Reviewed by Chris Tozer
When this album was originally released in 1973, alongside Parchment's 'Light Up The Fire', it was snapped up by Pye Records - one of the top labels of the day. 'Fools Wisdom' was very much a landmark album of the fledgling CCM industry in this country. Larry Norman, the godfather of contemporary Christian music, had become a British resident and the American Jesus Movement had inspired young Christians on this side of the Atlantic to take up their guitars for the cause. Malcolm & Alwyn, with their trademark autoharp, acoustic guitar and Beatlesque harmonies, sang at all the major Jesus Festivals across the country that summer and were clearly a cut above the rest in those pioneer days. For this, their first album, they were able to enlist the services of Norman's production team and a superb roster of session musicians that included Elton John's drummer. The investment was clearly worthwhile as the recording puts the duo's voices and instruments very much to the fore on each of these delicate self-written songs. Despite dealing with issues common to spiritually seeking young people the world over, the lyrics are quintessentially British - a rare commodity then as now. Yet, curiously, the Americans loved them for it. Malcolm Wilde has, for many years, pastured a Calvary Chapel in Florida whilst Alwyn Wall now leads a similar church in south London. Yet somehow, I doubt that they have ever preached so succinctly to their generation as on this brilliant debut.
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