Mal Pope, Julie Costello, Esther Alexander - Strands Of Gold

Wednesday 1st September 2004
Mal Pope, Julie Costello, Esther Alexander - Strands Of Gold
Mal Pope, Julie Costello, Esther Alexander - Strands Of Gold

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 10236-9691
LABEL: Gold Records GRCD009
RRP: £13.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

A simple idea, taking 10 of the most glorious and inspiring sets of hymn words ever written and turn them over to Phil Baggaley and Ian Blythe to write new melodies. Then bring in their long time singer associates to deliver top class vocals to go with the classy contemporary production we've come to expect from Gold Records. In the main the effect is compelling with Esther Alexander's hauntingly wistful "Holy Holy Holy", Julie Costello's "For The Beauty Of The Earth" and Mal Pope's "I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say" all bringing fresh resonance to the timeless lyrics. Occasionally, you have the problem that the melodies handed down by posterity as the hymnbook favourites are so strong that not even the most skilled modern songsmith is going to come up with better tunes (eg, "Amazing Grace", "My Song Is Love Unknown") but with such rich and sensitive singing and arrangements (I loved David Fitzgerald's flute on "There Is A Green Hill") there is nothing left to criticise save that the booklet accompanying the CD (an excellent, informative addition with essays on each of the ancient lyric writers) is unfortunately let down by all the pages being scrambled in the wrong order. But as the review section of Cross Rhythms once experienced the same malady (CR46) I shouldn't make too much of Gold Records' one slip in quality control.

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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Sample Track Listing:
1. Amazing Grace [Listen]
2. My Song Is Love Unkown [Listen]
3. For The Beauty Of The Earth [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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