I missed a week last weekend, because Christi and I went to Austin for the weekend. This was originally scheduled because her company gave them President’s Day off, so I scheduled a PTO day for President’s Day, as well. Then she got laid off, so she’s been off every day for a few weeks. I still had the vacation day scheduled, so we went ahead and took the trip anyway.
This morning, as I return to my weekly scheduled entry, I have gotten into the “D” section of my vinyl records. The first one (and I might add that I am totally glee-stricken to arrive at this section of my records) is the eponymous first album by my very favorite group of all time, Daniel Amos. Daniel Amos (also sometimes known as DA) is a Christian “alternative” group that goes back as far as 1976 when this album was released.
(Maranatha! Music Records, MM0024A)
This first record is, well, kind of “alt-country,” if you will. But even in its “countryness,” we get a preview of the random diversity that characterizes Terry Scott Taylor, the main songwriter for the group. Daniel Amos will go through several variations, through the years. This album sees them as Marty Dieckmeyer on bass guitar, Terry Taylor on acoustic guitars and vocals, Steve Baxter on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Jerry Chamerblain on electric guitar and vocals. The drums, pianos, and other instruments vary from song to song.
The track listing is as follows:
1. Jesus Is Jehovah To Me (Jerry and Terry on vocals)
2. The Bible (Steve on vocals)
3. Abidin’ (Terry on vocals)
4. William (Terry on vocals)
5. Prelude: Servant’s Prayer
6. Don’t Light Your Own Fire (Terry on vocals)
1. Losers and Winners (Terry on vocals)
2. Walking On the Water (Terry on vocals)
3. Ridin’ Along (Steve on vocals)
4. Dusty Road (Terry on vocals)
5. Love In A Yielded Heart (Steve on vocals)
6. Skeptics’ Song (Terry on vocals)
In early Daniel Amos music, Terry takes on cults, as is evident in the opening track, “Jesus Is Jehovah To Me,” co-written with Chamberlain and Dieckmeyer.
Now the Watchtower can only deceive
But from Jesus you can receive
God’s Spirit comes in, and you’re born again
Singin’ Jesus is Jehovah to me
Al Perkins is featured on the pedal steel guitar.
The third track on side one, “Abidin’,” is one that is just fun. It seems to be in a kind of “western swing” style, if I’m correct.
No bribin’, no conivin’, no strivin’ will do
They’ll never make no change in you
You can hold your breath, stand on your head
Still the changes won’t come, till they’re Spirit led
Abidin’, that’s when the changes come
Abide in Jesus, H’es the best at gettin’ it done
One of my favorite songs on the album is on side two, “Walking On the Water.” This is one of the beautiful ballads that Terry is so good at.
Now, Jesus smiles and bids me come near
But I say, “Lord, there’s a storm out there. . . I may fall”
He says, “Son, don’t take your eyes off me
Look straight ahead and you’ll arrive safely”
Then I saw me
Would you believe? . . . Walking on the water!
The final track on the album is a fun little romp about the resurrection, called “Skeptics’ Song.” Terry’s typical tongue-in-cheek humor is evident right from the intro of this song. The lyric transforms from the infamous line, “Oh, my! You’ll fry as we wave goodbye to you,” to
No, you won’t get to heaven just by livin’ right
(day and night)
No cravin’ for behavin’ will release you from the sinner’s
If you’re facin’ God’s salvation with an open heart
Then Jesus, He’s gonna do His part
Oh my! You’ll fly as we rise in the sky
Oh my! You’ll fly as we rise in the sky
Oh my! You’ll fly as we rise in the sky with you!
This is not the first Daniel Amos album I ever heard. I did not discover them until the eighties, when I was in seminary. I was sitting next to a fellow trombone player on a bus, as we headed out on a wind ensemble tour. He handed me a cassette (remember those?), and on this cassette was an album called Alarma! (We’ll get to that one in a few weeks.) You need to know that Alarma! is absolutely NOTHING like the first record! Needless to say, I was hooked from the first notes. I got a vinyl copy of Alarma! as soon as I could, and worked my way back through Horrendous Disc (my favorite album by any group, any time, EVER), Shotgun Angel, and this record. I have bought everything they released since then, up to their most recent release, Dig Here Said the Angel, which was released last year.
I hope you enjoy the sampling of Daniel Amos from this recording. There will be much more to come in future weeks.