Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Seals & Crofts|
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
Similarly Requested CDs
Their best album; a potently moving collection
Dave | United States | 09/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released in 1976, "Get Closer" is the 8th proper Seals & Crofts album, and incredibly, despite its gold-selling status, as well as the presence of the top 10 soft rock staple that is the title track, it's taken over 30 years for this album in full to get CD release in the US (if not the whole world).
If you read through the original album liner notes before listening, you'd come across some seemingly discouraging signs. Only 8 songs, with a total duration of less than 35 minutes, plus an album-closer that runs well over 6 minutes. A closer look, and you'll see two songs copyrighted 1969, and an additional one copyrighted 1972, and in fact, the opening song "Sweet Green Fields" had already been recorded way back in the '60s by the Knickerbockers (!) (famed for their infamous Beatles knockoff "Lies"). All of this inescapably gets one thinking that Jim & Dash were probably burning out and/ or under pressure to crank out an album before the start of a tour and/ or to meet a Warners Brothers deadline.
Maybe they WERE under pressure (hardly an unlikely scenario in the record business), but despite all of that, "Get Closer" somehow ends up being the most consistently engaging album Seals & Crofts made during their 1969-1980 run, a fantastic album that's carefully crafted, flawlessly professional, yet still passionately sung and played. The opening "Sweet Green Fields" is a marvelous epic, with edgy verses, a feel-good chorus, and a soaring bridge section. It's followed by the title track--the odds that anyone reading this has never heard the song is so slim that I suppose I just as well refrain from comment, but suffice it to say that it's a great soft rock anthem regardless of how sick to death of it you might be (and understandably so), and Carolyn Willis' co-lead vocals help underline its gospel leaning. The next track, "Red Long Ago", is another brilliant epic, with a simple, yet irresistibly dreamy, looping piano line (played by David Paich) and bracing dynamics. The closing track on 'Side 1' (in vinyl terms) provides some respite from all the preceeding drama with a relatively short and lightweight, albeit really fun and catchy tune called "Goodbye Old Buddies" which was written by Parker McGee (the same guy who wrote "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" and other songs for England Dan & John Ford Coley); McGee recorded his own version of this song for his lone, self-titled album, also released in 1976, but the Seals & Crofts version, with a typically excellent lead vocal spotlight from Dash Crofts, is easily the preferrable version.
'Side 2' opens with "Baby Blue" which starts off sounding like a rather pedestrian '70s mid-tempo pop-rock ballad (albeit pleasant), but then goes on to achieve greatness with its out-of-nowhere, wistful yet bouncy bridge section punctuated by a memorable lead guitar line. "Million Dollar Horse", despite somewhat strange lyrics, is a beautiful heartstring-tugging ballad, as is the poetic "Don't Fail" which is even more poignant. It's somewhat incredible to think that James Seals had "Don't Fail" waiting in the wings for 5+ years before it finally appearing on album (maybe they'd tried to record it earlier but were unsatisfied with the results), especially considering some of the lesser compositions that were used on earlier albums.
The album ends with "Passing Thing", which has some French lyrics, not to mention a lovely melody, although it's mostly another one of their instrumental showcases, giving Jim & Dash a chance to 'duel it out' on acoustic guitar and mandolin respectively. Only on this final track does it really feel like Jim & Dash were 'padding' the album to compensate for lack of material, but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable piece displaying all-around impeccable musicianship, and it's interesting to hear the honest-to-goodness DRUM MACHINE that crops up on the second half of the track (yes, they did indeed have them back in the '70s!), although it hardly sounds like what you've probably come to associate drum machines with (in other words, they're hardly foreshadowing '80s dance-pop or '90s electronica).
As usual, "Get Closer" was produced by Louie Shelton, and if the album sounds a bit more Steely Dan-ish than you remember, that is easily explained by the fact that Seals & Crofts were using many of the same players, including Larry Carlton (guitar), Jim Horn (saxophone), and future Toto members David Paich (keyboards) and Jeff Porcaro (drums).
Rhino Flashback has provided a long overdue CD reissue of this must-have album, although in typical fashion of their "Flashback" division, Rhino has unfortunately skimped on the packaging (no musician credits, etc.), although in compensation, the list price is ultra-low.
In the end, this is a great album from a great duo that has been known to get an unkind and unfair bad rap over the years. "Get Closer" is Seals & Crofts' best.
Get Closer...but Rhino's packaging can get lost
Geof | California | 10/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's no question this is an excellent album and long-awaited on CD, but Rhino should be ashamed for the inexcusibly shabby and barely-existent booklet. Neither the lyrics nor the musician credits or their photos which appeared on the original album's inner sleeve are included. Instead, on page two, we get a redundant black & white version of the cover photo on page one. Page three has the song titles in large type, and the back page has a tacky catalog ad for other Rhino Flashback titles. The back of the jewelcase just has the song titles and again reproduces the same cover pic.
The casual hits buyer will buy the greatest hits CD; anyone who is going to buy a catalog title by Seals & Crofts in 2007 is more than the casual fan, and would gladly pay an extra few bucks to get a proper, complete release including the credits and lyrics as nature--and the artists themselves--intended. I'm sure most Seals & Crofts fans would have paid $12-$15 for a well-assembled Rhino Handmade reissue, maybe with a few bonus tracks in the form of demos or live tracks thrown in.
Rhino was originally formed by a pair of die-hard fanatic record collecting music fans who respected musicians and treated their reissues right. This on the other hand is an embarassing example of the modern-day penny-pinching WEA-owned corporate Rhino at its worst, tossing out a great catalog title with a budget price and zero effort in packaging. A fine CD and a very-welcome long-overdue reissue, but one which literally to save pennies in printing costs, short-changes the fans and totally disrespects the fine musicians who created it by not even listing their contributions or reprinting the words S&C composed and intended to accompany this release."