|Personnel: Dan Seals (acoustic guitar, background vocals); Rafe Van Hoy (guitar, acoustic guitar, gut-string guitar); Paul Jackson, Jr. , Steve Lukather, Steve Gibson (guitar, electric guitar); Ray Parker, Jr., Charles Fearing (guitar); Jon Goin, Paul Worley, Richie Zito (electric guitar); Buddy Spicher (fiddle); Sheldon Kurland (strings); Eberhard Ramm (French horn); Bill Paine (piano); Shane Keister (keyboards, synthesizer); David Foster (synthesizer); Michael Baird , Ed Greene, Kenny Buttrey, Larrie Londin, Mike Baird (drums); Paulinho Da Costa, Farrell Morris (percussion); Diane Tidwell, Dave Loggins, Shari Kramer, Dennis Henson, Lisa Silver, Tom Kelly (background vocals).
|John Ford Coley is long gone, except for a co-write on "When It's Over," but producer/engineer Kyle Lehning is still onboard, and the project sounds very much like an England Dan & John Ford Coley album, new and renewed, so the breakup was good for one of them, artistically anyway. This is more a pop album than country, and with Richie Zito, Steve Lukather, and Ray Parker, Jr. on guitars, you know it is going to swing more to the radio-friendly sound England Dan was synonymous with from his success with the duo. The title track was written by Kenny Loggins' cousin Dave Loggins, of "Please Come to Boston" fame, who contributed to a previous album, Some Things Don't Come Easy, and he adds some backup vocals on this and another tune. "Stones," a cynical piano-based song concerning those who feel love is more about obtaining gems than romance, is the one departure from the music Dan Seals had become associated with, and it's intriguing enough. "Getting to the Point" is pure pop that sounds like the '70s hits Dan Seals enjoyed with his former partner, while Gene Page's arrangement of "How Do I Survive" is downright funky. Sure, there were transitions in country music in 1980, but this is flat out adult contemporary pop sliding in through the back door. Legendary songwriters Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow team up for the snappy "Holding Out for Love," with its ambiguous hook, and perhaps there was hope the song would cross over to the dance crowd. The singer is either pouring out his troubles to someone at a bar or singing to that individual. "Mister, this time I'm holding out for love" doesn't make it clear, but it does make you think. "When It's Over" was written by Seals, John Ford Coley, and Bob Gundry, and any of these titles could have fit on any album by the former pair. The formula producer Kyle Lehning helped create is in full force, it's just that the album material is stronger, though no one song is as memorable as England Dan's half-a-dozen hits from the mid- to late '70s. There's really not a bad track here; "Take You Home" could absolutely be mistaken for Livingston Taylor, who was back on the charts this same year, while "Lullaby" has fiddle and strings and concludes the album with a lush and mellow mood, finding the singer in fine form. Stones is reflective of the early '80s, and for Dan Seals is the first solo effort in a catalog of about two dozen titles, if you include "best of" collections. ~ Joe Viglione