Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his releases so far

Friday 17th September 2010

In our ongoing series well known artists run through their albums and books. This time one of the fathers of British worship music, NOEL RICHARDS

My early years as a singer/songwriter focussed on performance songs rather than worship songs. In the early 1970s when I started out, there were no worship leaders and very few contemporary worship songs.

Noel Richards
Noel Richards

(Various) Together Apart, Independent, 12" vinyl, 1976
Over the last 34 years, much of my recording has taken place at ICC studios in Eastbourne, UK, a studio which has been the birthplace of so many great Christian albums. My first visit there was in the autumn of 1976, to record a track entitled "Thank You" on a compilation album featuring all of the then current British Youth For Christ artists. Among those were Ishmael and Graham Kendrick, who was heading up the YFC music department in those days. The album was called 'Together Apart'. It was produced by John Pantry and that's about all I can remember.

(with Shamgar) Getting Closer, FFG, cass, 1979
During the late 1970s I was based in Plymouth, Devon and along with my wife Tricia formed a folk/rock band called Shamgar (he was an obscure Old Testament Prophet). From 1977 through until 1980 we performed extensively in Devon and Cornwall and it was there, in a little seaside village called Cawsand, that we recorded our first and only album, 'Getting Closer'. The album was produced by Dave Pickering Pick (who later went on produce Eden Burning) in the front room of his cottage on a four-track open reel recorder. Dave's label was FFG and we were recording FFG1. The album was released on cassette only and all the songs were written by Tricia and myself. The cassette has been out of print for a long time but occasionally Dave is happy to burn a CD of the original recording for die hard collectors of our old material.

Songs Of Fellowship Vol 8, Kingsway Music, CD, 1983
It was in 1979 that I wrote my first worship song called "Lord And Father, King Forever". We sang it at our local church in Plymouth and after we moved to Cobham, Surrey in 1980, it became more widely used. The church that we were part of - Cobham Christian Fellowship - was involved in recording the Songs Of Fellowship series of worship albums. In 1983 they recorded 'Songs Of Fellowship Vol 8' and I got to sing "Lord And Father" on that album. I remember Nigel Coltman, who was songbook editor for Kingsway and I believe the executive producer of the album, signing up my song to Kingsway's Thank You Music. They have been the publishers of my worship songs ever since that time.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

The Danger Line, Pioneer, 12" vinyl, 1986
During the period of the early 1980s, worship songs were not my main focus of writing. The Christian music world at that time was still dominated by the concert artist and so it was performance songs that were my main output. My second worship song, "You Laid Aside Your Majesty", was written in 1985, six years after my first one! However, I was continually writing songs that I performed at events where my good friend Gerald Coates was speaking. We worked together for more than 25 years and my songs were inspired by much of his preaching and written to complement what he was doing. In the 1980s Norman Miller (Proper Management) was part of our church in Cobham and through his role as director of Word Europe, my first solo album 'The Danger Line' was recorded and released on the Pioneer label in the autumn of 1986. The album was recorded at ICC Studio 1 in Eastbourne and produced by Paul Field. I had the privilege of working with some great musicians on this project - Dave Cooke (keys), Bryn Haworth (guitars), Dave Markee ex-Eric Clapton (bass), Clem Cattini - The Sputniks (drums). Julie Costello sang some BVs as well. The songs on the album were a collection of the performance songs that I was using in my concerts at that time. It also included a version of "Lord And Father, King Forever". While not receiving a great response from the critics, I think it still managed to sell around 4,500 copies, which I guess was not too bad for an unknown artist with little or no promotional support. This is the only album of mine that was released as a 12" vinyl.

Lionheart, Pioneer, cass, 1989
During the late 1980s I was performing a greater number of concerts and had a regular band comprising Dougie Brown (keys), Doug Horley author of "We Want To See Jesus Lifted High" (guitar), Alun Leppitt (drums) and Simon Deeth (bass). It was this band that featured on 'Lionheart', a further recording of my contemporary songs, released in 1989 on cassette only. Again, this album was recorded at ICC Studio 1 in Eastbourne. Initially, I had approached Les Moir to see if he would be interested in producing the album. But he felt that Andy Piercy would be a much better fit for what I was doing. So, I contacted Andy and he agreed to produce the album and also do some essential and much needed editing/pre-production of my material. Andy is a great songwriter/producer/artist, having had considerable success at that point in time with his band After The Fire. It was through his input that I received loads of really helpful advice on improving my songwriting technique. He was particularly harsh with one of my songs. He suggested I keep the melody and the first word! But I will always be grateful to Andy for his encouragement and support at that time and over these many years since. The album sold in a similar volume to 'The Danger Line' but it marked the end of my "career" as a contemporary Christian artist. A new direction was just around the corner!

By Your Side, Kingsway Music, CD, 1990
In the summer of 1989 John Paculabo came across my path once again, at the De Bron music festival in Holland. I had first met John when I played support to his band Parchment in 1974. He had just joined Kingsway and over the next few years would become the MD of the company. Something of what I was doing must have connected with him because later that year he suggested that I record a worship album for Kingsway. He felt that my strength lay in writing worship songs and that this should be the direction for me to pursue. Very wise advice. In 1987 Tricia and I had written "All Heaven Declares" which is probably the most popular song we have composed. John commissioned me to go away and come up with a bunch of new worship songs, which we would record in the summer of 1990. In addition to "All Heaven Declares" I already had the title track, "There Is Power In The Name Of Jesus", "Our Confidence Is In The Lord" and "You Laid Aside Your Majesty". Over the coming months I wrote a further three songs. However, I was still short of the required 12 songs and that caused me to look around for good songs from other writers that I believed deserved wider exposure. This is something I have continued to do in all my recordings and hopefully it has served those writers well. 'By Your Side' was recorded between June and August 1990 at ICC Studio 2, Eastbourne and released in the autumn of that year. It is probably my most mellow album. In those days, the concept of a guitar-driven rock'n'roll worship album was a bridge too far! So it has more of a soft rock feel. It also features some great musicians and singers from the world of UK black gospel. It was produced by Les Moir and he produced the remainder of my albums during that decade. To this day, Les continues to advise me on my recordings and songs. Neil Costello played most of the electric guitar parts on the album. He and Les are close friends and have worked on many projects together over the years. Neil has played guitar on all my albums to date and continues to play in my band. While I was recording the album I was taken to a photographer's studio in Eastbourne for the album cover shots. The images were included in the cover design but those were the days when not a lot of creativity was employed at Kingsway! The cover was so awful that we politely asked if it could be redesigned. This resulted in a multi-coloured patchwork cover which was not great, but a vast improvement on the first attempt. Eventually, in 1994, the cover was completely redesigned with a decent image. The album sold over 24,000 units.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Up To Zion, Hosanna Music, CD, 1992
This album was a strange release from Hosanna/Integrity. In the early '90s they had a short-lived policy of removing the original US worship leader from their live recordings and insert a UK worship leader, for the European release. The album was originally recorded with Paul Wilbur as the worship leader and is a collection of Messianic worship songs. Integrity invited me over to Mobile, Alabama, in August 1991 to overdub my vocal track and the resulting album was released in Europe in 1992. I was never really into Messianic music but thought it would be interesting to do it. It is hard to sing songs that are not really your style but I did the best that I could. I think Tony Cummings summed up the result very well in his review of the album: "This seems a classic case of the wrong man for the job. For me it's nonsensical and suspiciously like a case of corporate expediency, to dream up a Messianic Praise album, assemble a set of top line Jewish-flavoured songs from composers like Marc Chopinsky but then fly out a Brit, who isn't Jewish and has no opportunity to do any of his fine material, to lead the worship." Enough said!

Thunder In The Skies, Kingsway Music, CD, 1993
In 1992 we began work on the follow up album to 'By Your Side'. Les Moir was aware of my vision to see stadiums filled with worship and encouraged me to write songs that would work in gatherings of thousands of people. Songs such as "Behold The Lord", "Nothing Shall Separate Us" and "Come, Lord Jesus" reflected this new direction. At the end of the year we went back to ICC studios to record the album. This time, the budget allowed us to use Studio 1. We also began to push the envelope in terms of the musical style. The album had a much rockier feel to it than 'By Your Side' and we hoped it would take churches on a journey, which would make them more open to including edgier music within church services. For this recording Les and Neil assembled the same team to lay down the tracks and do the vocals. The engineer we used was Martin Smith (Delirious?) who in those days was one of the engineers at ICC. Shortly after finishing this recording Martin headed off to Littlehampton, to set up his own studio with Tim Jupp and the rest is history. . . In those far off days Les would often work through the night to finish a project. I remember going to bed late one night (the studio had an artist's flat) and the next morning greeting Martin in the corridor as I was making my way to the bathroom. He was already dressed, so I said something like "early start for you to today?" His reply was that he was just coming to bed! I think Les came close to exhausting Martin during this recording. The album featured nine of my own songs and four from other writers, including the classic Rick Founds' "Lord I Lift Your Name On High". Two other songs I included were from Chris Falson and Stu G, who I had recently got to know and who was writing under his stage name of Stuart David. The theme of the album was very much a linking of mission with worship. 'Thunder In The Skies' was released in the spring of 1993 and proved to be a really popular product in the UK trade. It was awarded the title Album Of The Year 1994 at the UK Christian Booksellers Convention. A huge encouragement to myself, Les and the team at Kingsway.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Warrior, Kingsway Music, CD, 1994
This album marked another turning point in my work as a songwriter/recording artist and the public beginning of a journey that would see us fill Wembley Stadium with 45,000 people. Since 1986, I had held a vision to see Wembley filled with worshippers. Les Moir also had a similar vision, as he had done some smaller stadium events with Graham Kendrick. Early in 1994, as we began pre-production work on this album, Les suggested that maybe this recording should be one where we make the vision public and begin to share the idea for a worship gathering at Wembley Stadium. So on the sleevenotes for the album I wrote these words: "Several years ago I watched a concert on TV coming live from London's Wembley Stadium. The rock band Queen were playing their anthem 'We Are The Champions'. It was incredible to see 70,000 people singing along with Freddie Mercury, their hands raised in adoration. So began a dream. To one day see Wembley Stadium and similar venues filled with Christians declaring that there is only one champion of the world, and his name is Jesus. I am sure it will happen. In the meantime I have endeavoured to write and gather worship songs that have an anthemic feel. The sort of songs that could be used in stadiums as well as local churches. This album represents the latest stage of that journey. . . I hope you enjoy the album and that as you listen you will begin to catch our dream. See you at Wembley." The eventual title track was a song that Tricia and I had written in 1992. We had not been 100 per cent happy with it and had shelved the song for two years. Les asked us to look at it again and see if we could improve it, with a view to it being included in the shortlist of songs for the album. Somehow, we came up with a new version that we finally really liked. Shortly before going into the studio we had a visit from a "wild" prophetic Australian singer/songwriter, Stephen Bennett. He and his friend Chris Falson were both on staff at a large church in Sydney, called Christian City Church. They had a picture of Wembley Stadium on their office wall and often joked that one day they would play there. (Something that became a reality for both a few years later.) Steve encouraged us to go for the Wembley vision and after an inspiring evening with him, we sat down and wrote the theme song for the event, "Champion". This song became the final track on 'Warrior'. We tried it out a few days after writing it, at the Global March For Jesus event in Hyde Park, London, which was attended by 80,000 people. The tracks for the album were put down "live" at Neil Costello's Music Shed studio in Derby and the musicians for this were Neil (guitars), Les (bass), Terl Bryant (drums) and Howard Francis (keys). The band rocked and it was obvious that this was going to be a rock'n'roll worship album. We featured guest vocals from some of the musicians at the forefront of Christian music today including Ishmael, Martin Smith, Matt Redman, Graham Kendrick and Dave Bilbrough. Other studios used for this recording were ICC Studios, Eastbourne; Marcus Studios, London and Snake Ranch, London. Before recording 'Warrior', Tricia, Les Moir and I went to Wembley Arena to see Bryan Adams play. We wanted to get some ideas for "stadium praise" and Bryan Adams' style was definitely a role model for this. You can hear a little influence in "He Has Risen", which definitely has an opening similar to Adams' "Summer Of 69". We also had a guest appearance by Paul Jones (Manfred Mann) playing a harmonica solo on Chris Falson's "I Walk By Faith". It was such a blast having a living rock'n'roll legend in the studio, playing on my album! The songs were so strong and is probably the most congregational friendly of all my albums recorded in the 1990s. Many of the songs, such as "I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever" and "We Want To See Jesus Lifted High", have become huge classics around the world. It became my biggest selling album. The album was recorded between June and September and released in the autumn of 1994 and, combined with the Warrior Tour at the same time, made public our intention to hire Wembley Stadium for the Champion Of The World worship event in June 1997.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Live, Kingsway Music, CD, 1996
In November/December 1994 we did the Warrior Tour which promoted the new album and also gave us an opportunity to begin to sow the Wembley Stadium vision across the UK. At the end of the tour we did two consecutive evenings at the acoustically challenged Salvation Army venue Regents Hall, in central London. Kingsway had decided to use these two evenings for recording the 'Warrior' video and the soundtrack for the video became the album 'Noel Richards Live', which was released in early 1996. The CD/video features the fantastic sax playing of Dave Fitzgerald (Iona) and also the guitar playing of Stu Garrard. In the two years before Delirious?, Stu was sharing the guitar playing duties in my band with Doug Horley (Duggie Dug Dug). The rest of my "live" band on this album were a young team that had been with me on the road for many years: Brad Mason (drums), Andi Skipsey (bass), James Taylor (keys), Vanessa Freeman (BVs). They were also the core band that did the journey with me, all the way to Wembley. On a personal note: two days before the recording a young guy, Matthew, from our home church, died suddenly, aged 14. On the evening of the first recording all the youth group showed up at the venue and their enthusiasm for worship, in the light of our tragic loss, really inspired me when singing songs such as "He Has Risen".

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Dangerous People, Kingsway Music, CD, 1996
By the time we came to record this album we were in the final stages of our journey to call people to Wembley Stadium. As an artist, my songwriting was gearing more towards worship songs for stadiums, rather than for a Sunday congregation. This is quite evident in the song "Let Your Love Come Down", which was written for a crowd of thousands. This album was created as a resource for "stadium praise" events. The title for the album came about during November 1995, when I was at a church conference in Switzerland. One of the speakers, Fiona des Fontaines from South Africa, spoke about God's dangerous people. She spoke on how God is looking for people who will be dangerous for the Lord and do battle with Satan's kingdom. It was inspiring! Once again, Les Moir and Neil Costello were the production team behind the album, which was recorded at Soundfield in Derby, Black Barn in Ripley (Surrey) and of course ICC, Eastbourne. The opening track - "Love Songs From Heaven" - is an epic, running at over eight minutes. We wanted to create an anthemic feel right from the beginning. The song has become a real call to mission. The track features the outstanding Uilleann pipe playing of Troy Donockley, both at the beginning and the end. We created a kind of Braveheart feel with this song, as we wanted that sense of destiny and vision to be captured. I remember sitting in the studio while Les and Neil mixed the track. It took 18 hours and I simply provided them with coffee and encouragement. When Les, Tricia and I heard the final mastered result and how it touches the emotions we sat and wept! The album also featured moments of intimacy in songs such as "You Are My Passion" and Chris Falson's "I See The Lord". In terms of artwork, I took my cue from Bryan Adam's '18 'til I Die' album cover. He was something of a role model for me, as mentioned earlier. In fact, my son and I got to meet him backstage at Wembley Arena in the spring of 1997. His tour manager was best friend to the guy who produced the Champion Of The World event at Wembley Stadium for us. 'Dangerous People' was released in the autumn of 1996.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Calling All Nations, Kingsway Music, CD, 1999
On the day before the Wembley Stadium event some friends gave me a letter. In it they shared their conviction that stadiums would be filled with worship throughout Europe and beyond. They drew my attention to three venues: The Olympic Stadium at Berlin, Germany, the Peoples Stadium in Budapest, Hungary and the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It was Berlin that really caught my attention, so I began to read about the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, scene of the 1936 Olympics. I discovered that there was a giant bell which was rung to signal the commencement of the games. On that bell, which now stands alongside the stadium, are the words, "I summon the youth of the world". When I read those words I got excited and sensed that this would be the vision for a worship gathering at the Berlin Olympic Stadium - "to gather the youth of the world and the young at heart, to worship Jesus Christ". From that moment in 1997, this vision to call the nations to worship in Berlin and beyond became the driving force behind everything I did. In 1998, I got together with my good friend and fellow songwriter Wayne Drain, from Russellville, Arkansas. He thought my next album should be one that spoke of calling nations to worship. We worked together on the song "Calling All Nations" which became the title track of the album. At the end of 1998 Brian Houston from Belfast wrote "Passion For Jesus" for me to record on the album. We have been friends ever since that time. 'Calling All Nations' was recorded in the early months of 1999 and released in May of that year. It was mainly recorded in the inspiring surroundings of Waverley House in Surrey, England, a genuine stately home. It was wonderful to record a real string section scores written by Caroline Bonnett in the ballroom at the house. All that was missing were the period costumes! Other studios used were Soundfield, Derby; Black Barn, Ripley; ICC Studio 2 and Ground Zero.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

(with The Hudson Taylors) Hurricane, Kingsway Music, CD, 2002
The end of the 1990s marked another change of direction for me. My focus was now firmly on mainland Europe and other nations as I worked on organising the worship event at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin, Germany. In the period from the end of 1997 to 2006 I travelled to more than 26 nations on every continent. I racked up a load of air-miles! The big UK tours that I had done from 1994 to 1999 with my band were now a thing of the past. It seemed that season was over. I found myself being invited to do more acoustic type events, as well as regular band gigs. In early 2001 I was en-route to the annual Pioneer Churches leaders' conference in Lowestoft (UK) when I had a call from my friend Gerald Coates, who was leading the event. He was responsible for putting the worship team together for the conference and at the last moment, the lead guitarist had dropped out. He asked me if I knew anyone who, at a few hours notice, could come to the conference and play. I was travelling in the car with Wayne Drain and we remembered that at a recent worship conference we had done together in Florida, Brian Houston from Belfast had played lead. I called Brian and, amazingly, he was free for the whole period of the conference. He promptly got on a plane and arrived at the venue that afternoon. For some reason, Wayne, Brian and myself found ourselves opening the conference with an acoustic worship set. Just our three voices and guitars. What we did was extremely well received and we were encouraged by a prophetic word from a good friend, Amanda Collins, that we should do some recording together. On the Monday following the conference I was meeting with Steve Doherty, my A&R at Kingsway, and we talked about the three of us doing an acoustic type of album together. Steve was very positive and over the next months we began to plan and prepare for this. Kingsway had recently released an acoustic album featuring the worship songwriters Stuart Townend, Gary Sadler, Robin Mark and John Hartley. This album that we were working on would be another in that series. However, as the months went on we decided it might be a better idea to have Wayne, Brian and myself featured as a band, rather than three people doing individual tracks. Brian came up with the name suggestion which had a kind of Travelling Wilburys feel to it. In a recent interview he said, "I think, because I didn't really have a religious upbringing, therefore I never encountered this name Hudson Taylor. When I did hear it I thought that's a great name for a band because it sounded like the River Hudson and Taylors. That's why I chose the spelling and made it like that, and when we needed a band name I said 'guys why don't we use Hudson Taylors' and we did". In the autumn of 2001 we all headed out to Nashville to work with producer Derri Daugherty (Lost Dogs, The Choir) and a host of great musicians based in that city. The result was 'Hurricane', featuring five songs from Brian, six songs from Wayne and myself and one co-write which we completed, sitting on the front yard of Derri's house cum studio. The idea for the cover design was something that my band came up with, while we were touring in Germany with Wayne, just after 9/11. We wanted something that would communicate the acoustic nature of The Hudsons and the guitar string packet fitted the bill perfectly. 'Hurricane' was released in the spring of 2002 and re-issued in 2010.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

(with Noel Richards Band) Road To Berlin, Kingsway Music, CD, 2004
By the end of 2003 we were really gearing up for the big worship event at the Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany. Most weekends I would be doing concerts somewhere in mainland Europe with my band. Kingsway suggested that I record an album filled with anthemic stadium songs that would continue to sow the seeds of the vision. Included with the CD would be the DVD version of the Champion Of The World event video, which was no longer available for purchase. I thought it would be a great idea to record the album with my "live" band. The Noel Richards Band has been around in various guises since the mid 1980s. Currently, the longest serving member is Bradley Mason (drums), who has been with me since 1989. He is closely followed by Neil Costello (guitars), who has been the driving force behind my recorded sound since 1990. The new guy in the band is Mark Prentice (bass), who has been playing with me for a mere 10 years. Sam Richards was the keyboard player with the band during this time period. Over the years, the Noel Richards Band has featured on many live worship albums. Our version of "We Want To See Jesus Lifted High" recorded at London's Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 45,000 in 1997 has been heard by hundreds of thousands of people. In fact the track was featured on a US various artists album that sold more than 500,000 units, earning me my one and only Gold disc! However, this is the first time that myself and the guys got together to make a studio album. We wanted to produce something that the people who came to our concerts could take home with them. This album is the result. It is a collection of worship and praise songs, written and co-written by myself and other writers from the UK, Germany, Ireland and Canada. Songs that can be sung in local churches and the great arenas. They convey worship, praise, prayer and celebration. One little detail on the cover that the observant will notice: when the artwork was designed, we had a date planned for the stadium event in 2005. However, for all sorts of reasons, the date was moved to July 2006. The date never got changed on the artwork! You can see it on the bottom right of the cover. While I think about the cover, I also remember the photo shoot we did in a freezing industrial unit, in the east end of London, during January 2004. We suffered for our art! The album was recorded at ICC Studio 1 over the winter of 2003/4 and released in April 2004.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

25 Years: The Singer, The Songs, Kingsway Music, CD, 2005
This is the definitive collection of six Noel Richards worship CDs, including a brand new "live" compilation. Over the years, Kingsway had repackaged my early CDs. 'By Your Side/Thunder In The Skies' became a 2CD pack, as did 'Warrior/Dangerous People'. It was a great way of introducing a new audience to my older recordings and songs. Kingsway came up with this fantastic box set idea, which would include the above four CDs plus 'Calling All Nations' and a new compilation of my "live" recordings. The "live" compilation CD contains 13 tracks recorded in the UK and Canada. Three of these songs have not appeared on any of my solo studio albums. It would provide the purchaser with my complete back catalogue of 25 years of songwriting and 10 years of recording. A total of 71 tracks for just £20. Included in the package is a specially written 48 page booklet, giving the background to each album, plus all the lyrics. This compilation was released in 2005.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

(Various) Love Songs From Heaven: The Worship Songs Of Noel Richards, Kingsway Music, CD, 2008
I thought this CD should have a mention, even though I am not singing on it. Stephen Doherty at Kingsway had the idea of taking some of my best known songs and re-recording them with a whole bunch of different worship leaders. So the 13 songs on the CD feature: Tim Hughes, Darlene Zschech, Brenton Brown, Matt Redman, David Ruis, Martin Smith, Lou Fellingham, Stuart Townend, Brian Doerksen, Graham Kendrick, Cathy Burton, Aaron Keyes and Kelly Minter. I was so thrilled and honoured that all these guys agreed to appear on the CD and brought a fresh interpretation to these songs. The album was released in the spring of 2008.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

Heaven's King, Kingsway Music, CD, 20008
In early 2007 I realised that the responsibilities of the Calling All Nations event in Berlin had taken a lot out of me. The event took place in July 2006 and the remainder of that year had been really busy. Berlin had been my main focus for nine years. Tricia and I decided that we should take a break, to think about our future direction. This resulted in us spending almost five months in North America, visiting different churches and areas and enjoying a far less stressful rhythm of life. We spent a short time in Nashville with our friends John and Kristen Hartley and did some co-writing with a few songwriters there. John also suggested that it might be good to record my next album there and we brainstormed some ideas about the project. A few years previously, John Paculabo (Kingsway MD) had said to me, "You have written the songs for stadiums, now you need to get back to writing songs for the Church". Wise words and ones that I had started to act upon. I had been steadily writing a collection of new worship songs and had been "road testing' them in various concerts and church settings. Together, John Hartley and I came up with a list of 10 new songs to record. These were all songs that I had co-written with Tricia Richards, Tom Lane, Kees Kraayenoord, Wayne Drain, Dave Clifton and Tim Sherrington. Tricia and I went to Nashville in August 2008 and began working on the tracks for the new album at Derri Daugherty's home studio. Derri was engineering the album and John Hartley producing. In addition to Derri, we pulled together the same team that recorded 'Hurricane' in 2001: Chris Donohue (bass), Ken Lewis (drums) and Phil Madeira (Hammond). Other musicians were Jamie Kenney and Stephen Leiweke. Having spent an intense week laying down the tracks and putting on the lead vocals, Tricia and I left Nashville and John Hartley put on all the finishing touches to an album that I am really pleased with. The album also features Tricia singing backing vocals on a couple of the tracks. The first time we have sung together on a studio album since the days of Shamgar. The album was released in November 2008.

Noel Richards: Artist Output - The worship leader talks about his
releases so far

All Heaven Declares: The Very Best Of Noel Richards, Kingsway Music, CD, 2010
This is currently the very latest Noel Richards CD which has been released by my publisher Kingsway. According to the figures, there are 17 of my songs that feature in the CCLI Top 500 and 15 of them are included on this CD. Stephen Doherty at Kingsway came up with the idea of producing a "very best of" CD and this compilation album is the result, which was released on my birthday, 15th February 2010. These are the original recordings of the songs from my various albums and is selling well at all my concerts. It even got a 9 out of 10 in a Cross Rhythms review, which was a great encouragement. I often joke that this album should have been called the "very best so far" because I am still writing and believe there are better songs that I have yet to write. There are no new albums planned at the moment but when I next have a good collection of songs that work and the time is right, I plan on adding to my Artist Output. 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.

Reader Comments

Posted by Edward Frost in Windham NH USA @ 12:35 on Feb 13 2011

My then girlfriend Jill Knight lent me the Shamgar album and it's been a favorite ever since. A few years a go I contacted Dave Pickering Pick who dusted off the master tapes and kindly cut a new CD for me. Thanks Noel for the permission! Excellent music. 'Bad time and Sad times' was my sons favorite lullaby.

Posted by Mike Norbury in Wrexham, North Wales, UK @ 07:53 on Sep 19 2010

What an excellent and amazing history brought together using the albums. Not only Noel's story but that of the development of the UK Christian music industry. Sorry to say I have only seen Noel live three times - once in Denver Colorado back in the 90s and twice in Market Drayton (Shropshire UK) in recent years. God's infectious worshipper!

Posted by Kevin Hanford in Monroe, WA @ 00:59 on Sep 18 2010

Your worship-leading has been a real example for me and I truly love worshipping with you! Thanks for following Him and His calling Noel! Love ya brother!

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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