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June 05, 2009

About Time

India-Delhi-Lotus-T#130AFAE I'm old. And I'm, to my surprise, getting mellower with age. (Really.) Part of this senescence-induced mellowing is an increased appreciation for some of the more -- let's say -- gentle expressions of '70s pop music.

Now, I have my standards: no Orleans or America for me. But I've never stopped loving James Taylor and I'm not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear on hearing of Dan Fogelberg's passing. (A guy who listens to "Leader of the Band" and doesn't get a lump in his throat is no friend of mine.) 

All of this is to say that I've been re-acquainting myself with Seals & Crofts. The problem is that my favorite, or least most memorable, album and song of theirs was unavailable. You could get all the "Diamond Girl," "We May Never Pass This Way Again" or "Summer Breeze" you wanted from iTunes or Amazon but, until recently, not "Unborn Child."

For those of you who are too young to remember, the album was released about a year after Roe v. Wade. It's a concept album whose theme is life, innocence and a mother's love, all of which are incompatible with abortion. As the title song went:

Oh little baby, you'll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullabye.

Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin' to do.
You're still a-clingin' to the tree of life, but soon you'll be cut off before you get ripe.
Oh unborn child, beginning to grow inside your momma, but you'll never know.
Oh tiny bud, that grows in the womb, only to be crushed before you can bloom.

Oh no momma, just let it be. You'll never regret it, just wait and see.
Think of all the great ones who gave everything
That we might have life here, so please bear the pain.

Believe it not, this song made the pop charts and got some radio play. The "all the great ones" was a reference to the band's Bahai faith. (Attending their concerts usually required listening to a mini-lecture about the various manifestations of God.) I always regarded their religion as a feature, not a bug -- evidence that the evil of abortion was kind of, well, obvious.

Obvious or not, "Unborn Child" went 34 years without re-issue. I wonder why? Their later junk: re-released. Forgettable and regrettable solo projects: available. Their most courageous, memorable and heartfelt album? Buried like Jimmy Hoffa under Giants Stadium. Until now. About time.

(Image courtesy of Travel India Pictures)

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Dan Gill

I should re-acquaint myself with that one. I'm also old, and proud of it. I was listening to Cherish the Ladies do their rendition of "Leader of the Band" today. I think my favorite of Fogelburg's songs, though, is "The Reach". It still give me chills.

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