Ranking #32 singles, U.S. edition: 1969-1974

I love my gig because I learn new shit every hour, for example of the existence of a Sly Stone-produced act comprising his backup singers fronted by essential Family member Vet Stewart. I didn’t need the Wiki: within seconds of hearing the drum machine and the breathy compression of the vocals I heard traces of the production touches that distinguished There’s a Riot Goin’ On from competitors. Up to the top it went, stopped only by Al Green’s cheerful epithalamium. Its only competition? Sly’s own “Time For Livin’.”

Accused of dismissing their songwriting abilities and instrumental prowess, I will admit how strain did not affect the quality of mercy that resulted in my elevating “Already Gone,”  an example of received sexism so bog standard that it’s not terrible (thank you, Bernie Leadon, and your guitar interjections). At the long gone dive bar Fox’s Sherron Lounge “Already Gone” came up often thanks to some jukebox hero; I used to confuse it with “Take It Easy.” Better, though, than The Doobie Brothers’ whinnying “Another Park, Another Sunday,” remembered now as the original A-side to future #1 “Black Water” and one of the few times BS&T’s attempts to mimic Stephen Stills mimicking Tom Jones but with a horn chart didn’t repulse.

I discovered other jams: Foster Sylvan’s ethereal “Misdemeanor,” Barry White’s extended grope, and The 5th Dimension’s sustained shimmer “Living Together, Loving Together.”

Meh

Eagles – Already Gone
The Doobie Brothers – Another Park, Another Sunday
The DeFranco Family Featuring Tony DeFranco – Abra-Ca-Dabra
The Righteous Brothers – Dream On
The Peppermint Rainbow – Will You Be Staying After Sunday
Blood, Sweat and Tears – Go Down Gamblin’

Sound, Solid

Tyrone Davis – There It Is
Jim Croce – Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues
The Illusion – Did You See Her Eyes
Barbara Fairchild – The Teddy Bear Song
Judy Collins – Cook With Honey

Good to Great

Al Green – Let’s Get Married
Little Sister – Somebody’s Watching You
Sly and the Family Stone – Time For Livin’
Mongo Santamaria – Cloud Nine
April Wine – You Could’ve Been a Lady
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – Doggone Right
The 5th Dimension – Living Together, Loving Together
Foster Sylvers – Misdemeanor
Barry White – I’ve Got So Much to Give

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