Tuesday, August 25, 2009


“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.” ~ Emerson

Next up in this series of posts are three albums that continue to rock my world.

I grew up in East Tennessee and was raised on good old “Southern Gospel music.” Think: Happy Goodman Family, The Hinsons, etc. Great music, to be sure, but none of it rocked.

My parents were pretty “old school” at the time, and Dad and Mom didn’t allow “secular” music in our home… So, I my experiences with rock and roll were relegated to moments in my cousin Kenny’s truck when he would crank up something like Van Halen’s, “Runnin’ with the Devil.” And for about ten minutes we would feel really, really wild and rebellious, because we knew this was something our parents would never knowingly let us listen to at home…

All of a sudden, there was this new form of music, that had some kick and instead of singing about “Runnin’ with the Devil” they were talking about stuff that actually mattered… I was hooked!

I worked for my Dad most summers and would save whatever I made during the summer for a BIG TRIP to Chattanooga where I would get to venture into the bastion of Christian music in Chattanooga at the time – Lanham Bible Bookshop. I loved these trips to Chattanooga, and on one of those trips I walked out of the store with two albums that continue to blow me away… My cousin walked out with the third...

Here's the scoop on the next three most influential albums in my life.

Randy Stonehill, The Sky Is Falling

The cover of the album itself had me hooked… It was a “Christian” album but it looked like an actual “rock” album… Randy was on the front cover in a pair of jeans, long hair, t-shirt, etc. I had never heard Randy before, but thought, “Man, if the dude looks this cool, he’s got to be able to rock…”

Well, not only could the guy rock, he could write. This was one of the albums that would give me a glimpse of what great song writing looked like.

I ended up wearing the album out! Turns out the album is now a bona-fide classic in Contemporary Christian Music circles. CCM lists it as one of the most important CCM albums of all time. I agree.

Randy recently re-recorded and re-released some of the songs of this and his first album. The new CD is titled Paradise Sky. Kudos to Randy for making these songs accessible, but I don’t think the re-release could ever capture the magic I experienced when I listened to the original.

A few years ago I happened to find a CD version of the original album. I’ve listed to it scores of times, and it has really held up well after all these years. If you get a chance to purchase an mp3 album or CD of the original, do it! Highlights on the album include: One True Love, Bad Fruit, The Great American Cure, and Trouble Coming.

The album was originally released on Larry Norman’s Solid Rock label. It included song lyrics, liner notes, record sleeve... You know, heaven for real music aficionados.

Daniel Amos, Shotgun Angel and Horrendous Disc

My cousin, Dirk owned Shotgun Angel… He lived right across the street. We ended up wearing this record out… Daniel Amos was and continues to be led by song writer extraordinaire, Terry Taylor. I’m still amazed by how creative and extraordinary this album is…

A concept album, highlights include: Days and Nights, Praise Song, Lady Goodbye, He’s Gonna Do A Number On You, Better, Sail Me Away… Holy cow this album is good... Really good...

The songwriter is amazing. The production is terrific. Musician ship amazing,

After several record contact delays, Shotgun Angel was followed by Horrendous Disc which solidified Daniel Amos as one of my all time favorite bands. When I heard the opening guitar riff and opening lines of “I Love You #19,” I was hooked…

“Now, if I said it real pretty in a pretty rhyme
Does your get cloudy that’s a dirty crime
Does it do things any good to tell you
that I’m standing here because I LOVE YOU!”

This is still great music! Highlights from the album include: I Love You #19, I Believe In You, Man in the Moon, Horrendous Disc, (and the best song title ever about somebody headed for impending judgment but totally unaware), Near Sighted Girl with Approaching Tidal Wave

This is an awesome album. I can't say enough about it.

If you can find either of these albums available as mp3 downloads or available on CD, get them. They are still absolutely amazing.

By the way, Terry Taylor has went on to write for a variety of bands including Lost Dogs, Swirling Eddies, DA (another moniker for Daniel Amos). The guy has to be one of music’s best song writer’s ever. Notice I wrote, “music,” not “Christian music.” He’s one of the best song writers to ever write in any genre. Period.

Never content to settle for the status quo, some of Daniel Amos’s later albums ventured into very experimental musical terrain. While I appreciated the band’s desire to grow, these first two albums go down as their best ever for me.

If you can find them, enjoy.

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