Never for Nothing - CCM Record Reviews archive D

DA' T.R.U.T.H. : The Faith. (Cross Movement : 88141-30017-2)
The wide range of music that drops through my letter box is one of the joys of writing reviews for the redoubtable Mr Howlett! This month I have been welcomed to the world of hip hop. And I mean welcomed, with the opening line 'Ladies and gentlemen, welcome ....' beginning a CD full of Christian lyrics rapped with real conviction, carried along on a wave of infectious beats and hooks. Standouts for me are the stripped-down 'On duty', the laid-back '2 is better', 'Conversations' (supported by the breathy vocals of Karen and LaTia), the funky 'Teacher' and the particularly snappy and challenging lyrics of the closer 'Whose Team?', delivered to a rock beat. A pity that distinct 'mike popping' on some of Da' T.R.U.T.H.'s vocals weren't sorted by the production team - but overall I really enjoyed this CD. The man himself is evidently better known to family and friends as Manny, became a Christian at five, and grew up with no interest in rap music. In his late teens however he accidentally discovered that he had a talent for rhyming, at nineteen 'launched his ministry as an urban missionary', acquired his new moniker, subsequently 'graduated at Philadelphia Biblical University and The Institute of Jewish studies' and has evidently 'ministered to audiences of 100,000+'. The academic grounding shows. Check out www.crossmovementrecords.com and www.datruth.net. 9/10 Dave Deeks (March 2006)
THE DAILY SERVICE SINGERS : The Nations 20 Favourite Hymns. (Kingsway : KMCD2466)
Regular listeners to the BBC Radio Daily Service Programme will be overjoyed with this collection of the nations' favourite hymns. Recorded live at Chester Cathedral, there's no surprises in guessing the format of each hymn. There's the occasional solo vocalist and, of course, the full choir, all singing their hearts out for the glory of God. Within the list of favourites come "Dear Lord & Father of Mankind", "Great is Thy Faithfulness", ""Love Devine All Love's Excelling", and "Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer". From the more modern era comes "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" and "Shine Jesus Shine" - what an impression those two have made over the years! Then, there's my own personal favourite, "And Can It Be". Twenty classic hymns on one CD. Ever thought of the CD series "Wow Hymns"? This could be the start. 8/10. (June 2003)
DALTON : Taste the Sky. (Selectric : SEL0602)
Dalton hail from Texas and consist of brothers Preston and Spencer Dalton, alongside other band members Chris Santos and Steven Kanika. This is their debut album and the title symbolises our hope as believers in the return of Jesus and also encourages believers to 'taste the sky' and all they can be. Their sound is a mixture of rock and pop, and I'm afraid that sometimes, the two just don't seem to mix to well. Sometimes, too, the lyrics were just too difficult to get a clear meaning from. "600 Feet" was one such song that had a clever tune but I'm at a total loss to understand what it was all about. "Life Afraid", on the other hand, tells one not to dwell on past mistakes, but to learn from them and move on. Similarly, "Above You" is a slower melodic number that talks of surrendering to God. Later on, "Streets" has an unmistakable likeness to the old Duran Duran hit "Ordinary World". For me, the best song came last. It's a prayer to God. "Hold Me Now" is a more acoustic number than the rest and sits well above anything else on the CD. Maybe there's more to come from Dalton. 5/10. (October 2006)
DAN LYTH : The Fat Man And Baby Boy.
The date on the CD I was sent said “2007” and the web site says it was released in 2009, so I’m not sure where it’s been hiding until now but it was worth the wait. The style of the six tracks is very reminiscent of Fruup and the Divine Comedy in its structure, having orchestral overtones to the way its put together. There’s even a very interesting version of “Joy to the World”, with unusual harmonies and a harmonium for good measure. The Christmas theme that pervades the CD is more in the story-telling than the party-around-the-tree isn’t-snow-wonderful that you may be fearing, I’m glad to say. The quietness of “Mary, I Was Wrong” has a beauty all of its own – it tells of the calm before the storm, so to speak, a quiet reflection on the moment when God became Man and the world changed forever. The layering here reminded me of Sigur Ros (as did “Futaristic Chrismalistic”), with some Damien Rice thrown in for good measure. It’s a very accomplished CD, with folkie overtones (especially in the vocal harmonies) and I enjoyed it all, save perhaps “The Boar’s Head Carol”. Best track (and it wasn’t easy to single one out): “Mary, I Was Wrong”. 7/10 Paul Ganney. (March 2012)
DAN WHEELER : Seven Kinds of Grace. (Authentic : 1903132)
The tracks on this CD all have a fairly acoustic sounding pop / light rock feel to them, and they are all fairly polished performances too, with some nice guitar licks appearing in all the right places. The lyrics are plainly written from a very personal point of view, and the tunes are all quite catchy, in fact to be honest there's not a single track on this album that I don't particularly like on its own. However if there's a fault with this CD it's that taking the album as a whole rather than individual tracks there's not a lot of difference in style or tempo between the tracks, and I found that it wasn't long before I got bored with it, which is a shame because the songs do merit notice being taken of them. You could play this anywhere without anyone getting offended by anything on it; It reminds me of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. "Mostly Harmless" 5/10 Andy Sayner. (February 2007)
DANIEL BASHTA & FRIENDS : The Living Room Sessions. (https://noisetrade.com/danielbashta/the-living-room-sessions)
Daniel Bashta is an American Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter raised in Reserve, Louisiana and currently residing in New Orleans. His last three albums have had reasonable success in the US Christian Albums chart and have seen him collaborate with such artists as Third Day’s Mac Powell. This EP is something different and the title really does describe what it is – Daniel and his friends gathered round, I assume, one microphone in (probably) Daniel’s living room. It’s instrumentally pared back with an emphasis on the voices and vocal harmonies. As the first track “Let it Be Jesus” starts, it is clear that this isn’t going to follow the usual formula. Vocally the sound is big, almost choral – I’m really not sure how many voices feature on the song – and the whole feel of the song is a mighty anthem of praise. A good start, and it certainly whet my appetite. The second track “Seas of Crimson” starts where the opener leaves off. The feel and harmonies are very similar to the first track and these, coupled with the length (this track is 7 minutes 40 seconds long – and all but one of the tracks are over 6 minutes in duration) meant that I was starting to lose interest. By song 3, “Praise the Invisible” I realised that the EP is essentially one song in six (not so) distinct parts. This is a little disappointing because the idea is excellent with a style and approach not normally heard in CCM. The truth is it needs more variety. Not so much that it spoils the coherence but enough to give each track a distinct place. I don’t get a sense that this EP has that even though it sounds quite heavenly. A shame really, but a bold attempt at something different. 6/10. Robin Thompson. (May 2016)
DANIEL O'DONNELL : Faith & Inspiration. (Ritz : RZBCD717).
A new album by Daniel O'Donnell, who must be one of the most popular country ballad singers around, is always eagerly awaited by his many fans, and this one I'm sure will be no exception. He always brings sincerity to songs of faith which is both uplifting and calm. This release includes many favourites such as "make Me A Channel of Your Peace", "Light A Candle", and "Morning Has Broken", all sung with a sweetness and clarity that is typically Daniel, without being overpowering - just the thing to relax with in those quiet moments we all need from time to time! It's an album that was a pleasure to review and a welcome addition to his, already, substantial collection of country ballads and songs of faith. Long may he continue to give so much pleasure to so many with his wonderful voice. 10/10 Judith Wilson. (December 2000)
DANIEL O'DONNELL : Daniel in Blue Jeans. (DMG : DMGTV001)
Love or loathe him, you can't get away from the fact that this crooning Irishman has won millions of fans all over the world with his boyish smile, good looks and golden voice. One look at the UK's Album chart will confirm that, shooting straight in at No.6, his records sell by the bucket full. This release sees Daniel take 20 Great Rock n Roll Love Songs and release them in a style as only he can. To be honest, there's nothing to dislike about any of the renditions, they're all carefully crafted. Favourites of mine include "Singing the Blues", "Teenager In Love", "Donna", and the Billy Fury classic "Halfway to Paradise". Then, there's still time for "Love Me Tender", "Twelth of Never" and "Sealed With A Kiss". Perhaps Daniel lacks the guile to deliver songs like "Blueberry Hill" as it was originally released, but try telling his fans that. 8/10. (April 2003)
DANNY GOKEY : Hope in Front of Me.   (BMG Absolute : ABMGCD4)
Danny Gokey came to prominence in the US a few years ago, when he was a finalist in the American Idol TV series. He released a smash hit album called “My Best Days” and now, after four years of creative development and production, has unveiled his second album. Gokey himself calls it “songs of hope and entertainment.” That describes it perfectly as he mixes songs of a religious background with secular songs of love. Musically, it’s a similar style to Take That crossed with One Direction. There are plenty of songs here that would match today’s  chart material, including the title track. It opens proceedings and the production sees everything but the kitchen sink thrown into the mix. “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” is almost a ballad about how God works for your good in your life, even when you’ve hit rock bottom. The electro funk on “Better Than Gold” bears more than a passing resemblance to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. My favourite song has to be “This is What It Means”. It’s head and shoulders above anything else on the album. A song about being in love, the lyrics are well written by Gokey and Stephanie Lewis, and the music, expertly put together. I can see this album appealing primarily to people half my age but, saying that, there was still enough good material for me to listen to.   8/10. (December 2015)
DANNY O’CALLAGHAN : Son of My Father.   (Freshwater Media.)
This is a five track EP, containing a series of songs that talk about a lost soul finding its way back home to the father. The first track “Burn” has also been released as a single, and is a fast paced rock track with a driving beat and lots of jangling guitar licks, which are a feature throughout this EP. There is also a Celtic feel behind some of the tracks too. I liked this EP right from the word go, it’s all quite straightforward and unpretentious, and has a style that is quite different from a lot of stuff that’s around at the moment. There’s a kind of honesty behind it. The lyrics are well written, and make their point clearly. I’d quite like to hear a full album by Danny, but in the meantime this is well worth a listen. It’s available on itunes, Spotify, and all the usual outlets. 9/10   Andy Sayner. (October 2016, Album of the Month)
DARLENE ZSCHECH : Kiss of Heaven. (Extravagant worship : 00768268421 1)
Did you know that "My Jesus, My Saviour (Shout to the Lord)" is currently the most played song in UK churches, according to CCLI? As a result, you will no doubt recognise the name of this artist, and in fact, the song in question appears on this very album. I initially thought that this would be a compilation cd, but it isn't, with everything else being new material (as far as I can tell). It is good material too, with the title track and the first number "Pray" being among the strongest. It doesn't have a worship feel to it, which also surprised me, although many of these are actually worship songs. It somehow manages to worship without being "in your face" and what you end up with is a very good pop album, full of good tunes, excellent arrangements and top-notch production. I really like Darlene's voice too; It has a warmth and quality to it which means she can manage the power without it sounding forced or strained. There are many professional, secular female singers and wannabees for whom sadly, this is not the case. As a piece de resistance, there is also a song "Walk On" which is written by U2 and on which Darlene duets with Martin Smith (which actually sounds remarkably like U2!). This is the first album I have heard by Darlene Zschech, and I am sure it won't be the last. 9/10 Robin Thompson (January 2004)
DARLENE ZSCHECH : Kiss of Heaven. (INO Records : 000768268421)
It often happens that, following a successful CCM career, an artist suddenly decides to record a praise and worship album. In Darlene Zschech's case, a successful p&w career has led to her recording a more pop orientated album. The result is a sound that says "Amy Grant" all over. As good as the opening song "Pray" is, Darlene is watered down and sounds only a shadow of her usual, vibrant self on some very mediocre produced songs. "Beautiful Saviour" lends more than just a passing resemblance to Roxette's "Milk & Toast & Honey", while the brilliant "Shout to the Lord" has been given the pop idol treatment and sounds plain lame. The corking title track is just miles ahead of anything else on the recording, and is really catchy. Darlene may have sold millions of records previously, but fans will be disappointed by this. 5/10. (March 2004)
DARLENE ZSCHECH : Change Your World. (INO : 35892)
So, then, the darling of the Hillsongs movement in Australia releases an album in her own right. An album that leaves behind the spirit filled praise and worship we've come to expect and, instead, shows off an track listing of far too many mediocre songs. The opening "You Are Here" is not a bad start, but it's three more down the line before I was really impressed again. On that song, "Call Upon His Name", there's great production and a belief in Darlene's voice that she really means what she's singing. "Never Give Up" rocks too much for her voice, and she struggles to do it justice. And, if I'm honest, that's how I felt most of the album sounded. Although this is a solo album, her individuality is lost in an album of poor quality songs that sound like hundreds I've heard before. 4/10. (January 2006)
DARLENE ZSCHECH : Revealing Jesus. (Integrity : 51582)
This is the album that thousands of fans have been waiting for, and what an album it is! I’ve never been too inspired by her previous recordings, but this is pure magic. Recorded live, it’s a record that you really have to listen to from start to finish in one session, to appreciate the power and majesty of the music. ‘God Is Here’ is a glorious opener, written by Darlene, Israel Houghton and Phil Whickham, while ‘Best For Me’ is one of those songs were you just want to jump up and down, and leap for joy. The energetic start continues with ‘All That We Are’, before there’s a slight lull in pace with ‘In Jesus’ Name’. Being perfectly honest, I was just memorised by all the joyful worship. It’s a long time since a record moved me so much with each song. Darlene caresses each word on ‘Victor’s Crown’, while there’s a beautiful duet, lifting Jesus so high, on ‘Magnificent’. Just when you think things can’t get any better, ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’ comes along as an absolutely amazing anthem. It is truly magnificent. ‘Your Name/Cry of the Broken’ follows, and what a stunning piece of music that is, too. Guests include Michael W Smith, Israel Houghton, and Kari Jobe, who all help to make this, possibly, one of the greatest praise and worship albums of all time. 10/10. (May 2013, Album of the Month)
DARLENE ZSCHECH : In Jesus Name – A Legacy of Worship & Faith   (Integrity : 63242)
Just in case you’ve just landed from Mars, and haven’t heard of Darlene Zschech, this is the lady who’s songs are sung weekly by a world choir with Shout To The Lord alone being sung by an estimated 30 million each week. Her songs and recordings have helped produce 16 Gold and Platinum albums. This collection is a celebration of her music and does feature a powerful version of ‘Shout’. There’s no doubting the gift that’s been bestowed upon her, and her voice is one of the best around. With power, she belts out ‘God Is Here’ and gently caresses ‘Amazing Grace’, backed by just a piano. In between, the listener is treated to the potent sound of ‘At the Cross’, and ‘You Are Love’ – a song that comes over like a classic Celine Dion ballad. Sometimes, a song instantly touches your heart, and ‘Blessed’ is such a song. Delivered with great majesty, the simple lyrics really hit home. Yes, there are a couple of songs that didn’t really come over as well, but fans of Darlene will welcome this new collection.   8/10. (July 2015)
DARLENE ZSCECH : Here I Am Send Me Live). (Integrity Music)
This is Darlene’s first recording since successfully battling with breast cancer. It was recorded at the Hope Unlimited Church, were both she and her husband are pastors. The theme of the album is a call to all, to go out and share the gospel to a waiting world. With almost all the tracks lasting for more than 6 minutes, listening is a worship experience. As you would expect, Darlene has gathered well known songwriters like Martin Smith and Paul Baloche to co-write songs, as well as members of her own church. The result is a typical Darlene Zschech album, full of big production numbers and vocals that soar in praise of God. “You Are Great” is a strong ballad that opens the track listing. Then, comes, “You Will Be Praised.” I took an instant like to this one, as it’s chorus really draws you in to worship. Once or twice, I felt that the longer songs got quite repetitive. For instance, nearly 3 minutes of the title “Kingdom Come” being repeated just became purely irritating. The simplicity of “Emmanuel” comes as welcome relief to the fuller sound of most songs. The piano and choir backing are perfect for Darlene’s delivery. If you’re a fan of Darlene, you won’t be disappointed with this recording. 8/10. (July 2017)
THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA : Soul Food. (Plankton : PCDN170)
The Darn Funk Orchestra began in 2006 as both a band and music project, the brainchild of drummer James Darn. Honing their live skills with both cover and original material, the band quickly gained popularity around the country. This debut album sees lyrics inspired by experiences and observations of life, their musical heroes and also by the Lord Almighty Himself. Style wise, this funky outfit are more Jamiroquai than Kool and the Gang, giving the overall sound an edgy feel. From the opening “Salvation Shoes” the musicianship is first class, and Darn’s vocals almost fit crooner in description. After putting Psalms 1 & 11 to music, “Island” sees the band almost in prayer, petitioning the Lord to show himself to the world and giving a sign that He’s real. The title track is a tongue in cheek nudge to preachers of all denominations that the words they speak should be food for the soul, and to choose their words carefully. The band’s sound is solid throughout, although I sometimes found the ad-lib of the trumpet solo’s to be quite distracting. “Grace” almost takes you back to 40’s swing and lounge music, with some excellent piano playing and sympathetic brass. I loved the melodic sound to “Postcard”. It has to be my favourite track on the album, where I think that Darn’s vocals are at their best. “Psalm 6” gets a messy production that left me quite bewildered, as did the closing “The Way of the Sluggard”. Neither really did anything for me. On the other hand, the message of “What the People Say” really comes across well, with a simply wicked tune. Overall, it’s an interesting debut and one that should make radio stations sit up and take note. 8/10. (March 2016)
DARWIN HOBBS : Free. (Tyscot : TYS984169-2)
This is Darwin's 5th release, although his first on the Tyscot label. He's well known in the USA CCM circles, and has provided backing vocals for the likes of Michael W Smith and Donnie McClurkin. The title of this new release is a very personal thing to Darwin, who recently confessed of the sexual abuse he received as a child. He says, "This album is to date, the absolute depiction of who I am as an artist, worshipper and a human being. It's the first album I've recorded as a free man." With that in mind it is no wonder, then, that the title track is sung with gusto. Darwin's voice is strong and powerful throughout the album, which lends itself to a little helping of soul, to add to it's gospel roots. His backing singers do their job well, and while Darwin goes a little over the top on 'The Name of the Lord', they are well matched. I couldn't help but find myself worshipping along with tracks like 'Crosswalk' and 'He's Able', and was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. 8/10 (July 2009)
DARYL BOYER : The Cleansing. (www.darylboyer.com)
Daryl is the Worship Director and Youth Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Seaville, USA. He also heads up his own ministry and says; "Worship music is one of the tools that God has given us to connect with Him deeply. Worship goes far deeper than the song we sing, it is about what we do with Christ in our daily lives. Our ministry here is about bringing the power of God's restorative cleansing power." This ten track album begins with the great single release “King Jesus.” From the bright opening guitar sounds, you know that this is a special song. The music just flows, majestically, with a country rock influence. “Looking Down” gets a little heavier in style as it progresses, while “Breathe on Me” benefits from some excellent guitar riffs and solos. Indeed, those riffs and solos soon become a trademark of Daryl’s overall sound. “Jesus we lift your name on high, raising our hands up to testify” that “You Are King.” It’s pop worship at its best and worthy of repeated plays. Mid album, things slow down a little with the title track which tells how God purifies your soul and how you can accept who He called you to be. “Holy Fire” is a fine ballad, while “Walk By Faith” came over as my favourite track. It’s radio friendly and what I’d class as a great song to drive to on the open roads. Daryl may not be a household name, here in the UK, but this album showcases one of America’s emerging talents. 9/10. (May 2016)
DAUGHTERS OF DAVIS : To the Water. (www.daughtersofdavis.co.uk)
Described by many as a folk/soul duo, sisters Adrienne and Fern Davis have released their debut album, with the help of Sheffield’s Resound Media. Relying on harmonies in most of the songs, the vocals do, sometimes, get a little lost within each other, making it difficult to understand the lyrics. For me, it took a few listens before I really became attuned to the overall sound as, at first, it left me totally cold. However, once I did become acclimatized, tracks like ‘Promise Me’ and ‘When I Wait on You’ raised my feelings towards the sound. ‘Heart Locked Up’ gets a rocky feeling, while ‘Lucky One’ bears more than a passing resemblance to the Beautiful South’s ‘Rotterdam’. One annoying factor on this album is the sound of the drums. They sound flat, as if they were possibly recorded in a live setting rather than a studio. I may be quite wrong there, but they did stick out like a sore thumb. As for the girls themselves, they get a lot of good press for their concerts and, perhaps, that’s were their immediate future lies. On this outing, this recording doesn’t do that good press any favours. 4/10. (November 2013)
DAUGHTERS OF DAVIS : British Soul. (www.daughtersofdavis.com)
I think that I was one of the few people in the media, not to like these sister’s debut release last year. Sorry girls. The duo have been touring Europe with Rebecca Ferguson and Eels, and tour tirelessly in their motorhome. Thankfuly, the new release is so much better than its predecessor, and that includes a brighter, cleaner production, too. ‘British Soul’ instantly shows how well the girls’ vocals work together, with some great harmonies. On ‘Is It For Me?’ there’s even a slight comparison to Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie on a sound that could well have been a Fleetwood Mac song. The album blends soul, country, and gospel, and sometimes, I feel that they try and fit too many styles into one song. Both ‘The Trade’ and ‘Bathsheba’ would fall into that category. The single, ‘Catch Me If You Can’ tells of sibling rivalry, while ‘Footsteps’ puts that well known prayer about Jesus carrying you, into song. For me, it’s the most powerful track on the album. Vocally, Fern and Adrienne are at their best, and the song flows effortlessly. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard different versions of ‘Amazing Grace’ over the years, but I’ve certainly never heard it done like this! A really interesting, soulful interpretation, and one that deserves a lot of airplay. From listening to this album, it’s obvious that DOD are not just resting on their laurels. It’s a more mature sound this time round and gets my approval. 8/10. (September 2014)
DAVE BAINBRIDGE, DAVID FITZGERALD with DAVID ADAM : The Eye of the Eagle. (Kingsway : KMCD2152).
Modern day Celtic writer, David Adams wrote the meditational book on the hymn 'Be Thou My Vision'. These writings have inspired Bainbridge & Fitzgerald to create a whole album of ambient music to accompany both Adam's reading, and Mairre Brennan's occasional vocals. While a recent reviewer of this album wrote that the music both "stirred" him and "moved me to tears", I can only confirm the latter. However, in my case the tears were caused by the sheer numbness I felt whilst listening to this multitude of whining Celtic instruments. Not even the fair maiden, Brennan, could lift or inspire my spirits to listen to it all again. Enjoyable? No. Meditational? Does falling asleep count? 2/10. (January 1999)
DAVE BILBROUGH : All Hail the Lamb - New Heart. (Kingsway: KMCD2379)
With song writing credits such as "I Am A New Creation", "Shout for Joy and Sing", and "So Freely", Dave Bilbrough is almost a national institution in British CCM. This double Cd brings together two of his solo projects and includes those aforementioned tracks on the former. Also included is the jolly, folky sounding "How Wonderful" that gets the album off to a happy sort of start. "All Hail the Lamb" is another well known track that gets the full songwriter treatment, resulting in pure worship. The second album contains tracks written, mostly, some 12 years after the first and lacks the same intimacy. "The Day of the Streams" gets your feet tapping but "We're Moving On" fails to reach similar heights. Indeed, most of the second Cd is instantly forgettable. There just isn't the same quality there, and the songs are quite poor. 5/10. (May 2002)
DAVE BILBROUGH : Everybodysing. (Kingsway : KMCD2421)
For more than 20 years Dave Bilbrough has ministered through music and, in that time, has recorded 16 albums. His brand new live release features 14 songs that draw on some diverse musical influences. For instance, there's the Celtic feel of "This is Jesus", and the African rhythms of "Jesus Christ", both songs of great excellence. "Yours is the Kingdom" is a typical uptempo praise song, from the man who has given us so many well known songs over the years. "Again and Again" plods along quite nicely, and "Draw Me Again" is just full of worship. That's the good stuff out of the way. Unfortunately, there's a few songs that I didn't enjoy, such as the title track and "One Heart". But, it's hard to please everyone all of the time isn't it? 7/10. (February 2003)
DAVE CLEMO : Shine For you. (CD from: www.daveclemo.co.uk)
I've known ex-patriate Cornishman Dave Clemo for about 10 years, and in that time he's embraced a number of musical styles. For a long time he was known as The Kettering Cowboy, due to his preference for country music, but in his time he's been a Sixties popster, a rock 'n' roll revivalist, and a praise & worship leader, as well as retaining a toehold in country music. This latest release, which is by my reckoning his eighth since his debut in 1993, has elements of all of those styles, and apart from the opening sing-a-long hoe-down version of 'Amazing Grace', it's all his own work, in songwriting, production and arrangements. So 'Jesus Is My Rock' has a Bo Diddley beat, 'Reputation None' is country blues-rock in a minor key, and 'Love God, Hate Sin' is (in Dave's own words) "a bit of a rant", with horns and twangy guitars. Not that this is all uptempo stuff; "You Are Mine" is easy listening pop music with a gentle beat to go with the poetry of the lyrics. At times Dave's voice betrays the passage of anno domini by being a tad wobbly and a little off key, but I still think that this is an enjoyable listen, and that Dave's Servant Heart Ministries is an organisation worthy of your support. 7/10 Trevor Kirk (October 2005)
DAVE CLIFTON : Seeds of Hope & Love. Integrity : LRMCD07)
The accompanying press release says that this album is "an inspirational mix of original sacred songs." And, I've got to say, that sums things up quite nicely. From the first song, "Saviour", I thought how nice it was to hear an emphasis on the worship rather than it being performance orientated. The tunes are simple, uncomplicated pieces of music, with thoughtful words, woven within. Despite our own failings, we are grateful that God still loves us, and this is the theme of the relaxing song, "I Believe". Dave plays guitars on the album , but also adds some very nice mandolin on "There is a Green Hill". "This is Love" shows just what God's love is all about, while "Ever Faithful God" needs no explanation. Most of the songs come across as being very intimate, and I felt that Dave's lyrics worked really well throughout. Living for God is a wonderful thing, and this collection of songs are a celebration of just that. 9/10. (October 2006)
DAVE CLIFTON : Old Sea Road.   (www.littleroom.com)
For those of you who haven’t come across Dave’s music before, then, his Little Room Music company have been recording and publishing for nearly twenty years. His own music pedigree has seen him tour with the likes of Bob Geldof, Suzanne Vega, and Clannad, amongst others. This latest 5 track EP is clear of any electronic loops or samples and features the musical sounds of mandolin, guitar, violin, and whistles. ‘Old Sea Road’ is written about a traditional music pub that he and co-writer Phil Baggaley visited in Ireland. Dave’s voice is very warm and reminded me of 90’s Leeds based artist, Joe King. It’sa really nice song, and one that I enjoyed listening to. ‘21st Century Song’ looks at our busy lives and how we not only fail to make time for God, but our family as well. The overall sound of each song is crisp and clear, while you just can’t help loving Dave’s vocal tones. ‘The Water Is Wide’ is a wistful love song, while the closing ‘Welcome Home’ sees David Fitzgerald’s whistle accompanying Dave’s mandolin on a short but enjoyable celtic jig. The download version from the website is for sale at a “name your price” option, and that’s a bargain!   8/10. (November 2012)
DAVE DEEKS : Walk With the One. (CD £10/ Cass £8 from: LJMM, 13 Pentland Grove, West Moor, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 7YN).
Nine years since his last album, singer songwriter, Dave Deeks returns to the CCM scene with an album that is very much the creation of his son, Mark. For, he selected the songs, produced them, played most of the instruments and even found time to lend a hand with the backing vocals. What happens is that you can spot Dad's 60/70's influences in the basic song, but with son's 90's interpretation. The result is mixed. Songs like the strong opener, "Such Love Amazes Me" is a choppy affair that is carried along by some simple, yet effective, guitar playing. "Free For All" sees Dave almost talking the words to an accompaniment of more good guitar work and fx. And so the album continues in positive vain with songs like the catchy "Man Without A Reason" and the title track. It's around here that things get a bit messy, with too many ideas complicating the overall sound. "A Christian Isn't" being a prime example as the vocals fight against the swirling guitars. The writing itself is very good, with Dave writing an honest chronicle of the ups and downs of life. Ending with the folk meets pop "My Hope…" the album improves with play and has currently risen to…..8/10. (November 1999)
DAVE DEEKS : Bridge. (www.davedeeks.com)
With songs based on Biblical truths as well as from his own walk with God, Newcastle's Dave Deeks has released, what I believe to be, a meditational, easy listening collection of songs. In some respects, they remind me of an early Michael Card album, but Dave has honed his own style, over the years. The title track depicts Jesus as a bridge on which to stand firm, and has some good keyboard sounds to accompany. Thinking and contemplating on God's word, seems to be the focus of 'Whatsover Things', and is one of the strongest tracks. Like many before him, Dave puts his own twist on 'Psalm 23', but the gloomy organ sound left me rather cold on this one. Happily, the mood changes for the shuffling 'The Fight's Been Won', where trusting in God is the backbone of the song. I found the album easy to listen to, and was able to digest the words fairly quickly too - always a plus point! The music is uncomplicated, but well produced, and Dave has done well to gather such talented musicians around him. With themes such as 'running the race that is life' and 'creation', he pulls no punches, and "tells it like it is". I thoroughly enjoyed 'Four Walls', 'Big Big God' and the engaging 'My Peace', while the blues groove of 'Pots of Clay' didn't quite work. However, Dave lovingly brings the album to a close with his very personal love song to Christ, backed by a simple piano. It's crisp, clean, and very moving. All in all, it's another example of the wealth of unsigned talent in the world of UK CCM. 8/10 (December 2008)
DAVE GODFREY : Heaven's No.1. (ICC:ICCD52430
Dave lives in York and is employed by the York Schools & Youth Trust. He helps to lead assemblies, RE lessons and takes the word of God into the schools of York. His other work includes running Scripture Union Holiday's for 7-11 year olds so, you can see, he's a man with the Lord firmly at the centre of his life. This CD, then, takes some of the songs from his work and makes them available for others in similar posts to use, as well as for the children to enjoy. Well, as I work with 11-16 year olds I thought that I would still find some of the music useful. "Joy in the House" is an 80's synth-based number, where Dave invites you to "jump, wave, bounce, slide…" enough said? "Ace Foundations" simply says you must build your life on Jesus, and the country style is quite good. Then came the bitter blow. I couldn't believe it, "The Pirate Song". I never thought I would hear anything so awful. Two voices pretending to be pirates but sounding, to those of us old enough to remember, The Wurzles' "Combine Harvester". It was so bad that I had to play it to several people and ask "Is it me?". Unfortunately, there was more of the same to come in "The Little Green Alien Song". Do you remember Keith Harris and that green duck, Orville? That's just what it sounds like. Ten or more years ago this stuff might have been what kids would listen to, but not now. Obviously, Dave and his ministry must be reaching out in live situations, where action songs like "Your Love" can be seen, but the CD just doesn't work. "Pausing" and "Deep" save it from being awarded one for effort. 2/10. (June 2001)
DAVE GODFREY : Dependence Day. (ICC : ICCD72030)
"Oh no", I cried on receiving this CD to review, "my worst nightmare". Why? Well, I didn't exactly enjoy Dave's last children's offering "Heaven's No.1", and I felt that this might be more of the same. In fact, when the first couple of tracks played, I was convinced of this. Try singing "All scripture is God breathed, 2 Tim Chapter 3, 16". Know what I mean? Then, there's the Elvis impression for "Go", sung in a typical 60's rock n' roll fashion. Ah well, it could only get better. And, to my surprise, it did. Starting with the all action, all singing song "Knock!", the whole Cd really does take off. And despite the fact that "I Love Ya" lends a lot to The Wurzles again, it's a terrific song for kids. "Worship Song" is almost a lullaby and very well produced, and "On the Day of Pentecost" shows Dave, himself, in top form. Pick of the bunch? Perhaps "Superhero", where Dave says "never mind the superpowers of fictitious hero's like Superman, how would you like the spiritual powers of Jesus that are free to all?". And if all this is not enough, there's all the backing tracks provided on a 2nd CD. Well done Dave. 7/10. (June 2003)
DAVE GODFREY : Holy Washing Machine. (ICC : ICC0814D)
After last month's brilliant Hillsongs album for young people, we get back to some typical British praise songs for, what I guess to be, the 4-8 year age range. I say that, because for anyone older than 8 years, the songs' content and make up are just so condescending, on the whole. "When Peter Preached" is a guitar based opener that tickles the old cringe-ometer very early on, and then goes way over the top at the end of each chorus when Dave shouts "Acts 2, 37 to 39, yeah". He's used the same format in the past, and this album is no different, with songs like "The Promise" and "Wrong Way" following similar patterns. In fact, the latter is so awful and is taken to it's lowest level by the so-called "comic voices" that are used. "In the Beginning" is a much better song. It has a catchy chorus, an uptempo beat, as does the smashing title track. Sad to say that these are the jewels in an otherwise rusty box of tricks. 3/10. (June 2005)
DAVE GRIFFITHS : Here and Now. (https://davegriffiths.bandcamp.com/album/here-now)
Here and Now is the debut solo album from ex Bosh frontman, Dave Griffiths. This 11 track offering is an independent release but features some well-known musicians in Christian circles such as Marc James, Ian Yates and three ex-members of [Dweeb]. The Bournemouth based musician is no stranger to working with distinguished names – supporting Martin Smith on tour with Chaos Curb Collaboration being once recent example – and as a result, even though this is an independent release, there is a polish and professionalism more associated with a label release. It’s a strongly guitar oriented album, which will always provide an album with few brownie points in my book, and overall has an uptempo feel – another tick in the box from me. The eponymous opener “Here and Now” and penultimate “Wild Like Children” both aptly demonstrate the aforementioned sound and feel. There is some variety, both in style and content; “10 Years” is more acoustic driven and, rather than being an out and out worship song, is a song about his marriage. I do like it when Christians are able to step out of the worship box and tell stories in their songs, or celebrate the various facets of life. Overall, this is a good album, though, for some reason I cannot establish, it didn’t quite grab in such a way as I wanted to keep playing it. I’m not sure why because all the ingredients are there and I can’t really find fault. However, it doesn’t feel formulaic and it has enough about it to commend it, so definitely one to check out. 8/10 Robin Thompson. (March 2016)
DAVE LUBBEN : A Place Called Surrender. (Vertical Music : 26642)
Now this is what live worship albums should be about. There is nothing earth-shatteringly original here - the mixture of acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards and harmony voices will be familiar to anyone who has ever listened to Matt Redman or Delirious - but the energy and sense of simple joy and wonder in the presence of God just flows from every track. Yup, even the slower ones! All 10 songs have something to recommend them, but my personal favourites are the opener "Lord Most High", and the two closers "King of Nations" and "You Reign", which cleverly and seamlessly interweaves the traditional hymn "Crown Him with Many Crowns" - all three of which will have you singing along at the top of your lungs in no time. A truly worshipful experience. On top of that, the arrangements and musicianship are top class, and all producers of live worship albums should be forced to listen to it as a demonstration of just how good they can sound when they put their minds to it. The inclusion of full chord charts for every song is an added bonus. If you are at all interested in contemporary worship music, you owe it to yourself to at least check this album out. It is ... in a word ... terrific. (never thought I'd give one, but) 10/10 David Cooper (March 2005, Album of the Month)
DAVE WUYTS : Clean. (CD £12.50 from Dave Wuyts, Kingsland Church Office, 2, London Road, Lexden, Colchester, Essex, CO3 4DE).
Dave Wuyts, and his musical colleagues, are based in Colchester, Essex, where he co-leader of the Gosbecks congregation, which is part of Kingsland Church. We have a real vision for unity and the coming together of Christians to worship and pray for their towns and cities. To this end, then, Dave has written 11 songs in typical praise and worship style. Brownie point straight away to Dave because he recorded at Appletree Studios, where Phil Goss' expertise and advice can really polish up any rough edges there may be. Unless you're blessed with a really good studio yourself, paying that little extra can make all the difference. The songs here are simple in format and are formed around passages and stories from the Bible. The Psalms, are behind the opening track "Under the Shadow", and speaks of refuge and safety under God's wings. "Jesus You're My All in All" is acoustic led that features some nice harmonies, as well as putting Sarah Greenwood's flute/recorder playing to good use. My favourite track is "Awesome God", where Dave finally seems to let himself go a bit and the vocals have a little more edge than some other songs. Good guitar work from the aforementioned Mr Goss, makes this the prime track. Solid start from Dave Wuyts, who should be greatly encouraged by this offering. 6/10. (November 2002)
DAVID BALOCHE : Labyrinth. (Integrity)
The son of worship leader/songwriter Paul Baloche, New York-based David is a high school teacher as well as talented multi-instrumentalist - contributing piano, acoustic guitar, clarinet and trumpet on his first solo release featured here, with dad as executive producer. Described as an 'ambient post-rock' exploration of a range of scriptures, it is intended to be the first in a series - the ten tracks here focusing on anxiety and stress. I personally enjoy a wide range of music and as a reviewer always try to strike a balance between personal tastes and the tastes of those to whom I feel a release is targetted - but rarely have I found it so difficult as with this example. Positives? The scriptures are certainly well selected for those experiencing anxiety and/or stress e.g. 'Nothing can separate us from God's love', 'Lead me to the Rock', 'The peace of God' etc. Scripture references are usefully given for each track, and David's diction is clear so that every word can be heard. His voice seems to lack emotion/conviction however, sounding 'deadpan', bored. The tracks are all of a similar tempo, so the album lacks variety in this respect. The sounds seem in many instances to get in the way of the message, and I found some of them 'unpleasant'. The piano tends to sound as though the sustain pedal is permanently pressed. I began to skip some tracks part-way through because they were becoming literally headache inducing, including track 5 'Those who hope' which features a long drone that runs through the song. As I type, track 8 'As a father carries his son' is playing and I am finding the 'sawtooth' sounds painful to listen to. Whilst this release simply isn't for me therefore, I must acknowledge that it has had good reviews elsewhere - so how to rate it? For the well selected scriptures and the fact that, without the music playing, I enjoyed a personal Bible study based on them(!), 10/10. As an overall listening experience however, apart from a nod to track 6 'Lead me to the Rock' as my one standout, I can only scrape 4/10. Dave Deeks. (May 2017)
DAVID BRITTON : Christmas. (Shadowlands Music)
Christmas, which released digitally last year, showcases the unique ability of the classically trained David Britton, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with opera companies around the world, to effortlessly merge his diverse influences. Indeed, listening to this album, it manifested a warm glow inside of me, focussing once more on the birth of our Saviour. In typical crooner style, David beings with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and later repeats the sound on “The Christmas Song”. “Joy to the World” gets a nice uptempo treatment, but it’s “Angels We Have Heard On High” that pops up trumps for me. I, simply, loved this version and it was a real highlight. The original song “Whispers” is ballad that was co-written by Britton and Billy Smiley. There’s lovely lyrics, including those about Jesus; “He became a man who bleeds and hurts, and gave away His throne to set them (us) free”. Other Christmas standards that are featured are “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, the gentle “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, and a big production of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. Closing the album is a beautiful duet with Out of the Grey’s Christine Dente, on another new song called “Sing Noel”. Throughout, Britton’s vocals never falter and he seems to effortlessly guide us, song by song, into the Christmas spirit. This group of songs would be a welcome addition to your Christmas collection, and introduce you and your friends to the voice that is, David Britton. 8/10. (November 2015)
DAVID CHILDS : New Song. Childs (www.davidchilds.com)
"Featuring all original, acoustic guitar-led worship songs framed in a modern production style, 'New Song' bridges the gap between the organic and the cutting-edge." A quote on the home page of David's web site, and I don't think I could have put it better myself. David hails from New Jersey, he writes all his own material, and it's soundly Scripture-based and reassuringly vertical; check out his web site for the sound clips, and you'll hear what I mean. 'Eagle Song' was the track that hit me hardest at first listen, with its catchy chug-along rhythm and lyrics inspired by Isaiah 40: 'I will run, and I will not grow faint, awaiting you Lord as you renew my strength.' 'Luke 12' uses Jesus' words that rebuke us for our lack of faith in God's ability to take care of us ('If the Lord takes care of these, there is nothing for me to fear, for he has called me his child'), and 'Psalm 103' is straight ahead praise ('Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all he's done'). Stir in good production and musicians, and we have another thoroughly competent US independent release that deserves to shift a few. 8/10 Trevor Kirk (February 2006)
DAVID CROWDER BAND : Can You Hear Us (Sixsteprecords)
The sleeve notes for this CD compare David Crowder to Rich Mullens, and John Michael Talbot - two artists that I'm not too familiar with. In places the vocals reminded me of Delirious, around their King of Fools period but, to be honest, I couldn't really think of any other band that I could compare them to. That's not a criticism, it's good to find somebody these days with their own sound. The only tracks that I am familiar with are a cover of Matt Redman's "Undignified" which I thought was the best track on the album, and the hymn "AlI Creatures of our God and King". There are no songwriting credits, so it's anybody's guess who wrote the rest of the tracks. All in all though, I found this to be a strange CD. The individual tracks were all very good on their own, but by about two thirds of the way through I found the album a bit tiring. The arrangements seemed to be a bit too complicated. With too much going on in the background on most of the tracks, I found that the backing kept distracting me from the vocals which made listening to the whole thing fairly hard. It's a shame really because the singer has quite a good voice, and you can tell that a lot of hard work has gone into this CD. As seems to be the fashion these days there is a three minute gap between the last two tracks, which is fairly annoying if you like to play CD's in Shuffle mode. It's the production/engineering that lets it down rather than the band themselves, who are obviously a talented bunch. David is the Music and Arts pastor at the University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, so I would guess that this CD is aimed more at the American market, where according to the sleeve notes David has a large and growing audience. This is his debut CD, and I think it would be fair to say that it will go down quite well over there, but I just can't really see listeners in this country buying too many copies. 6/10 Andy Sayner. (March 2002)
DAVID CROWDER BAND : Give Us Rest.
CD 1 opens with some downbeat piano yet uplifting vocals. The “goth elements” I’d heard about turned out to be more “Gothic” than “1980s”, and related more to some of the vocal chants in the background. Unless you’ve been hiding for the last twelve years (or are new to the scene) you’ll know how the band sounds. Suffice to say that the intricate arpeggiated musical patterns of “Come Find Me”, the driving guitars of “Let Me Feel You Shine”, the ‘grabs you and pulls you in’ of “Blessedness Of Everlasting Light’, the genius of “The Sequence”, the worship of “There Is A Sound” and the uplifting joy of “A Return” all show that this is a band leaving at the top of their game. Subtitled “A Requiem Mass in C (the Happiest of All Keys)” the lyrics do tend towards the liturgical (especially “God Have Mercy”) although I can’t see many Church choirs managing to tackle them successfully. The songs therefore follow a well-defined route thematically, but always with the underlying truth: no matter how close to the edge we may sail (and even over it) God can bring us back. The cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me?” sits OK here, but isn’t really as good as the one Cliff posted on “Small Corners”, although it does have more longing in it. “The Sequence” is just superb, comprising seven short tracks of which the Muse-like 1, 2 and 5 are brilliant. If the whole album just consisted of these seven tracks it’d be 10 out of 10, no problem. The others are very good, but just don’t quite live up to this standard with a couple of lone acoustic numbers particularly to blame. CD2 kicks off in joyful style, the country-rock tinged “I am a Seed” setting the tone that continues to the end, only dropping slightly for the final track. Brilliant. It’s a shame there’s none more to come from this band but at least they’ve finished with a flourish. Like leaving your best song to close the set, they’ve possibly left their best CD for the end. Best tracks: Sequence 1 and Sequence 2. 9/10 Paul Ganney. (March 2012)
DAVID CROWDER BAND : Church Music. (Survivor : SURCD5162)
GMA Dove winners and former MSN "Artist of the Year" David Crowder Band, release their fifth studio album. Aptly titled, the band hopes their self-produced recording will prompt listeners to recognise the continual development of music within the church. The CD is packed with 17 songs and I've got to say that some of the tracks remind me very much of The Newsboys. 'Alleluia Sing' is almost rock praise, while 'The Nearness' is more aggressive in style, as it tells of redemption. There's some great guitars playing on 'Eastern Hymn', and the song fair races along. I've not been the biggest David Crowder fan in the past, but by halfway, the tracks on this album were beginning to change my mind. 'We Are Loved' is one of those songs that you just don't want to end and, indeed, I immediately played it again when it did!' All Around Me' became rather melancholy, while the electro funk of the title track was annoying and repetitive. But, those were just minor moans, and instantly forgotten as 'Oh, Happiness' drifted from the speakers with it's pop, radio friendly sound. Certainly, this could be the band's best album so far. 9/10 (February 2010)
DAVID FITZGERALD : Breath of Heaven. (ICC: ICCD54430).
Inspired by the belief that where words fail, often it is music that speaks, it's David's belief that this album reinvigorates songs originally conceived out of heartfelt and often exhilarating responses to God's Spirit. Including contributions from Joanne Hogg, Adrian Snell, as well as others, Fitzgerald uses all of his many instrumental talents to present this album, which has taken over four years to make, and consists of well known tunes such as "Dear Lord & Father of Mankind" and "Hear O Isreal". Pipes, saxophones, whistles and more, are all used in this meditational styled album which, perhaps, lacks a little in variation from start to finish. Some songs work very well, such as the carefully crafted "Here I Stand", while Kendrick's "What Grace" sounds decidedly lame. I enjoyed the album mostly as background music while working, as it gave a very relaxing feel to the air. One for the connoisseurs I think. 7/10. (October 2001)
DAVID FITZGERALD : God is Love. (ICC : ICCD79630)
Beginning his musical life in the Royal Marines, David Fitzgerald's first claim to CCM fame was in 1989 as the founding member of 'Iona'. He now pursues other interests, including solo projects like this one, his fourth. For those unfamiliar with David's work it should be emphasised that he is not a singer but an instrumentalist - playing saxophones, flutes, whistles and woodwind on this album. Some of the tracks have no clearly definable 'structure', being more of the 'ambient' type. I prefer a track to fairly obviously 'go' somewhere. Those that do so most successfully are 'Agnus Dei', 'No Scenes of Stately Majesty', 'There is a Green Hill' (no, not that tune - a new one!), 'I Could Sing of Your Love Forever' and best of all the gorgeous Chris Eaton composition 'God So Loved'. Whilst there is an attempt to compensate for the lack of vocalists by including the lyrics for each 'song', these don't really work for singing along to the music, as most of the tracks are too 'arranged' for this. Beautiful playing and production however, and probably most appropriate as background music at Christian house parties. For these occasions worth … 8/10 Dave Deeks (June 2004)
DAVID LYLE MORRIS : King of the Ages. (Kingsway : KMCD2263)
David Lyle morris is one of those gifted worship leaders who quietly go about their ministry with the least amount of fuss. And, by that rule of thumb, his music, therefore, sometimes drifts by without a second thought from the listener. However, this album should change all that and give David the praise that his music deserves. To get the one negative point out of the way, the music doesn't quite have that power that is always so evident with the likes of Hillsongs. There again, the collection of songs, here, still does manage to convey a blend of songs old and new. "Love, Joy, Peace" has a calypso feel that will warm the coldest of spirits. It's followed by a great version of the classic hymn "Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer". "His Name, His Name" is, perhaps, the most worshipful song on show but the collection, as a whole, will delight many. 8/10. (August 2000)
DAVID LYON : Faithful. (www.davidlyonmusic.com)
David Lyon is a songwriter, co-producer, arranger and collaborator, and has worked with numerous musicians in his native Scotland. I believe that this is his 5th album, although it’s the first that I have heard. ‘We Fix Our Eyes on You’ is a nice start to the album, worshipping God. It’s a theme that is constant throughout the track listing, and should come as no surprise. ‘Distant No Longer’ is more prayerful, and very easy on the ears. For most part, the style of these songs are easy listening, with a contemporary sound. The title track is one of real beauty. Here, his wife, Yvonne takes over the vocal lead, and what a lovely voice she has too! There’s also some nice orchestral string sounds, that add class to the final production. ‘You See Beautiful’ has Yvonne singing again, and it’s another, really strong song. That’s not to say that David’s vocals aren’t good. He carries a tune very well, especially on the Stuart Townend, celtic inspired ‘Rejoice’. This is one of those albums that comes along from time to time, and takes a few listens to really appreciate. I certainly enjoyed it more on this basis. Frank Van Essen provides some breath-taking violin accompaniment on ‘By Your Spirit’, and ‘God Most High’ deserves a mention for the way you instantly want to sing along with it. Negative points? Not really any, except that the closing ‘Hallelujah’ doesn’t really work. It’s a spontaneous reprise of part of the third track, and I think that it would benefit from a live setting, rather than on studio album. Perhaps I’m just been picky? 9/10 (March 2013)
DAVID LYON : The Hands That Learn to Give. (www.davidlyonmusic.com)
David is one of those independent worship leaders and songwriters that make reviewing albums such a joy. Why not one of the major Christian labels haven’t picked up his music, I don’t know. Sharing the vocals with his wife Yvonne, David brings to the table twelve new songs of praise and worship. From the bright opening to “Higher Ground”, the song sets the standard for the rest of the album. The song itself is engaging and there’s a really nice, reflective break mid-way through. “I Will Hope” gets the Celtic treatment, complete with excellent fiddle playing from Seonaid Aitken. Yvonne’s first lead vocal comes on “Beloved and Frend,” as the song swings along with a great melody. “Exalt the Lord Our God” and “Lord of This Hurried Heart” are both gentler in sound but perfect for quieter praise and worship. I especially liked the fiddle and cello contributions, too. “Lord in your presence we bow, “ sings Yvonne on “All For You” – another song of great content. There’s a foot tapping folk feel to “You Make Us One”, while the uptempo beat of “Holy” races along. On this song, David’s vocals are superb, while the instrumental break between each verse are particularly enthralling. The album ends with one of the numerous duets, and sees David and his wife asking God to “[Lead us] As We Follow You.” A really excellent album, that sees David’s song writing and the production of Foundry Music Lab reach new heights. 10/10. (February 2017, Album of the Month)
DAVID OSTBY : Because of You: (Fierce : FIERCD52)
David Ostby is, according to the publicity that comes with this album, "Scandinavia's best loved worship leader", and this CD is released with the aim of bridging the gap between the church and the world. This is a collection of fairly mid tempo light rock / pop worship songs, all pretty uncomplicated and straightforward. The lyrics are all fairly light going, songs that anyone can relate to, but nothing too deep an meaningful. I'd have thought that most people would be able to listen to this without any problems. There's only seven tracks on this CD, so it doesn't last that long, and I'm pretty sure that it could have carried a couple more songs without becoming tedious. Nevertheless, this is a pleasant album all round, and worth a listen if you get the chance. 7/10 Andy Sayner. (April 2009)
DAVID PHELPS : Revelation. (Word : 08068867522)
David Phelps may be a new name to many of you, but this guy has already won many Dove & Grammy Awards, as part of the best selling vocal group, The Gaither Vocal Band. He's also sung at a host of Billy Graham Crusades, and is renowned for his powerful voice. This solo album sees him wrestle with a multiple of styles, and he wins with all hands down. The vocal power is obvious from the start as he launches with "Arms Open Wide", a simple song depicting how Jesus is waiting for us all. The title track is very clever and uses numerous styles and instrumentation to provide a tremendously inspiring number. On "Virtuoso", David suddenly decides he wants to do a dance track and, although you might think his vocals might not work on this type of song, he pulls it off magnificently. I didn't like his blues attempt of "Break Free", declaring how Jesus sets the prisoner's free, but I think that's more my personal dislike of the blues, rather than David singing badly. There's no wonder, people sing his praises, for David is one, big talent. 9/10. (August 2004)
DAVID PHELPS : Legacy of Love - Live. (Word : 886712 - CD & DVD)
In this DVD and CD package we are presented with a high energy live concert given by the golden voice of David Phelps. Both discs feature the same concert - the dvd includes the usual dvd 'extras', and some of the concert songs are missing from the CD. David has been on the CCM scene for some years now and reminds me of the late Keith Green - who in the early eighties so tragically lost his life in a plane crash, along with two of his three children, whilst at the top of his game performance-wise. Permed hair, beard, enthusiastic 'power tenor' delivery - take for instance the closing note of the ubiquitous but completely re-arranged "How Great Thou Art" - and all delivered with the same enthusiasm. This is a very slickly presented concert, with some great music, delivered by an able band of musicians and singers. Production of both music and visuals is excellent - I love the way the partitions open and close to reveal the choir as required! The stand-out track for me is the closer "End of the Beginning", but other very strong ones include "Virtuoso", "Arms Open Wide", and "Already There" and in the main this is a very enjoyable release. David's 'mini sermons' are a bit 'oversincere' for English tastes however, and the lowest point comes towards the end of the proceedings, as we reach the toe-curling "Star Spangled Banner" - although the American audience seems to love it. This brings the final score down to 8/10. Dave Deeks (April 2007)
DAVID RUIS : Every Move I Make. (Vineyard : 6012 1280312 2)
For the uninitiated, David Ruis is a powerful worship leader and songwriter, and this album features 11 of his best songs. I was going to bite my lip here but I can't. If these are 11 of his best, I'd hate to hear some of the bad ones! Now, before you stop reading, there are some great numbers here. Apart from the title track, the album's purple patch comes mid listing. "Sweet Mercies" and "Faithful" are tremendous worship songs and are in complete contrast to the awfulness that is "Rest in His Promise" and "Mercy is Falling". Indeed, there is no way I could "rest in His promise" whilst listening to this racket. The Arabic chanting within the latter is also very off putting, and is repeated with accompanying wailing on "Amen". I'm afraid David Ruis joins that list of worship leader's who 's solo albums just don't cut the mustard. 3/10. (November 2004)
DAVID SCOTT-MORGAN : Wall to Wall. (www.davescottmorgan.com)
David Scott-Morgan is a writer and rocker from Birmingham, England – a lover of many different styles of music and once part of the cosmic British band ELO. He’s released numerous recordings over the years, but this album is purely evangelistic. Style-wise, I kept been drawn back to Tom Petty, and maybe a touch of the Travelling Wilburys, thrown in for good measure. There’s a message in most songs relating to how God or/and Jesus can change your life. On the opening “It’s Alright” David says that you shouldn’t worry about anything because God loves you. It’s a quite infectious little tune and one that sticks around in your head, once you’ve heard it. There’s a dash of blues about “Numbers 23,” while “Jabez” contains an interesting mix, with acapella pieces breaking up the normal song structure. The best track has to be “No-One Else.” Once again, there’s a hint of blues behind the music, as the song chugs along at a nice pace. “Thank you,” sings David, “for what you’ve [God] done, for sending you’re only son.” I especially liked the guitar sound on this track, which plays some nice hooks. The title track left me a little flat, but the short interpretation of “Abide With Me” was very enjoyable. Vocally, David switches from smooth to a gravel tone delivery, depending on the song, and I much preferred the former. I’m not sure that I completely understood “Matthew 24” as I’ve always found it a very complex chapter of the Bible. The message I got from this song was that we should help each other and tell the world about Jesus. Acoustic guitars carry this song along, and runs “No-One Else” close as the best song on the album. Closing, David uses keyboards and vocal pads as a backdrop to a gentle song expressing “All True Love.” It’s an album that I enjoyed more with each listen, and David can be well pleased with this creditable release. 8/10. (August 2017)
DAVID WOODMAN : Audience of One. (Private CD release from: woodmanthax@aol.com)
It never ceases to amaze me how many talented guys there are out there who don't have big buck mega-deals with major labels, but who quietly go about their business of making music with little if any hype or razzamatazz. David is based at the Baptist Church in Heywood, Greater Manchester, and for many years has been an associate of a uniquely iconoclastic Messianic Lancastrian named Nick 'Breakspear' Jones; in fact, two of the songs on this CD first saw the light of day on the Breakspear album 'Is It Kosher?" The predominant style of this is up-front praise & worship, with acoustic guitar, drums, bass, keyboards and percussion, and wouldn't be out of place in any worship setting of whatever denomination. The songs tell you exactly what David's philosophy is - they're all vertical songs, addressing the Almighty directly (he is the 'Audience Of One' of the title), singing his praise ('Father We Praise You', 'I Will Sing Your Praises'), expressing thanksgiving ('Secure In Your Arms'), seeking peace ('This Poor Man'), forgiveness ('Have Mercy', 'All Things New'), and guidance ('Every Thought', 'Lead Me To Jesus'), and pleading for mercy for the nations ('Father We Cry To You'). A worthy release from a talented guy - well worth investigating. 9/10 Trevor Kirk (March 2005)
DAY OF FIRE : Day of Fire. (Essential Records)
Fans of Green Day and Nickleback will soon find that these 5 guys have a lot in common with their secular counterparts. Sound wise, they stand up with the best, with their crunching guitars, thumping beats and gravel filled vocals. On songs like "Through the Fire" and "Detainer", Day of Fire simply rock their way through from beginning to end. "Cornerstone" shows them in a milder mode, with some nice strings adding a good accompaniment. But, it's the rockier sounds that work the best and the band literally thunder their way through songs like "Time", "I Am the Door" and "To Fly". Not usually my taste in music, but I liked this a lot. 8/10 (February 2005)
DAY OF FIRE : Day of Fire. (Essential : 6107382)
Fans of hard metal music will enjoy this one. If the likes of Slipknot are to your taste, then I'd guess that Day of Fire will be worth a listen. Lead singer Joshua Brown's gravel toned vocals snarl their way through each song, accompanied by powerful guitars and drum beats. But, unlike some metal albums, you can actually hear what Joshua is singing. Within the songs are messages to the unchurched, to those who have yet to hear of God's word. "Detainer" tells of letting go of your past life and start anew with the Lord. "Time" rocks, and asks if you're wasting your life, while "Rain song" is a slightly more melodic number about God's rain of love for everyone. I can't say I enjoyed the album as much as, say, Building 429, but it's definitely worth a listen. 6/10. (April 2005)
dba : 'Bubble'. (Orange/Alliance).
Let me say straight away that this must be a contender for Album of the Year, let alone the month. Robbie Bronniman and Shaz Sparkes, together with producer Ray Goudie, produce the finest dance release that I have ever heard. As soon as I saw for the sleeve photograph, I hoped and prayed that the music would not be a disappointment, and my prayers were answered. 'Spiritual Woman' ( a possible single release) kicks things off with a 137bpm stomper, while 'Time' is more Human League than Phil Oakey himself. The old Aretha Franklin classic, 'I Say A Little Prayer' gets the 150bpm jungle treatment while 'Planet Love' and 'Reason Why' have 'class' written all over them. It's not all high energy, at 103bpm 'Kiss the Sky' is masterful. This puts lots of chart stuff to shame and deserves to break into the secular market. Don't just sit there, buy it! 10/10. (August 1996, Album of the Month)
dba : Spectrum. (Dtox : 5028519025128)
Five years after their brilliant "Bubble" album, Shaz Sparks and Robbie Bronnimann return with a dance sound that is full of electronica, synths, and great dance beats. 80's pop star and, now, top producer Howard Jones lends a hand co-writing some of the songs but Bronnimann's skills and talents are there for all to see. For someone who usually cringes at the dance music of today, I especially liked the title track - it's exceptional in both quality and sound. Release now as a single - it would be a monster hit. "Oceans of Love" is actually a communion song about God's cup but is so catchy, that even non-Christians listening started to nodding in time with the beat. "When the Light Has Gone" is another star track but, then, most of them are. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself but I found one or two a little samey in sound - a sign of age maybe? There again, why do I like the rest of the album so much? My daughter is still listening to "Bubble", so this one is bound to have the same longevity. Highly recommended. 9/10. (June 2002)
DC TALK : Supernatural. (Forefront : 7243 8251952 2).
Three years after the amazing success of 'Jesus Freak' comes the follow up release from DC Talk. Never ones to compromise, they basically leave the winning formula of the previous album for a more guitar driven rock sound that really could be anyone. Here and there, the distinctive band sounds are still there but the overall sound is lost in a cacophony of grungy music in songs like 'It's Killing Me', and 'Consume Me'. It's track 5 'My Friend' that is the song to really bite, complete with a chorus that has had me singing it for days now. The single 'Into Jesus' was an obvious biggie and is supported well by the bouncy 'Since I Met You'. Beyond these few songs it's all a bit of a mess. I was expecting something better and I don't think that I'll be the only one to be disappointed with 'Supernatural'. 6/10. (December 1998)
DC TALK : Intermission. (Forefront : 7243 8252742 8)
In my years as a Christian, I've watched and listened as these three guys have literally ripped to shreds, the confines of religious music. Now, arguably, their best music is captured on one new album, presenting a momento for those who know them, and a gob-smacking introduction for those about to encounter DC Talk for the very first time. "Say the Words", "Coloured People", "Jesus Is Just Alright", "Between You And Me", are just the first, four tracks and they lay down the foundations of a really strong album. Of course, "Supernatural's" included, as is the awesome "Jesus Freak" - the latter still pumping adrenalin some 5 years after it's release. The album also charts the changes in musical style as we travel through indie, rap, metal, and even disco dance. Towards the end of this 19 track album, things get a little tiring but, by then, even the most hardened of hearts will have found plenty to feed upon. 9/10. (January 2001)
DC TALK: Jesus Freak (10th Anniversary Special Edition) - EMI FFD11571
The mid 1990s were a time when mediocrity & compromise reigned supreme in the Christian music scene, with next to nothing that could reach the church youth as it was so desperately un-cool! Changes were afoot when DC Talk released "Jesus Freak" in 1995 which seemed to act as a much needed wake-up call & catalyst for change. The question is now; will this 10th Anniversary special edition release still cut the mustard & have an impact? If you're a DC Talk virgin, you may find the mix of styles unusual. "So Help Me God" has a hint of Happy Mondays about it, "Jesus Freak" mixes a cracking rocky riff with essence of Nirvana & the relaxed "What If I Stumble" winds down the pace but still strikes a chord with lyrics that can touch a nerve, speaking of the times when we're all afraid of that step of faith outside out comfort zones. The tracks are interspersed with occasional abstract sound bites such as talking over a backing track from a studio neighbour & a truly awful reprise of "Jesus Freak" - certainly not there for the musical value, but listen to them & they are quite amusing! This being a special edition, there is a 2nd 14 track CD comprising a combination of remixed tracks & live versions plus 1 previously unreleased demo version of "Mind's Eye" - although this represents great value, I cannot honestly say any of them greatly added to the Jesus Freak listening experience. This is a CD that will doubtless end up in pride of place in the collections of most hardcore DC Talk fans, but for potential new converts, it's maybe not a combination that'll jump out & bite you on first listen. Give it a go though - it does grow on you. Worth listening to for the rocky riffs & the no-compromise lyrics alone. 6/10 Simon Redfern (July 2007)
DC TALK : Greatest Hits. (EMI : 94638 82542)
With over 7 million records sold world wide, and numerous Grammy and Dove Awards, DC Talk are rightly hailed as one of the biggest CCM groups of all time. Since the release of 'Intermission', the groups members have gone their separate ways, and various solo projects have been released. However, this new compilation gives chance for new fans to see just what all the fuss was about. There are 18 tracks featured and it kicks off with, for me, THE definitive DC Talk song. I remember watching in awe as I first saw the video to 'Jesus Freak'. Even now, some ten years on, it's raw, nerve jangling delivery still raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Another favourite is 'Coloured People', a lot smoother in delivery but just as infectious. There's other highlights such as 'Jesus Is Just Alright' and 'Between You and Me', but I found these to be a little bland compared to those which had gone before. 'In the Light' is a song I sang many times a few years ago, and it was nice to re-visit that one. If it's rock you want, then look no further than 'Supernatural' with it's storming guitar work. It's an album for new fans, I think, and I'm sure that they will embrace a band who were years ahead of the rest. 8/10. (October 2007)
DEBBIE SIMPSON : Richer in Faith. (CD : £10 from www.raindropsmusic.co.uk)
Debbie is currently training as a Methodist Minister and has just recovered from a long illness. The latter being the main reason why this debut CD has taken 13 months to record. The moment I heard the opening "Safe in His Arms" I knew that I was going to like it. It's great pop song that's well constructed and has some nice jangly guitar moments within. I can't say that Debbie has a particularly strong voice and that does show on the title track. However, she does use her vocals well and on songs like "Breathe on Me" and the 60's folk tinged "Stay Close to Me". One of my favourites on the album is "I Believe" that, although simply put together, has a terrific - almost 70's punk - chorus. Ably assisted by the likes of David Cooper, Dave Keagan, Mark Pierce, and Antoine Robinson, Debbie comes up with good first release that should see her make some waves in the mor market place. Not one for the teens, but there's plenty of us oldies around! 7/10. (December 2002)
DEBBIE SIMPSON : Set Me Free. (CD available from www.raindropmusic.co.uk)
Two years after her debut album, Hull based Debbie arrives with a 14 track offering that sees her mature as a writer and co-producer. "Set Me Free" opens the listing and it's simplicity is it's strength. Great keyboard work by Antoine Robinson, and the richness of Debbie's vocals, make for a perfect marriage and a wonderful result. "Be Still and Wait" is a moving little song, but the use of the flute does detract the listener somewhat. "Close to Your Eyes" is a carefully crafted worship song that I played again and again, such was it's beauty. From then on, the track listing goes a little more poppy. I found the production of "The Other Side of the Rainbow" a little messy, but songs such as "Jesus Sends His Angels" and "Safe in His Arms" shine out brightly. "You're All Around Me" has an infectious beat to it and the closing "Take Us Home" is very poignant. The lyrics all seem to gel together nicely and I think that Debbie has found a winning formula. With a live band to back her now, all that she needs are regular concerts to finely tune some of those rough edges. 8/10. (February 2005)
DEBBY BARNES : Lay Hold. (Private CD recording.
Here's something a little "off the wall", in the shape of an American born singer/songwriter, now residing in Oxfordshire. Debby Barnes seems to have got some very good media attention in the southern part of the UK but is, practically, unknown, north of the midlands. "Lay Hold" demonstrates some thoughtful lyric writing and combines it with various musical styles. The title track is very radio friendly and jogs along in a poppy sort of way. "You Are the Lord" then moves into blues, while "No-one Else Will Do" coasts along quite nicely, and could be one of those memorable tracks which visions one driving along the US highway, top down, and radio playing loud. Debby's got a little bit of the quirkiness of Julie Miller in her songs, but the vocals give more warmth, perhaps in the mould of Sarah Masen. "Just Move On" proves the point, I think, while we get a Latin feel to "Holy Ranger". From there, it's folk, for "Come And See", and back to blues for "Come Get the Love". The main distraction, I felt, was that Debby jumps from one style to another with out any great conviction. Even the beautiful, closing "Doxology" finds her in celtic mood - another style. For me, all that Debby lacks is the consistency that all the style changes fail to provide. Most songs are good but the blues just gave me the blues. Nevertheless, worth investigating. 7/10. (October 2001)
DEBBY BARNES : Messages. (www.debbybarnes.com)
7 years since I last reviewed this lady, Debby Barnes returns with an interesting musing called 'Messages'. Her website tells readers that her faith, amongst other things, has been tested and, maybe, this resulting release gives hope to all as she turns strong Biblical messages into a well crafted collection of songs. The celtic fiddle on 'Ever & Always' gives the opening song an Iona feel, but with Debby's edgy vocals. Based on a verse from Philippians, 'Maybe' tells how "we have shared together the blessings of God". 'Clinging to the Cross' is based around Psalm 36 and the mainly acoustic backing makes this a very poignant ditty. What makes Debby so individual is that I cannot think of another current artist who sounds like her. Years ago, a singer called Janis Ian might have given her a run for her money, but Debby has certainly moved on from the quirkiness of her Julie Miller days. 'Stay' is performed in a Latin style and I believe this to be the strongest track on the album. For me, there's just a slight blip on 'Only You' and 'Bleeding Heart'. The songs are quite similar but I personally thought that the brass sounds detracted from Debby's vocals. I guess, that in the main, her style is influenced by folk, but she adds enough twists in her music to make this album stand out from the norm. 9/10 (February 2009)
DECYFER DOWN : Scarecrow. (Fair Trade : Advance Release).
This is the band’s first release since 2009, and sees them lightening up a little since their previous grunge sound. Indeed, if I were to liken them to anyone, then The Blackout are the obvious choice. It’s still heavy rock, with searing guitars and heavy drum beats, providing the backdrop for TJ Harris’ vocals. ‘Westboro’ is a very political song. Apparently, the Westboro Baptist Church has been boycotting the funerals of soldiers, killed I action, and this song points the finger directly at them, asking why? ‘Worst Enemy’ is quite repetitive, both lyrically, and musically. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, with the things that we say and thins that we do. For those who still enjoy the thrill of a mosh pit, then ‘Say Hello’ is bound to please. Meanwhile, ‘Bleeding Lies’ plods along as Harris sings about the truth hurting, sometimes. The sound gets a little mushy at times, and I’m not sure if that’s down to the production or not. Harris’ vocals usually rise above the backing, but individual instruments all merge and become one. Guitar solo’s a few and far between, but on ‘The River’ the solo is quite a relief. Dedicated rock fans will embrace this offering, but it may leave others behind. 6/10. (November 2013)
DEE MOORE : Don't Wait. (CD Recording £5)
Dee has previously toured the UK as a member of the Birmingham Mass Choir, and also sang backing for Simply Red during the 1996 European Championship Draw. Now, she's concentrating on a solo career and releases her first single, "Don't Wait". With influences such as Shirley Caesar and the Winans, it's the latter to which I can make comparison to. The main track is a dance mix and would be perfect for mainstream radio or club play. Nice rhythm, catchy beat, and sweet vocals that could melt the hardest of hearts. "Reaching Out to You" is a slower number and had me thinking of Eternal's hits, and this is good, too. "Let Go and Let God" didn't quite make the same grade but, overall, I think that Dee Moore could have a big hit on her hands. In typical fashion, there's various mixes of "Don't Go", of which, the club mix is the best. 9/10. (April 2000, Album of the Month)
DEE MOORE : Dee Moore. (Divine Intavention/Agape Media Ministries.)
Since the release of her debut Cd a couple of years ago, Dee Moore has slowly, but surely, been making ripples in the world of UK gospel. She states that artists like Mary Mary, Desitny's Child, and Shola Ama are amongst her influences and the results show great respect. Not that this is just another young girl jumping on the pop bandwagon, Dee has been singing for most of her 23 years. This 5 track CD showcases 3 songs and 2 re-mixes. The first two "Reaching Out to You" and "Let Go and Let God" both tell of the simple truth about Jesus and His love for anyone of us who answers His knock on our door. The songs are quite laid back and Dee's vocals are a dream delight. "Defined" changes tempo a little and the vocals become a bit more attack minded, but the quality of both song and vocal remain high. I wasn't so keen on the "Let Go…" remix, but the dance version of "Reaching Out…" would not be out of place on any club album currently being traded around. Like all budding artists, she needs a break if she's going to make a breakthrough for the Lord into the secular market. However, if someone sees the same in her that someone saw in Destiny's Child, she certainly has all the right qualities. 9/10. (June 2001, Album of the Month)
Deitrick Haddon presents Voices of Unity: Blessed & Cursed (Tyscot Records : TYS-984186-2)
‘Blessed & Cursed’ is the soundtrack CD to the film of the same name for which Deitrick Haddon wrote the script as well as playing the lead role, which was reviewed not all that long ago on these very pages. The opening track “I’m Blessed” is has plenty of synth, drum & bass which melts together with energy to give it a great atmosphere. I have never been a huge fan of rap-style vocals, but Haddon does have a great voice & he makes a sound job of making this a very listenable piece. Tracks 2 and 3 couldn’t be more different in style having a very definite Gospel flavour, with so much energy & a pace that can exhaust even the fittest! Choral harmonies & instrumental rhythms are pretty typical of the genre but they’re well produced & polished. There are a couple of ballads thrown in to the mix, of which I did rather like “More Like You” which features Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame. I also liked the final track “Most High”, another track with more of a contemporary soul style to it backed by a solid beat. I am not convinced that film soundtracks are a great stand-alone product, ‘cos if you haven’t seen the film they don’t always have a great deal of meaning or association. However, there are a few tunes in here that are worth picking out on their own. I am sure devoted fans of the genre will have more than a passing interest in the contemporary Gospel sound, but it’s not a CD that is likely to appeal to other music fans unless of course you’ve seen the film & loved it as well. 7/10 Simon Redfern (May 2011)
DELIRIOUS? : Live & in the Can. (Furious? 0004)
This is very good. See them live, Delirious? are excellent. The sound? Well, it's a sort of U2, guitar rock, and their own original style. This album was recorded live during 1996 and contains all the 'cutting edge' numbers that people know so well. "I Am Not Ashamed" is a favourite of mine, while "Obsession" is another. The rocky sound hits hard and drives right in. As a band, they're superb, excellent musicians. Live, I just wonder what Martin Smith is on? 10/10 R.W. (May 1997, Album of the Month)
DELIRIOUS? : Glo (Furious? : FURYCD3)
You know the story. Delirious? (the darlings of UK CCM) have gone back to their roots and released an album that takes the Brit sound of recent records, with that of their early praise & worship songs. The result is "Glo" and album that has already received a tremendous response in both Britain and further afield. Drawing on passion, power, polish, impact, intimacy, creativity and credibility, Delirious? present 15 tracks that range from ordinary to anthemic brilliance. The ordinary comes in the shape of things like "Glo in the Dark - part 1". Not quite sure what the idea behind this was but it sounds like Oasis meet death metal. Nevertheless "Glo in the Dark - part 2) is completely different and gets into Manic Street Preachers territory. The anthemic brilliance is track 7, "My Glorious". Martin Smith at his vocal best, and the rest of the band bringing praise and worship to the youth of today as only Delirious? can. "Hang on To You", "Intimate Stanger", and "The Years Go By" all improve on second hearing and it's no wonder that fans old and new are buying this in ship loads. 8/10. (November 2000)
DELIRIOUS? : Pro-mod:e (Furious? : Video 2)
After finally getting my hands on the album "Glo" last month, the Delirious? Video popped through my letter box at the beginning of December. With 8 main tracks on show, there's footage from Wembley Stadium TRACK 3, various band shoots, and the enigmatic 60's pastiche of TRACK 6, where the lads take off The Monkees zany humour. "Deeper" is the opener, with it's infectious guitars and Martin Smith's cheeky little boy look that reminds me so much of John Lydon. Then, it's deeper still, as the more aggressive "Promise" asks the question of your promise to God. Watching the video's, for me, was far better than just listening to an album. In the same way that I saw so much of the band's ministry in a live situation three years ago, the video shows much more about Delirious? As a whole. The latest American release "Everything" is also on show, and there's even extra footage thrown in a the end, along with a couple of bonus tracks. For me, getting hold of my Stryper video 10 years ago was memorable, Delirious? Fans should think likewise of this - it's superb. 10/10. (January 2001, Video)
DELIRIOUS? : Waiting For the Summer. (Furious : CD 001)
So, as I write, the latest assault on the pop charts is over, at least for now, from Martin Smith and the rest of Delirious? How did it fair? Well, entering the Top 40 at number 26 would be, I expect, a slight disappointment but, then, it has been some time since all but their biggest fans had heard anything from them. The song? Well, it's fast, it's furious, it's bouncy, it's happy, it's fun, and it sounded like Supergrass did a couple of years ago. Twanging guitars and "la, la,la" backing vocals gave it a summery feel but, perhaps, like the weather, we're still waiting for that hot Delirious? single. 7/10. (July 2001)
DELIRIOUS? : Take Me Away (Furious : CDFURY8)
Release date : 23rd July 2001

No sooner had I written the epitaph to "Waiting For the Summer", when a pre-release copy of the next Delirous? Single dropped through my letter box. Is that really a Bontempi organ being used at the beginning of the song? It doesn't matter as some serious lo-fi bass and drums enter the scene, accompanied by some great guitars and vocals. So, I put the single to the test and played it a couple of times to a group of 15 year old girls all with school books covered in the latest pictures of Westlife, A1, Stereophonics, and the like. This was the response;

Amy: "It's a bit like Offspring. It's okay".

Laura: "It's good, who are Delirious?"

Gemma: (who knew who Delirious were) "It's a lot better than "Waiting for the Summer". That was *#*!".

Louise: "Play it again, that was ace".

So, there you have it. Those were just four out of twenty or so who heard it and, on the whole, the single was voted a hit. As for me, I agree, this COULD be the one! 9/10. (July 2001)

DELIRIOUS? : Audio Lessonover. (Furious? Records)
So, for their 4th studio album, Delirious? turned to producer Chuck Zwicky (Semisonic, Prince, Madonna) to aid craft their new sound. New sound? Well, new sound for Delirous? Maybe, but not for The Beatles and U2, all of which the D-boys seem to imitate on this album. Sad to report that "Take Me Away" failed to bother the Top singles chart at all in the UK, which I find incredible as I like it more every time I play it. I still think tit contains one of the best guitar breaks of the year. "Waiting For the Summer" opens the listing and, after Take Me…", we move into a Beatlesque "Love is the Compass, complete with orchestral pads. The U2 influences turn up on the guitar driven "Fire" and "Show Me Heaven" where Martin Smith does his best not to slip into bono impressions. Great songs, great delivery. My favourite has to be "Angel in Disguise" which I can see going down a storm at Wembley or equally as intense at a praise and worship event. My other worry, and this may be just me, is that I failed to understand far too many of the lyrics this time round. "Bicycle Gasoline"? No, it didn't get my spiritual motor out of first gear, and neither did "Stealing Time". If this is a new sound for Delrious?, then it's going to take a bit of time for their fans to get use to it. 7/10. (September 2001)
DELIRIOUS? : I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. (Furious? Records)
Following the rather disappointing chart response to the last two singles, it's a very brave step that Delirious? have taken in releasing a revamped version of this classic praise and worship song. However, one thing you can be sure of from this band is that they will never give up what is at the centre of their lives just to the media. From the moment Martin Smith's opening vocals raise up the name of God, you're transported into a song of love and praise only a relationship with God can produce. The beauty of the song is it's simplicity and the wonderful feeling that comes from the heavenly voices during the chorus. I'm almost crying by the time it's finished and I just want to play it again, and again, and again…..10/10. (December 2001)
DELIRIOUS? : Deeper. (Furious? : Furycd5)
A history lesson. In 1994 a worship band known as Cutting Edge provided left of centre worship for a hometown event. There, songs like "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever", "The Happy Song", and "Lord You Have My Heart", first saw the light of day. From there, the passionate buzz grew into epidemic proportions and the band renamed themselves Delirious? Albums, tours, Top 20 singles, have come and gone but their belief and their cause remains steadfast. This double CD captures that spirit and breathes new life into some old favourites such as "History Maker" and "Revival Town". However, with so many songs on show, there's bound to be a fair mix of those you do and don't like. For me, the second Cd is stronger, particularly songs like "Jesus' Blood" and "King of Love". Not that the first doesn't have it's moments but, it's just not as good. If you want to know what all the fuss about Delirious? is, or you want to replace those hissy tapes, it's worth your money. 6/10. Andy Sayner. (March 2002)
DELIRIOUS? : Access:d - Live worship in the key of D. (Fierce Distribution)
This album clicked with me straight away. It is one of the best worship albums I've heard for a long time. There is a real sense that the audience are having a real good time, although by the way that they join in the songs it's plain to see that they are all serious fans. Its not
often that double CD's can hold the attention all the way through both discs, but I must say that I really liked all the tracks, and there are 26 songs here! In fact the only thing that I didn't like, which is a personal thing, is that I always like to know where the different tracks were recorded and there's no detailed information, but that doesn't in any way detract from the music. Delirious fans will already know all the tracks on this album I should think. As far as I could tell there was nothing unheard of on it, but I personally would be willing to shell out for it. It also comes in a rather neat looking tin box too. 10/10 Andy Sayner. (April 2003)
DELIRIOUS? : World Service. (Fierce : Furycd8p)
2.5 years since their last studio album, Delirious? return with World Service. Have they moved on, musically? Well, they've gone from Brit pop to a more mature U2 sound. "Inside Out" could well be a Bono number, as it contains all the well known Irishman's traits, but is a super song nevertheless. "Majesty" has grown on me so much over the last couple of weeks, as I dismissed it quite easily on first play - funny how that can happen. "Mountains High" and "Feel It Coming On" both failed to inspire me and, indeed, I had to switch the former off. I think that, at times, the band tends to "over-do" the guitar sounds and the result is a wall of mush. However, fair play to the guys as, at least, this band never rests on it's laurels. "Grace Like A River" and" I Was Blind" work well but I'm not sure if we'll see any great assault on the secular charts. A real pity. 7/10. (December 2003)
DELIRIOUS? : The Mission Bell. (Furious? Records).
With Delirious' 8th studio album, "The Mission Bell" album is a call to prayer, a cry out to God, a warning that nothing can ever be the same again. From the first track, "Stronger", you hear those bold guitars and strong melodies, that can only come from one British CCM band. "On Christ, the 'Solid Rock' we stand", claims track three, and time has proved that Delirious? certainly do. The band seem to have let the current UK influences of, say, Snow Patrol, creep in, and I really feel it's their most commercial album for some time. There's a mid-album dip of a couple of songs, before the anthemic "Love Is a Miracle" rises triumphant from the speakers. Then, it's time for the raw, brash sound of the current single, which deserves to be a big hit. "I'll See You When You Get There" rounds things off, but not before you've heard Delirious? at their best. 9/10. (November 2005)
DELIRIOUS : Now is the Time. (Furious? Records - FURYDVD02P)
Continuing the trend of releasing live cds and dvds together in the same package, Delirious get in on the act with "Now is the Time". Arguably the biggest Christian band in the UK in recent years we get a chance to sample the band in full flow at Willow Creek, Chicago, USA. What Delirious may lack in technical ability, they more than make up for in terms of passion and energy and this is evident from the very first track "Here I Am Send Me", the band involving the audience from the word go. The album then works its way through a number of their trademark U2 inspired rock melodies, with hard guitars playing off against Martin Smith's haunting vocals. Then there's the big soundscapes too and the more emotional moments in songs such as "Our God Reigns". With the obligatory behind the scenes documentary et al, there is plenty on here to keep you entertained for quite a few hours. All in all, not an album to win the band new fans maybe, but one which should surely be in the collection of every Delirious afficionado. 7/10 Robin Thompson. (November 2006)
DELIRIOUS? : Glo/Mezzamorphis. (Furious? : FURYCD11
Delirious? are of course the band who famously brought us the worship song 'I could sing of your love forever' - although back in 1995 when they did, they were actually called 'Cutting Edge'! Many things have happened to the band since those days, including positions in the 'secular' charts and live appearances with Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams. Here we have re-issues of two of their albums. 'Mezzamorphis' is from 1999 - a 'secularly edited' version of which was released by Virgin at the time, with singles seeing some chart success. 'Glo' (short for 'glorious') is from 2000 and is more worship-oriented. The best tracks for me on this 2-CD set are from the earlier album. 'Follow' includes a chorus with a strong hook, 'It's OK' is a quieter track with a good melody, 'See the star' is similarly appealing, and 'Love falls down' is straightforward rock - complete with jangly guitars. 'Glo' does include some worth a mention, including the acoustic guitar-led 'What would I have done', the anthemic 'Awaken the dawn', and the atmospheric and well sung 'Jesus blood'. My main problem with Delirious? is the poor sound quality of their studio-recorded output. These old ears struggle with the nasty digital/raspy edge to the vocals, the muddy thickness to the sound that seems to wring much of the music out of the music - if you would like to hear more of how the band can really sound, I would recommend the 2006 'Live at Willow Creek' DVD. Their excellent web site is worth checking out at www.delirious.co.uk. 6/10. David Deeks (Feburary 2008)
DELIRIOUS? : Cutting Edge One & Two/Three & Fore. (Fierce! : FURYCD12)
For those of you who thought that Delirious? had been around since the mid-90's, think again. A few years earlier, the boys brought out four EP's under the title Cutting Edge. When these songs were first released here in the UK, it really was 'cutting edge' stuff - praise and worship like we'd never encountered. Perhaps it's a mark of just how important this music was, as so many contemporary praise and worship in the following years have that same sound. Listening again, it was good to hear well known songs like 'Thank You For Saving Me', the wonderful 'I Could Sing of Your Love Forever' and the tingling sense of God's glory I always get when hearing 'Shout to The North'. These songs have stood the test of time but there are others that still need to be heard. 'What is This Thing Called Love' and 'The Crucible For Silver' both stir the soul while Smith's gentle vocals on the acoustic 'King of Love' shares quieter moments with God. If yo already have the original cassette versions of these EP's, perhaps this would be a good time to "upgrade". For others, it's a time to catch up and see just what all the fuss was about, all those years ago. 7/10 (Feburary 2008)
DELIRIOUS? : Kingdom of Comfort. (Fierce!)
This is Delirious?' eleventh studio album, and what a corker it is! Where, in my opinion, their previous release found the boys in the comfort zone, 'Kingdom of Comfort' sees them move into new territory, with a whole new zest for their musical life. The title track starts quite slowly but, then, picks up in power as it shakes the listener out of your comfort zone. Martin Smith's vocals are at their best, and never more so than on the attack minded 'God is Smiling'. 'Give What You've Got' is a slightly heavier sound about not wasting your life, while 'Love Will Find A Way' tells of God's love breaking through any barrier. I really thought that the band were on-song throughout this album and there's some pretty potent, praise with 'We Give You Praise'. I could write about each song, because they all so strong in their own way but, overall, this must be one of the band's strongest albums to date. 10/10 (March 2008, Album of the Month)
DELIRIOUS? : My Soul Sings. (Furious : FURYDVD03)
This is a double disk set featuring a DVD of a live performance in Bogota, at a church which has 200,000 members apparently, Communion must take a while then! Also there's a CD of the same concert, but with some of the tracks removed. It's not a bad show, although there's a few of those 1970's TOTP visual effects in evidence here and there. Most of the stuff you'd expect is here, "Rain Down", "Deeper", "Majesty" "History Maker" and the title track of course. If you like Delirious? then you'll like this, it's as simple as that really. There's one really cheesy bit though, at the end Martin Smith comes onstage wearing a weird crown thing on his head. I know it illustrates the point of the song, but the thing is mate, Freddie Mercury could carry it off, anybody else just looks a bit of a berk, and you aren't Freddie Mercury. Other than that though this is quite good. 8/10 Andy Sayner. (May 2009)
DELIRIOUS? : History Makers - Greatest Hits. (Survivor : SURCD5171)
So, we say goodbye, then, to the guys from Littlehampton, who have been rocking our world with God's music for, what seems like, forever. They've played their last concert together and left us with some fine memories and great songs. This collection of fourteen of their best is, really, just a glimpse of what Delirious? had to offer as musicians. 'History Maker' latterly became quite an anthem, while 'Deeper' sounds just as fresh as it did thirteen years earlier. For me, the boys were at their best with songs like 'I Could Sing of Your Love Forever' and 'Shout to the North'. The latter almost always brings a tear to my eye as I join in the declaration of a most wondrous God. 'Find Me in the River' is a rather touching song, and Martin Smith gently caresses each word. If it's thought provoking words you want, then look no further than 'Our God Reigns'. I certainly sat quietly after hearing this song again. On the downside, the dirge that is 'Obsession' didn't quite do anything for me. Likewise, I was sad that neither, 'Promise' or 'See the Star' made the album but, thanks for the memories guys. 9/10 (February 2010, Album of the Month)
DELIRIOUS? : Farewell Show. (Survivor : SURCD5174)
Every Delirious? fan out there will need to add one of the three variations of this release to their collection. Available as a 2CD set, a DVD or a Blu-ray, it features what was the final recorded appearance of the band that has made such a massive contribution to youth oriented contemporary Christian music culture. Taking place on November 29th last year at a sold out HMV Hammersmith Apollo, main man Martin Smith commented afterwards "... (it was) awesome, sad, happy, definitive. One can never correctly adjudicate ones emotions at times like this but I feel at peace. I feel joy. I feel like I've completed an assignment." The 2CD set was submitted for review - with 14 tracks on CD1, 7 on CD2. The DVD adds an 'on the road' documentary, and the Blu-ray also a band interview. Simply from the CDs however it is obvious that the band were on top form and that the audience loved it. Fans will of course recognise every track and individuals will have their favourites. For me, the best are all on CD1 - 'Solid Rock', 'Rain down', the medium paced 'Inside outside', the worshipful 'Majesty', and a particularly well performed 'Investigate'. Unfortunately, and all too common these days, sound quality leaves much to be desired. It is very difficult to give a simple mark to such a band on such an occasion. I would guess that the video versions would be best at capturing the overall event but taking this 2CD set purely on its own listening merits, 8/10. www.delirious.co.uk. David Deeks (April 2010)
DELIRIOUS? : the Cutting Edge Years. (Kingsway : KWCD3300).
Being able to claim '20th anniversary edition' based upon when the Cutting Edge band (subsequently delirious?) first formed, this nicely packaged release consists of 3 CDs and a DVD. With main songwriter/lead vocalist Martin Smith, the band was responsible for introducing the world to a fair few of the staples of modern Christian worship – including 'I could sing of your love forever', 'Lord you have my heart' and 'Did you feel the mountains tremble' – all of which are of course included here, along with less familiar ones. As I listened through the full set, the standout track for me was the Ryan Adams-ish 'All I want'. Other good ones included the dark, brooding arrangement of 'Obsession' and the repeating-riff-based 'When all around is fallen'. I found CD3 'Live and in the can' to be the least successful – with a lot of 'spontaneous' and other live stuff that demonstrates regular vocal tuning problems and is unlikely to be played more than once (I only did so in the service of NFN!), although it is of some interest from a 'historical' perspective. I found the DVD to be a worthwhile extra however. This includes a 'Cutting Edge' show from 1993 which is fairly unspectacular visuals-wise ('you had to be there'), an excellent 'Live at Studio 1' rendition of 'I could sing of your love forever' by Martin Smith with the London Community Gospel Choir, and a 30 min documentary 'The delirious? story' featuring interviews with Martin and other band members. It is interesting that here only one member gives any hint of possible separation, just a year or so before they broke up in late 2009 for evidently family reasons. I should warn that the DVD review copy was NTSC – so unless Kingsway are also releasing as PAL, you will need a multi-region player. Overall however, a worthwhile retrospective on probably the most influential band on the Christian worship scene. 8/10 Dave Deeks. (June 2012)
DELIRIOUS? : The Ultimate Collection. (Integrity Music : B01H2UZOVA)
This CD is a kind of celebration of the musical career of delirious. There are a lot of their classic tracks here, ranging from early songs, like “History maker”, and “Deeper” to the later tracks like “Rain Down” and “Majesty”. There doesn’t appear to be any remixes, or alternate recordings on here as far as I can tell, so if you already have all the CD releases, then there’s nothing on here that you won’t already have. Nevertheless, this is a fairly good selection of tracks, and it saves trawling through loads of albums to find your favourite songs. If you don’t own any of their CD’s then this is probably a good buy, as it gives a good selection of what Delirious have produced over the years. Other than that, there’s not much more to be said. It’s a greatest hits compilation, nothing more, nothing less. 7/10 Andy Sayner. (August 2016)
THE DELUGE BAND : Bethany Live presents...(Integrity Music : 43712)
This is a live worship CD featuring one Jonathan Stockstill, who I must confess I have never heard of before. Despite this though I really enjoyed listening to this CD. This is definitely not just the constant re-hashing of the same old stuff that we've all heard before, but an original sounding band, leading worship where the people in the crowd seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. It was recorded in front of 7000 people at a youth convention. The CD starts with a drum solo (only a short one fortunately), and then the first track "I Believe" opens. This is a fairly up tempo song, who's structure reminds me quite a lot of "The Police" in their early days, with the clever rhythms and guitar work. After two or three songs we settle into a more restrained style, and with the audience/congregation joining in this is quite powerful sounding stuff. There's nothing on here that I've heard before, but it's obvious that the people who were there know the songs well. The only thing for me that spoils it, is that the last track, instead of carrying on to a proper ending just suddenly fades out. I know it's only a small niggle, but it just seemed to be a bit disappointing knowing that there was more. Apart from that though, this is an excellent example of what contemporary worship should be like. If you come across this CD buy it. 9/10 Andy Sayner. (August 2008)
DELUGE : Unshakable. (Integrity : 48122)
This is American rockers Deluge's second album, following on from their 2008 offering, "Live from Bethany World Prayer Center". It gets off to a cracking start, with punching guitar riffs abounding at every turn over the first 3 tracks. The opening track "Unshakable" (if you ignore the rather unnecessary "Prelude"), is an absolute corker, fresh and edgy, and will be loved by air guitarists everywhere! Following on from this trio of moshpit manoeuvrings is the more reflective "Jesus Lamb of God" which is a good song, but much more mainstream in its arrangement. After that, the album pretty much chugs along at this mid-paced momentum and, to be honest, ceases to be a true rock album. For instance, I was expecting the pace to be quickened again with the song "Overjoyed" but it didn't really happen. It moves on a little, but not enough, and then it's taken back down once again as the album plays out. It's not that the songs are poor, because they aren't, it's just that they could be being played by any one of the countless number of artists currently out there. So, overall, disappointing after a great start full of promise. A rock album this isn't. 6/10 Robin Thompson. (October 2010)
DELUGE : Swell.   (Integrity : 50752)
This is a live recording of straightforward rock worship, which rocks from the very first track "Lift Him High" I liked this CD right from the first note, it's an album I could listen to over again without getting bored in the slightest. From the start this CD drives along with energetic guitar led worship songs that have catchy hook lines. The title track runs at nearly five and half minutes, and the crowd are obviously enjoying themselves, singing along all the way through. There's a nice piano solo intro to "Simple offering" which is where the tempo drops down to a slower but still powerful worship song, that you could use in any Sunday Service. Several slower songs follow, and there is a real sense of people worshiping God throughout. Deluge are probably one of the few Christian bands that I would turn out to see, and this CD only increases my belief that they are one of, and possibly the best worship band around at the moment. If you like sincere Praise music from a band that can rock, and also show a quieter, more worshipful side, then you need to buy this CD. 10/10   Andy Sayner. (February 2013, Album of the Month)
DENVER & THE MILE HIGH ORCHESTRA. : Timeless Christmas. (ICC : ICC0896D)
Formed by a group of friend's at Nashville's Belmont University in 1999, this group of musicians is comprised of three trumpet players, three saxophonists, two trombone players, and a rhythm section. The sound is unique and energetic, and on this album they give fresh sounds to classic Christmas songs. I couldn't help but smile and feel happy when I played the opening track. "Jungle Bells" gets the big band treatment and takes you back to the 40's and 50's era with fine vocals enriching the musical sounds. The same can be said of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and the quieter, but well delivered, "Born Tonight". I didn't like the blues take on "Frosty the Bluesman" but the smooth sounding "This Christmas" soon rectified this. I thought that, late on, the sounds got into a jamming session rather than an organised song, and the closing "This Must Be the Place" sounds more like a Michael W Smith song than anything else. Hats off to the band for a different approach to Christmas. 7/10. (December 2005)
DENVER & THE MILE HIGH ORCHESTRA : Good to Go. (ICC : ICCD0923D
The cover of this album proclaims 'Sizzling swing and big band! Sounds like James Brown and Jools Holland'. As Brown and Holland sound nothing like one another I was curious to discover how Denver had pulled off this particular trick! This is indeed a cracking big band (Nashville based, with three trumpet players, three saxophone players, two trombone players and a rhythm section) but features on only seven of the thirteen tracks, with five of these in the 'swing' style. Denver has a good voice (though clearly digitally assisted tuning-wise), but sounds like neither James nor Jools. Trade descriptions inspectors should therefore cover eyes and ears! The title track 'Good to Go' starts proceedings and is classic big band 'swing'. 'The Real Deal' is more contemporary yet features the big band, whilst 'Jesus, only Jesus' is straightforward CCM with no big band at all. 'Prelude' is a pleasant orchestral instrumental leading straight into 'Miracle to me', possibly the best track, again featuring strings. The contemporary arrangements are the most complete pieces of work - largely because of the integration of lyrical and musical styles. The 'big band' tracks tend to be less successful as whilst their titles sound appropriately 'sassy' ('Good to go', 'The real deal', 'Get down'), the Christian 'stock phrases' found in some of the lyrics (e.g. 'You're my Lord of Lords and King of Kings') sit a little unhappily in such settings. Excellent musicianship then, some very good tunes - but more variety than it says on the tin. www.denvermho.com. 7/10. Dave Deeks (January 2006)
DEON KIPPING : I Just Want to Hear You. (Verity 88697-97016-2)
Connecticut based Deon Kipping has been involved in music from a very early age & began producing whilst still at school, being mentored by soul songwriter Gerald Isaac. Forming the worship/backing band New Covenant in 2004, Deon & crew released their first album “Real Life, Real Worship” in 2006. “I Just Want to Hear You” followed on in 2012 as Deon’s 1st solo venture, but even so, the backing band is still here in full force. From the opening track ‘Heal Again’ I was left with little doubt as to the genre of music with a lively full flavour Gospel intro, tight instrumentation & close, polished harmonies which typify the genre. ‘What’s Coming is Better’ follows on with a similar style intro but slows to more of soulful pace. Personally, I prefer the slower numbers like ‘I Don’t Look Like (What I’ve Been Through)’ & ‘Never Cease’ as they come away from the all-too-typical Gospel chord progressions & give the listener a chance to soak up some of the lyrical content of the songs. Whether slow or fast, tracks feel very positive & upbeat - a pretty cheerful album indeed. I cannot claim to be a devout follower of the genre, but even I could not fail to notice the amazing vocal talents of this guy & his backing vocalists. Considering the fact that many of these tracks were recorded live, it makes the tightness of the musicianship & refinement of the voices even more incredible to listen to. Overall, an excellently produced & compiled offering which offers some of what you’d expect but with a healthy dose of soul style material which could give much secular material a good run for it’s money! Definitely worth a listen even for devotees of other genres. 8/10 Simon Redfern (June 2013)
DEP4 : Popular Friction. (CD £12 from: 11 Spring Road, Rhosddu, Wrexham, LL11 2LU, Wales).
Sounding not a million light years away from The Beautiful South,, at times, DEP4 present their debut full length album. Twelve songs, all written by singer and guitarist Tony Cornish, and ably backed by Kev Plant on bass and John Ramm on drums and percussion. Based in Wales, this threesome have travelled as far as Northern England to take their ministry into venues such as prisons. As for the musical style, well it's never going to produce a mosh pit at the front of the stage. It's more like, sitting, tapping your feet, and listening to each song as it tells it's own story. "Pick It Up Downstream" is all about losing your way in your walk with God. But, as we all know, just because you fall, it doesn't mean that we can't ask the Lord to pick us up and dust us down once again. One of my favourite tracks is the last one, "The Real Cost of Living". This looks at how so many people live for the 'now', as well as what they can get out of life, forgetting the most important things. As I say, there's plenty of foot tapping to do whilst listening, but not many that you find yourself actually singing along with. However, "Here Comes Summer" is one exception, and very welcome it is too. For me, the album takes a little while to get going but, then, it may be that I'm imagining it in a live set listing. The lyrical depth of Tony's writing is very good and it really is an album that makes the listener think about themselves. Now, how many albums do that? 8/10. (August 2001)
DEREK JOHNSON : Real Love.   (Jesus Culture : B002279002)
Real Love is the debut album by Jesus Culture artist Derek Johnson, who is currently based in Sacramento. He uses his own spiritual journey to write songs that show and tell of Jesus’ love for us all. In style, it’s contemporary pop that reminded me a lot of Phil Wickham. Keyboards and guitars are at the forefront of most songs, and the quality of the opening “Our Salvation” is just a taster for what’s to come. “Jesus, I See You” rocks things up a bit, while there’s a mid-tempo pace to “Power in the Cross”. On this song Derek’s vocals turn the number into a Michael W.Smith sort of thing, and the production is excellent. “My Great Love” has to be my favourite track. It races along with an energy that bursts from your speakers. “I Will live to cry, shout it from the inside. [Jesus] You’re My Great Love.” To be honest, I’ve not heard anything as exciting as this from the Jesus Culture stable before. Real Love is an invitation to find that “real love” from Jesus, and see just why people like Derek Johnson are so full of life. An excellent album.   10/10. (December 2015, Album of the Month)
DEREK WEBB : She Must & Shall go Free. (inorecords : 000768250129)
Here's the former member of Caedmon's Call, with his debut offering. The media havealready called him a cross between Keith Green and Bob Dylan and, while I'm not an expert on the former's music, there is an element of early Dylan here. "Beloved" sounds the most like Dylan, complete with it's harmonica breaks. The style of the album takes in a bit of country, a little bluegrass, and a pinch of folk, and the result is quite uninteresting. Lyrically as sound as the next Jesus album but as bland as they come musically. I found trhe last three songs the highlight of a very disappointing debut from Mr Webb. 2/10. (January 2004, Album of the Month)
DEREK WEBB : Ctrl. (Fairtrade : 60439)
Derek is probably better known as a member of Caedmon's Call, but he does have a string of solo CD's available, and this one is the latest. It's very difficult to place this album, it's largely acoustic guitar led "folkish" music for want of a better word, with a few drum loops here and there. Every now and then there's an unexpected appearance of an ethereal sounding choir that sings in the background slightly out of time with the songs. It does actually work quite well, but I'd imagine it wouldn't be to everyone's taste. It's very hard to explain this CD, it deals a lot with inward questions and feelings, and there is a lot more going on than is apparent at first. You need to listen to it a few times to unravel all the layers. Lyrically this is quite a clever collection of songs, but it has to be listened to, you can't just stick it on in the background and forget it. Personally, I quite like it, but it is definitely a challenge. If you go to http://derekwebb.tumblr.com/ There is a page that explains this CD better than I can in this review. Would I recommend this album? Yes I think so, but be prepared to spend time puzzling it all out. 8/10 Andy Sayner. (January 2013)
DESPERATION : From the Rooftops. (Vertical Music : 29862)
"From a desperate generation of worshippers crying out to our God emerges 14 all new songs. Recorded live at the International Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs, experience this life changing time of worship filled with high emotion, strong passion and delicate intimacy". Well, that's enough of the sleeve notes, what about the facts? The album begins in typical uptempo style, with bouncy numbers that are aimed to raise the excitement levels of those gathered. It does, therefore, beg the question, "is this sort of event becoming more of a performance concert, than one of worship?" I'll let you contemplate on that one. Imagine the likes of Matt Redman, Paul Oakley and Martin Smith leading worship at, say, SpringHarvest. This, then, has a similar feel. The faster numbers like "Everyone Praises" and "Rooftops" are complimented later on by the prayerful worship of "Amazed". Also included on the CD are printable chord charts and lyrics so, if you fancy your church having a go at some of the songs, you've got all the help you need. 8/10. (August 2004)
DESPERATION BAND : Everyone Overcome. (Integrity : 42612)
Apparently, the New Life Church in Colorado Springs has had to rise above some troubles in it's life over the last few months, and this album looks to help lift the spirits. I'm afraid the cynic in me wonders just how many more songs can the words "Shine your light" be fitted in as a song's main phrase? There again, the song itself does sound fresh and bouncy, so I shouldn't complain. There's some great, pacey guitars on 'I Know' - a song of declaration of faith in Jesus - and 'Taking Over Now'. The pace does subside, however, with the 12 minute epic called 'Overcome'. It's a very reflective number and seems to have been written out of some real hurting. Jared Anderson is one of the main songwriters and leaders of the band, and some of the vocals are tremendous. This is especially true in track 8, 'Pleasing to You'. Along with some stirring guitar playing, the vocals lift up some great worship. One recent review of this album says that the songs are "congregational friendly", but I disagree. Personally, I think the songs are more performance orientated with little chance for the listener to join in. Mind you, it's a good listen! 8/10 (April 2008)
DESPERATION BAND : Center Of It All. (Integrity Music   :   50702).
I've not heard much about this band before, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this CD. Having listened to it a couple of times I reckon that it's one of the best worship albums that I've heard for ages. It's a studio worship album rather than a live recording, but I would think that most of the songs here would be quite useable in a live situation. The music is mostly up tempo rock music, with some catchy hook lines scattered throughout, and some nice backing vocals thrown in too. There are some very powerful slower songs here too. The whole album is well arranged, with a good balance of fast songs and slower, more worshipful material. I haven't heard any of these tracks before though, which makes a pleasant change from the endless compilation CD's that make up most of the genre these days. I don't think that there is a bad track on this CD, and I'd certainly recommend that you give it a try if you get the chance.   10/10   Andy Sayner. (September 2012)
DEVIN McGLAMERY : Love is a Verb. (Stowtownrecords : STR3118)
You might not recognise the name of Devin McGlamery, but he’s been making music for years as part of Karen Peck & New River, and as lead singer of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. He has a very natural tenor vocal, and it’s a warm sound that is particularly good on the opening title track. He, then, moves into some gospel styles, with the aid of a full choir for ‘Hold On, Help is on the Way’ and ‘In the Depths of the Sea’. Again, his voice shines powerfully on the latter. It’s the lighter sounds that I found more attractive, and ‘From Rags to Riches’ tells of the day He met Christ, and the change in his life since that day. There are some country influences that come through some songs, and ‘While I Still Can’ reminded me of secular band, Lonestar. Reminding the listener that anything is possible with God, ‘As Long As You Will Walk With Me’, is another quality number. Devin’s wife, Karen, joins him on ‘Wating At home’, which is based on the parable of the prodigal son, while ‘When He Was On The Cross’ is a big, powerful ballad, that can’t fail to move you. No, I wasn’t too keen on the gospel songs, but the rest show real quality. 8/10. (December 2013)
THE DIGITAL AGE : Evening – Morning. (Fairtrade : Pre-Release)
Those of you who were fans of the Dave Crowder Band may be interested to know that this is the debut release by the group without their former lead singer. Christian Music Review wrote that this album is modern and “maybe even ahead of their time”. By that, I guess they mean that I can’t think of any other Christian outfit making the same sort of music. The band name gives you a clue to the music being produced, as almost all of it is programmed. However, a reported likeness to Owl City, to me, seems a million miles away. Indeed, on ‘God of Us All’ there was a just a hint of Duran Duran from their most recent album. ‘Symphony’ races along at break-neck speed and tells of being set free by God’s love. Meanwhile, ‘Your Name’ almost moves into progressive rock territory. ‘Glow’ is simple enough to explain. We should all live with God’s Glow in our hearts for people to see. “Oh no, not another Coldplay clone”, I thought, as ‘Break Every Chain’ began. It did sound remarkably like it at first, but thankfully the song evolves into one of the best tracks on the album. After Paul Crowder left, I guess that the easiest thing for the band would have been to just carry on with another singer. So, top marks for trying something completely different. However, it might take a few listens for this album to really make its’ mark with the listener. 6/10. (January 2014)
DIMITRI : Natural High. (www.dimitri-online.com)
Dimitri are a funky outfit from Devon, and have achieved national distribution for their album via Integrity Music. The album has already reached number 4 on the Crossrhythms Chart, and has received much airplay from various radio stations in the UK. At their smoothest, the band sounds like Simply Red, but when they up the tempo, it's more on a level with Jamiroqui. And, as Jason Kay is to Jamiroqui, so lead singer Jimi K seems to be the focal point of Dimitri. He writes and sings all the songs, and predominantly features on all of the website photographs. The title track talks of the natural feeling you get when Jesus sets your heart free, and it's one of the funkier sounds on the album. "Traveller" tells of life being a journey, and it's a really smooth sound with a lovely saxophone break. The saxophone returns to the fore on what I'd call a chill out number, that being "Can't Stop Crying", which also features some nice guitar work. The album finishes with a totally different sound to everything else on the album. "Save Me" is a great song, about crying out to God. Without wishing to sound too cliché, if you like the music of their secular counterparts, then Dimitri will satisfy your musical hunger. 8/10. (April 2006)
DIONNE WARWICK : Why We Sing. ((Rhino : 3460442)
Dionne Warwick is a name that stretches back into the early 60's for me. Even as a very young boy, I can remember seeing her on the TV. A recent UK tour proved that she's still as popular today and this gospel album sees her going back to her roots. Joined by a gospel choir, she starts the album off with a very lethargic version of the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic'. It's all very laid back and the song suffers greatly. 'With All My Heart' is a nice song and possibly one for the radio. She mixes the traditional gospel sound with RnB, and even gets very happy, and clappy, on Rise, Shine and Give God the Glory'. I liked the gentle sounds on the ballad, 'The World Needs Jesus', and the duet with David Elliot, singing 'Seven'. I can't say that this is an album that I will be playing again in the near future, but as far as gospel sounds go, it's everything you would expect from a lady of high renown. 6/10 (March 2009)
DIRE PITAN : Nowhere Else. (www.iamdire.com)
Soulful singer/songwriter Dire Pitan says that it took a couple of years to finalise the songs for this EP. When asked about the lyrics of the songs, he says; “I sometimes write bilingual songs as sometime English could be restrictive in expressing what is pressing on my heart.” One such song is the opening “Olufe Okan Mi.” which is sung in both English and his native Yorubu. It’s a smooth number that tells of life’s journey with God, and is very easy on the ear. I found “Inspiration” to be a really engaging track. The story here is that knowing Christ died for you, should be all you need to believe. There’s a strong melody and some nice keyboard sounds. A minor moan about the whole package is that it lacks any written lyrics, therefore, I found “Afi Eledumare” rather difficult to understand. However, when asked, Dire explains; [it translates as] “'Only God' or 'Except God'. You know when the Bible states in Psalm 127v1, that “Unless ADONAI builds the house, its builders work in vain. Unless ADONAI guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain." Dire’s vocal delivery is excellent and has a great depth of feeling, and it’s easy to see why he is in great demand. The final song is the title track. Life is a journey, with all its up’s and down’s. But, travelling with the presence of God will get us through both the good times and trials. A special mention must go here to some beautiful harp playing from Daniel-De-Fry, as it really lifts the song. Only four songs to listen to, but they show great promise from this talented young man. 8/10. (March 2017)
DISCIPLE : Disciple. (Epic : 000768351925)
For those of you who like your music heavy and hard hitting, this is for you. Driving rhythms, crunching guitars and metal vocals ensure that listening to Disciple is not for the faint-hearted. "Into Black" tells of the assurance of God's love, while "Shine Down" tells that having a relationship with the Lord is worth leaving everything else behind. Indeed, the focus of the albums lyrics are on promoting harmony with God, and knowing Jesus as your saviour. Green Day fans may well like the punk elements within the album, but it's the heavier sound of "Worth It All", that you can really get your teeth into. I didn't enjoy the album as much as, say, Pillar, but the album as a whole does stand up well to it's secular counterparts. 6/10.(September 2005)
DISCIPLE : Attack. (www.disciplerocks.com)
Disciple have spent the last 10 years away from their Indie Rock roots but have returned with a vengeance carrying just the one ballad and a few slow/quiet bits to show where they’ve been. There’s an interesting worship chorus-style chant to “Radical” as well. This is very much Kevin Young’s band and has had a reputation as a bit of a revolving door in the past, so has it come to a suitable point or come unstuck? If you’d come to this album fresh with no sense of the history, then there is nothing to disappoint: it’s a very good, very solid album. I wasn’t too sure about the sentiment of “if you’re looking for a fight then you’ve come to the right place, baby” (“Attack”) but the rest seems in place: great riffs, strong vocals (lead and backing), odd tweaks of tempo and rhythm and very well produced to go with it. Better, lyrically, is “The Name” where the defiance of “I will not be afraid to speak your name” goes perfectly with the aggressive pace and guitar tone. Also of note is the riffing on “Scarlet” (as in “though my sins be as…”) which counterbalances the theme of the song well: the dropping in and out of guitars and odd omitted beats in the drumming make you sit up and notice. Even “The Right Time” (the token ballad) is only ballad-esque by nature of the band being pulled back a bit: the vocals are as full-on as before. Lyrically it’s a good album closer (“just at the right time God comes crashing in”), but musically it doesn’t end as well as other tracks (such as the dead stop on “Angels And Demons”). Still, it makes you want to play other bits again, which is no bad thing. Best track: “Dead Milita”. 9/10. Paul Ganney (December 2014)
DISCIPLEMAKERS : Harvest Fields.   (Plankton Records : PLANCD013)
DiscipleMakers are an out and out Christian band who, in their own words are, “On a mission to share the Gospel through music and testimony, but we also feel we have a call to encourage fellow believers to become disciple makers too”. This group from the north-east of England have released their debut EP under the guiding hand of former Yfriday man Gav Richards. The first track is called ‘Disciplemaker and Sharon Sewell’s candy-like vocals lead the way on a very bright and bouncy song. That’s followed by ‘I Endorse You’, which comes over in style, rather like a lullaby. It’s actually a song about having God’s blessing to go out and serve Him, and I quite liked it, too. ‘Take My Life’ is a medium paced plodder that you feel you’ve heard before. Indeed, if I was pigeon holing this band, I’d say that they were a throwback to UK gospel groups of the 80’s. The music is very simple, and the lyrics plain and true. The overall production is so pure that you get the impression that they are singing especially to you. Steve Young takes over vocals on the final track, ‘Blessed Be My Rock’. No guessing for the theme of the song, but this is the stand out number for me. There’s some great guitar work carrying the song along, and it’s three minutes of addictive pop music. Only 4 songs, but they all left me with a smile on my face.   8/10. (July 2015)
DISCTRONICA : Electric Hymns. (KMG : D8690)
All the tracks on this album contain strong Christian lyrics set to a modern dance beat. The beat varies from rock, on "Scarlet Letter" (our favourite) and "Rock of Ages" to the Ibiza club dance sound of "Glory On Your House" and "King of Kings & Power and Might". All the tracks are written by Robert Parr and performed by various artists. The album as a whole could be compared to Raze or WWMT. We both enjoyed reviewing this album , which should appeal to most young Christians, as well as 40 year old+ teenagers like ourselves. 8/10. Tim & Pam Robinson. (February 2000)
DISSIDENT PROPHET : Weapons Of Mass Deception. (www.dissidnetprophet.com)
This album has a late 70s/80s rock feel to it. By which I don’t mean heavy gated reverb, electro-pop drums or even bad hairdos. It’s more in the song structure, the riffs, the vocals (“Fire” being sung “Feye-urr”), the guitar sounds. The opening song (“Like Lightning”) has an acoustic opening that sounds very “Stuck In The Middle With You”. Production-wise, it’s far more up to date in its crispness and clarity which allows the songs to shine. “Get Up” is pop-punk (1970s not 1990s), with its Buzzcocks intro and riff, Blondie guitarwork and Spizz/Devo vocal inflections. I could go on – it’s fun spotting the influences: Lou Reed, Jonathan Rickman, Space, Morricone, T Rex, INXS. That said, it’s not a pastiche – it’s very coherent and is brilliantly done and is one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard for a while. I’ll be playing this one again, that’s for sure. Best track: “Get Up”. 8/10 Paul Ganney. (March 2013)
DISSIDENT PROPHET : Red Moon Rising. (http://dissidentprophet.bandcamp.com/album/red-moon-rising)
I was very complimentary (8 squares) about this album’s predecessor (“Weapons of Mass Deception”) so was very pleased to receive a copy of this one but did wonder whether they could be as good as before. I needn’t have worried. The album opens gently with “Human 2.0”, settling into a nice mid-tempo groove with neat instrumentation around it and demonstrating the high production values that continue throughout (the mixing, it has to be said, is brilliant: you feel you can hear everything without anything dominating). The influences/comparisons I noted before are gentler this time, although still of the same era: Fleetwood Mac, Police, U2, Crowded House and Steve Taylor all spring to mind along with Richard Hawley, Mostly Autumn and Anathema from more recent times (and the band do deserve to be on the same bill with these 3). The guitars are very effected (deep flanging and heavy echo especially) which has a Goth feel á la Fields of the Nephilim whereas the vocals are more lower register more like David Byrne (with odd hints of psychedelia as in “Jerusalem Descending”). Overall it seems a much more consistent album than its predecessor, a band finding its feet and finding them well; planting them firmly and saying “this is where we are”. Lyrically the band are unashamed about their faith: “Fly Away” possibly being the most overt but (as I mentioned about the mix) not being so in your face as to distort the feel. I had to listen to the whole album twice before I could decide on a best track, it really is that good (normally I have a choice of 3 or 4 after a first listen). If there’s any negative criticism then it’s the choice of album closer: lyrically “He Sat Down” is an excellent choice with the clear “He died for us” refrain, but the country-pop setting (which reminded me too much of “Those Were the Days” by Mary Hopkin) doesn’t really end such a great album well: not even the morph into an up-tempo ending saves it (although it is better on second listening, so don’t dismiss it too soon). Still – it gives them room to improve and me the chance of awarding yet another square next time out (which I’m already looking forward to). Best track: “Dig” (with a very honourable mention for “Writing On The Wall”). 9/10. Paul Ganney. (August 2015)
DISTINCTIVE SOUNDS : More Than A Song. (ICC : ICCD74130)
This enhanced CD package contains not only 10 new worship songs, but all the things you might need to use them in your church … Chord Charts, OHP transparencies, Sheet Music, etc. all neatly bundled up in a flashy CD-ROM presentation that also includes ideas for worship, ways to improve your band and a whole host of useful (or so it tells me) internet links to take you even further. But stick it in an ordinary CD player rather than your PC/MAC and you will just get the songs, and all the flashy presentation in the world won't help if the music isn't up to snuff. So is it? To be honest, I wasn't holding out much hope based on what it looks like (uninspiring would be the understatement of the year), but I was more encouraged when I saw Andy Flannagan's name here. The songs include contributions from Andy and a couple of other writers, and in Flannagan's "Help Me Hold On" and Jamie Hill's "We Are Your People" (both owing more than a little of their sound to Delirious?) the CD starts and ends on easily the two most inspiring tracks. The rest are OK without being anything special. Judged solely as an album of music it could do with a sharp kick to the rear about halfway through, but as a complete package with all the additional materials it is well worth checking out if you are looking for some new ideas for leading young people into worship. 8/10 David Cooper (August 2003)
DIZMAS : On a Search of America. (Credential Recordings -EMI)
Dizmas, in case you were wondering, is supposedly the name of the thief who repented at the crucificixion. Hmm! Anyway. This CD is non-stop fairly heavy American rock music, it's very loud, and the actual music in itself is quite good. Unfortunately the singer just screams his way through most of tracks which distracts from what the rest of the band is doing. On quite a few of the other tracks it's quite hard to make out the words too. This is only a short CD, only ten tracks long, but by about the third track I found myself getting terminally bored with it. There's not much respite at all throughout the whole CD, a couple of slower songs might have helped. Also the CD seems to have been mixed so that each instrument has to fight hard to be heard above the rest. The end result is a bit tiring to listen to. Not what you'd expect from an EMI label to be honest. I could probably cope with the odd track from this CD every now and then, but not the whole thing in one go. Unfortunately this CD is fairly forgettable, no track particularly stands out from the rest, which could be down to the recording rather than the music itself, but even so. 5/10 Andy Sayner. (October 2005)
DJ MAJ : Boogiroot. (Gotee Records - GTD60558)
This is the fourth album from Louisiana-born rapper DJ Maj and one which he hopes will "find fertile soil among music lovers of every stripe". I reason then that not being a lover of rap myself, if he can make this album appeal to me, then he may well achieve that. The first two tracks don't really help his cause. Whilst lyrically they are nicely crafted, musically there is little to grab you. However, things begin to change direction with the track, "Boogiroot (The Anthem)", featuring a nice, catchy, looped backing vocal and a lighter tone. The rock/rap track "H.A.N.D.S" is even better with a really nice guitar lick and melodic chorus. Other highlights include the single, "Love (So Beautiful)" and the even more melodic, "Can't Take it Away". However, there still remains a number of tracks that you probably have to be a committed rap fan to appreciate fully. That said, Maj does have a way with words and there are some very strong lyrics in this album particularly on, "Through the Night" which seem to defy Maj's youthfulness. I've got to admit that this album grows on me every time I listen to it, so maybe Maj has been successful with this one. In truth, we could do with a few more artists like him, who can craft songs that appeal to an alienated generation. And if he can pick up the rest of us along the way, then maybe that isn't such a bad thing. 7/10 Robin Thompson. (February 2006)
DJ OFFICIAL : Entermission. (Reach records : www.reachrecords.com)
I feel that I should be honest right at the start of this review and say that I detest hip hop with a passion. I knew as soon as I set eyes on this CD that I would hate every minute of it. To me it's just unmusical, aggressive, and tediously repetitive. After about the third song on this I found myself with an almost uncontrollable urge to launch my CD player through the nearest window. However in the interests of objectivity I really tried to find something to like about it, I thought maybe the lyrics would be it's saving grace for me. Well they're not. The lyrics that you can actually understand seem to consist of meaningless contrived rhymes that make one wonder what is actually taught in English lessons these days. There are 16 tracks on here, all featuring different artists but compiled by Dj Official. I guess if you like hip hop / rap music then you'll think this is a brilliant CD, but I can't see it winning many fans outside of that particular genre, not in this country anyway, possibly it will go down better in America. I have tried to listen to this objectively, but in my heart of hearts, I'm afraid I'm a rock music person and I just can't relate to this style of music at all. 5/10 Andy Sayner. (May 2010)
DON MOEN : Ultimate Collection. (Integrity : 51572)
Well, I must admit to being a little apprehensive about listening to this album. Why? Well, I thought that most of Don’s hit’s were probably 20 years old, and maybe just too old fashioned. So, what a surprise it was that I really like this release! It’s true, some of the songs are more than 20 years old, but the quality of them have stood the test of time. His previous albums have sold more than 5 million units, and this collection contains some of his finest recordings. ‘Thank You Lord’ and ‘God Is Good All The Time’ are simply irresistible when it comes to uplifting worship. There are no hidden messages here, love of the Lord is central to the theme of all the songs. Don has warm vocal quality and on the ballad ‘God Will Make Away’, he excels. Again, the pure and simple message of God always “being there” for us, is central to ‘He Never Sleeps’. Bombarded with modern praise and worship from the likes of Hillsongs, Matt Redman, Paul Baloche and the like, older artists like Don Moen seem to have slipped into the background. But, these old fashioned songs sound so different, that I found them so enjoyable. For instance, I had forgotten just how beautiful the song ‘Give Thanks’ was. The album is a throwback to yesteryear, but don’t let that put you off. There’s plenty of good music here. 8/10. (September 2013)
DONN THOMAS : Psalms Alive. (Maranatha Music : 7016346846).
As the title gives away, this collection of songs has been inspired by the Psalms. Worship leader Donn Thomas seems to have the gift that Donnie McClurkin is still searching for. The songs are really appealing and his vocals can be sweet, or low for those bass numbers. Singalong with 'Praise Him' and groove with the reggae style 'Lament For the Nation'. There's some powerful worship contained on this album and you'll be really moved by songs like 'The Spirit' and, the pick of the bunch, 'He Is Our Father'. Donn has writing credits on most tracks and is accompanied on bass guitar by Abraham Laboriel. This is one of the better worship albums I've heard and well worth your time. 8/10. (June 1997)
DONNIE McCLURKIN : Donnie McClurkin. (Warner Alliance : 946297-2).
At his best, Donnie McClurkin does a good impression of Ron Kenoly or Alvin Slaughter but, at his worst he's so miserable. 'Stand' is a good song which has, I have to admit, grown on me with each play. He then follows this with a lot of whooping and hollering presenting 'Just A Little Talk With Jesus'. There's a great version of the old hymn 'Holy, Holy, Holy', and the self penned 'Here With You' shines out too. Despite the negative drift of this review, I do feel that there's a lot more good things to come from Donnie, he just needs time. 4/10. (June 1997)
DOTTIE RAMBO with the Homecoming Friends : Bill & Gloria Gaither Prestent... (Gaither : 8425662)
How this album is can title Dottie Rambo as the leading light is beyond me. On the 15 tracks, she only actually appears 3 times - and that's 3 times too much for me. This is the kind of album that I'd expect you to find, played on any kind of twee US gospel TV programme. It's old hat, and musically, it's way past it's sell by date. The album features the likes of Jessy Dixon and the very talented Sheri Easter, but neither of these acts can save this album from being one of the biggest collections of transatlantic rubbish I've ever come across. 1/10. (April 2005)
DOUG HORLEY : King of Heaven. (Kingsway : KMCD2031).
I really have a lot of respect for this guy. Not only is he a wicked guitar player (Noel Richard's band) but he brings out great sounding albums, primarily, aimed at younger people. He's got it all right, using words that youngsters will understand, to the type of music that they hear on the radio everyday. "Have We Made...?" sounds like a familiar soft drink advert, and "Oi Oi, We Are Gonna Praise..." will have older kids tapping their feet too. "Do Not Worry" sounds as if it's been culled straight from Sesame Street and is, by far, the winner of the this month's 'Cringe Award'. The title track blasts with African drums and a powerful female vocal, pushing forward the simple praise of the song. I guess that I must have got this album a little late/early, as it contains a rap version of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". Neat idea, Doug. Finishing off with a couple of ordinary songs, the album - perhaps - lacks a little something. There again, maybe I'm getting too old. 7/10. (May 1998)
DOUG HORLEY : We Want to See Jesus Lifted High/King of Heaven. (KMCD2438)
The latest Kingsway re-release packages, sees the number one children's songwriters, Doug Horley, with a singly priced double CD. Doug always manages to make excellent young people's praise and worship material without them sounding either tacky or condescending. Songs here include "Who's in the House", "Come to the Father" "I've Got a Wobbly Tooth" (honest) and "We Are Warriors". A total of 29 tracks that feature the dance feel of "Have We Made Our God Too small?" and a cracking version of "We Want to See Jesus Lifted High". No surprises here, but this is an excellent package if you don't already possess either of these albums. 8/10. (January 2003)
DOUG HORLEY : Duggie Dug Dug Goes Wild! (Kingsway : KMDVD022)
Ok, first things first, this is a DVD, not a cd and, surprisingly, actually contains very little of Doug's music. In one sense, this is a shame because I'm a big fan of Doug's exuberant, witty and lively songs but in another sense is positive as it paves the way for an informative and humorous TV show style programme. It's not quite as fast paced as more mainstream TV shows but there's plenty in it to keep a young (and old) mind occupied. Set in Noah's Ark Zoo Farm there are some fascinating factual interludes that provide an interesting insight into many of the animals that live there whilst Doug, his assistant Hayley and various other zany characters seek to find the hairiest animal in the wild. The answer? Well, I'm not going to tell you, but there are plenty of laughs along the way coupled with some serious messages to teach your children. It's not a perfect DVD by any stretch, but it is enjoyable and that is by far the most important attribute. 8/10 RobinThompson (February 2010)
DOUG HORLEY : Chuffed. (Elevation : ELE1623D)
Ah good old Duggie Dug Dug! He's been producing children's worship now for more years than I care to remember. He's always been zany, colourful and whacky and his songs reflect that but he's also quite capable of writing more serious, reflective material too. This album continues in that vein from the rather surreally titled “God's Love is Bigger Than a Burger” to the more intimate “I Love You”. You can also get a lesson on how to play air guitar in the riff busting “Rock my World” and enjoy a rather interesting and humorous take on the parable of the prodigal son in “Down on the Farm”. This features two of Doug's puppetry creations, Larry and Harry, narrating the story in their own inimitable and irreverent way with regular musical intermissions. It sums up Doug Horley in a nutshell. So, overall, a typical Doug Horley cd, containing much of what we have come to expect from him but also with some fresh ideas ensuring that we, and our kids, won't get tired of Duggie Dug Dug and his friends for a while yet. 8/10 Robin Thompson. (August 2011)
DOUG HORLEY :  Chuffed Live DVD.   (Elevation : ELE1684A)
It all makes sense now. Not life, but Doug's songs. I had the pleasure of reviewing the sister cd of Chuffed a short while back and thoroughly enjoyed it even if some things seemed a little random. Well, now I've seen the songs, I understand. They're not meant to be listened to, but participated in! I understand “Down on The Farm” - why it flits between styles, why there's a narrative and funny voices. It's a puppet show that tells a story, a famous story from the bible. It's humorous, entertaining and thought provoking. It's also great seeing an audience both young and old attempt to play air guitar in “We're Gonna Rock” and, it's even better to see everyone using sign language in two of the more reflective songs “I Love You” and “He Will Make Us Clean”. Doug is an entertainer but also a worshipper and when those two things come together the power in Doug's songs is unleashed . I've often complained in the past that kids can get short changed in worship – getting the songs that aren't quite good enough for the adults. Well, the boots on the other foot now. I don't think I've enjoyed an hour of worship as much as this in a while. Keep it up Doug!   10/10   Robin Thompson. (May 2012)
DOUG HORLEY : Doug Horley’s Top 50 Awesome Worship Songs.   (Elevation : ELE2082D)
Think Children’s Worship and I think the first name that springs to mind is probably Doug Horley. Crossrhythms call him “veteran”, Christian.co.uk call him “wacky” and kids call him “Dougie Dug Dug”. He’s all those things and more and has, since the mid 90s, been bringing fun-filled worship and a kid-centric gospel message to children and families. This is quite an extensive compilation – 3 cds in fact – of Doug’s best songs over the years. I think all of his well-known songs are here, from more recent one such “Hi 5” and “Put Your Hands in the Sky” to more time served songs such as “I’m Gonna Build My House on Solid Rock” and “Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumbs”. The thing I like about Doug is the joy that pervades all he does, in the songs, in the shows and in the general mood and feel. That is not to say that you won’t find more reflective moments, as songs like “King of Love” testify but is very hard not to find your spirits lifted after a Doug Horley concert or cd, whether old or young. He also manages to strike a fine balance between childish humour “He made birds that poo upon your shoe” (Lovely Jubbly) whilst at the same communicating real truths about God. “I’m Not Just Here To Use Up Air” goes the first track on the third cd. Quite. We are all important to God and if you didn’t know before how much you mean to God, then listen to this cd and believe it. Fantastic.  10/10.   Robin Thompson. (October 2015, Album of the Month)
DOUG HORLEY : Oomph! (Elevation : ELE2174D)
Doug Horley is back with a brand new collection of fun and funky praise and worship songs for kids. I’m not sure where the album has been hiding, but its October release features a smashing Christmas song called “All the Angels Sing.” As usual, there’s lots of musical styles on show, but there does seem a leaning towards RnB in the main. Both “Are You Ready?” and the title track fall into this category, with the latter sounding like a Mary Mary song. I was pleased to see that Doug hasn’t lost his sense of humour, and both “Dollop” and “Who Da Da Da Diddly Day” are typical of this. The thing I like about his kids songs is that they’re not complicated to understand. “You Write My Name Upon Your Hand” is one such song, were it’s so easy for kids to hear that God loves each one of them. There’s an African feel to “Never Gonna Give Up”, while I thought the banjo playing on “Tidal Wave” worked really well. On the downside, I wasn’t keen on the noisy “You Might See Miracles.” The female vocalist sounds like she should be leading a black gospel choir, and her voice doesn’t really suit the song. I often think that Doug must have been a punk rock fan, he never fails to include fast and furious paced guitar led songs like “God is There in Ev’ryday Stuff.” It’s a classic and, along with most of the album, makes this child of God smile. 8/10. (May 2017)
DOUG HORLEY & MARK READ : Songs from the Musical Noah – a Musical Adventure. (Elevation : ELE1987D)
Musicals are not really my thing, and I rarely find CDs based on musicals to be worthwhile – but this is great and stands up in its own right. Including a full set of printed lyrics and originally released in advance of the musical itself, here we have well written songs that clearly tell the story, excellently produced, and with top notch sound quality – altogether a great way to encourage lots of people to see the musical! It is difficult to pick standout tracks as the writing and performances are of such high quality. 'Waiting for the rain' is particularly effective however, being largely narrative with orchestral accompaniment. 'It rained' is given a brilliantly exhuberant gospel treatment. Ruthie Henshall, who plays Mrs Noah, makes an excellent job of 'An ark in the garden's not funny'(!). Under the umbrella of the Saltmine Theatre Company, the team evidently put many hours into this project by faith, but then sought funding to 'achieve the excellence and exciting puppetry and innovative sets that we would like to bring to our audiences' – subsequently gained by the end of March this year, leading to the musical's launch in May. Based upon the music, I am sure that this humorous musical will prove an extremely enjoyable and entertaining way to spend time with the family. A big 'well done' to everyone concerned. 9/10. Dave Deeks (August 2014)
DOWNHERE : Downhere. (Word : 0806886 14829)
Canadian band, Downhere, have already toured many states in the US, as well as in their home country. this debut release for Word Records mixes energetic pop/rock with some quieter acoustic led ballads, such as tastefully delivered "Great You Are", based on Psalm 8. The members of the band are Jason Germain, Marc Martel, Jeremy Thiessen and Glenn Lavender. I'm not sure which of the first two guys take the vocals on each song but one of them sure has them has the distinct depth and quality of DC Talk's Kevin Max. Indeed, "Free Me Up" and "Reconcile" could well have been likened to DC Talk circa "Jesus Freak" period. Of the radio friendly songs, I found "Raincoat" to be the best, singing praise of Jesus as 'my friend'. The second half of the album, I feel, is not as strong as the second and, therefore, the quality dips somewhat. However, there's enough on show in the first think that we're going to here more of Downhere in the future. 6/10. (February 2002)
DOWNHERE : Wide-Eyed and Mystified. (Centricity : 1910092)
As I write, this album has already garnered a host of great reviews from the media. So, expecting great things, I put the CD into my player, relaxed, and listened. Okay, I guess it was pleasant enough at the beginning, but it hardly blew my socks off. "Surrender" sings about, unsurprisingly, surrendering to God, but the actual song was very "run of the mill". "Dying to Know you" was a little better, but things really started to pick up with "Stir". It explodes through your speakers, with shattering guitars, and reminded me of early Newsboys stuff. "Forgive Yourself" and "Unbelievable" are similar in style and I really began to enjoy things. Listening again, the album does seem to be one of two halves. For me, the second is vastly greater than the first. 6/10. (January 2007)
DREW HOLCOLMB & THE NEIGHBORS : Live At The Ryman. (www.drewholcolmb.com)
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbours are a band described on Wikipedia as “Americana” and have placings in the Billboard folk, rock and independent charts as well as various of their songs appearing in the soundtracks for TV shows. This album, though, fits best under the “Americana” label, being not quite formulaic enough to be country rock. It reminded me a lot of Bob Seeger, Melissa Etheridge and Blackberry Smoke in style (and, going back quite a way, Randy Matthews) with odd nods towards the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen and Glen Campbell. It’s fairly gentle and rolls along nicely in a mid-tempo sort of way. It was recorded in Nashville, which fits the sound very well. It’s live but so well played and sung that it could almost have been a studio recording (although, as other reviewers have noted, the final track does sound like it was recorded in the tunnel afterwards – this is the exception, however). I especially liked the guitar work on “Avalanche” and “When It’s All Said And Done” although the better tracks overall were probably towards the beginning of the album, with the material becoming more emotional later on as the concert progresses. Lyrically it’s very clear (as you tend to get with this style of music) and clearly person-centric, sometimes expressing faith and sometimes love for partners. I was just starting to think that “Live Forever” had more than a passing resemblance to “People Get Ready”, when they started singing it, so I guess they noticed too. If you like this type of music then you’ll like this album, but if you don’t then it won’t change your mind. Best track: “Shine Like Lightning”. 7/10 Paul Ganney. (December 2016)
DUST & DAISIES : 'Winter Heart' (www.dustanddaisies.com)
Dust and Daisies are Nashville-based husband and wife team Rob and Deb Solberg - both with strong musical pedigrees. Following their debut EP, news of this four track download-only Christmas release unfortunately arrived too late for the December edition of NFN. Rob and Deb have been members of the Sunday worship band at The People's Church in Franklin, Tennessee since 2005 and have evidently been leading worship at that church's Celebrate Recovery services since 2010. Described in the promo literature as "bluesy, passionate, worshipful" it features "some rockin' renditions of Christmas classics" ... "the original Christmas song 'Winter heart', and the beautiful Norwegian Christmas carol 'Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker' ('My Heart Always Wanders')" with their songs "delivered passionately, through the soulful singing of Deb Solberg and the adept guitar accompaniment of her husband Rob". Deb's blusey delivery is evident from the outset of the opener 'Angels we have heard on high' and the track features an effective guitar break from Rob. It is a somewhat unimaginative arrangement however with the drums plodding rather than carrying the track along, and while Deb's bluesy note-bending is quite effective her tuning tends to go off sometimes - noticeable to a greater or lesser extent in the next two tracks. 'Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker' is a simple but effective arrangement, with acoustic guitar accompaniment. The bluesy rendition of the tune 'Greensleeves' on 'What Child is this?' features effective electric guitar and Hammond organ. The title track comes last, with music and lyrics by Deb. Although slightly 'twee' it is the most effective one here. Well produced slow-paced pop and with the tweeness helped musically by an effective 'bridge', it shows best what Deb and Rob are capable of. Overall? 6/10. Dave Deeks (January 2014)
DWEEB : Feels Like Dynamite. (Kingsway : FIERCD6055)
The first thing that struck me about this album was how dated it sounded. It was like being transported back to the late seventies, or early eighties post punk rock. The style of music on show here is reminiscent of early Police, or Clash, with a bit of Joe Jackson style vocals here and there. That doesn't mean it's a bad album though, I quite enjoyed listening to it, and not just because it reminded me of my youth. There's nothing particularly deep and meaningful, or indeed controversial here, just a straightforward collection of observations on life from a Christian point of view. I wouldn't exactly describe it as dynamite personally, but it stands up as a respectable effort, and is worth a listen if you get the chance. 7/10 Andy Sayner. (September 2010) Forward to the next archive
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