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#21 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 08:06 PM

Hmmm, should we be concerned?

Michael W. Smith tells the February 28 Billboard that he will be appearing in The Second Chance: "It's about an associate pastor named Ethan in a suburban church. Ethan ends up being sent to an inner city church. He does not want to go, but he goes. He falls in love with the people and it changes his life. Steve Taylor, Ben Pearson and Chip Arnold wrote it."

#22 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 11:03 PM

Um, so I'm all about MWS' music, esp. c. 1990, but there is no doubt in my mind that if this comes to fruition, he will prove to be the world's worst actor.

Dale

#23 mrmando

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 03:14 PM

MWS c. 1990 would be the "i 2 Eye" record, yes? What was so great about that one?

IMHO MWS did exactly one decent recording: "The Big Picture." It was the high-water mark of the '80s avant-garde movement in CCM. It's all been downhill since then.

For some reason "The Big Picture" always put me to sleep when I listened to it back in college, but I still liked it...

#24 Overstreet

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 03:20 PM

QUOTE
MWS c. 1990 would be the \"i 2 Eye\" record, yes? What was so great about that one?  

IMHO MWS did exactly one decent recording: \"The Big Picture.\" It was the high-water mark of the '80s avant-garde movement in CCM. It's all been downhill since then.


My thought's exactly. Unless you consider Ms. Phillips' The Turning avant-garde. I still have The Big Picture on vinyl and CD, and I'm still impressed with the production of the thing, even if the lyrics are at times wince-worthy. "Wired for Sound" is about as good as big Christian pop ever got.

#25 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 03:36 PM

Jeffrey Overstreet:
: I still have The Big Picture on vinyl and CD, and I'm still impressed with
: the production of the thing, even if the lyrics are at times wince-worthy.

Hmmm, I remember a friend of mine in Bible school ('87-'88 ) complaining that The Big Picture was just "one big song" -- it was over-produced, there was not enough variation in the music, etc. It's been years since I've listened to it myself, though. (The friend in question is the guy who introduced me to the Art of Noise, for whatever that's worth.)

#26 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 04:32 PM

: MWS c. 1990 would be the "i 2 Eye" record, yes?

Yes. That and Christmas, which is still MWS' second-best album.

: What was so great about i 2 (eye)?

Largely, the hypnotic Philip Glass-esque repetition of musical phrases -- the same type of thing Sufjan Stevens is doing today, but Smith didn't get the hipster credit for it the way Stevens is because Smith is, well, Michael Freakin' W. Freakin' Smith.

: IMHO MWS did exactly one decent recording: "The Big Picture."

I have no idea why the fuss over The Big Picture. Other than "Rocketown," it's...fine.

: It was the high-water mark of the '80s avant-garde movement in CCM.

What??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????? Avant-garde??????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
????????????????????????????????????????????????? Other than "Tearin' Down the Wall," there's not an even marginally avant-garde moment in Smith's pre-i 2 (eye) career!!!! I cannot think of a sentence I've read in my year on this board that's made less sense to me!!!! I mean, I can't even imagine what you're considering avant-garde: The hemiola in "Rocketown," maybe?!? The voices in "Voices"?!? The unintelligible vocal interlude in "Wired for Sound"?!?!? I am truly, truly, truly, truly confused.

Dale

#27 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 04:36 PM

??????????????????????????????????

Dale

#28 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 04:40 PM

: Unless you consider Ms. Phillips' The Turning avant-garde.

Oh please no.

To be perfectly blunt, outside of the Danielson Famile and a bit of Daniel Amos, I can't think of any Christian albums I've listened to that I'd consider avant-garde. I'm sure there is more, but I'm even more sure I haven't heard it.

Dale

#29 mrmando

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 09:11 PM

Dale, we're talking about the CCM marketplace here, so please keep in mind that "avant garde" is a relative term. What is avant garde in CCM is merely au courant in secu -- ahem -- mainstream music. What I meant was that The Big Picture sounded like what the edgier hit radio stations were playing at the time, and MWS was the first big-money CCM artist who was allowed to sound that way. The album got a major promotion & airplay push in the CCM marketplace at a time when such attention was usually given only to softer, safer stuff. Sure, there were plenty of bands rocking harder than MWS, but they weren't in a position to command major chunks of the market the way he was. I had hopes that The Big Picture would provide a major lift for the Steve Taylors and Daniel Amoses and Choirs and 77s and Vectors and Mark Heards and Steve Scotts and Charlie Peacocks and The Calls and whatever else I was listening to at the time. Perhaps if MWS proved that such music was commercially viable in the CCM marketplace, those other artists could get some more exposure in a coattail sort of way, and maybe quit their day jobs. The other album that raised my hopes was Russ Taff's self-titled one, where he covered Peacock and The Call and sang about pain and doubt. But it didn't happen; RT and MWS slid back into warm blandness; Heard died; Charlie Peacock was co-opted by Nashville (he actually had a record produced by Brown Friggin' Bannister); DA can't afford to make a record unless the fans pay for it up front; ST is eternally pregnant with film projects; the other bands are at least partially if not completely retired.

Jeffrey no doubt recalls an infamously craven essay by one Scott Thunder that criticized The Big Picture for being too far out, and hailed Christian radio's return to the warm fuzzy sound. Exactly backwards from the way Jeffrey and I have thought about Christian music ever since.

I have to admit I've never heard i 2 (EYE) so I can't exactly start an argument about it. But I will say that I played Smith's Agnus Dei in church the other day, and it's obvious that he never met a hemiola he didn't like.

#30 M. Dale Prins

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 11:06 PM

: Dale, we're talking about the CCM marketplace here, so please keep in
: mind that "avant garde" is a relative term.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't care. Once we start using the "avant-garde" to describe The Big Picture, the phrase has no meaning, the terrorists will have won, etc. If you want to weasel around and say that MWS' album is "avant-gardish" or "has concepts in common with avant-garde music," fine. But using the whole-hog term and putting The Big Picture in the same box as Cage's "4'33"" or Bryars' "Jesus' Love Never Failed Me Yet" is madness to me, CCM or no CCM.

: But I will say that I played Smith's Agnus Dei in church the other
: day, and it's obvious that he never met a hemiola he didn't like.

In a perfect world, all music would be in 3-bar hemiola (specifically, 6/8 plus 6/8 plus 3/4, like most of Sufjan Stevens' "Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head!") or in 5/8 with bars that alternate accents (^--^- | ^-^--).

Dale

#31 mrmando

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 01:43 PM

QUOTE
 
I understand what you're saying, but I don't care.


I can't tell you how often I hear that...

QUOTE
But using the whole-hog term and putting The Big Picture in the same box as Cage's \"4'33\"\" or Bryars' \"Jesus' Love Never Failed Me Yet\" is madness to me, CCM or no CCM.


:crazy3: But I am mad, I tell you! Mad! Mad!

The conversation was clearly about "popular" music as opposed to "serious" music -- so I don't think you can make that charge stick. I wasn't trying to fit MWS in that box. If that's what you mean by "avant garde," then we should be talking about Part, Penderecki and Tavener (and some of Bryars) as the "Christian avant garde." My point was simply that you can pretty reliably tune in to Christian radio and hear what "secular" radio sounded like 10-15 years ago. The Big Picture could have changed all that, but it wasn't allowed to.

QUOTE

In a perfect world, all music would be in 3-bar hemiola (specifically, 6/8 plus 6/8 plus 3/4, like most of Sufjan Stevens' \"Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head!\") or in 5/8 with bars that alternate accents (^--^- | ^-^--).


Of course, if everyone were doing it, it wouldn't be avant garde. Have you ever checked out Scaterd-Few's Sin Disease album? :headbang:

#32 Overstreet

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 04:34 PM

QUOTE
Jeffrey no doubt recalls an infamously craven essay by one Scott Thunder that criticized The Big Picture for being too far out, and hailed Christian radio's return to the warm fuzzy sound. Exactly backwards from the way Jeffrey and I have thought about Christian music ever since.  

I have to admit I've never heard i 2 (EYE) so I can't exactly start an argument about it


I am not going to insist on the term avant-garde, but what I remember is putting on The Big Picture (on vinyl, mind you) and being completely blown away. (What was I... sixteen?) Sheltered, imprisoned CCM listener that I was, I thought that this was a breakthrough in music, when really, it was instead a big breakthrough only for Christian music. Anyway, I couldn't listen to it loud enough... the sound was so spacious, busy, and big. My friend Todd and I were sure that this was the beginning of a new era of creativity and courage in Christian music.

Then came i 2 (eye). We rushed out, picked it up, brought it back to the house, put it on...

We sat through the first song and said, "Huh. Okay, he's... um... he's teasing us with one of the old style chorussy songs. No worries." Next song. "Huh. Kinda cheesy. Kinda easy pop. Okay, what next?"

And on and on. Slowly, our enthusiasm sagged. By the end of the album we were completely depressed. It was as if all of the ambition had drained out of Smitty. The creativity and courage had been replaced with "Let's just get a song on the radio that'll end up being sung in youth group gatherings for years to come." That's what happened. Since then, MWS has held no interest for me. Sure, he's chosen his niche... singing for the choir and composing instrumental stuff to be performed within the Christian circle, but the music never seemed good enough after that to "cross over" and catch the attention of people who knew good music.

I feel a little reluctant to be so harsh on him. But that's how we felt and that's when I ceased to be a fan.

Amy Grant at least stuck to her guns and kept putting out songs that were about more than just Jesus. Granted, Lead Me On was the musical peak... the one that felt like it was played by real musicians with soul and spirit instead of by pop-machines with a three-minute timer... After that he eased into cookie cutter pop, but at least it rose to the standard of mainstream pop radio. I still have some respect for the stuff she does, and even listened to her latest all the way through the other day, like visiting an old friend. I still owe Amy a lot for setting an example and playing a part that led me out of my defensiveness about Christian music and showed me that the larger world is full of things to praise God for.

Now, I'll stop before I mention Leslie Phillips, whose influence in my life dwarfs that of any other singer/songwriter but Bono.

#33 Clint M

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 02:40 PM

To resurrect this thread, I'd like to note that 4 of Steve Taylor's Out-Of-Print albums are now on ITunes.

I Want To Be A Clone EP
Meltdown (with the CD remixes)
On the Fritz - but does not include "On The Fritz"; "I Manipulate"; "Drive, He Said"
The Best We Could Find (+3 That Never Escaped) - does include "On The Fritz"

If you have the 2-disc box set Now The Truth Can Be Told, here is what you need for completist sake:

From the I Want To Be A Clone EP:
"Steeplechase"
"Written Guarantee"

From the Meltdown album:
"We Don't Need No Colour Code" (album version)
"Meat The Press"
"Over My Dead Body"
"Jenny"
The 3 remixes of "Meltdown"

From the On The Fritz album:
"It's a Personal Thing"
"You've Been Bought"
"You Don't Owe Me Nothing" (album version)
"I Manipulate" (which is currently MIA)

From the The Best We Could Find (+3 That Never Escaped) album:
"Down Under"

It would be around 13 dollars for all of these tracks.

In addition, you can get Chagall Guevara's cover of "Treasure of the Broken Land" from the Mark Heard tribute album.

All of his other albums are currently not available on iTunes and are OOP (to my knowledge).

Edited by Clint M, 30 January 2006 - 02:44 PM.


#34 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:10 PM

Clint M wrote:
: On the Fritz - but does not include "On The Fritz"; "I Manipulate"; "Drive, He Said"

That's bizarre. Those are three of the better ones on there.

: All of his other albums are currently not available on iTunes and are OOP (to my knowledge).

Yep, and I'm currently selling one of them ...

#35 Persona

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:46 PM

Hey Clint,

Thanks for all that research. It prompted me to take 1/2 hour or so and actually go into all my old CD boxes and track down as many Steve Taylor CDs as I could find -- some I'd even forgotten about (there is a single of some sorts with Bugs Bunny's face on it)... But all that you posted regardnig what one would need from ITunes if he has the Now The Truth Can Be Told recording applies to me.

I'm going to load it all up, something I've wanted to do for a while anyway. Then I am going to begin looking through my old cassettes. I wonder how my copy of "I Manipulate" still sounds. If it is any good, I'll master it here at home and load it up on my personal website that I rarely use anymore. I think my web guy (AHEM!) made a page where I can offer free downloads. I was using it for my Sunday morning musicians for a little while there.

Edited in later...

This is very cool. In that hunt I also found the first Cush recording, which I love, Chagall Guevara, Steve Taylor's Liver and a Charlie Peacock "Best of" of some type, which includes "My mind played a trick on me," "Big Man's Hat," "Experience," and "Lie Down in the Grass," a song that I am sure I once tried to pass off as my own to a desired female in high school. (It didn't work.)

-s.

Edited by stef, 30 January 2006 - 11:48 PM.


#36 Clint M

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:28 AM

Stef - I've got a cassette of the "Steve Taylor + Some Band" concert that's never (to my knowledge) been released on CD. I think I'm going to try and make a digital copy out of it.

#37 Nick Alexander

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE(Clint M @ Jan 31 2006, 02:28 AM) View Post

Stef - I've got a cassette of the "Steve Taylor + Some Band" concert that's never (to my knowledge) been released on CD. I think I'm going to try and make a digital copy out of it.

Limelight?

#38 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:48 PM

stef wrote:
: Thanks for all that research. It prompted me to take 1/2 hour or so and actually go into all my old CD boxes
: and track down as many Steve Taylor CDs as I could find -- some I'd even forgotten about (there is a single
: of some sorts with Bugs Bunny's face on it)...

Whoa, that's worth a fair bit of money, isn't it?

Clint M, if you do make a digital version of Limelight, I'd be interested in a copy -- I've got the cassette and possibly even the vinyl (LP? EP?), but wouldn't know how to digitize 'em if I tried.

#39 Crow

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 11:46 PM

Here's a link to a guy's webpage who has some Taylor albums and songs available to be downloaded. This was legitimatized by a statement by Taylor in the Cornerstone Press Tent interview where Steve said, "Personally, if you want to get them [my albums] off the Internet, I have no problem with that, go ahead. They are not available, have at it."

The albums now available on Itunes have been removed from the above link, but the Limelight album is available, as well as the leftover songs from On the Fritz not on Itunes, and the songs from Steve's live performance at Cornerstone 2003.

#40 Clint M

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 09:30 PM

Thanks for the link Crow! Unfortunatly, the page that had the bootleg performances are now gone. sad.gif