STYLE: Hymnody RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 94-4012 LABEL: Word WMD026 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Phil Thomson
For those of a certain age, there is a haunting romance in the sound of the brass band - familiar to most of us these days when Sally Army carols echo through our Christmas shopping. However, this album reminds us that there is far more on offer from William Booth's heritage. A selection of standards takes us right to the heart of its music ministry, mostly through congregational singing recorded live in Sale, Cheshire.
It is an assured production with, thankfully, no musical gimmicks, the uncredited band (typical) accompanying hymns from the pen of Booth himself - "O God Of Burning Cleansing Flame" and such as Frances Ridley Havergal's rousing "Who Is On The Lord's Side". And surely here is one of the finest ways to be caught up in the sheer exhuberance of Cecil Frances Alexander's "To God Be The Glory". The album claims to demonstrate "the spiritual aspect of this great movement" and thus, rather self-consciously, includes contemporary work represented by Melody Green's "There Is A Redeemer" and the Bruce Ballinger song "We Have Come Into This Place". This is a little unecessary considering the wealth of Christ-centred history shared through all those wonderful hymns: the lyrics are sermons, the music soul-searching. There is so much shapeless worship material around, so many manufactured sounds. This album rises above it all in its uncompromising honesty. You know what you are getting. It may well be generational, but it works.
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