STYLE: Jesus Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 148989-21631 LABEL: Born Twice Records BTR7782 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
First a full disclosure: I rate Daniel Amos as one of the best Christian music bands ever and over the years they have recorded some of the most innovative and interesting albums of Christian music. They've had a few misses too and long periods of silence but in band leader Terry Taylor they have a hugely talented visionary songwriter who hasn't been scared to let the band change and develop over the years, unlike the majority of today's bands emerging from Nashville who sound one dimensional by comparison. This 1976 debut album is where it all started. Born out of a time when the emerging Jesus music was emanating from the west coast of America, we shouldn't be surprised that this features the country style popularised by bands like The Eagles and Poco. The album may have its roots in west coast country but in a move that would typify Taylor's entire recording career, there are also other influences coming into play so there are early nods to The Beatles and there is even a comedy show tune. The album starts pure country with the acoustic "Jesus Is Jehovah To Me" which refutes the claims of Jehovah's Witnesses which were becoming popular at the time, and "The Bible" which has some great electric guitar work and harmonies. The country swing of "Abidin'" was repeated on 'Shotgun Angel' on the song "Black Gold Fever" and Taylor's confident vocal style was already developing. "Don't Light Your Own Fire" sees the band move away from pure country into something incorporating pop and again points towards their second album. Tracks like "Walking On Water", "Ridin' Along" and "Dusty Road" take an easy west coast country style and like a lot of the songs on this album have very solidly Christian lyrics. Like much '70s Jesus music these songs wear their faith firmly on their sleeves. There's even a bit of '20s swing in the humorous "Skeptics Song" and humour/satire was to become a huge part of their future repertoire. One of the most popular songs on 'Daniel Amos' was "Happily Married Man" which prior to its appearance on this album had appeared on an album showcasing the talent coming out of Maranatha Music in the mid '70s. The second disc which makes this a collector's edition is an extended lifting of the lid of early Terry Taylor forays into the beginnings of recording and songwriting so there's an interview with Taylor reflecting on this era of his life. It's obvious that he has plenty of affection for his roots and you get some live recordings and demo songs from bands prior to Daniel Amos including when the group were called Jubal's Last Band and the wonderfully named Judge Rainbow & The Prophetic Trumpets. Retroactive Records are to be thanked for putting this handsome package out to Joe Public.
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