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RRR002: Dynamic Sound! 22 Original Hits! 22 Original Songs!

In 1970s, 1970s soul, 1974, compilations, family, K-tel, record collecting, records, Rich's House of Vinyl on April 6, 2016 at 4:28 am

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The thing is, whenever I get excited about reviving this sweet music blog o’ mine, I always go into it with wildly unrealistic expectations. Sure, I can randomly choose a record from my collection, listen to it, digest it and write something coherent about it every single day of my life. That’s exactly what I did with my previous entry, Foreigner’s 4.

But it’s crazytalk to think that I can do this every day. So, what happens is that once I haven’t done it for a day or two, I give up on the enterprise or I start over, vowing that this time, I’ll get it right.

Not this time though. I’m dispensing with both of those options. This time, I’m just going to change the rules. It’s my blog, my rules, right?

New rules: whenever I have a stray 45 minutes or so, more than likely late at night, I’ll roll those 20-sided dice, pick that random record, and write about it while listening to it. Then I’ll post the results and get on with my life.

This is what I am doing right now. Listening to K-tel’s collection, Dynamic Sound 22 Original Hits 22 Original Stars, and using the skills I’ve honed over the 37 years since I took Mrs. Peters’ typing class to bang out some fresh thoughts about the record.

K-tel albums loom large in my childhood memories but the plain fact is that I only owned about 10 K-tel/Ronco/Adam-VIII compilation albums among the dozens of such records that were released during my childhood, which happened at the height of the K-tel era.

Dynamic Sound is not one of the records that I owned back in the day, but it was released the same year — 1974 — as K-tel’s Dynamite, a compilation that I did own as a kid. Dynamite has proven to be hugely influential in my music appreciation development. Nearly every song on Dynamite led me down genre paths that I’ve been following ever since. But had I owned Dynamic Sound rather that Dynamite in ’74, it would have had the same effect on me.

Looking back, it’s obvious that K-tel albums were cheesily-packaged, aggressively-marketed (particularly on television) behemoths to be cherished by no one over the age of 15. In short, K-tel and its like-minded competition were cranking out the NOW That’s What I Call Music collections of the era.

Cramming 20 or more songs on a single flimsy slab of vinyl was probably just another way of maximizing profits, but the genius side effect of this was filling the ears of impressionable young listeners with the likes of James Brown, Tom T. Hall, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Chi-Lites all at the same time.

And, it ought to go without saying, the DeFranco Family. Can’t forget the DeFranco Family!

Seriously, check out the playlist of Dynamic Sound:

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The beauty of a K-tel record like Dynamic Sound is in how what was once ever-so-briefly an utterly contemporary snapshot of the current pop music scene, from rock to pop to country to funk, is now a succinct time capsule of a relatively short era — just a few months in 1974 — in music history.

For someone like me — a music fan/record collector who was growing up at the height of K-telmania — it is this time capsule aspect that is most fascinating. I love how a song that is utterly familiar to me, like the Stylistics “I’m Stone in Love with You” (I LOVE the Stylistics. LOVE them.) is juxtaposed with “Smarty Pants” by long-last ’70s girl group, First Choice. First Choice were popular, sort of the Destiny’s Child of their day (though not quite that popular), but I totally missed them the first time around. Every now and then, though, I get to rediscover one of their tunes via K-tel and they blow me away every time. I’m always happy to see a First Choice song on a K-tel record.

So I hear the utterly familiar and the happily surprising on K-tel albums, but that’s not all! I hear the cool guitar riffs of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Let It Ride,” and I realize that though I have rarely listened to BTO on purpose, their ubiquity seeped into my wonder years. The “Let It Ride” riff is tightly stitched into my musical memory, probably from some family picnic 40 years ago, when Dad’s burlap covered mini-speakers sat in the open window of my sister’s bedroom and transmitted WMMR out to the picnickers on the brick patio in our backyard. I probably ate a whole bunch of raw green pepper slices and a couple of hamburgers that day, because that’s what I did.

That’s some potent memory-inducement and it’s all thanks to a flimsy old record that sold for about $5.00 and was advertised on UHF stations during late afternoon reruns of Bewitched and Speed Racer back in 1974.

(RRR002)

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