My first exposure to K-Tel was 20 Power Hits, Volume 2, which my dad must have purchased in 72 shortly after its release. Within a few years it wound up in the stack of records to which my sister and I had regular access. I put the disk on a turntable any number of times in the late 70s, but oddly, almost exclusively to listen to Side 1. I completely adore all ten of its songs to this day–yes, even “Stay Awhile.” You’d have thought that would make me interested to continue over to the flip, but nope–looking at the titles now, I draw a number of blank reactions (of course I know “Green Eyed Lady,” “Candida,” and “Oh Happy Day;” I’ve also become familiar with “I Love You For All Seasons” through AT40 rebroadcasts in the last few years).
Right in the middle of that first side are three phenomenal numbers by soul groups: “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” by the Delfonics, the Stephen Stills-penned “Love the One You’re With” by the Isleys, and this week’s featured track, at its peak of #30. The Dells didn’t have many all that many big pop chart hits but were R&B stalwarts for decades. This is just gorgeous.
K-Tel slid more and more towards disposable–though often fun–schlock as the 70s wore on (I acknowledge that’s a little in evidence even on this disk), but they absolutely had moments of great taste as well.