Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Cross Rhythms have long been an admirer of the creative output of London-based Mr Rust. Lovers of poetry may well remember his Welcome To The Real World collection, while older followers of UK CCM may recall the charming couple of albums he once recorded as half of the duo Shattock & Rust. Godfrey's been working on this, his first solo project, for years, and he is generously donating all the earnings from this album to support a ministry in Nigeria, which is in the process of building a school in a troubled area of the country where Islamists have often held sway. Godfrey has been leading worship for 30-odd years, but 'Prayers In Time' is a long, long way from the increasingly formulaic offerings of the modern worship scene. Rather, the album features 10 modern psalms, songs of hope and grace as well as songs of something close to despair but ones that show occasional glimpses of wit and humour. The first five songs are reflections - the track "Deep Calls To Deep" expressing how sometimes we feel connected and sometimes abandoned; while the next five are responses, "Lord, Where Did You Leave Your Hands?" reminding us that it is the Church who are the Lord's hands and feet. Godfrey's voice is good, the production from his son Adam Rust (a talented young man now making inroads into the mainstream pop world) is sympathetic to a musically eclectic set of songs, and although the drum programming doesn't work very well on a slow blues, like "Rock Bottom Blues", elsewhere it skilfully blends with the cello of Sam Brown and the sax of the always reliable David Fitzgerald. Standouts on the album are the radio friendly "Save Me (From My Enemies)" and the haunting "In Need Of Grace", on which Godfrey is joined by guest vocalist Neena Caperna. There is plenty of expert musicianship displayed on 'Prayers In Time', but what lifts the album to the exceptional category is Rust's remarkable lyrics. To take a verse at random: "You were the joint MD of an SME/Taking net profits from the Lake of Galilee-/When you heard the call you might have known you'd fall-/If you fish for men there'll be a catch after all/And now you're lying low after you lied so low/Between the kiss in the garden and the cockerel's crow." A masterly album from one of the best wordsmiths in Christendom.
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