Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Christian
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Darcy K. (Darcyjo) from CEDAR ISLAND, NC
Reviewed on 10/28/2006...
"True Believer" is classic Phil. This album not only has one of his all-time fan faves, "Salvation Army Band", it has Phil's vocals as well....a must have for lovers of Contemporary Christian Music.
An album by the producer, not by the artist
DM | 11/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The main problem with TRUE BELIEVER is that it's dominated by producer Alan Shacklock, whose sympathies are clearly not in line with the kind of artist Keaggy is capable of being.
It is Shacklock, not Keaggy, who has the largest share of performing credits on the disc. Shacklock writes 3 songs, of which 2 (the title track & "Only You") are bland and commercial in the most dumbed-down way. (The 3rd, "Have Mercy Lord," at least manages to be a decent rocker.) He also gives Keaggy's original "Salvation Army Band" (from a fan club cassette, and never released on CD) an "updating" (a word that should be kept far, far away from music like Keaggy's); it's not bad in and of itself, but it's not the great song Keaggy wrote in the first place. Shacklock also seems to have a strange idea of how to record backing vocals, as this track demonstrates clearly.
The version of "Be Thou My Vision" here is interesting, and would work pretty well for Keaggy, except that the producer has let a botched vocal take slip through ("save that THY art"???). "And On That Day," one of the best songs, is a lovely Christmas-related tune. But "Son Of Man" is ultimately the only track here that really feels like True Keaggy.
The remake of "The Survivor" (the original version of which would only see CD release after this album came out) is unnecessary, layering way too much "production" on a song that really doesn't need it. (The song does benefit somewhat, though, from the newly aggressive vocal on the last verse and the cathartic extended jam tacked onto the end.)
Overall, worth exploring for dedicated Keaggy fans, but definitely not the place to see what Keaggy is about.
Worth Another Look
A. McDavid | Portland, Oregon | 04/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this recording originally came out I was expecting something different from Phil. Or maybe I was in a different place musically, whatever, it didn't take ahold of me. I could say the same thing for "Invention", the great one-time collaboration with Scott Dente, Wes King, and Phil. And like that revording I have come back for another visit, after years have past.
I am listening as I type, and can't help thinking this REALLY was the CD Phil wanted to make. I believe it must be dear to his heart, for I can hear his passions show through.
His passion for the Lord, his passion for the unborn (note that he credits his son, Ian Keaggy, with "Heartbeat"), his passion to see other believers mature, and his obvious passion for the guitar.
What I see as the CD's weaknesses.
It truly could be longer, maybe a little more intrumental "open land" for Phil to stretch. As far as the production, it's a little more "produced" than some of Phil's other work. (That's not necessarily a bad thing.)
What I see as this CD's strengths.
Phil's voice sounds great. I recall reading Phil's comments about this CD before it was released. He felt that the producer, Alan Shacklock, was helping him to find different vocal treatments for the material. At times I stop and hear what he meant, when I don't totally recognize Phil's voice.
The guitar work is mostly well-showcased within the production, and exceptional, as we've come to expect from one of the greatest living guitarists. (listen to "Wild Heart" and "Salvation Army Band" for trademark, soaring Keaggy)
The songwriting is very good. Interestingly, only two songs claim soul writing credit as Phil. (the beautiful, George Harrison? Beatlesgue "Son of Man" and the earlier "The Survivor") A couple he co-wrote, and the majority seems to be by producer Shacklock. Maybe there is the secret why this CD sounds "different". If so, Phil sounds quite comfortable singing the lyrics of others.
All in all, this CD is worth keeping in my Keaggy collection, and as I said, definitely worth another look.