Graham Kendrick - Songs Of Graham Kendrick The Early Years

Published Friday 24th March 2006
Graham Kendrick - Songs Of Graham Kendrick The Early Years
Graham Kendrick - Songs Of Graham Kendrick The Early Years

RATING 5 5 5 5 5
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 14023-10796
LABEL: Kingsway KMCD2679
RELEASE DATE: 2005-11-18
RRP: £16.99

Reviewed by Chris Tozer

Kingsway Music have grandly described this album as "essential Kendrick." Ignore such marketing-speak. A truly essential collection would consist of Graham's best-known songs or his better recordings, and this triple CD collection is neither. The first disc is almost exclusively devoted to a dozen worship songs that were released in the mid-'80s when Kendrick was already well established as by far the most prominent writer of praise and worship material in the British Isles. In the previous decade he had already penned songs like "Jesus Stand Among Us", so describing heyday classics like "The Servant King", "Let God Arise" and "Rejoice Rejoice" as "early material" would indicate that the recording company has, at best, an awfully bad memory. Other period gems on this opening disc include Easter masterpieces such as "Led Like A Lamb" and "The Price Is Paid" but I'd have to leave an open verdict on most of the other songs. Then abruptly, on the final track, we are at last taken back to his previous career as an introspective folk-tinged singer/songwriter. Discs two and three continue in this vein and provide us with a wide selection of reflective songs. With poor Graham sounding like he perennially had a cold one can only marvel at the way he wisely took on the mantle of worship songwriter and the rest, as they say, is history. Certainly these early songs demonstrate that he had a way with words right from the start and had the knack of communicating to the unbeliever in a way that in-house praise songs can never do. What's also nice is that they feel very British - like the songs of Ralph McTell. There are certainly some nuggets here - including several tracks from the magnificent 'Fighter' album that was recorded just before praise music became his sole preoccupation. But, in the absence of such classic songs as "Being Myself In Jesus" and "Tell Me Why Do You Weep" there are too many omissions to justify that "essential" tag. What you do have here is a selective history that includes perhaps eight of his better songs so the value rating across the total of 38 tracks must be on a par with budget album. Compared to other triple packages currently on the market you simply don't get value for money. Better to wait for 'The Greatest Graham Kendrick Songs Ever'.
5 squares
Chris Tozer

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.

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