Back In The Day / Back In Love Again
David Sea is an extraordinary talent. He was born 1948 in Sumter County, Alabama, (as David C. Johnson) and raised in the small community of Hueytown, which has produced more than its fair share of talent including Eddie Levert, Dennis Edwards and Eddie Kendricks.
From the age of 5 his mother made him sing gospel, a deep love for which ensued, and he joined the family group The Spiritual Nightingales and then later, David Sea & The Question Marks who, in turn, became David Sea & The Uptown Movement.
His earliest recordings as a solo artist were cut for Jerry Weaver around 1971 and can be found on ‘The Birmingham Sound: The Soul Of Neal Hemphill (Vols. 1 & 2)’ and the best two, ‘Let’s Get Together’ and ‘Believe In Me’, were released on a 7” in 2007 on Paul Mooney’s Shotgun label and are particularly worth tracking down.
But soul connoisseurs in Europe, particularly the UK, didn´t discovered him until the early 80s with his first single ‘Angel (You’re The Reason)’ which was produced by Al Lewis for local label Hy-Tyde, before being picked up by Ted Jarrett for his T-Jaye imprint. The funky follow up ‘Destiny’ went largely unnoticed before he switched to Neal Hemphill’s Crown Limited label in 1984 for the Roscoe Robinson produced ‘Do It Right Now’ c/w ‘Who’s Been Warming My Oven’ and later the same year, the highly collectable ‘Night After Night’ which began a fruitful relationship with producer David Camon and became a cult record on the UK Modern Soul scene.
More was to come following Hemphill’s sudden death in 1986 when Sea moved to new Birmingham label Magic City. His much anticipated first album ‘An Ocean Apart’ saw critical acclaim and contained ’Stay With Me Girl’, ‘In The Mood’, and the original version of ‘Love Me Down’, but for some unknown reason the follow up album ‘Born To Sing’ failed to launch him in the direction of a major label deal despite containing some fabulous tracks.
He came close to replacing Dennis Edwards in The Temptations, but opted instead to concentrate on his solo career, and a worldwide tour. Attention from Japan led to three CD releases for JVC; ’Searchin’ For Love’ co-produced by Sea with Al Emori, ’Bed Of Sea’ (a compilation of his first two albums) and the largely overlooked ‘Groove Mission’ (1996) from which these two sides have been selected for the latest Jai Alai release and appear on vinyl for the first time.
Arguably, Jai Alai have chosen the two best tracks on the album; ‘Back In The Day’ is a quirky but endearing cry for nostalgia, and ’Back In Love Again’ is sure to help us re-focus on what a wonderful vocalist Sea really is and why he was subsequently chosen to tour with Dennis Edwards and the other Temptations in the ‘Temptations Review’, perhaps to the detriment of his solo career?
His final album, to date, has been ‘Love Makes The World Go Round’ on Park Place (2006) which contained the Frederick Knight penned title track and ‘Stay In My Arms’, both top quality, but the album presumably did not sell well enough for a follow up.