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Terry Scott Taylor

Knowledge & Innocence


Harvest Rock Syndicate 1986
by Brian Quincy Newcomb

“Heart, warming in the afterglow,” the opening lyric from the solo album of Daniel Amos’ guiding light Terry Taylor, wasn’t my first impression listening to Knowledge &Innocence but it was the overall effect. My first thought was that Taylor’s infatuation with John Lennon and the Beatles had finally gone too far; this record is more Beatle-esque than Horrendous Disc, Vox Humana or even Abbey road. After many listens, my heart is warmed and a bittersweet smile crossed my face. I concluded that it really didn’t matter that the album was derivative; it was so good I didn’t care.

Knowledge & innocence deals with the paradox of faith, the union of adult reasoning and questioning with childlike belief and acceptance. On side one Taylor plays it straight in five of the finest pop songs to come from his often quirky mind. The first single, “Dancing On Light,” sets the light and reflective tone that dominates the whole record. Here the joy and anticipation of God’s presence are celebrated in “Song Of Innocence,” a duet with Randy Stonehill; “Picture Of You,” and “Ever After.” The other side of life, the frailty of human existence, the longing for fulfillment and God’s presence are expressed in “Waiting,” “Here He Comes, Second Time” and most succinctly in these lines from “One More Time:” “you took a part of me/a broken heart left here to play/this sad/sweet music/the air that I breath/fills me with longing.” On side two, Taylor’s more bizarre leanings come through on the “Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour,” a medly of radio country Gospel favorites (“The Old Rugged Cross,” “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” and “In The Garden”) sung by The Riders Of The Western Skies, which is Taylor’s vocals multitracked to create the quartet effect. We also hear excerpts from Christmas at the Taylor home, Terry’s son Andrew counting to twelve, and a muzak reprise of “Picture Of You.”

Perhaps the most emotionally provocative sound is of a baby’s heartbeat recorded at six months in the mother’s womb which leads into “Light Princess,” an ode to a daughter who died in miscarriage. Nearly a complete musical ripoff of Psychedelic Furs’ “Heaven,” the song evokes the feelings of loss and of comfort in a stirring blend of realism and idealism that is characteristic of Taylor’s best work with DA. The emotional song, expresses faith’s hardest moment – a death not welcomed, but accepted. This one will leave anyone who has feared the loss of a loved one, yet trusted God in difficult times, in tears. Knowledge & Innocence is a very personal statement by Terry Scott Taylor, exploring all that seems to be most important in his life. While I wish he would push himself to make his music stand on it’s own two feet, these well crafted and finely-produced songs offer a rewarding journey into the artist’s important perceptions of life and faith. Daniel Amos fans will hear a softer but still intriguing side of Taylor’s music, and pop listeners will be introduced to one of the more creative minds in Christian rock music. Knowledge & Innocence are a difficult mix, but in this setting a rewarding union.