For most people, Jonathan Edwards is a one-hit-wonder, with the million-selling song “Sunshine (Go Away Today)”. It entered the Top 40 in December of 1971, and peaked at #4 in 1972.
(Photos are from slides I took at a 1973 concert in Norfolk, VA)
The only reason we got to know more of Jonathan Edwards’ music, is because he opened for Seals & Crofts at a June 1973 concert in Virginia. When we saw him, Edwards had released two albums…his eponymous album with “Sunshine”, and Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy from 1972. We already had his single “Sunshine”, so we purchased the album Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy in order to get to know his music before we saw him.
Jonathan Edwards was so good during his portion of the concert. He was playing one of our favorite styles of music, Country Rock. It leaned a little to the Country side, and he was using an acoustic guitar instead of a solid body electric. His preference for things a little more natural shows up in his song lyrics about being a musician. In “That’s What Our Life Is” he sings…”They said I would shine like the light in a city, I hoped it would be like the moon on the sea.”
His performance was just so confident and enjoyable, we loved it all. It turned out that he was the best part of the concert that night. We ended up buying all of the albums he released in the 1970’s.
Above is our Jonathan Edwards playlist (click to enlarge)…which has our favorites from four of his albums…Jonathan Edwards (1971), Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy (1972), Have A Good Time For Me (1973), and Rockin’ Chair (1976). In addition, there are six songs from the very hard to find Orphan album (1973). Orphan was a country rock band with friends and colleagues of Jonathan Edwards, including songwriter Eric Lilljequist. He wrote several songs recorded by Edwards, and also played lead guitar and provided vocals on some of Jonathan’s albums. Orphan is a solid album with excellent vocal harmonies.
The playlist is included in case you aren’t familiar with this music, and would like some guidance getting to know Jonathan Edwards better.
Through the years, Jonathan Edwards has continued to perform, and has done some acting and film scoring.
(Jim Seals from that 1973 concert at the Scope Arena.)
(Dash Crofts was impressive on the mandolin.)
The main reason we went to the concert was to hear Seals & Crofts. We had two of their albums…Summer Breeze and Diamond Girl. The hits from those albums included…”Summer Breeze” (#6), “Hummingbird” (#20), “Diamond Girl” (#6), and “We May Never Pass This Way Again” (#23).
Seals & Crofts sounded great, their singing and playing were first rate. However, there was something that night that really took away from their performances. They had a lot of technical trouble. It seemed during almost every song, they were seeking help with adjustment of the gear or the monitors, and it definitely kept them (and us) from getting deeply into their songs.
It may be unfair, because it was a bad night for them, but we knew if they ever passed our way again, we’d skip their concert. The only other album we ever purchased by them was their Greatest Hits, that included “I’ll Play For You” (#18), and “Get Closer” (#6).
We left that 1973 concert knowing that Seals & Crofts were talented, but we were wishing they could have simply gotten up on stage and played (with less production) the way Jonathan Edwards had done so well.
4 Replies to “Jonathan Edwards / Seals & Crofts”
I think we can at least partially blame that Fender Bandmaster Reverb we see in the pictures for the audio trouble. It doesn’t have a great reputation according to this article: A Little Love for the Fender Bandmaster Reverb.
Thanks for the article–I’ll have to give Jonathan Edwards a closer listen!
soundman can help make or break you
I’m 73, been listening since the early 70s. Him & Loggins and Messina have always been my favorite artists. I have most of his albums he’s amazing. Would love to see him in person.
As a longtime J Edwards fan, I believe the maroon album is the best. I’ve seen him maybe ten times. Any list should include Shanty, everybody knows her, train of glory, Emma