Various Artists Mellow Rock Hits:
Summer Breeze
Ventura Highway

(Rhino Records)

If you can't get enough of the folksy, lite rock portion of the '70s, this is the series of discs you need to own. Brought to you by the same folks who created the 20+ volume Have A Nice Day series of '70s hit CDs, Mellow Rock Hits features a similar collection of huge hits and minor hits in each package. It's like listening to a rediscovered K-Tel collection that you originally bought back in 1977. And while you may not think you know some of the songs from the titles, you'll likely remember them as soon as the first few notes kick in.

The Summer Breeze disc includes Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze," Ambrosia's "How Much I Feel," Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou," Jay Ferguson's still-rockin' "Thunder Island," Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" and America's "A Horse With No Name," (the playing of which around me could result in violent gastronomic explosion).

The Sundown disc focuses on singer-songwriters and offers Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown," Steve Forbert's Rod Stewart-sounding "Romeo's Tune," Don Mclean's "Vincent, and Jim Croce's "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)." There are also songs from Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, David Gates, John Prine and Loudon Wainwright III.

The Ventura Highway disc is the best of the set for my money. It encapsulates the early to mid-70s California sound with Seals & Crofts' "Diamond Girl," America's "Ventura Highway," Pure Prairie League's "Amie," Grateful Dead's "Uncle John's Band," Doobie Brothers' "Black Water," Player's "Baby Come Back," Orleans' "Still The One," and Bread's "If." Also included are songs from Hall & Oates, Pablo Cruise, Climax Blues Band, Steve Miller Band, Dr. Hook, Poco and Little Feat.


Milan Records is gearing up for Valentine's Day by issuing the "lovable" soundtracks of two new independent movies, Hotel de Love and Angel Baby. The Hotel de Love soundtrack includes a bevy of kitschy classics, from K.C. & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight," 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" and Little River Band's "Reminiscing," to Air Supply's "Lost in Love" and Olivia Newton John's "I Honestly Love You." There's also an intentionally amateurish version of "Love Will Keep Us Together," and songs from Tim Finn and Finn's old band Split Enz , The Grassroots and Cowboy Junkies' cooly smooth "Blue Moon" collage. This is a really nice easy listening album; Finn's melodic contributions are especially welcome...

The Angel Baby album is more exotic and worldly in scope, spotlighting artists from eight countries, including Peter Gabriel and The Grid from the UK, Norman Greenbaum ("Spirit In The Sky") and The Vogues from the U.S., Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan, Sheila Chandra from India, Shu-de from Tuva and Anneli Drecker of Bel Canto from Norway. The result is a mix of exotic percussion and performance.