Reviewed by Joy Homan
The Compassion All Star Band are a group of well loved CCM musos of the likes of Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Margaret Becker and Joe English, joining together for a concert promoting sponsorship of Third World children (information leaflet also enclosed with tape) organised by Compassion International. The result is a live recording that oozes energy and vitality. Here is tightly played rock gospel with lyrics which are honest, real and human - touching on feelings of doubt, loss, confusion, on side one while side two couldn't put the answer clearer ("...there's only one way out..."). Margaret Becker, surely one of the best voices in contemporary music, sings out with a sense of urgency and sincerity, especially in "Sacred Fire". The only track I was unsure of was "Silent Night" as I didn't see its relevance to the album as a whole. Perhaps the top cut is a blistering version of the old blues classic, "Crossroads" with some torrid guitar. The concert was cut off in its prime by a thunderstorm, so ends with an emotive spoken plea for "the cause". . .perhaps a little too emotive but then again, it's an emotional subject. The final track "Who Will Save The Children" (which was recorded in the studio) puts it far more poignantly and epitomises what the album is trying to say, "We are His hands, we are His voice. . .if it isn't you then tell me who will save the children." On the whole, an album with plenty of musical muscle that manages at the same time to say some important, challenging things.