Music CD - 1996
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Publisher: [s.l.] : Arista Records, Inc., 1996.
Branch Call Number: CD H MUL205
Characteristics: 1 sound disc (68 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.


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Sep 08, 2017

“Christian Music” (back in the 1980’s) used to be a wasteland. With the exceptions of the Talbot brothers, Seawind, Resurrection Band, and the Second Chapter of Acts (and Phil Keaggy’s guitar, comparable to Mark Knoffler), most of it was clichéd, badly-written and badly-performed pop with embarrassingly forced rhymes about simplistic solutions. Mr. Mullins was one of those to break away from this mediocrity. From the beginning of this CD (he plays hammered dulcimer! How cool is that!?) it’s obvious that this is going in a different direction. There’s a Bach fugue on the piano and a piece of acoustic prog-rock. The string backup and background vocals are still a little overdone, but so was most music back then, and subsequent songs (such as “Sometimes by Step” and “Creed”) use these backups to much greater effect. “Calling out Your Name” is an epic piece with touches of traditional Native American music (Mr. Mullins was a music teacher in the Navajo Nation). There are some stylistic left-turns as well; “Alrightokuhhuhamen” (look at that closely, it’ll sort itself out) is a bluesy rocker and “Screen Door” is a catchy, funky bit of vocal jazz. Throughout, the lyrics are not stereotyped, but usually drawn directly from the Bible or Christian creeds – and as such are somewhat freeform as far as meter and rhyming is concerned (since they are drawn from translations, after all). “Christian Music” has improved now to the level of “regular” (whatever that means) mainstream music; these recordings are from the beginnings of that process. Mr. Mullins died in a car accident in 1997, but I would like to hear what he would have done had his work continued.


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