So, where have they been the last twenty years? Seals and Crofts have rarely been heard from since their last album in 1980. Jimmy has lived for years in Costa Rica, where he operates a coffee farm. "Costa Rica is a beautiful do-it-yourself sort of place," said Jim in a 1991 interview. "There are miles and miles of virgin beaches, and there's a very natural feel to everything. We were out there picking coffee beans and working the farm, and it was a great way of getting to know the people, who are very friendly. Plus, I set up a little writing and recording studio for myself because I wanted to make some transitions in my songwriting." Jim also has residences in Puerto Rico, Miami and the Nashville area. Dash lived in Mexico and Australia before settling in the Nashville area. Jim is an avid golfer, Dash rides motorcycles and raises Arabian horses, and both are fly fishermen. Although they have gone different ways, neither have strayed far from their music. But tracking down all their individual projects is not easy. In 1991-2, they did a reunion tour of North America and recorded an album that has never been released. At other times, they have worked together for various Bahá'í events.

In a 1991 interview, Jim summarized their output. "At the beginning of our 10-year run of success, we had something like 300 original songs to work with. Of those, we selected about 40 songs that we thought were album-worthy. Then as we went along I'd write maybe four or five new songs each year. But as we used those up, it became harder to maintain the standards we'd set for ourselves. Then dance music came in very heavy, and radio programming changed to accomodate it."

Below are their known musical projects over the last twenty years, in chronological order.

There is an album called LOTE TREE, but it was distributed only within Bahá'í media outlets. It has recently been issued on cd and is available at the Bahá'í Distribution Center (1-800-999-9019). Seals & Crofts perform two short songs about The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh during a narrative of the faith's history given by William Sears. There is also a choral arrangement of "Seven Valleys." The album also has music by Walter Heath, a musician that used to open their shows for period in the 70's and co-wrote some songs with Jimmy. The songs are simple and beautifully sung. The album was probably first compiled in about 1980 or '81, but the instrumentation and style suggest that the songs may have been conceived earlier.

Dash is found sitting in on some albums after 1980. He sang on Leslie, Kelly & John Ford Coley(1981) and played mandolin on Phil Everly's solo album (1983). Over several years he toured with Bahá'í musicians, giving choral concerts in Russia and all over Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and most countries in Asia with the Voices of Bahá'í.

In 1983, there was a song written called "He's Looking Better With Every Beer." Words and music by Becky Hobbs, Don White & Jim Seals. (CLNA: Beckaroo Music). Is isn't clear if the co-writer is the same Jim Seals.

In June of 1983, the Bahá'í community was deeply affected by the executions of ten young female believers in Shiraz, Iran. These deaths resulted when the women refused to recant their faith during the Islamic fundamentalist movement. The Canadian producer and keyboardist Jack Lenz encouraged a young musician, Doug Cameron, to write and sing a song about the youngest of the martyrs, 16 year old Mona Mahmudnizhad. Mona was the last of the ten to be hung, and reportedly kissed the noose and recited a prayer for humanity before her life was taken. Doug Cameron's song and video about her, "Mona With the Children," was backed by Seals & Crofts, Dan Seals and Buffy Saint-Marie. The related short documentary, "Mona's Story," has Seals & Crofts working out their backup vocals, commenting on the project and interacting in the studio. "Mona's Story" is available on VHS from the Baha'i Distribution Center.


A 16 year old girl living in a land so cruel, she said this where I've got to be.

Taken in the night, her heart full of light, she said this where I've got to be.

How can I tell you, how could she be so young, you know the truth is all in dreams.

She stands before them to hear them say, save your life and throw your faith away.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

All around the world we'll go dancing.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

Every precious moment you'll be dancing

Every precious moment we'll be free.

I can see her in my heart when the whole world is falling apart she said, this where I've got to be.

Captive in the light, a love that burns so bright, this where I've got to be.

And when they asked her, [when she would end?], she said

You can't break my heart, you can't take my faith away

And when they told her the price she'll have to pay

She said take my life, take it all the way, all the way.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

All around the world I see you dancing.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

Every precious moment you'll be dancing

Every precious moment you'll be free.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

All around the world souls are dancing.

Mona With the Children send your love to me

Every precious moment I see you dancing

Every precious moment you'll be free. . ..

This project led to Jimmy's own song about the executions, "Traces," found on JEWEL IN THE LOTUS, a 1987 compilation of songs for the dedication of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Bahapur, India.

In February of 1989, Seals & Crofts gave a world peace concert at the Bahá'í Center in Los Angeles for the film and music community, and made the rounds in Canadian radio stations and some American talk shows to promote the Peace Document. In 1991 and 1992, Seals & Crofts reunited for a tour. They toured small venues throughout the U.S. and Canada (I saw them at the Circle Star Theater near San Francisco and then at a winery near Saratoga, Ca., in July of 1992). During this tour, Jimmy told the L.A. Times, "Dash and I have a background of playing rock 'n' roll, Latin rock, blues and even a little jazz and we ended up getting this reputation for singing more delicate music. We still like to satisfy those harder urges, and I'm not always sure the audiences at our concerts like that so much. They come to hear the singles and the softer stuff, and we're trying to acheive a balance." In a 1992 interview, Dash indicated that they had enough material for two albums and that they were negotiating for the right label. However, no "Seals & Crofts" album surfaced and all of this material unfortunately lies dormant. One notable song from the tour was called "Passengers." Another was "Costa Rica Rain."

July of 1992 marked the Second Baha'i World Congress, held in New York City. A special celebration in Toronto, Canada, also commemorated the event. The music was composed by a number of individuals, including Jimmy Seals. Dash sang in the choir. The music composed for the Congress represents a broad range of influences, including modern classical, North American gospel, and Persian classical, and was composed in praise of Bahá'u'lláh on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death. The music for the Congress was performed in New York in November 1992, and then recorded the following October in Russia, with the Mila Moscow Orchestra, by choir members from ten countries. Other parts were recorded with the Toronto Philharmonic. The result is a two disc set,

One of the most interesting ventures during the 1991-2 period was the Toronto Unity Arts Festival, which is captured on video. Seals & Crofts are seen during a radio interview, rehearsing "Windflowers" and playing an excellent version of "Hummingbird." The concert celebrated the diversity of musical expression in the arts and included Dan Seals, Buffy Sainte-Marie and a host of others. Seals & Crofts were paired with the Russian classical baritone, Renat Ibragimov. They bravely took the stage and backed him through a vigorous Russian folk song, and then guided him through "Windflowers." Truly unexpected and more than a little bizarre! ". . .like a wapor on the desert. Take a varning, son!"

After the 1992 tour, Seal & Crofts again retired from the public eye. They recorded a set of tunes in the mid 90's with James Newton Howard, but again, failed to release any of the material. "Thoroughbred" is reportedly one of the strongest tunes. "Everything You Touch (Turns To Love)" is a song they have recorded many times over but with unsatisfactory results. A third song is called "Jakarta." These three tunes actually date back as early as May of 1983. Here are some details of all their unreleased compositions since 1980:

Thoroughbred. Words and music by Jim Seals & Brian Whitcomb, 1995. CLNA: Sutjujo Music & Little Feesh Music.
Everything You Touch (Turns To Love). Words and music by Jim Seals & Brian Whitcomb, 1995. CLNA: Sutjujo Music, Little Feesh Music.
Jakarta. Recorded by Seals & Crofts. No other details known.
The Buffalo Song. Words and music by Jim Seals, 1994. CLNA: Sutjujo Music.
Harvest Years. Words and music by Jim Seals & Brian Whitcomb, 1995. CLNA: Sutjujo Music & Little Feesh Music.
Hold It Up To the Light. Words and music by Jim Seals & Dan Seals, 1995. CLNA: Sutjujo Music & Pink Pig Music. Reportedly under consideration for the next Dan Seals album.
Ready When You Are. Words and music by Jim Seals & Brian Whitcomb, 1995. CLNA: Sutjujo Music & Little Feesh Music.
Steal a Little Thunder. Recorded by Seals & Crofts. No other details known.
In His Own Time. Recorded by Seals & Crofts. No other details known.

In 1996, the composition "See the Light" resurfaced for the Canadian television series "Due South." It was originally written by Jimmy Seals with Bahá'í musicians Jack Lenz and Tom Price for the MUSIC OF THE BAHA'I WORLD CONGRESS in 1992. It aired on an episode called All the Queen's Horses in April of 1996.

In 1997, there was a three disc compilation of Baha'i musicians and choir that covered some of their material, on which Dash sings. It's called LIFT UP YOUR VOICES AND SING. Dash harmonizes with Dan Seals on several classic songs. Dash adds one new song called "Blessed Be the Spot." The discs are only available through Bahá'í media centers.

Also in 1997, the rapper Busta Rhymes sampled the Seals & Crofts song, "Sweet Green Fields," from the GET CLOSER album. It was featured prominently on his hit and popular video, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See." Two other rappers apparently used the sample in quick succession:

Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See. Music by Jimmy Seals, sampled from Sweet Green Fields (1967); words and additional music by R. Monroe, D. Durant, Trevor Smith. CLNA: Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., Alshamighty Music & T'Ziah's Musi, 1997.

Happiness. Music by Jimmy Seals, sampled from Sweet Green Fields (1967); words and additional music by James Harris 3rd, Terry Lewis. CLNA: Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., EMI Music/Flyte Tyme Tunes, 1997.

How You Do It (Gangsta, Gangsta). Includes music by Jimmy Seals, sampled from Sweet Green Fields (1967); words and additional music by Chris Webber (C. Webb), Jason Wilson, Ricardo Brown, Trevoe Smith, Tim Stahl, John Guilberg, 1998. On "Too Much Drama" cd 54315-2, Humility Records, 1999. CLNA: Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., C. Webb Music, Lord Maji Publishing, Antraphil Music, Sharon Hill Music, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corporation, T'ziah's Music.

Seals and Crofts also appear on a 1998 album by longtime collaborator Louie Shelton, HOT & SPICY. They sing "Love Has No Prisoners." HOT & SPICY also features solos by Lua Crofts on "Better Days" and "Love Mystifies." Her voice is quite soulful and is especially effective on the latter tune.

In 1998, Dash Crofts released a cd called TODAY. It was revised and re-released in 2000. Dash is in fine voice and several old S & C songs are revitalized in an "adult contemporary," ambient style with Louie Shelton playing most instruments, recording and even doing the photography. "Sunrise," "Ridin' Thumb" and "'Cause You Love" with Lua Crofts are outstanding. The new song "Mystery of Love" (actually written years before, in 1984) is a very fluid, pleasant love song. Much of the character of the songs is lost without Jimmy, as expected -- but the album is well worthwhile to S & C fans after a nearly 20 year drought. A new instrumental, "Blue Roses," resembles a melody from the old masterpiece, "Nine Houses." Then there is the title cut "Today," which has a positive fullness of sound that distinguishes it from the melancholy and more ethereal version originally recorded on Dash's favorite album, DOWN HOME. In fact, Dash revives not one, but four songs from that 1970 album. It's remarkable how he and Louie give polish to several old, well-chosen S & C tunes -- every vocal phrase and mandolin riff is pristine. On the downside, there is little new interpretation of the material overall, and songs that call for more aggressive treatment, like "Hollow Reed," sound too sanitized to these ears. The smooth jazz "Kenny G" style saxophone breaks don't help. But make no mistake, it's great to hear Dash! He looks like a kindly sea captain in the photos.


for ! ! !

Remember Toni Bodnar? If so, you were paying attention to your liner notes! "Miss Toni Bodnar" was the Seals & Crofts Fan Club President throughout the 1970's. She is now Ms. Toni Gras, and here she is aboard Ken Kus' hot air balloon, called the "Diamond Girl." We're glad he didn't name it the "It's Gonna Come Down On You," from the same album. The "Diamond Girl" sure does shine above the skies of Ohio. It would gladly visit Nashville if Jimmy and Dash want to take 'er for a ride. . .

The most notable cover of a Seals & Crofts song is the Isley Brother's soulful rendition of "Summer Breeze," which has a rearrangement of the original counterpoint and charted nearly as high as the original. Many other interesting cover versions of their most famous tune have been recorded. From the often overlooked DOWN HOME album, The Doobie Brothers recorded "Cotton Mouth" on 1972's Toulouse Street lp, and Three Dog Night did "Ridin' Thumb." Cher did a song derived from "Ruby Jean and Billie Lee," called "Chastity Sun."

Seals & Crofts have not received their due as critical successes. Most fans recall their SUMMER BREEZE and DIAMOND GIRL albums, and many have searched out the three albums that began their career as well. Those five albums are remarkable and inspiring even today. They forged a unique style that showcased stellar songwriting, incredible vocal harmonies, and a mastery of several instruments. At any given concert, Jimmy could lead a hoedown with his fiddle, play a spiritual sax solo, pick a difficult guitar passage, or step into a spotlight with a vocal solo, like on "Ugly City." He also has the ability to vocalize two notes at once (heard on the song, "Birthday of My Thoughts"), accomplished by producing a drone and, while cupping his mouth, sounding a sort of hornpipe obligato.

Dash always added levity and made you feel like you were a friend in his living room. He picked expertly on the mandolin, with a strong melodic feel. Moreover, Seals & Crofts always appeared a bit self-conscious, making them all the more appealable and fascinating. Popular music has rarely seen such original, compelling performers. Many fans look forward to the possibility of another reunion tour, preferably featuring their acoustic instrumental talents (translation: "unplugged") in small venues. They seem to resist the current fascination for 70's stars and the mega-summer tours -- Jimmy in particular. One always has a feeling that they shine best at a summer picnic, like the intriguing one photographed in Griffith Park , LA, for the SUMMER BREEZE album.

-- Tony Bentivegna

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