Johnny Sea

Day for Decision

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Although primarily considered a country & western artist, Johnny Sea (aka Johnny Seay) was best known for Day for Decision -- which in retrospect could be considered part pro-Yankee propaganda and part brutally honest assessment of the real state of the union circa 1966. Sea had garnered significant success as a radio host before beating out Bill Anderson during a 1957 "Georgia Jubilee" amateur talent contest. He recorded several long-players for Mercury Records in Nashville during the early '60s prior to scoring a crossover pop hit in the summer of 1966 with the spoken word title track to this disc. Unlike a majority of chart hits in the mid-'60s, "Day for Decision" clocks in at over five and a half minutes. Sea's somber oratory is unquestionably heartfelt and thoroughly driven by sincere angst. His husky and likewise determined tonality and demeanor bombastically denounce the lackadaisical apathy that would ultimately blossom into a generation of ennui-riddled Americans. Sea openly questions the sustenance of '60s patriotism, freely admitting that the true American war was being fought not in Southeast Asia, but rather in America, where material might easily surpassed the pride and resolve of the nation. Indeed, this is heady stuff -- especially in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies. The remaining nine tracks range from stirring recitations of national pride anthems such as "God Bless America" (which Sea introduces as "his prayer"), "America," and "The Star Spangled Banner," to the original thought-provoking and reverential "I Believe" and "What Is So Rare?," to the practically morose "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." In hindsight, the latter is historically significant, as it indirectly refers to the concurrent Vietnam experience. Ironically, a majority of military personnel who did return from that senseless conflict were not treated as the heroes who they most assuredly were. In 2003, Collectors' Choice Music reissued Day for Decision and included a newly inked liner notes essay from Colin Escott.

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