Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I'm going to really go out on a limb with this one: this is the best children's album I've ever heard. Down the years I've given 10 square reviews to one or two children's albums from the likes of Doug Horley and Sammy Horner as well as pouring scorn on plenty of releases emanating from America's insular Church subculture. But 'The Jesus Hokey Pokey' is an album which ticks every conceivable box and Australia's experienced singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and communicator extraordinaire has delivered an exceptional album. It is catchy, funny, accessible, musically diverse and goes way, way deeper than most children's albums (which in truth don't go theologically much deeper than assuring young listeners that Jesus loves us and we should follow him). With wit and energy Colin, together with the 17 providing "kids backing vocals" and the six offering "big people backing vocals," sings a diverse set of songs. These range from such weighty subjects as the nature of truth; the need to take in the whole message of Scripture rather than simply the bits we like; the Old Testament prophecy about God incarnate driven home by Colin and the kids chanting "Eye, eye, eye Ziah verse 6"; Jesus' mastery of death (the irresistible "Boss Of The Cross") and the impossibility of being an invisible Christian. Musically, 'The Jesus Hokey Pokey' doesn't take itself too seriously but director James Gillard has still assembled some skillful Aussie musicians to play everything from snappy pop rock, nursery rhyme-style romps, neatly picked folk roots and even a dash or two of electronica. But overall it's all those clever, faith affirming lyrics which are given pride of place. I, for one, feel impelled to buy several copies. Now, there's one for my grandson, one for my church's Sunday school teacher, one for.
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