Seals and Crofts, England Dan and “We May Never Pass This Way Again”

I am going to dip my toe in the water a little today to see how I get on – Since my somewhat enforced hiatus (I don’t know if it’s actually a thing, but I think I had the equivalent of a “blogging breakdown”), I have read a few comments from my fellow practitioners and had a bit of an epiphany. As John Medd of the eponymously named blog wrote:

“Speaking as someone who has maintained a modest two up two down blog since 2010 you seem, to me anyway, to be worrying needlessly. This is your space so just write what you want to write about, when you want to write about it. Your readership won’t suddenly unsubscribe from your site [if you have a break] and the sky won’t fall in. Believe me.”

Wise words indeed John and taking them on board I am now going to write about something that could perhaps cause the sky to fall in – Yes I’m going to cover the wonderful world of “soft rock”!

Early on in my days of blogging, long before I kind of lost the plot as to what it was all supposed to be about (that would be a nostalgic journey through the tracks of my years), I covered the soft rock classic I’d Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley (link here). My last post before I had a break (or was it a breakdown?) for the summer, featured Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers which has always been a favourite of mine, but, whilst doing a bit of research as to its provenance I made a wonderful discovery. The song was not indeed written by the Isley Brothers as I had always thought but by the writing duo Seals and Crofts, Jim Seals being the older brother of Dan Seals, or England Dan as he became known because of his great love for the Beatles. Although from Texas, that nickname was given to him by big brother Jim after he briefly affected an English (or was it Liverpudlian?) accent. And this is what my blog was always supposed to be about – Finding out the backstory to the songs and artists of my youth. There is so much more information out there now (ok some might be a bit dubious) but back in the day, all we had was Jackie magazine and a few more worthy publications – We lived in blissful ignorance, which was perhaps a good thing in light of a few revelations of late, but as you may have guessed I am a bit of a rock & pop “facts and figures” aficionado, so for me, this brave new digital world is just perfect.

So, what follows on from Summer Breeze? Well by good fortune I heard a song on the car radio the other day by none other than Seals and Crofts and was immediately smitten by it – Like little brother’s output, the music of Jim Seals and his singing partner Darrell “Dash” Crofts, fitted nicely into the soft rock camp which now seems to have become a bit of a derogatory term but when it comes to rock I have always preferred mine to be of the soft rather than the hard variety anyway (and my listening to be easy as opposed to difficult). These genres and labels we give music truly baffle me as at the end of the day there is music of great quality and music that really is a bit rubbish, but there is also music that just gives lots of pleasure, to lots of people, and this song does that for me. The Carpenters whom I featured recently (link here) also came from the soft rock camp and the passage of time, and Karen’s tragic death, seems to have erased any preconceptions many had about their output – When it comes to music of quality, it doesn’t get much better than The Carpenters.

We May Never Pass This Way (Again) by Seals and Crofts:

The song We May Never Pass This Way (Again), from 1973, didn’t ever enter the UK Singles Chart but it did reach No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can honestly say I don’t remember ever having listened to Seals and Crofts before (neither can Mr WIAA) but theirs was very much the kind of music that was all pervasive during my teenage years. Originating in southern California, soft rock was a style that largely featured acoustic guitars and slow-to-mid tempos – Simple, melodic songs with big, lush productions. I very much doubt if we called it soft rock back then but when listening to the radio from the early ’70s onward much of what we heard was by bands and artists such as Anne Murray, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Toto, England Dan & John Ford Coley, the Eagles, Chicago, America and the reformed Fleetwood Mac whose “Rumours” was the best-selling album of the decade. In the late ’70s, prominent soft rock acts included Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Captain & Tennille. A lot of albums were brought in to school and exchanged amongst friends for the very naughty practice of home-taping – Good to know such illicit activity doesn’t happen today!

Since we are featuring big brother Jim’s song in this post, I can’t leave little brother Dan out, so here is another soft rock delight, this time from the late ’70s. Love Is The Answer was written by Todd Rundgren and was a hit for England Dan and John Ford Coley in 1979. Although I loved this soundtrack to my teenage years, we weren’t really awash with visuals in those days and YouTube was still a few decades away – This sounds really shallow but I am quite glad now as somehow these lush love-songs sound better when you don’t think of the moustachioed pair who sang them. My bedroom walls at the time might have had an array of good-looking boys on them, but when it just came down to the lyrics, who wouldn’t want “a ticket to paradise“?

So, “What’s it all about?” – Lots of things actually.

First of all, I have missed blogging dreadfully so as long as I remember that it is indeed my space, to do with what I want, there should be no problem. Unlike with a paid job there are no deadlines, only the ones that are self-inflicted. Oh yes, and there are apparently “no guilty pleasures” in music (although we do have to remind ourselves of that one an awful lot, which leads me to suppose there actually are, but I’ll keep on peddling the myth).

Secondly, the lyrics to the featured song have really struck a cord with me. Ok, some of the lines make little sense and probably just sounded right for the melody, but the basic premise is that we only get one shot at life and at the moment I am definitely wearing too many hats, so in order to sort my life out, one will have to go. As it turns out, getting rid of the chapeau de bloggeur seems not to be an option, so it will have to be one of the others. Interesting times.

car share

Thirdly (odd word), just as Kayleigh Kitson realised in Peter Kay’s Car Share (link here), “we may never pass this way again”, so she came out and declared her love for John, which was a very brave thing to do but had she not she might have regretted it for the rest of her life. I would have done the same in her position and in my late twenties, a few “declarations” were made, just in case. Unfortunately, 30 years on, a couple of the recipients of such declarations have turned up in this new-fangled “smarter office” setup I have going on at work (for that read packing four times as many people into the same space). Fortunately we have all moved on and have families of our own now, but there is still perhaps a slight twinge of embarrassment as you bump into them whilst casually hydrating at the water cooler of a morning – I just hope that the passage of time, and loss of hair follicles (for them, not me), has blanked out the memory of it all!

Finally, I know I said that I wouldn’t return until August but I do seem to have (thanks to Mr Medd, Jez and a few others) a better perspective now on this pastime called blogging – If I don’t always have the time to visit the other blogs I follow, and leave a comment or two, it’s because I’m still wearing “all the hats”. Once I dispense with one (or two?), that rare commodity called “spare time” might reappear in my life. I look forward to that day with relish.

Until next time….

We May Never Pass This Way (Again) Lyrics
(Song by Jim Seals/Dash Crofts)

Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun, should be dyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead, they don’t see just where we’re goin’.
And all the secrets in the Universe, whisper in our ears

And all the years will come and go, take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
Dreams, so they say, are for the fools and they let ’em drift away.

Peace, like the silent dove, should be flyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.

We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
So, I want to laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I want to cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.

‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend.
Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end.

We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you, baby.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again

The Isley Brothers, Summer Breeze and Time for a Holiday!

It was only supposed to be for a year, a year when I did something just for me for a change, but I kept on going…… and going…… and going. Although the plan was simply to write an occasional post about a random song from my past, it’s kind of grown arms and legs of late and I’ve being enjoying it all just a little bit too much!

BUT

1.5 years on

150 posts published

500 plus views per week

…… it’s definitely time for a short break as I have become seriously addicted – I’ve mentioned this before and the feedback was that as an addiction it’s one of the least harmful ones, which is true, but when it adversely impacts on the rest of your life it’s definitely time to indulge in a bit of cold turkey. It has now become apparent that I have let too many other things slide over the past year and poor Mr WIAA’s business (which I supposedly manage for him) is being sorely neglected – Here are a couple of the lovely things he can make, but because of the blogging, I haven’t spent nearly enough time marketing them for him of late so now it’s time to right that wrong.

I have tried the whole cold turkey thing before but this time I need to be a bit more disciplined, so if I suddenly pop up on your sidebar you have full permission to castigate me for falling off the wagon. My American Odyssey series of posts has led me to New York City which is a fine, if possibly hot and stuffy, place to spend the summer – I can indulge my fantasy of living the life of New York columnist Carrie Bradshaw in her brownstone Manhattan apartment. Failing that, it will simply have to be a summer spent at my castle in the Scottish Highlands (joke).

balmoral
Balmoral Castle!

But which song to include before I have bit of a holiday? – An easy call actually as I have been trying to shoehorn it in for a while now but Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers is one of my all-time favourite songs and it was included on the playlist I put together for last week’s summer solstice get-together in the garden.

Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers:

This Seals and Crofts cover was released in 1974 and reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart. The Isley Brothers were one of the first black groups to form their own label and managed, with the help of early member Jimi Hendrix, to inject rock influences into their music. I have however just made a wonderful discovery – Jim Seals, one of the writers of this song, is the older brother of Dan Seals otherwise known as England Dan of England Dan and John Ford Coley fame. One of the very first posts in this blog was about the song I’d Really Love To See You Tonight which is also a favourite of mine (link here). Considering that song also references a warm summer breeze, I feel as if I’ve come full circle!

So “What’s It All About?” – Sometimes we need to take some time out in order to redress the balance in our lives. I think I probably spend a good 20 hours a week on the blogosphere and it’s a 20 hours I just don’t have at the moment – I hope to return fully refreshed in August.

Until next time….. enjoy that summer breeze, “blowing through the jasmine in your mind”.

I know I will.

Summer Breeze Lyrics
(Song by Darrell Crofts/Jim Seals)

See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

See the paper layin’ in the sidewalk, a little music from the house next door
So I walked on up to the doorstep, through the screen and across the floor

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day’s work
And you’re waiting there, not a care in the world
See the smile a-waitin’ in the kitchen, food cookin’ and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me, in the evening when the day is through

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

England Dan & John Ford Coley, Warm Winds and I’d Really Love To See You Tonight

Listening to Lyin’ Eyes yesterday and reminiscing about The Eagles’ great music got me thinking about all the other ’70s American artists we loved to listen to. There were a group of them living in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles who collaborated to create amazing American country rock – Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Bob Seger.

For teenagers in rural Scotland, the lyrics in their songs conjured up something totally other-worldly – “Dark desert highways”, “Blue bayous” and “Tequila sunrises”. Also until then I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics of songs properly, it was always about the melody or the artist (typical teenage girl) but these guys were telling a whole story in a song. Yesterday’s Lyin’ Eyes tells an incredibly sad story and makes me realise how lucky I am to have married my best friend and not had to resort to “the cheatin’ side of town”. (One of the best lines ever in a song.)

Anyway, by chance when I was in the car today, this song came on the radio and although more from the soft rock/easy listening camp, it totally reminded me of those great American songs from that mid ’70s era. I’d Really Love To See You Tonight was in the UK Singles Chart in September 1976 and told the sweet story of a guy who just wanted to “hang out” with (probably) an old girlfriend, no strings attached. It was recorded by England Dan and John Ford Coley and was their biggest hit in the UK.

I’d Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan & John Ford Coley:

They definitely weren’t teen idols (see picture below) but there is something about this song that I’ve always loved – What not to love about the line “there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around, and I’d really love to see you tonight”. Where we lived there was never, ever a warm wind blowing and the stars were usually hidden by cloud, so something really exotic and romantic-sounding.

868137166626456eb17c488cd698759a

I am partial to a “story song” and re-reading these lines, know that I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s just really nice to meet up with an old boyfriend, post-breakup, knowing you are never going to get back together but just to reminisce about good times. All very lovely until you bump into them with their new girlfriend in which case the pain comes right back, but tolerable if you’ve put on a great outfit that day and perfected the hair and makeup. My 16-year-old self didn’t know about any of that as not really had any great romances yet, but boy did I enjoy listening to that line about the warm wind blowing the stars around.

I’d Really Love to See You Tonight Lyrics
(Song by Parker McGee)

Hello, yeah, it’s been a while
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you
And I was thinking maybe later on
We could get together for a while
It’s been such a long time
And I really do miss your smile

I’m not talking ’bout moving in
And I don’t want to change your life
But there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around
And I’d really love to see you tonight

We could go walking through a windy park
Or take a drive along the beach
Or stay at home and watch tv
You see, it really doesn’t matter much to me

I’m not talking ’bout moving in
And I don’t want to change your life
But there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around
And I’d really love to see you tonight

I won’t ask for promises
So you don’t have to lie
We’ve both played that game before
Say I love you, then say goodbye