in my world history classroom. “The jig is up, the news is out, they’ve finally found me - the renegate who had it made,
retrieved for a bounty. Nevermore to go astray, the judge will have revenge today on the wanted man.” This singalong song fits in really well with the rest.

No offense, Peter Frampton, but Do You Feel Like I Do was so overplayed back then, I am not still recovered yet. I betcha he’s a heckofa nice guy,moving to a place like Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife to be near her family. And surely this is a huge hit, a classic of that era. Not one of my faves, but truly essential as the title promises. Please excuse me while I fast forward to Traffic and Rock & Roll Stew. Oh hey, I didn’t know that was Traffic. I only know about Steve Winwood and that doesn’t sound like him singing. Now, Steve Winwood I liked in Blind Faith - there’s some long-as-heck songs for ya on that LP - but Roll With It in the ‘80s didn’t do much for me. I knew this song peripherally, and I like it. It’s cooler, calmer and quieter than the others, and a fit song to end the collection.

Bottom Line:

A pretty tasty collection that surpassed my expectations. I’m feeling on the line between two stars and three, and I’d like to give it the benefit of the doubt, but just can't. Here’s why: it is what it is and it’s not bad for what it is. I suppose “hard rock of the ‘70s” is not my scene, but it does rightfully include the Frampton, Humble Pie, and Rod Stewart epics that I deem tedious. Including the Frijid Pink hit makes the tape for me. On the other hand, I have to rate based on my personal preference, and overall, my feeling on this tape is more like two stars. I’d say being “not bad for what it is” is more 2-like for me.

Limitation of my review: I have reviewed the cassette, which does not include the Nils Lofgren song that’s on the CD.


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