The Most Critically Acclaimed Album
A. Bentivegna | 09/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Produced by John Simon near Woodstock, with great rock and roll backup musicians. This is why Rolling Stone looked with favor on Seals & Crofts - temporarily. Indeed, this live recording has hard rock elements that never returned to their music. Ridin' Thumb should have been a huge hit. Purple Hand, Hollow Reed and Hand-Me-Down Shoe are straight ahead rockers with all the impassioned revelations of their Baha'i Faith. However, S&C did not tour as a rock band like this and quickly became an introspective duo instead. There was little room for introspective duos with the critics in 1971. The haunting, hypnotic song "Today" from this album predicts this. If you like S&C, or rock and roll, you cannot pass this album up."
Great 2nd album
V. Krzyzaniak | FEDERAL WAY, WA USA | 09/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just fired up my CD. Thank Amazon! The production values are great. I was very surprised as this was a 1970 album and I was expecting it to sound hissy, fuzzy or scratchy. Not so, it could have been recorded today. Each instrument is clear and clean. I love the variety as few bands use flutes and mandolins the way Seals & Crofts do. And the harmonies and offseted voices are pure and distinct.
But not listed is a hidden track that made its way into this album in it's 1974 re-release as "Seals & Crofts 1&2". The "See My Life - Reprise" from the first album "Seals & Crofts" plays shortly after the last track "Leave" as it did on "Seals & Crofts 1&2". And contrary to my above review this track sounds like the original tapes on this were lost here as the hidden track crackles and pops like an old LP record. But just on this 40 second hidden track. And it adds to the mystic mood of that solo flute.
I think this and the first album "Seals & Crofts" are the best, as Seals and Crofts seem so comfortable to just sing happy and uplifting music without worrying what the general AM radio listeners of the day would think of it."
Consistent 2nd Album Shows Growth
Phil (San Diego, CA) | San Diego, CA | 12/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When the Seals & Crofts catalog was reissued on Amazon's mp3 downloads I sampled tracks across a number of their albums but eventually just shotgunned downloads of the entire first two albums. The whole catalog sounded consistently good so why not start at the beginning?
Both "Down Home" and the debut "Seals & Crofts" are commendable but the edge goes to this second album, "Down Home". One listen to it and you get the feeling these guys did a lot of road between the two releases. You can almost hear them performing at places like the Troubador, getting a feel for what triggers audience response. For some reason this album reminds me of Elton John's "Tumbleweed Connection" though I'm not sure why. Same year, 1970, and both sporting the sepia-toned album covers that were in vogue that year. Both albums feel as though they are coming from the same point in time.
Compared to the first album there are more upbeat songs here, whereas the debut has a dreamier, more reflective feel. The songs have a little more stylistic variety as well, expanding to include a blues-flavored "Leave" and a savory little country fiddle raveup, "Granny, Will Your Dog Bite?". The only regret is that the 41 second song wasn't longer.
The album isn't perfect but any shortcomings are foibles rather than failures. "Cottonmouth" encounters strange intermittent injections of late 60s organ and electric guitar so foreign to the song they leave you saying, "Where did that come from?". Perhaps the producer was trying too hard to dress up the instrumentation so that at least one song would be making a "heaviosity" appeal. "Hollow Reed" might have called for greater enunciation; unless one is aware of the name of the song it sounds like they're singing "Halloween".
If you're downloading highlights for the mp3 player or for compiling a "best of", "Purple Hands" would be a tasty choice, as would "Today" (not the Jefferson Airplane song of the same name). "Gabriel Go On Home" is enjoyable, flavored with piano. "Robin" has instrumentation that's downright pretty. If you're looking for the upbeat numbers give a listen to the first two songs on the album. As a whole the album is very consistent, no obvious filler tracks; downloading the entire thing wouldn't be a bad idea."