Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Seals & Crofts now on CD

For those who love the music of Jim Seals and Dash Crofts, owned their albums on vinyl and enjoyed their music on the radio, but live with the fact that their catalog remains unavailable on CD format, well, don't wanna sound too cliche, but the long wait is over. Two three-letter acronyms immediately come to mind.. like, WTF.. and OMG.. in this case, used in conjunction with one another and in varying succession.
Someone must have put something in the water at the stateside head offices of Warner, coz someone savvy finally grew a brain and some gumption and reissued Seals & Crofts entire back catalog on compact disc(insert OMG and/or WFT here).

From their eponymous self-titled 1969 debut album, it's completist's heaven. Long, seemingly lost gems that forged S&C's intricate and by now trademark guitar/mandolin interlays, such as Down Home to studio versions of "Cause You Love" and "Sudan Village" from 1972's Year Of Sunday, to the duo's breakthrough album Summer Breeze of that same year, featuring the well-loved classics "Hummingbird," "East Of Ginger Tree" and "Summer Breeze." It's as if aural snippets of our musical past have been retrieved for us to enjoy all over again.

I recall one late night in 1973, sitting in my room listening to an album feature on the radio (yes, they played whole albums on-air back then, uninterrupted), it was Seals & Crofts' Diamond Girl, an album indelibly etched in my musical memory, not just for the catchiness of the title track that immediately pulls you right in, nor for "Ruby Jean And Billie Lee" and the anthemic "We Will Never Pass This Way(Again)" but for the album cuts, like "Jessica," the frolic of "Dust On My Saddle" and the somber tones of "Wisdom." A piece of my youth has just been gratefully handed back to me.

Sporadic Seals & Crofts CDs were available once in the 90's, much to our chagrin, very few though; most of which were inevitably deleted from production, for newer and more popular titles. Now, long sought after S&C albums are just a plastic swipe away from the completist's grubby little paws. Albums such as the soundtrack to one of Pinoy culture's long lost gems.

One On One.

Music and basketball.
For us Pinoys, the marriage was perfect.
At least, for those of us who grew up in the 70's.
Before ESPN, before Extreme Sports, before the NBA permanently entrenched its foothold on Philippine soil via cable, even before cable, for cryin' out loud, there was the PBA. Pinoys love basketball. Everyone plays it. Pinoys love music, too. Everybody is a singer, by his or her own estimation. Ergo, we loved the 70's movie One On One, coz us Pinoys love to watch movies, too.

Remember Robbie Benson?
Of course you do. If you're old enough to remember, he's the star of One On One.
If you remember him in Blue Balloon, you're really old enough. Together with Annette O'Toole, he is Henry Steele, smalltown High School basketball phenom turned big city scholarship cager, who doesn't quite fit in. Very Pinoy. From its storyline, its sport, its protagonist, and its music. Soundtrack by Seals & Crofts.
"This Day Belongs To Me."
"Love Conquers All."
"My Fair Share."
Long-lost Pinoy faves now on CD.
Need I say more?

But let's not digress.
Lest this becomes an unintentionally movie synopsis.

I'm just euphoric that Seals & Crofts is finally on CD. All of it.
Specially their 1978 album Takin' It Easy.
The album holds special intangible significance, meaning the songs aren't linked to a certain person, like most music I love. Its link lies in the era. The late 70's was a great time for music. So many genres, so much music. Sonic overload. This album only added fuel to the fire. The title track's lilting guitar riff, the quirky pace of "Breaking In A Brand New Love" and the soaring "You're The Love."

It used to be, S&C fans, such as I, would quell our love for their music by way of their one and only Greatest Hits disc. It's the record company's way of cutting down on import costs, as well as shelf space. They would rather push crap like Paris Hilton instead of this, but.. that's another story.

It's been said that an artist is worth more than his or her hit singles.
Seals & Crofts is certainly the case in point here. It's never too late to go back and listen to the great stuff we missed the first time around. Now, more so, with these significant and time reissues, there's no excuse. That's the beauty of music. It has no expiration date; no deadline. It's timeless. Much like the music of Seals & Crofts.


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