Ignored Obscured Restored
In the early ‘70s, Seals & Crofts (Jim Seals and “Dash” Crofts) had a string of hit singles in the style of soft rock – now often called Yacht Rock. The hits included “Summer Breeze” (#6), “Hummingbird” (#20), and “Diamond Girl” (#6).
Those hits came from their 4th and 5th albums. The first few were much less popular, even though they contained some pretty good tunes.
The early album that always interested me was record #2 – Down Home (1970). The thing that initially interested me in Down Home was their backing band. John Hall of Orleans and No Nukes fame played guitar. John Simon played piano. He produced The Band’s first two albums and Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Harvey Brooks played bass. You may recognize Brooks’ from his work with Bob Dylan (Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited) and as a member of Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield’s Electric Flag. And let’s not forget Paul Harris who played organ with Stephen Still’s Manassas and Joe Walsh’s Barnstorm. That’s quite a group!
My pick for the SotW is “Hollow Reed.”
In the oral history The Yacht Rock Book, by Greg Prato, Hall conveys his role in the recording:
Seals & Crofts wanted me to be the ‘coloration guy.’ So, I would not only take solos, but I would set up some weird sound effect stuff in the background, with feedback and slide guitars, through all kinds of effects – I’ve got an Echoplex and a compressor into a Leslie, and play the guitar with a slide through all that stuff. It wound up being… especially there is a song called ‘Hollow Reed’ on that record, that I did some of the most out there guitar playing that I recall doing.
Earlier this month, Seals died at the age of 79.
Enjoy… until next week.