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Sunday, April 05, 2009
back to Dan Seals
Listening to:TWiT
Reading:some stuff
Weather:65, sweet
I was a huge Dan Seals fan before I knew he was Dan Seals. In the early- and mid-1970's I had my transistor radio on WPGC, a pop station in the DC metro area. I was all about vocal pop and rock, the one-hit wonders, the enduring stuff, Beatles, BeeGees, Bad Company, Journey, ya know. "Really Love to See You Tonight" was an instant favorite with me, as was "Love Is the Answer." Interestingly neither Dan nor his partner at that time John Ford Coley wrote either of those hits. Todd Rundgren wrote Love is the Answer, BTW.

So la la la, a few years go by and I'm in college in 1984. I went home for the summer after my freshman year, and that really sucked. Ya can't go home again, people, but that's a whole 'nother Oprah. So the following summer I was pretty desperate to find an excuse to stay in my apartment in Morgantown and not go home. I saw an ad on the bulletin board at the CAC for a singing bassplayer for a country band. Oy. I didn't play bass. I hated country. But desperate times call for desperate auditions, and I borrowed a bass and figured how hard could thump, a-thump, thump, thumpthumpthump be? Three chords, right? One note at a time. I was arrogantly ready to bullshit my way through.

So I went to the audition, lied and said I'd been playing bass for years, and faked my way through a few very cheesy easy crappy country songs with the band. I did, however, find it a little difficult to sing backups to songs I didn't know while also playing basslines I didn't know. So they asked me to sing lead on something, and I said let me grab this keyboard for a sec. Ripped out the requested ubercheesefest of the day, The Rose. Badababing, I'm in the band, and forever known as their "female bassplayer." Whatthefuckever. There's so much more to this twisted little tale, but let's get back to Dan.

One of the ONLY songs I ever liked that we did in that band was The Bop, by Dan Seals. It was a crossover country hit. Little did I know that he was England Dan, who apparently followed me from pop to country. Do you remember that song? I wanna bop with you baby all night long. . .Such a nice little groove, some cool changes, a smooth melody, a modulation in the middle, just a perfect dance tune. And I just loved watching those older couples at the VFW's and Moose and Elks (and all the other animals) who had been dancing together for 40 years get their groove on with that song. Sometimes we had to play it a second time later in the 4th set, everybody just loved it.

I honestly didn't know he was England Dan til sometime later. Then I was reading about the Bahai faith during my seeker years and discovered that Dan Seals was not only England Dan, he was brother of Jim Seals, and both were Bahais. Who is Jimmy? He's the Seals of Seals and Crofts. Hell to the yes, you know you freakin LOVED it when Summer Breeze or Hummingbird or Diamond Girl, or Get Closer came on your car stereo. Well, he's also started his musical career playing drums for the Champs while they toured supporting their massive hit "Tequila" in the late 1950's.

After Dan's radio popularity waned he started playing the county fair circuit in the 90's. I joined a listserv and got the heads up whenever he'd be playing around here. I got to see him at the Taylor Co fair some years back, I think Dave Sweitzer and I hit that show, and I also saw him at the Mannington Fair in Marion Co. Outfreakinstanding shows, both. He played lots of acoustic, had a crack band of just two or 3 other guys with great three-part vocals and sweet well-played arrangements.

Great vocalist and player. And from what I've read a helluva guy in general. Sad that he only made it to 61. I owe a lot of good nights and tips to Dan for that song the Bop. And I owe him a few tips for Really Love To See You Tonight, which I play solo acoustic whenever I get the opportunity.

permalink posted by cat 2:47 PM

read 4 comments

Thanks for taking me down memory lane about Dan Seals. I was also a fan.
While Cat was hating country music and playing in a country band, I was hating country music and working at a country radio station (WKKW "Hit Kickin' Country"). I remember "Bop". Didn't it have a great sax part? I really enjoyed a hokie ballad called "My Old Yellow Car". I liked the tune because it reminded me of my first car: a '65 Olds that I sold to have money for college.
[An American boy with his hands on the wheel of a dream that was made of American steel
Though the seats had the smell of a nickel cigar I really was something in my old yellow car]

I also remember how humble he was when he won a CMA in about 1985.

He was a true talent.
Jim! We are both out of that closet now, we're among the secret minority in WV who don't listen to country radio. We should develop a secret handshake or something so we can all spot each other without having to say it out loud, and therefore exposing ourselves to untold violence and ridicule.

And yes, that sax part is great! Dan actually pulled out an alto sax and played it at the Taylor County fair show.

I'll have to find that Yellow Car tune for my dad, he had a yellow Pontiac back in the day that he was crazy about.
I would Love to hear more about your country stint! I had no idea that you too had played in a country band!
Good story. I started to think, nothing could be worse than playing/singing in a country band, but then I remembered my miserable summer after my first year of college, working my first job in Morgantown at a steak restaurant.
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