Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Discography - the systematic listing of all the recordings of an artist, record company or style of music has long been the pursuit of those who perceive that such documentation is essential if we are to understand and appreciate the astonishing sweep of twentieth century music. Pop, jazz, blues etc have long seen discographies published documenting, sometimes in staggering detail, the hundreds of thousands of recordings of the major forms of music. Christian music, however, has almost totally escaped the discographer's attention with the exception of some strands of traditional black gospel music. At long, long last, a start has been made on documenting the truly enormous quantities of Christian music released since the development of the long playing record. It emanates not from some university research project or even from one of the many American companies who have grown fat on the marketing of religious music, but from a lone discographer, Hans Loeve, who has committed years of his life scouring albums, catalogues and magazines to produce this awe-inspiring tome of information. Having steadfastly tapped in vast mounds of Christian music album information into his computer he has at last been able to let the general public have the first sight of his Herculean (and on-going) endeavours. 'General public' is probably a bit of a misnomer. 'Reli Pop Encyclopaedia' isn't published in a commercial sense, instead Hans is providing print outs of his complete discography from his computer and then keeping customers updated with regular batches of additions and corrections! For that astonishing service, and considering that these volumes represent one man's life work of pioneering research, the 316 US dollars being asked for doesn't seem high, though at that price presumably it will be radio stations, libraries and record companies rather than album collecting punters who will be Reli Pop Encyclopaedia's potential customers. How complete is Mr Loeve's listing? Well, so far he's managed to list many thousands of different albums and even managed to cross index some of those down to producers, group members and (even) session musicians. Considering privately produced cassette albums are included and the mega-work takes in EVERY form of Christian music, from sacred oratorios and praise and worship through to CCM, black choirs and white metal, there are obviously still some gaps to be filled in. But nit-picking would be unworthy. Here is a monumental example of discographic endeavour that will become an essential reference work on which Hans and others can build a unique information base.
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
Interested in reviewing music? Find out