Music throwback: Seals & Crofts, Jim and Dash

Seals & Crofts were/are Baha’is, which was evident from some of their music.

Seals and CroftsI was in a used CD store in western Massachusetts this summer. Another customer told her husband that she had just found a greatest hits album of Seals & Crofts. Suddenly, I wished I had discovered it myself.

The very first concert I ever attended was seeing Jim Seals & Dash Crofts in New York City with my college girlfriend. It was November 12, 1971, at Philharmonic Hall, which is now Avery Fisher. Boz Scaggs was the unappreciated opening act.

I remembered the date because it was the anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, in what is now Iran in 1817. The girlfriend was very interested in the faith and joined about a year later.

Seals & Crofts were/are Baha’is, which was evident from some of their music. And we had ALL of their music for a time. Seals & Crofts (1969) and Down Home (1970) were on some minor label. It’s now available as Seals & Crofts I and II.

Year of Sunday was their first Warner Brothers album. It’s evidently out of print because it’s going for about $90 used on Amazon.

The next several albums are available as an import package at a reasonable price and contain the hits. But it’s some of the deeper cuts that intrigued me. None more than It’s Going To Come Down on You, which rushed to my consciousness during the contentious Supreme Court debate.

It’s a real schizophrenic song, with nice ballad parts interrupted by wicked guitar lines by album producer Louie Shelton.

You said you had it figured out in your pretty little head.
Politics and tricks and all them things you said
But I told you then and I’ll tell you now
It’s gonna come down on you.

All songs written and performed by Seals & Crofts, unless otherwise indicated

Ridin’ Thumb
Ridin’ Thumb – Sam Moore with Travis Tritt and Robert Randolph

Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth – Doobie Brothers

When I Meet Them, #104 in 1972

Sudan Village (1972 version)
Sudan Village (1976 version)

Hummingbird (album version), single #20 in 1973

Say

Summer Breeze, #6 in 1972

Yellow Dirt

Diamond Girl, #6 in 1973

We May Never Pass This Way Again, #21 in #73

It’s Gonna Come Down (On You)

Wisdom

Dance by the Light of the Moon

B is for Baha’i

The Okie and I saw Seals and Crofts perform in NYC on November 12, 1971 – Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday!

bahaiA few months after I married my college sweetheart, the Okie, in 1972, she decided to become a Baha’i. She said that I ought not to have been surprised, since she had been thinking about it for seven years. This I did know.

In Persia, modern-day Iran, there was a guy named The Báb (1819-1850), who was a John the Baptist-like herald of the faith. “In the middle of the 19th century, He announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform humanity’s spiritual life.” That second messenger was Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the “Glory of God”, “the Promised One foretold by the Báb and all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity.”

Indeed, I was intrigued with the notion of “progressive revelation,” among them Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh, who were Manifestations of God” for different times.

“In His will, Bahá’u’lláh appointed His oldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921), as the authorized interpreter of His teachings and Head of the Faith. Throughout the East and West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became known as an ambassador of peace, an exemplary human being, and the leading exponent of a new Faith.

“Appointed Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), spent 36 years systematically nurturing the development, deepening the understanding, and strengthening the unity of the Bahá’í community, as it increasingly grew to reflect the diversity of the entire human race.”

The most famous Baha’is you might have heard of was the singing duo Seals and Crofts, who the Okie and I saw perform on November 12, 1971 – Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday! – in New York City, with the then-unknown group Boz Scaggs opening for them.

Seals & Crofts put out several albums, with many of their songs – notably Year of Sunday [LISTEN] mentioning the Baha’i teachings. Interestingly, proselytizing was antithetical to Baha’i beliefs, but the duo had found a way to both make popular music and share their faith.

Well, until they released the song Unborn Child, which was both commercially toxic and, though the faith discouraged abortion, was chastened by some Baha’i body – the Universal House of Justice, perhaps – since this song was too preachy; the faith allows for abortion in VERY limited circumstances.

Ultimately, I never became a Baha’i, primarily because the Okie was proselytizing to ME. As an isolated member of the faith, she’d missed that lesson. I MIGHT have spent more time looking at this iteration of faith. Instead, I moved to an even more agnostic state of mind.

abc18
ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Summer Song: Summer Breeze

I had a LOT of Seals and Crofts albums for a while. My college girlfriend even got me to see the duo live in New York City, on the birthday of Bahá’u’lláh, in 1971.

Summer Breeze entered the charts on 9/9/1972, spent 16 weeks on the charts, getting to #6. (S&C had three songs get to #6, including 1973’s Diamond Girl and 1976’s Get Closer), which is as high as they ever charted on Billboard.

Anyway, here’s the record and here’s a live version, with narrative on the scroll which could have been put in the notes.

Part of the info was that the Isley Brothers had a UK hit with the same song in 1976, which you can hear HERE.

Politics and tricks and all them things you said

The Lieberman citizenship bill; the Kerry/Lieberman energy bill; the oil spill; the Supreme Court nominee; Jon Stewart; Newsweek’s future; Lena Horne; Seals & Crofts.

Haven’t talked about politics for a bit, not because there hasn’t been anything to talk about it – that’s hardly the case – or even because I don’t want to talk about it. But I do find it a tad enervating.


As you may have heard, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has suggested stripping suspected terrorists of their American citizenship. As he notes, there is a precedent of stripping enemy war combatants of their citizenship, going back to World War II.

The primary, and SIGNIFICANT difference, is that the people mentioned in the WWII bill were CONVICTED. Lieberman wants to decitizenize SUSPECTED terrorists, presumably so they can be tried in military tribunals. This and the whole Miranda rights hoohah – we’re getting quite sufficient information from the NYC near-bombing suspect, thank you is disheartening. Someone suggested that Lieberman be disbarred – can one get disbarred for speech, even stupid speech?

Then there’s the oil spill, which I, almost instinctively, blame on Dick Cheney. I’ve tired of hearing the il spill is “Obama’s Katrina”, though I’ve thought for a while that the government that is supposed to be regulating the industry is too dependent on those being regulated; see also, bank bailout. Obama’s promise to become less dependent on the industry calling the shots is welcome news. It’s practically necessary after some woman in uniform (not Landau) referred to BP as the government’s “partner”.

I don’t know what to make of the John Kerry/Joe Lieberman climate and clean energy proposal. People whose opinions I trust are all over the place on it. Ditto the Supreme Court nominee Kagan, criticized from the left and the right before she was even selected.

I hear the so-called MainStream Media kvetch that we are getting too much of our news from sources such as Jon Stewart. But too often, the MSM will report a story without giving the greater context. In a piece called American, Apparently, Stewart skewers the gross overuse of a phrase too often used by politicians and news pundits. It’s dead-on correct. Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, whose magazine only that day, became news itself when it was announced that the Washington Post was selling it, was the guest that night. Maybe that’s why he has that new PBS gig and the book thing.

Lena at a mere 73 from LIFE magazine.

Lena Horne died last week, and the sociopolitical import of her career cannot be overstated. But I’m not equipped right now to write about that; you can read the New York Times piece Conversely, I can say that she was gorgeous, even in her seventies and eighties.

Finally, the title of this piece came from a song by, of all people, Seals & Crofts, from a song written by them called It’s Gonna Come Down on You from their 1974 Diamond Girl album. I owned it on vinyl until the breakup with my college sweetheart. It’s a schizophrenic song that starts off with guitar and mandolin but has brief surges of screaming electric guitar in the chorus, as you can hear here.

What are your opinions on anything written here today: the Lieberman citizenship bill; the Kerry/Lieberman energy bill; the oil spill; the Supreme Court nominee; Jon Stewart; Newsweek’s future; Lena Horne; Seals & Crofts.

Please note the contest on the sidebar.