John Pantry - Empty Handed (reissue)

Monday 1st April 1991
John Pantry - Empty Handed (reissue)
John Pantry - Empty Handed (reissue)

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 4 4 4 4
LABEL: Kingsway Music KMCD2104
RRP: £6.12

Reviewed by Alan Smith

A golden oldie re-issued from 1978 with solid musicianship and unfussy arrangements (very reminiscent of Rob Noakes) ensuring it's dated only a little. However, on the inlay card I was greatly saddened by a whole page given up to Copyright Protection. It's unscriptural, unnecessary and unblessing. God would release you from this worldly fallacy, Mr Kingsway. Let 'em copy it as much as they like: you won't be able to contain the blessings God will honour you with. Just ask Roly Bell if you don't believe me. On this note, John has plagiarised throughout and should be paying Royalties to Mammas and Pappas, (Reigning in my heart), Gilbert O'Sullivan, The Monkees and, possibly the Beatles. I wouldn't doubt, though, that Kingsway have done their legal homework. It was lovely to hear a bass drum sounding like a bass drum, pleasant and lyrical alto and tenor sax, together with the Hammond Organ Sound, which seems to be enjoying a significant revival at the moment, especially among young musicians. The only instrumentation that grated with me was the synth part on "He Will Take Great Care", very similar to a steam Korg monophonic job I used to wrestle with - all wow and square waves. Over all, the balance of songs is well thought through, and again, the John Pantry simplicity and clarity scores points. 'Empty Handed' uses 6/8 time particularly tastefully; as with other tracks, a big, black Gospel Choir would have lifted the album out of the 'right price' rack and straight into the 'very special music' slot. And don't kid me that this equation is linked to funding and Copyright, 'cause it ain't.

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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Reader Comments

Posted by Diane in Green Bay WI @ 19:49 on Aug 26 2019

I discovered this song around 1980 while living in Europe.
I'm currently a Worship Director and would love to sing this on Sunday - anybody out there find a chord chart, or created one?


Posted by Diane in Green Bay WI @ 19:44 on Aug 26 2019

I discovered this song around 1980 while living in Europe.
I'm currently a Worship Director and would love to sing this on Sunday - anybody out there find a chord chart, or created one?


Posted by steve in st helens @ 20:04 on Jan 7 2013

trying to find song loneliness or i am loneliness

Posted by Jay Heenan in Australia @ 21:16 on Jan 31 2010

Empty Handed is the high watermark of 70s Christian Contempory music. It's a free download , as mentioned. I owned a copy in the 70s and was glad to find it again. I think it's a bit unfair to say he copied off popular artists. A lot of songs sound a bit like other songs and singers. The Monkees should be honoured to be compared with him ! There is a compilation CD of John Pantry's secular output that shows what talent he has always had. Well worth a listen, but IMHO Empty Handed is the best work I have heard from him . an amazing recording.

Posted by IRENE GALT in United Kingdom @ 17:24 on Jun 22 2009

I so agree with you re-copyright, all we want to to is praise the Lord. I am also desperate to find the chords to empty handed, i did contact John Pantry and know he tried to send them, but this was some time ago and I didn't receive them.

Posted by James Goody in Colchester @ 21:09 on May 21 2009

Wow - Just downloaded Empty Handed and boy does it bring back great memories. I love this album. Jon Goody (my brother) you need to stongly encourage John P to re-release this!!! - Im gonna have words when I see him :)

Posted by Jon Goody in Ipswich - UK @ 17:35 on Apr 29 2009

GREAT NEWS** While spending hours on the internet looking for content for John's new website I have found a site you can all legally download EMPTY HANDED the complete album! Visit hn-pantry-my.html and follow the link under the album cover, it's just over 50mb so takes a few mins to download, but well worth it!! Happy listening!!!!

Posted by Jon Goody in Ipswich - England @ 10:31 on Apr 27 2009

Me again, bit later than planned, but I do have some news, John has asked me to build him a website (long time coming) which I will be starting in the near future. It will be located at and it will have profiles, what he is up to and also an area to buy albums. I can't comment on which one's will be available but will keep you updated.

Posted by A Stephen Mark in Peterhead, Scotland @ 18:23 on Mar 11 2009

I first heard this song when my Christian Brother Ron Leslie came to my office with a copy. Ron died the following year and I have felt the vacuum ever since.
Empty handed, was a sermon in song and so beautifully and so simply sung – the message was unhampered. God bless John Pantry, he certainly has blessed me.

Posted by Diana in California @ 04:31 on Mar 4 2009

I found this site by looking for artist I listened too when I was saved in 82. I have "Empty Handed", I purchased it when he came to Harvest to play, I still from that time to this present time sing that song in praise. So very wonderful.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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