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Daniel Amos


Harvest Rock Syndicarte 1991
Doppelganger CD Reissue
5 pts out of 5
by Brian Q. Newcomb

I have a reveolutionary theory about a number of artists in Christian music. Quite simply, it's that a few of the most creative artists of the small sub-genre of alternative ccm. consigned often against their will for the gospel market ghetto, are in actuallity making aristic statements that percieve popular trends above and before their time. However, due to bigger budgets and easier access to the airwaves, other arrive with similar ideas on the pop music scene to reap great financial reward and notoriety. In my opinion, the great genius of pop music most hurt by this injustice is Terry Taylor of DA, and the strongest support for my argument can be found on the band's great classic album, the second chapter of the Alarma Chronicles series, Doppelganger.

I was first convinced of this when after hearing Taylor's brilliant satire of popular culture "Mall (All over the World)" the radio station in Minneapolis/St Paul began giving significant support to an enjpyable, but lesser song with almost the exact lyrics and ideas, "Escalator of Life," right down to the mannequin imagery.

Further, Taylor's brilliant attacks on televangelists in "I Didn't Build it For Me" and "New Car" predate the Swaggart/Bakker and more recent Robert Tilton fiascos by the better part of a decade. Elsewhere, as in "Here I Am," "Youth With A Machine" and "Autographs for the Sick," D.A. predates the ideas that have made others a heap of money in pursuit of MTV fame and teenage superstardom.

There are other examples, but this is getting awfully academic; whats most important is that Stunt Records is now re-releasing Doppelganger on CD. Those who've missed it can relive the moment, while those of us who go too seldom to the vinyl mountain now have the best DA album before Darn Floor Big Bite and Kalhoun in digital clarity.

This is the record that was amazingly ahead of its time. This is my favorite album of 1983, this is the DA record that could have catapulted them into mainstream success if anybody had invested enough money into their career to get it heard. This is the record I want you to buy this week. No serious alternative music fan, Christian or otherwise, should miss this record. After nearly a devade it sounds no worse for the wear. Terry, can I have your child.

Ed.'s note: Stunt Records' products are easier to aquire by mail order, although bugging your local Christian retailer is still the best fun for the money. Doppelganger, which features three bonus tracks, is available on CD for $15 and cassette $7 (postage and handling included) at Stunt, PO Box 20233, El Cajon, CA 92021. Also: Alarma! and DA - Live bootleg '82 are available at those same prices. For collector's two new collections of rarities bring Stunt and Alternative Records together on two discs for one price, Shirley, Goodness and Misery and No sense of History come packaged together for one small price: $25 CDs, and $15 cassettes.

? 1991
Doppelganger CD Reissue -
by Dan Kennedy

And then, for some of us, Daniel Amos became the compliment of Larry Norman, along with Mark Heard, the 77s and several others. The result was a widening segment of the CCM market that spoke directly to that still small voice inside of us that urged us to deeper examination of our relationship with Christ and, especially, how that relationship was to be played out in the real world of sin and callousness. DA epitomized the outsider persona that beckoned you to enter this bizarre world only to find that the vision was more on target than many a preacher in any church in America. The satire was generalized just enough to give a universal bent and when you played any song and you had to explain it for your friend or youth minister, well, you knew you were on to something larger than the average evangelical mind could handle. That was it! We got the joke and the other guy did not. But then, in the quietest moments, while everyone else was asleep and the sound of the house settling was only a lingering fear, something came slapping you out of the music and you cowered in the realization that the satire you danced to had a double edge. For days you felt betrayed, but then you understood that satire picks at your foibles and begs for action.

Nothing DA ever did hit home as frequently as "Doppelganger" (unless, as with me, "Vox Humana" also chastised your complacency), an album that played the psychological idea of the double in each of us. Not an unusual concept and not one that is alien to any of us, for within each lies the war between right and wrong, the predilection to sin and the knock to repent and turn away. This concept of the double can be found in folk tales, Dostoevsky, Hans Christian Andersen and others. DA uses it in the spiritual sense, but beyond that, Terry Taylor and friends hit the folly of commercialism, fame and fortune and pride, among other things.

Albums come and go; some do not hold up musically or lyrically under the ravages of time and the ficklesness of musical styles and popularity. "Doppelganger" retains its edge and, as our time mave shown, this album once again speaks its truth to a new set of ears that need to sense the cutting force of these songs. Required listening by all, even if you have previously spent time with these tunes. We all need them again.

Charisma Magazine 1983
by Richard Nakamoto

Doppelganger Offers Cynical Cry of Anguish
Only those who appreciate experimental music in the genre of classical composers Schonberg, Stravinsky and Shostakovich will last through this ambitious, energetic album by the Christian rock group Daniel Amos. Doppelganger is not restful. It does not lift praise with angels voices.

The first section sounds like the stereo has broken a needle on an album of Halloween chanting. Then the narration goes downhill into darkness. From there, we get harsh pop operatics reminiscent of Pink Floyd's The Wall or the Who's Tommy. The church has failed us, this album says. Nothings good, nothings perfect. Set your mind on things that are miserable and show no hope of improvement, says Daniel Amos in Doppelganger.

Defenders of artistic expression by Christian artists perhaps will be pleased by this release, particularly due to Daniel Amos' stature in the Christian rock community. Some votes of confidence will be cast by mature Christian musicians who will buy this album out of principle. But Doppelganger hurts. It's a visit to the hell of the unsaved.

Daniel Amos' members have wandered back to musical frontiers discovered long before the fairly recent birth of contemporary rock 'n' roll. And such groups as New Wave redeemed rockers Underground have proven that a good Christian message can be relayed through non-orthodoxy. But Underground's efforts are salvaged by sanctified lyrics.

Doppelganger, on the other hand, tears down -- on several levels. Only the most naive still pretends that music has no effect on the listener. If you're unconvinced, perform a very basic experiment. Yank out your most cynical anarchic New Wave album or your hardest Christian metal release, say Fortress Rock by Stronghold. Listen to the whole thing. Then put on Farrell and Farrell's Let the Whole World Know, John Fischer's Dark Horse or anything by Phil Keaggy. To be fair, don't be critical of musical styles as you listen to the albums. Ignore the words. Now to take the experiment further, put on I Exalt Thee by Phil Driscoll, Hymns by Craig Smith or anything by John Michael Talbot. I'll predict that - if you're honest - you can observe a significant mood shift.

Don't get defensive. For years your have pooh-poohed pulpit-pounding haters of rock, assuming they merely allowed their love of the Blackwood Brothers, dull choirs and twanging cowboy yodelers to affect their theology. But, alas, the truth is that there is some bad rock, just like there is some bad country.

If you like the effect of music such as Doppelganger on your psyche, prayerfully seek the Lord. Yes, this stuff is Christian, but why does it leave you hurting, empty and selfish? It is a cry from the abyss. Stones flung at the city gates. The mocking whip of a bullfrog. We don't need that. In fact, some of us consciously have to stay away from it. There is peace in the valley. We've got to quit crying in the rocks with jackals.