Our Top 10 Sea Level songs list looks back the music of a great southern style rock band that began as an offshoot of the Allman Brothers Band. The group was founded in the the mid 1970s after the break-up of Allman Brothers Band. Three members of the Allman Brothers Band’s classic rhythm section including piano player Chuck Leavell, drummer Jai Johanny Johanson who most people knew as just Jaimoe and bassist Lamar Williams decided to form their own musical group to keep playing. The three knew they already had an audience as the Allman Brothers Band had millions of fans. The three former Allman Brothers Band musicians would add a guitarist named Jimmy Nalls in forming a rock solid quartet. The group named itself after Chuck Leavell in a twist on the piano player’s name.
Sea Level would release their first album in 1977 entitled Sea Level. The band followed up their debut album that same year in 1977 with their sophomore record called Cats On The Coast. The band’s second album featured a much larger group as the band added another guitarist named Davis Causey, an additional drummer called George Weaver and multi instrumentalist and songwriter Randall Bramblett.
Sea Level’s musical journey would not last a long time, although they did put out a lot of music in just a few years. Sea Level would release their third album in 1978 entitled On The Edge. Their fourth record called Long Walk On A Short Pier was released in 1979. The final Sea Level album was issued in 1980 titled Ball Room.
During the band’s short run, the group would form a loyal cult following. They had continued the Allman Brothers Band tradition with their own unique sound that was highly centered on Chuck Leavell’s brilliant piano playing. Chuck Leavell would eventually become a touring member of the Rolling Stones becoming a central part of the Rolling Stones sound on stage for many years.
Our Top 10 Sea Level songs list looks back at some of the band’s great rocking songs that the band released during their short run in the late 1970s.
# 10 – Tidal Wave
We open up our top 10 Sea Level songs list with the smoking instrumental song entitled “Tidal Wave.” The song was released on the album entitled Sea Level. We thought it was just the perfect song to open up our Sea Level songs list with. Right from the opening moments the talents of Chuck Leavell are on display. “Tidal Wave,” is an instrumental that clearly echoes the work of classic Allman Brothers Band instrumentals like “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.” Although Chuck Leavell’s keyboards are front and center there is also some really nice guitar work on this one.
# 9 – Canine Man
Continuing with our top 10 Sea Level songs list we take a listen to the rocking song entitled “Canine Man.” The song was released on the album titled Long Walk on a Short Pier. The album was released in 1979. This is a very different sounding song than the first one we introduced on the list. This one is all about guitar. The song was written by Randall Bramblett. Jimmy Nalls plays some killer southern blues guitar riffs and solos on this outstanding track that may surprise some fans who may have never heard this one before. This is a really good album that is one of classic rock’s overlooked gems.
# 8 – Anxiously Awaiting
In the number eight spot on our top 10 Sea Level songs list we present the song entitled “Anxiously Awaiting.” The song was released on the album entitled Ball Room. This would be the band’s final album. The album was released in 1980. Some great guitar work and an addictive chorus made this our favorite track on the band’s final album. One can really hear the changing sound of southern rock as music headed into the era of the big 80s.
# 7 – On The Wing
In the number seven position on our top 10 Sea Level songs list is the song entitled “On The Wing.” The song was released on the album entitled On the Edge The album was released in 1978. The band’s sound changed dramatically in their third album as the disco era cleary had an influence on the group as they seemed to be looking to cash in on the popularity of the disco era. Many of the songs on the album are fueled by disco grooves which turned many older fans off. Nonetheless, the album closer “On The Wing,” paid more tribute to their earlier sound in a fine instrumental that balanced the changing times with the glory days of the past.
# 6 – Just A Good Feeling
Landing in the number six spot on our top 10 Sea Level songs list we present the song “Just A Good Feeling.” The song was released on the album entitled Sea Level. Listen to Chuck play that piano. The man is such a killer player. The song “Just A Good Feeling,” served as the album’s closing number. Southern rock meets funk as the song would also serve as notice to some of the directions the band would eventually take away from their southern roots.
# 5 – Nothing Matters But The Fever
At the halfway point on our top 10 Sea Level songs list is the song entitled “Nothing Matters But The Fever.” Can’t you just hear Gregg Allman singing this one, it has such a distinct Allman Brothers Band groove. The song was issued on the band’s debut album entitled Sea Level. The song was written by Chuck Leavell. It stood as the longest running track on the album coming in at over seven minutes long.
# 4 – Rain In Spain
In the number four spot on this fun list we tip our hat to the stunning song “Rain In Spain.” You can hear the influence of Chick Corea and his band Return To Forever on this great instrumental by Sea Level. The song was released on the band’s debut album.
# 3 – That’s Your Secret
Surfing along on our top 10 Sea Level songs list we present the song entitled “That’s Your Secret.” The band Sea Level were definitely not a hit making machine, in fact they really had no hits on commercial radio at all. The closest they got was this fabulous tune called “That’s You Secret.” Its was the band’s only charting song as it hit number fifty on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was released on the album entitled Cats On The Coast. The album was released in 1977.
# 2 – Grand Larceny
Just of the top spot on our top 10 Sea Level songs list we celebrate the song entitled “Grand Larceny.” Its fitting that the last two songs on our Sea Level songs list turn out to be instrumentals. It’s just in the band’s DNA. The song was released on the album entitled Sea Level. This is just such a well written and performed pieces of music. Chuck is on fire and his keyboard work on the song is simply dazzling.
# 1 – Storm Warning
We close out our top 10 Sea Level songs list with the instrumental song entitled “Storm Warning.” The band at times sound like a cross between the Allman Brothers Band which half of them actually were and Chick Corea’s Return To Forever. At their best, Sea Level was a great instrumental band, and “Storm Warning,” was the best instrumental they ever recorded. The song was released on the band’s second album entitled Cats On The Coast. The album was released in 1977.
Top 10 Sea Level Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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