The latest part of the ongoing series chronicling the greatest 1001 recordings made by Christian artists
Continued from page 14
166. ADAM AGAIN - RIVER ON FIRE, 1992. From the album 'Dig',
Adam Again's main man Gene Eugene is an erratic genius but genius he is and on this he and his fellow alternative rockers deliver the goods. Beautiful song, beautiful guitar and a haunting chorus.
167. MARTYN JOSEPH - I WILL FOLLOW, 1987. From the album
'Treasure The Questions', Ears And Eyes.
There are many who still believe this American recorded set to be Martyn's finest album, while I would plump for this being Martyn's finest song. To give this rendition even more earthy passion, the soulful-voiced David Mullen duets with Martyn.
168. THE PRAYER CHAIN - I BELIEVE, 1993. From the EP
Classic indie rock with one of my favourite lyrics - stark and magnificent. "I don't care if you lay your hands on your brother/I don't care if you baptise, you believe in water/I don't care if you say you can prophesy/I don't care if you say you can see the light behind my eyes/I don't care if you close your eyes to pray/Or lift your hands up, lift your hands up to the sky/And I don't know about wonders and signs/All I know is the love of Jesus Christ/I believe in one God/I believe in Truth/I believe in one God/And I believe in you." Over that rich and billowing groove this is spirit-engaging rock music.
169. SISTER ROSETTA THARPE AND KATE BELL NUBIN - NINETY NINE
AND A HALF WON'T DO, 1949. Single, Decca.
Sister Rosetta brought the worldly wise swing of the nightclubs into the evolution of gospel and a delicious, lightly rocking sound it was too. Here aided by some magnificent blues piano from session stalwart Sam Price and Rosetta's trusty hammered acoustic, the two sisters remind us that 99 and a half percent commitment to Christ won't do.
170. DENIECE WILLIAMS - EVERY MOMENT (SPECIAL REMIX), 1986.
Niecey has never quite recaptured the magic of her debut gospel album for Sparrow 'So Glad I Know' and this remix, pepped up for club land, gave an even more thrilling edge to the combination of that purringly soulful voice, a solid R&B groove and a song of devotion to Christ.
As published in CR23, 1st October 1994
171. NINA ASTROM - A MATTER OF TIME, 1993. From the
album 'A Matter Of Time', Myrrh.
The exceedingly understated and laid back nature of Nina's album debut meant that I was slow to recognise the pure, luminous beauty of this title track. But now I have "A Matter Of Time" is a song I'll return to time and time again. An achingly tender, bitter-sweet contemplation on the part time has in the healing of pain. Nina's beautiful voice and eloquently restrained keyboards make this one of the most moving ballads Christendom has ever produced.
172. MUSTARD SEED FAITH - SIDNEY THE PIRATE, 1976. From the
various artists album 'Maranatha Five', Maranatha! Music.
Oden Fong, singer, songwriter and driving force behind '70s Jesus Music pioneers Mustard Seed Faith, remains one of the most talented and underrated talents in Christian music. His now unfashionable musical armoury is one of reflective poignancy and this delightful narrative song is about a swashbuckling pirate who eventually finds faith set in a gentle piece of Californian soft harmony rock with lush orchestral accompaniment.
173. SYCO - LOV 1 ANOTHER (NEIGHBOUR MIX), 1992. From the
album 'Kommand', E-Beat.
A dance classic which hangs around the hypnotic sample of a chap asking "What commandment?" and being answered by a righteously wailing sister telling us to love one another. A pioneering house/rave track from 1992 it's lost none of its dance edge nor its spiritual impact.
174. JET CIRCUS - VICTORY DANCE, 1990. From the album 'Step On
There have been relatively few excursions by believers into the metal rap territory of the Beastie Boys et al and this, from a short-lived Swedish team, is my favourite. A wonderfully ferocious riff, occasional interjections of a slowed-down-tape voice telling us "You're on a mission from God" and some exciting drum programming. Rock with edge, attitude and a succinct spiritual message.
175. LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO - OFANA NAYE (NOBODY LIKE HIM),
1990. From the album 'Two Worlds One Heart', Warners.
I sometimes suspect that if I had access to all the gospel music emanating from the African continent my all time favourites list would take on a somewhat different complexion. As it is very little African gospel finds its way to Britain and of course if it hadn't been for Paul Simon's 'Gracelands' exposure the thrilling, soul-stirring music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo would have stayed in South Africa's townships as well. They're always best when singing acappella, and here those bass voices set up a simple riff while the rest of the guys can build their intricate polyrhythmic patterns.
176. MARIE KNIGHT - CALVARY, 1953. Single, Decca.
Marie's is one of the most thrilling voices ever committed to tape, an awesome contralto with enough lung power to fill a large church without the need of amplifiers. Here, over a lugubrious rhythm which recalls a Latin American rumba, the dear sister recalls Christ's death on the cross with soulful intensity. Timeless and magnificent.
177. BOB CARLISLE - GETTING STRONGER, 1993. From the album
'Bob Carlisle', Sparrow.
One of the most stirring ballads produced in recent CCM history. Bob's intuitive fusion of rock and soul vocal styles and a magnificent arrangement by producer Bob Deaton brings out the drama and passion of Bob's insightful reflection on how spending more and more time in prayer is a sign of strength not weakness.
178. RAINBOW FOUR - PRODIGAL SON, 1948. Single,
Not a thing is known about the brother who recorded this delicious little acappella ditty in 1948. "I believe, I believe, I should go back home" goes the chant, and in intricate harmonies nearer to jubilee than the hard-edged quartet sound that was superseding it, the guys tell that most moving of parables. One day somebody will reissue this gem.
179. WORLD WIDE MESSAGE TRIBE - REVIVAL, 1993. From the album
'The World Wide Message Tribe', N-Soul.
The first song the Tribe ever wrote together and both an utterly infectious groove with its compelling fusion of reggae and house and in view of what is beginning to occur in Britain's churches, a song with more than a little prophetic edge. The Manchester musicianaries convey an excited expectation for revival to envelop Britain.