Where our intrepid editorial team take an askance look at the Christian music counter-culture.

WELL, here's a fine thing. What do you suppose President Bush did on the day after the Gulf War cease-fire with the whole world hanging on his every word? Well, he had a leisurely visit with his old pal Michael W Smith, that's what. Smitty got to have lunch at the White House and chat with the President. Afterwards President Bush invited Michael and wife Debbie to come for a weekend at Camp David sometime, probably after the Iraqi thing was out of the way. How'd that happen? Smitty was in nearby Fairfax, VA for a concert and the President's secretary (a Michael W Smith fan it seems) arranged the whole thing.

CROSS Rhythms esteemed editor, Tony Cummings, was more than a little surprised when putting on his brand-spanking-new review copy of the 'Still Time' CD by Caroline Bonnett. His ears were tickled with a distinctly middle-of-the-road version of "Bohemian Rhapsody". Was this some unexpected effort on Ms Bonnett's part to find the ever-illusive mainstream hit by reviving old Queen songs? No, just a mess-up at the CD plant with hopefully the handful of wrongly labelled duds spotted before Ms Bonnett's rather wonderful album got to the public. Apparently this right-CD-credits-wrong-music foul up was no new experience for mega-reviewer Cummings. The previous day he'd received 'Faithful One', supposedly instrumental worship from Songs Of The Vineyard but actually, on Cross Rhythms copy at least, unidentified heavy rock with decidedly questionable lyrics!

WHEN NOT being bugged by not-what-they-seem CDs, our venerable editor is going crazy by seemingly the entire readership of Cross Rhythms phoning him to ask whether Gloria Estefan is a Christian. Having not yet spoken to the lady and not having sight of the Lamb's Book Of Life he can only say that her "Coming Out Of The Dark" sure sounds like a gospel song and in a recent interview she seemed to be saying she was a believer. Watch this space.

I EXPECTED an eyebrow or two to be raised over the long awaited debut album of Celtic folk roots rockers The Electrics. Included in the heady brew of pumping piano accordions and stomping good time rhythms is a Celtic transformation of Robert Johnson's '20's blues classic "Hellhound On My Trail". The song contains the immortal line "you sprinkled hot foot powder all around your daddy's door." Apparently 'hot foot powder' was a form of voodoo charm, not dissimilar to a mojo. Comments the Electrics bassman/vocalist Sammy Horner. "The song is in essence about Robert's consciousness of sin. It seems clear from Robert Johnson's lyrics that Mr Johnson and his lady friends were messing with the occult. He felt he was being pursued by demons. He probably was, quite literally." Heavy stuff and another demonstration that not all music on Christian record labels is banal 'Jesus wants to bless you' truisms.

JAMES 'Finger On The Pulsebeat' Attlee has done it again. As one eagle-eyed Cross Rhythms reader has already spotted, the recording session James interrupted to do his interview with top producer and Christian Alan Shacklock (see CR 3) produced the single currently at number one in the British pop charts, "The One And Only" by Chesney Hawkes. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.