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Seals, Dan - 1983 Rebel Heart

ARTIST: Seals, Dan
ALBUM: Rebel Heart
LABEL: Liberty
SERIAL: LT-51149
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Dan Seals - vocals, guitars * Assorted musicians

TRACK LISTING: 01 You Really Go For The Heart * 02 After You * 03 Everybody's Dream Girl * 04 Down The Hall * 05 Up On A Hill * 06 Candle In The Rain * 07 God Must Be A Cowboy * 08 On A Night Like This * 09 The Banker * 10 Nothin' Left To Do But Cry

Dan Seals started as a solo artist in 1980 after his success as the duo unit with John Ford Coley in late 70's. Some of you may remember 'I'd Really Love To See You Tonight' which ranked #2 on the US Charts way back in the Soft Rock Glory-Daze of 1976. Dan Seals & John Ford Coley split apart in 1980, and later that year Coley teamed up with Leslie Bulkin & Kelly Bruss to put out the strong 'Leslie, Kelly & John Ford Coley' album on A&M. As for 'England' Dan Seals, he put out the superb West coast/AOR classic 'Stones' in 1980. Even with the big commercial success ED & JFC had had just the year before, 'Stones' was a commercial flop - a real shame considering what a terrific album is. Although the material came from different songwriters (including a handful of Dan Seals co-writes), the material was consistently excellent, the production masterful, and Seals was in his usual great form vocally. In 1982, Dan Seals released his sophomore solo outing 'Harbinger' which included the modest hit 'Can't Get You Out Of My Mind' written by the Wilson Bros. On 'Harbinger', Dan Seals covered Airplay's 'It Will Be Alright'. Those two were very good West Coast platters with a little Country twang thrown in for good measure, but commercially not successful. As the result, his third solo album 'Rebel Heart' moved more into Country pastures, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The Songs
'You Really Go For The Heart' - Essentially the blue print for what bands like Restless Heart and Diamond Rio would be doing several years later. A brilliant match of Country Pop with an AOR sheen. Infectious chorus and beautifully rich melody.

'After You' - Another stunning pearl er, up there with any of the Country pop greats of the day like Eddie Rabbit and Ronnie Milsap.

'Everybody's Dream Girl' - Van Stephenson helped pen this with Seals. The late Stephenson would of course write this kind of quality country pop years later with Blackhawk. Excellent song that actually made Nashville keen to see what Mr. Seals was cooking up hit wise.

'Down The Hall' - Not as effective as the first three cuts imo, but nothing to sneeze at either. Well crafted with beautiful melodies resonate well on this amazing cut penned by Dan's brother Troy.

'Up On A Hill' - One of my favourite Country Pop songs of all time. Similar to 'Looking For Love' without the country fried schmaltz. Although the cowboy reference may throw you off in the beginning, by the time the chorus kicks in you got pure melodic bliss. A classic of the country pop genre and perhaps his best song IMHO.

'Candle In The Rain' - Another melodic corker oozing with just the right ingredients to make this palatable for even the most staunch rock fan. Well crafted and well performed by Seals.

'God Must Be A Cowboy' - Seals was obviously knocking on Nashville's door, proving his salt as a songwriter and performer. Made a dent in the Country charts in the later half of 1983.

'On A Night Like This' - Another gem that Seals delivers with ease. Sure it meanders, but not enough to give it the boot.

'The Banker' - Moody little ditty builds into a fine climax musically and lyrically. A definite highlight here.

'Nothin' Left To Do But Cry' - A little sappy but acceptable to say the least. It would have been nice to hear another 'Up On A Hill', but still a fitting end to a very consistent platter!

In Summary
Seals would travel down country roads away from the West Coast for the remainder of his career. Between 1985 and 1990, Seals scored 11 #1 hits, 9 of them consecutively, on the Country charts. His first #1 was 'Meet Me In Montana', a 1985 duet with Marie Osmond. His first #1 as a solo artist, 'Bop', won the Country Music Association Award for best single in 1986 and had some crossover success as well; the song reached #10 on the adult contemporary charts and #42 in the Billboard Hot 100. Seals and Osmond also won a CMA award as Vocal Duo of the Year in 1986. Earlier this year it was reported that Seals is completing radiation treatments for lymphoma and that he is scheduled to get a stem cell transplant. Seals spent most of 2008 at a Cancer Center in Houston. Most of the ED & JFC releases are worth investigating and got re-released courtesy of our friends at Wounded Bird. I even believe they later released 'Stones' and 'Harbringer' - 'Rebel Heart' also deserves the entire treatment!

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#1 | dangerzone on September 30 2008 05:47:40
Heard this based on review here and dead on, good melodic country especially 'Everybody's Dream Girl'.
#2 | jeffduran on September 30 2008 22:05:55
Thanks Alun, I never was a Country fan, but there is something special about the Country/Pop or 'melodic country' that was going on around this time imo. Seals is just a great songwriter and knows how to belt out a tune Country or not. The ones that follow this really get a little twangy for my tastes - but the England Dan And John Ford Coley 1979 release you reviewed though is essential IMHO.
#3 | Eric on September 30 2008 23:11:10
Agree, I enjoy some the melodic country stuff coming out at this time too not forgetting Juice Newton's albums and Dirt Band's 'American Dream' and 'Jealosy' records.
#4 | jeffduran on March 28 2009 15:54:31
RIP .....Great Musician!

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