This is a collection of stuff Phil recorded in his basement studio. It was all recorded on a Teac 144 Porta-Studio and Phil played all of the instruments. If you didn’t know this I’m pretty sure you would think this was a studio recorded album with studio musicians. Apparently there was enough material for a double album but a decision was made to make it a single album release as Volume 1. Volume 2 never came unfortunately. I would have loved to hear more. I had not listened to this album back in the 80’s as I wasn’t really a big Keaggy fan. Wow did I miss out. This is a fantastic album. It has a great rock / pop sound with a 70’s feel. In my opinion this might have been some of his best work. Keaggy said he never intended to release these tracks but somehow it happened. I’d love to hear the story of that decision. Keaggy said of this album “The uniqueness of this album lies in the fact that all the tunes were recorded at my leisure, in a comfortable setting, without realizing they would be used for an official record release. Because of this factor, I feel there is a freedom and confidence expressed in these songs which sets them apart from some of my other recordings.”
Tracklist 1 – What A Love – 3:56 2 – The Ransom – 3:47 3 – Deadline – 3:36 4 – Think About It – 3:36 5 – One In A Million – 4:36 6 – I Know Someone – 3:41 7 – The Two Of You – 4:56 8 – Paid In Full – 4:20 9 – What You Are Inside – 3:35 10 – Follow Me On – 3:24 11 – The Survivor – 5:12
Credits Arranged By – Phil Keaggy Art Direction, Design – Stan Evenson Design Coordinator [Cover Coordination] – Charlyne Hinesley, Judith Cotton Engineer – Phil Keaggy Engineer [Additional Overdubs] – Mike Ross, Wally Grant Mixed By – Bob Cotton, Phil Keaggy Performer, Instruments [All] – Phil Keaggy Photography By – The Design Oasis Producer – Phil Keaggy Vocals – Phil Keaggy (tracks: A1, A3 to B1, B3, B5) Vocals [Additional] – Bernadette Keaggy (tracks: A4) Written-By – Phil Keaggy
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Nissi Records Published By – Marguerite Music Published By – Emmaus Road Music Recorded At – Weddington Studios Mixed At – Weddington Studios Mastered At – Future Disc Distributed By – Sparrow Distribution
I have heard from different sources that Matthew Ward’s “Toward Eternity” is either the last Jesus Music album or the first CCM album. Released right around the turn of the decade that many define as the historical marker for the two genres. Produced and written by many that were the founder and stalwarts of the Jesus Music era (Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, Michael Omartian), but decidedly more polished, rock and pop driven than anything released previously.
I simply call it a classic that is clearly the center of a musical paradigm shirt in CCM. Production was stellar, performances spotless and Ward’s vocals soar. This is not a solo project from 1/3 of 2nd Chapter of Acts, it is a brilliant rock album conceived and released by an utterly unique and engaging artist in his own right. These are not left-overs from his group, but rather songs that far exceed much of what his siblings were releasing at the time.
Musicians on the album included those mentioned above along with Abraham Laboriel, David Kemper, Ray Parker Jr. and many more studio pros. The album is nearly flawless and many aficionados will list it in their all time Top 10. It was also released at a time when many Christian Music buffs were cutting their teeth on the genre and this album proved to be a revelation to many. I would not be surprised to find many of the “older” readers complaining on its placement in the countdown, and I will not disagree; I understand their reasoning.
Oddly enough, even fans of hard rock love the album despite its general lack of anything leaning in that direction. Much has to do with the great songs and Keaggy’s outrageous guitar work. It is always odd that Keaggy will often lend some of his best work on projects for other artists. But ultimately it comes down to the fact that Ward possesses one of the greatest voices on the planet. Period!
The album kicks off with the funky rock number “It’s Alright” lead by Keaggy’s great guitar work. This is a fearless rock groove with a monster bass line driving the low-end. The song is built around a particular end times expectation complete with money system, beast and mark. That notwithstanding, the song is just so good. The great vocal bridge leads to Keaggy’s driving rhythm guitar work.
Limited breaks between songs leads the starter right into a great Keith green piano driven song, “Soft Spot.” The Beatlesque (Penny Lane) sound of the chorus complete with a great string arrangement softens what could have been a much heavier song, and it actually works in the artists favor given the content of the song.
The acoustic “Noah” immediately sounds like a Phil Keaggy song. And it is. Written by Keaggy, Ward recorded it and someone once mentioned that Keaggy didn’t want to record it after hearing Ward’s masterful vocals. I don’t know if it’s one of those popular urban legends as Keaggy eventually would record his own version.
A personal favorite is the rocker, “Till the Walls Come Down.” Like the lead track, the song is one of the heavier musically and features Keaggy’s awesome guitar work, especially the solo. Written by Ward, Keaggy and Green (wow, just think about that for a moment), the song is most noted for the Michael Omartian lead “killer bees.” One must listen to truly understand the bees reference.
Returning to the most pop oriented piano sound with Green’s “Better Than This,” Ward let’s the vocals go on a few bright moments when he hits some unreal notes. The song has a great hook, but the same can be said for the entire album. I can go years in between listens and still never miss a note when singing along.
What would be initially the start of side two, “Your Love Came Over Me” is great Doobie Brothers (China Grove) type riff that never quits throughout. I know it may be hard for readers today to understand just how rare it was for a “safe” artist to deliver such a rock oriented album. The industry at the time would allow for the occasional pop rock riff, but rarely an album that rocked from start to finish.
The song was written by Keith Green and a gentlemen named Todd Fishkind. Fishkind may be one of the most important songwriters and musicians from the era that no one really knows about. He was very close to Green and they wrote quite a bit together, including the classic “Your Love Broke Through.” Fishkind would also wrote a book about Keith. He was also considered quite the musician.
“Hold On” follows and sounds like something off pop radio at the time. If not for Ward’s distinctive vocals I would swear it could have been a single off of Chicago 13. In fact, it would have been the best song off of Chicago 13.
The borderline “world music” influenced “Angels Unaware” is the only truly dated song from the project. The lyrics about guardian angels at times are silly (something about the “honkin’ flu”) but no more silly than what Amy Grant would record nearly a decade later.
The hiccup of “Angels Unaware” is immediately forgotten with the stunning and emotionally driving ballad, “Summer Snow.” The simple song of faith and God’s timing is exclusively driven by piano and strings. Tom Keene’s great string arrangement supports Green’s beautiful playing. Matthew shows the range both vocally and emotionally here. It ranks amongst the true classic from the era.
The “much too short” album closes with an Anne Herring tune, “The Vineyard.” It is all but an instrumental, as the only vocals are “ooh’s” playing the part of strings on top of Tom Keene’s beautiful piano work. It is a contemplative ending to an utterly brilliant and timeless classic album.
Whether it ended one or era or started another is not of consequence and the debate shall continue. What is of consequence is how truly revelatory and ground breaking the album was and how, over 30 years later, it is still a brilliant masterpiece by a wonderful artist.
Track Listing: 1 – It’s All Right – 2:34 2 – Soft Spot – 3:42 3 – Noah’s Song – 3:56 4 – Till The Walls Fall Down – 2:29 5 – Gotta Do Better Than This – 3:23 6 – Your Love Came Over Me – 4:07 7 – Hold On – 3:10 8 – Angels Unaware – 2:26 9 – Summer Snow – 3:36 10 – The Vineyard – 2:18
Credits: Scotty Edwards – Bass Todd Fishkind – Songwriter Jay Graydon – Guitars Keith Green – Songwriter, Piano Melody Green – Songwriter Annie Herring – Songwriter Buck Herring – Producer, Engineer, Songwriter Phil Keaggy – Songwriter, Guitars Tom Keene – String Arranger, Piano David Kemper – Drums Abraham Laboriel – Bass Michael Omartian – Horn Arranger, Songwriter, Synthesizer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Percussion Ray Parker, Jr. – Guitars Matthew Ward – Songwriter, Vocal Arranger, Vocals
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc. Recorded At – Buckskin Studio Recorded At – Sunwest Recording Studios
I guess this album was the result of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Constantly compared to Paul McCartney during his career, why not just do a Beatles album? What was actually supposed to be a possible semi-regular group, Phil Keaggy & Sunday’s Child only ever released this one album. But what an album they created! Making up the rest of “Sunday’s Child” are Rick Cua on bass, Mike Mead on drums and Lynn Nichols on guitar and vocals. It also may go down in CCM history as the single nicest group of musicians to record a record together. There is this one odd thing about many Keaggy albums. Those with great songs have a tendency to lack the guitar prowess that many clamor for, while those with great guitar work have tendency to lack quality songwriting throughout. This album is all about the songwriting and is clearly some of Keaggy’s finest work in the regard. And true to form the album is not filled with blazing and intricate guitar work, though many tasteful and enjoyable examples can be found. There album is also the most “band” sounding in his career outside of the Crimson and Blue recordings. But that band is supported by a Hall of fame list of musicians including Steve Taylor, Mark Heard, Randy Stonehill, Alwyn Wall, Derri Daugherty, Russ Taff and the always impressive and often overlooked James Hollihan on guitar. Many of the guests also provided songwriting help. The Beatles comparisons are not subtle. They were clearly the inspiration and that adds to the sheer joy of the album. In fact, according to the liner notes, Ringer Starr’s drum kit was used on the recording. Older amps, instruments and recording processes were employed to give the album the rich, analog sound.
The album kicks off with the mid-tempo rocker, “Tell me How You Feel.” This tone setter reveals what will follow with the head side bopping beat and Keaggy’s higher end vocals at times reminiscent of McCartney with abandon. But there is also a clear nod to the Byrds here and throughout. The title track, co-written with Stonehill, was a hit, and for good reason. This song is memorable and smart at the same time. I believe I hear Stonehill’s vocals in there as well. The two released a wonderful album a year or so ago that employed some of the same musical stylings. A personal favorite, and one of the better rockers on the album is “I Always Do.” Starting slow before kicking halfway through the verse into a killer rocker that is more reminiscent of Glass Harp’s poppier side. The song also features one of the more upfront guitar solos and the best hook on the entire album. Without blazing fingers and extended riffs, Keaggy here shows the power of a well controlled, melodic and tasteful rock solo. It should be noted this is a Mark heard penned tune. “I’m Gonna Get You Now” is more early 70’s rock and sounds the least like the Beatles as any on the record, excepting the song that follows. But it should be noted that it also provides some of Keaggy’s best rock vocals. Co-written by Lynn Nichols, the songs edge gives Keaggy the change to explore some vocal styles he hadn’t previously. If someone mentioned that Steve Taylor co-wrote one of the songs, my guess would immediately be “Bless Be the Ties,” and that would be correct. More psychedelic than the rest of the album, this slower, dare I say darker (?) song remains one of the best as well. This Could Be the Moment” returns to the more fun rock and roll. This is a good old-fashioned, put the top down on the convertible and hit Pacific Highway. The chorus is a monster with some great harmonies. The instrumental break just pounds with Mead’s great driving beat and Keaggy’s subtle and building guitar work. Even Cua gets a short solo here! This was a great song live I should add as it was extended to include solos from everyone. Side Two kicks off with the loudest guitars and a song co-written by Stonehill called “Ain’t Got No.” But this Stonehill is Sandi, the then wife of Randy. Oddly enough, it sounds like something randy would have recorded himself. It’s hard to decide which song stands out as the “best” on such a great album, but “Somebody Loves You” would have to receive recognition. The acoustic driven rock song is pure Keaggy and one of the songs Keaggy penned entirely by himself. Keaggy here shows his guitar prowess is not just limited to electric and solo, but tasteful and smart acoustic rhythm work as well. This alone gives it more of a Byrds feel. Another of the darker feeling songs follows with “Big Eraser.” Another Nichols co-written tune, it is perfect fit for something on the Chagall Guevara debut. The vocals are clouded amongst a large rock vibe and huge drum sound. This would make sense given Nichols involvement with the group. The Mark Heard penned “Everything is Alright” is a true dichotomy. A dark and almost atmospheric verse structure followed by a pop and memorable hook driven chorus. This is also around the time of Ideola, and the style shows through. “I’ve Just Begun (Again)” brings the album back to the joyful musical expressions that dominate the vast majority of the album, while the following “Walk In Two Worlds” represents the darker, rougher edge. One would have hoped future releases would expand upon this sound as it worked so incredible well here. The album closes with a wonderful version of the traditional spiritual “Talk About Suffering.” Staring nearly in an acapella (drums only) before adding the band, this version is both beautiful and unforgettable. A fitting ending to a great album. This may be Keaggy’s finest hour as a songwriter, though another album of his will appear much later in the countdown, it is a real shame this ended up being only a one-off and no further collaborations between these men exists in this format.
Tracklist 1 – Tell Me How You Feel – 3:21 2 – Sunday’s Child – 3:57 3 – I Always Do – 4:50 4 – I’m Gonna Get You Now – 3:47 5 – Blessed Be the Ties – 3:56 6 – This Could Be the Moment – 3:48 7 – Ain’t Got No – 3:29 8 – Somebody Loves You – 4:05 9 – Big Eraser – 4:33 10 – Everything Is Alright – 4:19 11 – I’ve Just Begun (Again) – 3:00 12 – Walk In Two Worlds – 3:37 13 – Talk About Suffering – 4:50
Credits Robbie Buchanan – Organ B3 Lenny Castro – Percussion Rick Cua – Bass Derri Daugherty – Vocals Lance Demers – Songwriter Dave Hackbarth – Mixed Mark Heard – Songwriter, Engineer, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals James Hollihan – Guitar Wade Jaynes – Mixed Eddie Keaggy – Mixed Phil Keaggy – Songwriter, Guitars, Bass, Percussion, Vocals Mike Mead – Drums Lynn Arthur Nichols – Producer, Songwriter, Guitar, Vocals A. Palladino – Songwriter Jack Joseph Puig – Mixed David Schober – Engineer Jimmie Lee Sloas – Vocals Bart Stevens – Mixed Randy Stonehill – Songwriter, Guitar, Vocals Sandi Stonehill – Songwriter Russ Taff – Vocals Brian Tankersley – Engineer Steve Taylor – Songwriter, Percussion Rudy Valentine – Vocals Alwyn Wall – Vocals
There is not a lot to say about Phil Keaggy that hasn’t already been said. In fact, I can be pretty sure than nothing I say will be in any way enlightening to the reader. I can do no more than to simply repeat the previous accolades and find a way to recommend even more so the need to own as much Phil Keaggy as humanly possible, especially his 70’s and 80’s material which is just staggeringly impressive. Town to Town is separated from nearly all other Keaggy releases by the fact that it may be his most accessible and commercial. It contains more radio friendly and pop based structured than any other Keaggy recording outside of the “band” Sunday’s Child. The opening track is a great live favorite that tells the story of a one night reunion with his classic rock band, Glass Harp. This song, like many of Keaggy’s, suffer from the guitar solos being limited. The same is not the case for the following track, Full Circle. Here is a great example of how to create a pop rock song without shorting the guitar aficionado fans desire for Keaggy guitar solos. “What a Wonder You Are” featured vocal support from the queen of Christian duets, Michele Pillar, and ended up being the biggest hit from the album. The song broke molds in that was one of the first radio hits that was simply a love song without having to be a “wedding song.” Previously the only romantic songs were those specifically created for weddings. The album closes with one of Keaggy most popular and enduring songs, Let Everything Else Go. The beautiful song proves that stunning guitar work does not always have to be blistering guitar solos, but also soothing, atmospheric sounds created at the hands of a master. Here we find beautiful and haunting sounds that so create the musical canvas Keaggy’s Paul McCartney-like vocals can paint upon.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Wished You Were There – 3:01 2 – Full Circle – 4:15 3 – Life Love And You – 4:20 4 – Town To Town – 6:45 5 – What A Wonder You Are – 4:00 6 – In Between – 3:01 7 – Our Lives – 5:23 8 – Rise Up O Men Of God – 4:10 9 – Let Everything Else Go – 4:50
Credits Alex Acuña – Percussion Curt Bartlett – Guitar Bob Cotton – Engineer, Producer Jim DeLong – Drums, Percussion Eugene Friesen – Composer Leon Gaer – Bass, Bass (Electric), Guitar (Bass) Dean Hagen – Drums Paul Halley – Composer Bruce Hibbard – Vocals (Background) Lee Jones – Fretless Bass Bernadette Keaggy – Vocals Phil Keaggy – Bass, Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Bass), Primary Artist, Vocals Tom Keene – Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer Dan Murdock – Keyboards, Piano Michele Pillar – Vocals (Background) John Pooley – Engineer Denny Siegrist – Engineer Richard Souther – Synthesizer The Winans – Vocals (Background) Pete York – Vocals (Background)
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc. Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.
This is Phil’s second solo album. It is still very revered to this day partly because of the track “Love Broke Thru”. The track was actually written by Keith Green and Randy Stonehill for Keith Green. Strangely Keith Green wanted Keaggy to release it before he did and so it was. The track “Time” features Keaggy’s innovative guitar technique of “violin-like swelling” which I can honestly say I don’t like but it is very well liked by actual musicians which I am not. The track “As The Ruin Falls” is actually an arrangement of he C.S. Lewis poem of the same name. Guest appearances include Michael Omartian on keyboards, Annie Herring (2nd Chapter Of Acts), Matthew Ward, and Mylon LeFevre doing some background vocals.
1 – Love Broke Thru – 3:30
2 – Take Me Closer – 4:57
3 – As The Ruin Falls – 4:31
4 – Wild Horse – 4:16
5 – Disappointment – 2:39
6 – Time – 6:47
7 – Portrait – 2:03
8 – Just The Same – 3:43
9 – Things I Will Do – 3:14
10 – Abraham – 3:32
Arranged By [String Arrangements] – Michael Omartian
Backing Vocals – Annie Herring, Matthew Ward, Mylon LeFevre
Bass – Leland Sklar
Contractor [String Contractor] – George Poole
Design – Linny Cobb
Drums – Jim Gordon
Engineer, Producer – Buck Herring
Executive Producer – Scott Ross
Flute – Don Menza
Guitar [All Guitars] – Phil Keaggy
Horns – Bill Baker, Marshall Cyr
Keyboards [Aarpvark] – Michael Omartian
Percussion – Herring, Hopper, Keaggy*
Photography [Back Cover, Label And Sleeve Photography] – Peter K. Hopper
Photography [Cover Photography] – Ted Len
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Organ – Larry Knetchel*
Phonographic Copyright (p) – New Song Productions
Copyright (c) – New Song Productions
This was Keaggy’s first solo album. He had cut 3 albums with Glass Harp but left in 1972 as “…spiritually we were going different directions” Keagy said. Keaggy wrote all the songs on this album while he was still with Glass Harp and I’m just guessing but I would guess these are the songs that were rejected by the rest of that band. Phil also played all the instruments on this album, a little rare for a first album. Most record companies missed the cost savings that his would offer. Anyway the album was released and sold relatively well but not well not enough for Keaggy to be a headliner and instead he toured in support of other artists like Love Song, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Paul Clark, and Nancy Honeytree. Keaggy continues to play the title track to this day in his concerts.
1 – This Is What The Lord Will Do For You – 2:54
2 – King Of The Jews – 2:04
3 – Walking With Our Lord – 4:17
4 – A Time And A Place – 2:44
5 – Rejoice – 4:45
6 – What A Day – 4:50
7 – Now I Can See – 5:08
8 – Behold All Things Become New – 1:18
9 – Hallelujah – 4:41
10 – I Will Sing – 3:23
Design – Linny Cobb
Engineer, Co-producer – Gary Hedden
Photography By – Bob Combs
Producer, Written-By, Arranged By, Performer – Phil Keaggy
Pressed By – United Sound (3)
Copyright (c) – New Song Productions
Phonographic Copyright (p) – New Song Productions
This is probably my favourite Phil Keaggy album. I find the guitar work on this album, which is excellent of course, to be the style I prefer from Phil. In particular I’ve always found the guitar riffs on “Happy” to be able to put a smile on my face. I always thought it was rather magical how Phil could sort of encapsulate different albums with slightly different guitar styles. Strangely the album only had one single on the CCM charts. I shudder to think that even this album may have been too uptempo for CCM in 1982. Anyway “Morning Light” peaked at #6 while on the charts for 28 weeks.
1 – Happy – 2:47
2 – Carefree – 4:39
3 – Nobody’s Playgirl Now – 4:02
4 – Cherish The Moment – 5:00
5 – She Came To Stay – 3:33
6 – Papa Song – 3:19
7 – The Wall – 2:44
8 – Make A Change – 3:30
9 – Train To Glory – 3:11
10 – Play Thru Me – 4:25
11 – His Master’s Voice – 3:07
12 – Morning Light – 3:30
Art Direction, Design – Stan Evenson
Bass – Hadley Hockensmith (tracks: A1, A3)
Design – John O’Brien
Drums – Jim DeLong
Engineer – Wally Grant
Guitar, Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Written-By, Producer, Arranged By – Phil Keaggy
Keyboards – Smitty Price
Lacquer Cut By – SH*
Percussion – Michael Fisher
Photography By – Mark Hanauer
Producer, Engineer – Bob Cotton
Vocals – Alicia Keaggy (tracks: A6), Bernadette Keaggy (tracks: A6)
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music
Copyright (c) – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Copyright (c) – Sandtree Music
Recorded At – Sound Recorders, Kansas City
Recorded At – Weddington Studios
Mastered At – MCA Recording Studios
Lacquer Cut At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
This was the only album that used the moniker “Phil Keaggy Band”. The “Band” were guitarist Lynn Nichols, keyboardist Phil Madeira, bassist Dan Cunningham and drummer Terry Andersen. This was truly a “band” effort and not just some musicians joining Phil and rumour has it that the album was recorded almost entirely live in studio. I think this is the first album that we can start to hear the guitar virtuoso that Phil would become. If you have a love of Phil be sure to head back to this album to hear some of where it all started.
1 – Theme/Where Is My Maker? – 5:15
2 – Another Try – 4:55
3 – Ryan’s Song – 3:09
4 – Struck By The Love – 5:43
5 – Turned On The Light – 4:57
6 – Sorry – 4:09
7 – Take A Look Around – 5:16
8 – Gentle Eyes – 5:29
Acoustic Guitar – Lynn Nichols, Phil Keaggy
Arranged By – Phil Keaggy
Bass – Dan Cunningham
Classical Guitar – Lynn Nichols
Co-producer – Phil Keaggy
Design, Typography – Stuart Scadron-Wattles
Drums, Percussion – Terry Andersen
Electric Guitar – Lynn Nichols
Engineer – Gary Hedden
Lead Guitar [Electric] – Phil Keaggy
Mastered By – Gary Hedden
Mixed By – Gary Hedden
Organ – Phil Madeira
Photography By [Cover] – Denton Miller
Piano – Phil Madeira
Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Phil Madeira
Producer – Peter K. Hopper
Synthesizer [Micro & Polymoog] – Phil Madeira
Vocals – Lynn Nichols, Phil Keaggy, Phil Madeira
Phonographic Copyright (p) – New Song Records
Copyright (c) – New Song Records
Published By – Free Love Publishing
Recorded At – Hedden West Studios
Mastered At – Diskwerks
Distributed By – Jubilation Group
This is Mark Farner’s first solo album after the dissolution of Grand Funk Railroad though he did have 2 solo albums while the band was still together. It was released on Frontline Records and left no argument that it was a Christian album. This is a great Rock & Roll album which plays to the patriotism of it’s mainly American audience. I’m not entirely sure who to compare the album to but there are a few songs on the album that Huey Lewis could have felt right at home singing. My favourite track is Come to Jesus which took me back to Sunday School but with a huge Rock & Roll upgrade. One cool thing on the album is a guest appearance from Phil Keaggy.
1 – Airborne Ranger – 3:57
2 – Judgement Day Blues – 4:46
3 – Isn’t It Amazing – 4:35
4 – Come to Jesus – 3:58
5 – Give Me the Works – 3:25
6 – An Emotional Look at Love – 3:16
7 – Workin’ for the Winner – 3:40
8 – Just Another Injustice – 3:55
9 – The Writing on the Wall – 4:30
10 – Only You – 3:43
Lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass – Mark Farner
Keyboards – Tim Heintz
Drums – David Huff
Guest guitars – Phil Keaggy
Additional bass – John Patitucci
Additional bass – Kirt Shearer
Guest backing vocals – Bob Carlisle
Phil had released a number of albums by this point, and with this one he switched to a new label, New Song Records. It’s all instrumental and has a pleasant jazz sound emanating from his intricate guitar work.
The album comes with a story in the liner notes, and it is a must-read while you listen to this album. Press play and keep reading.
Music, especially instrumental music, evokes many images in the mind of an attentive listener. I have set below an account of the images which have been called up for me by The Master and the Musician, not as any final word on meaning or intent, but as a vantage point, if you will – a place from which you may consider this series of musical pieces before you do some exploration on your own.
We begin by listening to a dream, for at first the sounds are clearer than the sights. A young man’s voice, distinct and persistent. Then that of an older man, measured, balanced tones. Now they come into view: The seated old man leans against his high-backed chair, listening attentively. His eyes crinkle with hidden amusement at the young man’s insistence. Heavy, white eyebrows are occasionally raised as his eyes widen, echoing his initial surprise at the young man’s visit. A slender, long-fingered hand is brought to the side of his face. His fingers frame an eye, as one hand rests against his cheek, his clear eyes never straying from the face of the man across from him.
His younger visitor leans forward again, intent on explaining a request he barely understands himself. He is a young musician, and yet he shows the strain and wear of travelling, pressed by that fame which demands strenuous performance. The old man smiles, and for a brief moment glances at the worn wooden surface of an instrument hung upon his wall. Sensing a rapport which he had never though could exist, the young man leans forward and repeats his request:
“Teach me,” said the young musician. “Old man, you have seen much. You were Master Musician in your time, playing in the great halls. Your fingers, once young and lithe, filled the hearts of kings with music which changes the soul. Where did you learn music? It is said that you have even played before He who is not to be named. Teach me,” said the young man, his eyes intent upon purpose, “I want to know that music.”
“Young man, what have you to do with me? Your gift is in the marketplace, not playing in royal halls.” The old man smiled and shook his head. “How they dance when you play! The young women sway, and their eyes dart with fiery love at your tones. To play where I have, you must leave the marketplace behind, you must cease to play in the palaces of pleasure, and find your joy in other pursuits. Are you willing? Are you able to leave all of that behind?” The young man’s lips tightened. His eyes held the old man in unwavering gaze as he softly nodded his head.
The Castle’s Call
Deep in a sun-flooded valley it stood. Beyond the outcroppings of bare rock at the summit, the wind-blown trees along the steep slope, in the midst of the small forest on the valley floor. Open ground swelled up to meet its moat. White stone, hewn long ago from the valley itself, washed by aeons of the water of pre-history, formed its battlements and towers topped with dark green slate. The early afternoon sun bathed its walls in yellow brilliance. The drawbridge was down, and smoke curled from the chimneys of the great hall.
Hidden, yet apparent, the castle in his mind’s eye drew the young musician to its entrance, and called him to an as yet uncontemplated fate.
Wedding in the Country Manor
Wedding day! The village has been polished clean. Clear summer sun and unsullied sky. Who has seen a groom like this, strong and silent, dark and light? Clear eyes flash with joy, anticipating his lady’s gentle appearance.
She walks upright and unafraid, her lace veil blowing in the summer breeze.
Her gaze is neither timid nor bold, yet it holds the strength of her lord’s without wavering.
They kiss… A brilliant jewel between them sparkles, showering the guests with light and laughter. Then silence, as the meaning makes its home.
The children, unaware of grownup solemnity, dance out joy with unencumbered feet, whirling and giggling, giggling, and whirling away their summer joy. One by one, the grownups join them, bride, groom, and guests, until all fall from exhaustion, laughing at dignity and foolishness alike.
Suite – of Reflections
“This is the room where we must begin,” the old man said, “sit down – over there. Hold your instrument so. A thousand have sat as you have. Listen.” The old man played out the story of the room, asking all the age-old questions of the entrance.
The young man sat in silence. Then answered his every question one by one – considered, unwavering, sure of what he would find. His heart soared as each question was answered, anticipating the fulfillment of the promise each one held. Now tears of joy are flowing from his cheeks. He holds his instrument away so as not to spoil the strings. The old man smiles. The younger weeps: All I have lived for is here. The joy of new beginnings settles in his mind, as the old man sets down his instrument and opens up the door: “You must meet the King,” he said, “you must meet Him face to face. No, no -” the old man answered the unasked question: “You must go alone. You won’t come to harm; I will even meet you along the way. But – for now – you must go alone.”
Golden halls to walk down; flowing, gentle gold. Everything exudes yellow light. The young man looks at himself in a mirror. The hard creases etching the lines of his worry have been smoothed over. His cheeks fill with the youth of his years – once made long from the marketplace. Forever, he thought. I have never known its meaning. I shall live here forever, in golden light.
Now that the hot lights of the pleasure palace stage glare into his eyes, He steps up to the roar of a crowd bent upon his music, and all that it has brought to them. Then silence. He sings – no, soars with joy. The crowd no longer presses forward, but holds itsbreath at music it has never heard. His fellow players stand mute.
Follow Me Up
“Follow me up,” he cries, as they begin to understand. The marketplace reverberates with music of life. The young women, no longer dancing, cry with joy at the truth they have always known but were seeking to hide. Young men look for the source of his strength. “Follow me up,” he cries, again and again. They will remember this night forever, and never know why.
Along the castle’s golden halls, the sight of a long and narrow passage has stopped him. At the end, a single door gleams in green light: The stage door of the pleasure palace. It was unmistakable, and jarringly out of place. What music drew him down to open the door and gaze into his own face, bathed with sweat and green light, playing out the pleasures for adoring admirers? The young man in the room swayed and bent, his instrument playing out in twisted genius the stories of his lusts. The young man gazing at him drew back in disgust and horror of the truth. He slammed the door and ran back to the golden hall, his heart racing him to a finish.
Deep Calls Unto Deep
The old man sat in the great hall, his fingers resting lightly upon his instrument. One hand lifted, to silently indicate the young man’s own instrument, lying in the only other chair. The young man shook his head, no longer willing or able to play. He opened his mouth to explain, but could not speak. The old man began, as the younger stood before him in silence. The presence of He who cannot be named filled the hall. Never had he heard the old man play like this. His cheeks flamed crimson at his own inability. An unseen instrument answered the old musician, who raised his head slightly to acknowledge its presence. The younger walked as in a trance to his chair. He sat, and fingered the instrument. Unwillingly, he began to play, and himself was answered. His concentration was set upon his fingers, which played from some unrecognized but familiar depth. He never noticed the old man’s disappearance. The Presence lifted. Alone, the young man sang of a thirst quenched by water and salt.
The next room was lined in oak; leaded windows looked out over green forest at the setting sun. The young man sat in a window casement, and played down the sun to a half-remembered hymn. The sky became green and deep gold. Slowly, all turned cold – the stars came into a dark, black night. Since the old man’s disappearance, the young man had been incapable of calling back the Presence. The night turned darker, and the young one began to cry, not for loss, but lack. Oblivious to his surroundings, he bent his head and sobbed. His tears ran saltily upon his instrument, dripping from the strings. They can be spoiled now, he thought, what does it matter? I cannot play.
“I too was alone,” said a voice, “I too could no longer play the Music.” The young one bit his lip and looked up. The King was before him, not as a king, but as the young man himself, his heart empty. Royal robes hung over one arm. “Wear these,” said the king, “for they are yours.”
The King gazed at him as a bridegroom at his bride, and the young man played; joined, not by an instrument, but by the voice of the Presence itself. The King was lifted up and out of sight, golden walls illuminating His departure. Still the young man played, for the Presence was greater than ever. He sang with It, It sang with him. Voices called cross to one another; all led upward. A joy far deeper than his own emotions held him in its grasp. It would not let him go.
The high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose Name is holy,
He dwells in a high and holy place
And with him are the lowly in spirit,
In order to revive their hearts.
A1 Pilgrim’s Flight 2:22
A2 Agora (The Markerplace) 3:26
A3 The Castle’s Call 0:47
A4 Wedding In The Country Manor 3:20
A5 Suite Of Reflections 5:45
A6 Golden Halls 5:13
B1 Mouthpiece 1:18
B2 Follow Me Up 4:05
B3 Jungle Pleasures 0:55
B4 Deep Calls Unto Deep 3:52
B5 Medley (7:05)
B6 The High And Exalted One 1:48
Classical Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass, E-Bow, Synthesizer [Arp Bass], Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Producer, Arranged By, Mixed By, Composed By, Sleeve Notes – Phil Keaggy
Engineer – Gary Hedden
Engineer, Mixed By – Mal Davis
Illustration – Claude Schuyler
Lyrics By [Story Written By] – Stuart Scadron-Wattles
Photography By – Chris Maggio (3)
Vocals – Bernadette Keaggy