Ishmael - Bigger Barn

Published Thursday 28th January 2010
Ishmael - Bigger Barn
Ishmael - Bigger Barn

STYLE: Childrens
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 87000-16485
LABEL: Kingsway Music KMCD3080
RELEASE DATE: 2010-01-18
RRP: £13.00

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

The album title comes from the parable that Jesus told about a wealthy man who decides he's doing so well, he needs a bigger barn to store all is wealth. The song seems to be quietly taking off in grassroots church circles, though it probably won't surpass Ishmael's biggest hit, "Father God I Wonder". Ian "Ishmael" Smale is, of course, the veteran children's ministry man who introduced a whole generation of children to the exciting idea of the "praise party". This album sees the grizzled survivor writing and recording a batch of songs for older kids and with their driving retro rock accompaniments wouldn't feel out of place on Ish's 1979 album with his band Ishmael United. A lot of the material here is based on the parables of Christ. The combination of story telling and application is both powerful and fun filled while the witty 'borrowing' of tunes and arrangements from classic pop hits of yesteryear is constantly amusing. Have a listen and see if you can spot the influence of some of the songs. Here's a couple to get you started! There's the party groove of "Wolfy Wolfy" which brings to mind a certain Sam The Sham hit from the sixties. Then there are hints of Dylan's rambunctious "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" on "Sow 'n' Sow". If you listen to the title song, you may find yourself getting up to do a bit of a Greek "Zorba's Dance" or reminiscing about the '60s song "Bend Me Shape Me". So if you buy your older kids this album, you'll be scratching your head trying to remember the songs that Ishmael's hinting at as your loved ones feed on the lyrics about Jesus and His teachings. Ish has undergone major health problems over the last few years so it's particularly pleasing to report that 'A Bigger Barn' is his best recording for many a long year.

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.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Bubbling [Listen]
2. Wolfy [Listen]
3. J To J [Listen]
4. 3 Men [Listen]
5. Old Friends [Listen]
6. Ghost [Listen]
7. Sow [Listen]
8. Loaded [Listen]
9. 10 Silver [Listen]
10. Gotta Go [Listen]
11. 4 Days [Listen]
12. Bigger Barn [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

Product Description
Ishmael is tireless. Having written over 400 songs, released 36 albums and written countless books, Ishmael yet again serves up a new release that will inspire, delight and develop faith in unexpected places.

What’s even more special about Bigger Barn – Ishmael’s latest full length album – is that it is released in the wake of his diagnosis and treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia. After more than eighteen months of chemo, Ishmael has grown in strength and faith. Bigger Barn returns to the parables and stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, reinforcing faith and inspiring belief in all ages.

Musically, this is pure Ishmael: playful, live, full of throaty guitars and bouncing choruses. It’s great to have him back.

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