John Larsson - John Larsson Plays Vol 2: Jesus Folk and Spirit!
STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 117853-18535 LABEL: Salvationist Publishing & Supp 21691 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-09-01 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by David Faulkner
General John Larsson and lyricist General John Gowans penned ten Salvation Army musicals between 1967 and 1990. Larsson is now releasing piano-based versions of them two by two. They are entirely instrumental, the piano occasionally being delicately augmented by a synth. The playing is immaculately rhythmic and disciplined. Although instrumental, the CD booklet contains the lyrics. The words have an economy and deceptive simplicity. But therein lies the problem: you can only sing along if you know the music first. This limits the appeal of the recordings to two groups. One is the nostalgia market, but a review in The Salvationist of this CD suggests that the first volume sold well. The other is as accompaniment for groups planning to stage the musicals - however, given the dated style, how many will do that? This reviewer wonders whether it would have been better to have remastered and reissued the original recordings, even if they were less sophisticated.
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John Larsson plays Jesus Folk and Spirit! is the second in a series of CDs, under the generic title of John Larsson plays, in which General John Larsson plays piano arrangements of the main songs from the ten musicals he co-authored with General John Gowans during the period 1967-1990.
These two scriptural musicals are thematically linked and are among the duo’s most influential works in that, having no Salvation Army reference, they crossed denominational boundaries and have been performed by many Christian groups worldwide.
John Larsson plays Jesus Folk and Spirit! includes 32 songs from the third and fourth musicals written by the duo, among them favourites like He came to give us life, You know I love you, For the mighty moving of the Spirit and To be like Jesus. The CD comes complete with a 32-page booklet containing the lyrics of all of the songs. It is the composer’s prayer that this renewed presentation may bring inspiration not only to those who already know the songs but also to those who will hear them for the first time.