Are You Ready? This anthology starts with a question. Are You Ready? I almost missed a decent listening experience because I wasn’t ready to give it a fair and honest listen, and a little research got me over that hurdle.
When I first encountered the collection of songs known as ‘We All Shine On, Celebrating the Music of 1970,” my first impression was that this was just one more in a long history of generic cover songs. I put the CD on while I did some work, and it languished in digital limbo for a couple of weeks.
As the release date came and went, I decided I needed to give this an honest chance of standing on its own, so I dusted off the dust cover and listened again. And I am glad that I didn’t let a dour first impression paint the CD in bad lighting. As I listened, I started gleaning gems and nuggets from the various artist’s fresh renditions of some of the radio-friendly songs from 1970. Now, I do have a question for Big Stir Records. Why did you pick 1970? That was 52 years ago. Maybe you started the project in 2020, but it took two years to get it up and running. Nah! You guys and gals don’t work that way. I guess it’s just me, I like round numbers, and 1972 was an excellent vintage for the music world.
Back to the present, Twenty Twenty Two. I listened again and cursed at whoever decided to include Yellow River in this collection of songs. I don’t hate the song. I don’t have a vendetta against The Armoires; they are talented and have made way more music than I ever have. The problem is not in quality. The issue pertains to the phenomena of earworms. For some reason, Yellow River gets stuck in some deep crevasse of my brain folds, and it is challenging to heave out once it gets settled in. I am listening to the song as I write this, and I can guarantee that it will be in there for the rest of the evening unless I bombard it with something heavier—Iron Man, perhaps.*
They aren’t Black Sabbath, but The Archies were a staple of my music listening in the ’70s. I have fond memories of driving with the windows down, ‘Sugar Sugar” on the radio and my hair blowing in the wind. Fast forward to 2022, I open the sunroof, turn up “Sunshine,” freshened up and given a little edge by Sparkle Jets*U.K. and long for the good old days when I had enough hair to blow in the wind.
Ah, the good old days. Arizona by Mark Lindsay gets a bit of an R&B/Pop sensibility courtesy of Darian. I love the bass lines that they gave Arizona.
Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) a huge hit for The Delfonics? It was released in late 1969 but charted in 1970 at number 3 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart and number 10 on the Billboard pop chart 1970. Mitch Easter gives this Philly Soul song a makeover that takes it in a new direction entirely. I’m not quite sure if I like it or not. Anyhow, it is what it is. Give it a listen and post a comment of your take on this song, or any other for that matter.
Sheet, this blog with be a book if I keep adding a paragraph for every song; there are 22 of them. So, here is what I did. I made a playlist with each song from this collection, We All Shine On: Celebrating The Music Of 1970. I then found the original takes and stacked them, the original and then the cover. It was then that I was able to fully appreciate how special each of these covers is and how much some of them actually changed. From my first impression of generic covers to a deep appreciation for every song on the release, boy was I ever wrong. This is window down, volume up, cruising main street music.
“Everything Is Beautiful,” every song on this release is beautiful; come on, you can shell out a few bucks to buy the CD or the digital release and support some really good musicians and a top-drawer record company, Big Stir Records.
*Yup, I got the earworm for Yellow River as I relistened to it. Ten Years After, A Space In Time knocked it out.