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Seals And Crofts - 1978 Takin' It Easy



ARTIST: Seals And Crofts
ALBUM: Takin' It Easy
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: WB 56484
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2007, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU-3163


COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jim Seals - vocals, guitar, violin, sax * Dash Croft - guitar, Mandolin, drums, keyboards * David Foster - piano, keyboards * Tom Hensley, Steven Olitzky - piano, keyboards, fender rhodes * Tony Peluso - Synthesizer, acoustic & electric guitar, background vocals * Marty Walsh, Sean MacLeod, Louie Shelton, Larry Larondo - guitar * Bob Phillips - guitar, background vocals * Brian Whitcomb - guitar, keyboards, fender rhodes * Dennis Belfield, Dominic Genova, Dave Parlato - bass * Ralph Humphrey, Jim Keltner, Ron Krainski, James Divisek - drums * Alan Estes - vibraphone, background vocals * Dan Fergueson - dobro * Don Menza - sax * Danny Deardorff - harmonica * Robert Zimmitti - tympani * Tanya Tucker, Venetta Fields, Jim Gilstrap, Sherlie Matthews, Gary Sims, Doug Strawn - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Takin' It Easy * 02 One More Time * 03 Midnight Blue * 04 You're The Love * 05 Sunrise * 06 Breaking In A Brand New Love * 07 Magnolia Moon * 08 Nobody Get's Over Lovin' You * 09 Forever Like A Rose * 10 A Tribute To 'Abdu l-Baha'

WEBLINKS: www.sealsandcrofts.com


Background
One of the most successful pop duo's of the 1970's, Seals & Crofts epitomized the mellow post-hippie mood of the era. The music was soft and at times folksy - real earth shoes and granola type stuff with elements of jazz and a penchant for progressive experimentation. Add an element of Eastern mysticism and the Baha'i Faith which they openly promoted as well as just plain good songs and there was no stopping Jim and Dash on the charts. 'Summer Breeze', 'Diamond Girl', 'Get Closer' and my favourite 'Hummingbird' from 1972 were all top twenty hits in an America still reeling from Vietnam and the Watergate era. Of course, that mood passed eventually and as the decade wore on, the music of Seals & Crofts became less relevant in the age of disco and punk. 1978's 'Takin' It Easy' is usually dismissed by fans as a sell-out and its clear the duo were well aware of the changing musical climate, offering up an album closer to AOR and gasp(!) it even included a disco song.


The Songs
Before we get to that much derided overture to the Studio 54 crowd, we start with three examples of Seals & Crofts playing to FM radio play lists of the day. Up first is the title track 'Takin' It Easy' which to me, sounds very much like Joe Walsh's solo work at the time, upbeat and slightly off-kilter and although the song was released as the album's second single, it didn't chart very high stalling well short of America's top 40. 'One More Time' is a little softer meshing The Eagles at their most mellow with slick orchestration while 'Midnight Blue' could pass for Louisiana's LeRoux at their most mellow. All of this brings us to 'You're The Love'. The tune was actually one of their bigger hits and as uncharacteristic as it was its one of my favourite songs from the boys who reportedly hated it. Ironically, it was written by David Batteau, who at the time was having minor success with country rockers Pierce Arrow, but I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of. Side closer 'Sunrise' finds the band in a progressive mood sounding like Camel circa 'Breathless' and this is a part of duo's personality I've found most interesting and wish they had explored more often. Really nice as is 'Breaking In A Brand New Love' which seriously reminds me of the first Hotel album with perfect harmonizing, the hallmark of the Seals & Crofts sound. The album closes with a poem written by the son of the Bahai'i Faith with an introduction sung in Persian. It's quite beautiful musically although lyrically its smacks of the type of esoteric mumbo jumbo George Harrison did far more convincingly.


In Summary
Reissued on CD by Wounded Bird, 'Takin' It Easy' is an album that's hard not to like although from here Seals & Crofts took the title literally, eventually disappearing from the music scene and back to private life. I can't say they have been all that missed, but of course I'm not a hardcore Seals & Crofts devotee either. For this reviewer they were a product of a long gone time when life and the world was less dangerous and frenetic, simpler and yes, easy.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on November 21 2009 18:01:09
Forgot to mention Jim Seals is the brother of the late Dan Seals of England Dan and John Ford Coley fame.
#2 | jefflynnefan on November 28 2009 01:06:25
Seals and Crofts reminds me of staying up late and watching the Midnight Special! Seals and Crofts, America, Bread, oh the memories! Don't remember this one though.
 
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