Gem of the Week: “Do You Feel Alright”-KC and the Sunshine Band

Song: “Do You Feel All Right” Artist: KC and the Sunshine Band Album: Who Do Ya (Love) (1978) Every KC and the Sunshine Band record is a take-home fiesta; a one-way portal to shameless disco-ball devotion, Bee Gees-esque falsetto, and glittering, 70s dance-floor funk. The theme of their 1978 LP Who Do Ya (Love) itself is total contentment…

Gem of the Week: “Bra”-Cymande

Song: “Bra” Artist: Cymande Album: Cymande (1972) As far as Afro-Brit 70s funk goes, Cymande takes the cake for cuckoo rhythms and multi-cultural dimension. Flavored with vibrant, West Indies percussion, Jamaican tempos, Calypso-ed out vocals—and hollow, electric American familiarity to neutralize the bongo-heavy atmosphere—the free-flowing 9-piece, though now dissolved, brought all their roots to the surface…

Gem of the Week: “From Me To You”-Janis Ian

Song: “From Me To You” Artist: Janis Ian Album: Between The Lines (1975) Janis Ian’s cozy, folk-pop specialty, an audible comfort delivered with the spinning of any LP from the ’70s singer-songwriter’s poignant collection, wasn’t recognized in a mainstream way until the release of her seventh album, Between the Lines. And today, she’s still considered fairly obscure….

Gem of the Week: “River”-Joni Mitchell

Song: “River” Artist: Joni Mitchell Album: Blue (1971) There’s usually a little melancholia in every Christmas music rotation, and certainly enough of these downcast songs qualify as classics –whether it’s Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne”, your quintessential, heartsick ode to ‘the one that got away’, or Wham!’s whiny, 1984 smacking synth-ballad, “Last Christmas”. The best…

Gem of the Week: “Use Me”-Bill Withers

Song: “Use Me” Artist: Bill Withers Album: Still Bill (1972) The dusky-voiced soul behind some of the sleekest R&B singles of the ’70s, Bill Withers should probably be known for more than just “Lean on Me”, the solo artist’s trademark ballad. Withers started up in 1970, his breakout studio album, Just As I Am, releasing in 1971….

Gem of the Week: “Waterfall”-Carly Simon

Song: “Waterfall” Artist: Carly Simon Album: Playing Possum (1975) Carly Simon’s music has always come from a moody, sentient place. Though her voice still isn’t the smoothest of the ’70s female pop collective, its throaty warmth grows on you–as does Simon’s intimate tone. Whether it’s the ex-trashing acerbity of the classic “You’re So Vain”–a biting, anti-narcissism…

Gem of the Week: “What Goes On”-The Velvet Underground

Song: “What Goes On” Artist: The Velvet Underground Album: The Velvet Underground (1969) Very likely the forefathers of psychedelic rock, The Velvet Underground–NYC’s legendary hippie-rocker 4-piece–made it just about impossible for the ’60s to ignore fuzzy, distorted punk sounds. A definitive model of American youth revolt and acid-dabbling, circa-Vietnam War, the band’s repertoire gracefully shuffled gritty…

Gem of the Week: “The Boxer”-Simon & Garfunkel

Song: “The Boxer” Artist: Simon & Garfunkel Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970 Somewhere in the hazy, forgotten realm of Woodstock-eclipsed vinyl antiquity reside the uncrowned kings of hippie-folk: Simon & Garfunkel. After their 1965 takeoff with the renowned, loner-celebratory track, “The Sound of Silence”, (which could easily be the prequel for the self-minded “I Am…