Excellent album in a great catalog, finally available
Kurtiss A. Jacobs | West Coast, USA | 10/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seals & Crofts put out quality records and some of their best songs are on their earlier albums. "Ashes in the Snow" was not as popular as "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond Girl," but it is just as timeless. It's too bad it took them so long to reissue it--CDs have been prevalent for over 20 years now, and sadly many S&C fans never got to update their collections. As for that "editor"'s comment that "One of the most request catalogs for CD reissue we have ever had," I have 2 responses: (1) You made a grammatical mistake on your fifth word--you're an EDITOR?; and (2) If it is one of the most requested catalogs ever, why did it take over 20 years to release it? But this is deservedly finally available to the fans."
Seals and crofts
James D. Wheeler | grand marais mn usa | 02/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the 70's I had all the early seals and crofts cd's. After losing my my 600+ albums in a flood, I hadn't heard these albums for over 30 yrs . I constantly checked the stores for them when CD format began, and have been frustrated not finding them the last 20 yrs. When I got wind of Amazon I thought I would give them a try.There they were. I immediately bought the first album Seals and Crofts and then Year of Sunday, and Down home. These albums were made before their heyday top 40 success. I love the innocent simplicity and craftsmanship of these albums. you should start with their first album of their namesake,then down home, and year of sunday. these are must haves for any seals and crofts fan. They are'nt the most sought after re-release collection for nothing! James Wheeler"
Promising First Album
Phil (San Diego, CA) | San Diego, CA | 12/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When the CD era came around I picked up Seals & Crofts' Greatest Hits as one of those albums I'd always meant to get around to buying. I'd had the vinyl 45s of "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond Girl", and what impressed me most was that they had b-sides that were on a par with the a-sides ("East of Ginger Trees" and the instrumental "Wisdom", respectively). But after a few listens I found that a ten song greatest hits only left me wanting more. This music had aged very well, becoming even more appealing with time. But to my surprise here was a major act of the 1970s whose catalog was almost entirely missing in action in the CD era.
Now that they've been reissued there were more Seals & Crofts albums than I'd ever dreamed of. I had no intention of buying all ten or so albums, I figured I'd just download about 80 minutes' worth of mp3s so I could customize a second "best of" CD. After sampling this and sampling that I got frustrated; it all sounded good. So I just downloaded the entirety of the first two albums, "Seals & Crofts" and "Down Home". (I'd already found a CD reissue of the "Diamond Girl" album somewhere along the way.)
I've seen Amazon reviewers who suggest that Seals & Crofts "went pop" later in their career, as though their top 40 hits were statements of compromise. I'd beg to differ. This album sounds very much like the Seals & Crofts of later years; it merely lacks the one or two tracks that get selected as singles. That's not to say this isn't an enjoyable album, it is. There's not a single track that would demand I hit the "NEXT!!!" button on the car stereo. It represents the era from which it came, the album-oriented era of pop music, when an album was meant to be enjoyed as a cohesive whole rather than as a hit single supported by throwaway filler.
In the mp3 era though, if one is attempting to download select highlights from each album in a group's catalog, the first "single" here would have to be "Ashes In The Snow". Other highlights would be the upbeat "In Tune", "Seven Valleys", and the first three tracks, "See My Life", "Sea Of Consciousness", and "Seldom's Sister".
This album came out in 1969 and as a first album you can hear the echoes of the mid-sixties occasionally, as though the artists gathered up their portfolios of songs they'd written in the past half-dozen years when preparing the song list for their debut. "Jekyll and Hyde" in particular rings of 1965 or 1966, and "Not Be Found" has moments that peg it to the late 1960s. But nothing ever sinks to the level of precocious folkie banalia that sometimes derailed the first few Simon & Garfunkel albums. Most likely it's because Seals & Crofts must have been close to 30 years old when recording this debut, matured past the age of well-intentioned postadolescent embarrassments.
Overall, the instrumentation is a joy to listen to, their playing ringing in your ears with a distinctive resonance. The harmonies of course are trademark Seals & Crofts. The production is a delight as well, it honors the tradition of "the best production is that which never calls attention to itself". The music is folk-inspired without ever sounding like "annoying coffeehouse loser with an acoustic guitar and a dream". The talent that distinguishes Seals & Crofts from the pack is already clearly evident. Best of all, the next album, "Down Home", only gets better.