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The Swirling Eddies

Sacred Cows

Christian Music Review Headquarters August 22, 1996
3 stars out of 5
by David Longenecker

What's the deal with the mutilated tribute albums this summer? First several artists got together under the guise of creating a tribute to Petra, one of Christian rock's all-time giants, and wound up thoroughly trashing many of their best songs. At least the Swirling Eddies did what they said they set out to do: pay tribute to some "songs that helped them" by recreating them, with absolutely no intent to conform to the original songs. You might compare their goal to Mark Lowry - paying tribute by making jokes out of great songs - I just wouldn't say it to Mark's face!

The first time through the album, the novelty of it got me through. The second time, the sheer hilarity of it pulled me through. Unfortunately, the mutilation is so severe that I don't know if I could listen straight through a third time! They begin by trashing a classic DeGarmo & Key song, "God Good, Devil Bad." Slight (?) irreverence pervades this song (and the rest of the album) which takes the original song, and adds some clever phrases - "Sun hot , snow cold; socks stink, flowers don't," etc. At the end, you might think they were trying to have a goat sing the phrase: "God Goooooooood . . . Devil Baaaaaaad!" Needless to say, it ain't DeGarmo & Key. Then again, The Eddies never claimed to be. Would D&K ever use a rambunctious off-key horn section?

Amy Grant doesn't escape the honors here. "Baby Baby" appears with a not-too-terrible rendition (save for the voices - a deep drawl matched with some puppet-like falsetto.

A lisp-filled rendition of Carman's "Satan, Bite the Dust," complete with some wacky harmonies on the chorus and a cameo appearance by the Lone Ranger (OK, even that's with typical Swirling Eddies style), is followed by a Kim Boyce pop/rock and a truly hilarious and nearly respectable tribute to dc Talk's "I Luv Rap Music" - done in perfect lounge-chair polka style (which is somewhat appropriate, considering that the original was nowhere near a rap song either!) If it weren't for the crazy lyrics and intro, you might expect to hear this one riding up a big city elevator.

After a bad impression of how the Beach Boys might have paid Tribute to White Heart, DeGarmo & Key is again honored. Then Al Denson has his youth hit "Alcatraz" (an awesome song!) If you ever watched the old Mission Impossible TV show (the original, not the movie remake), you might like the feel of the intro. Appropriate, eh? The remake is almost impossible to describe, but it's great! And check out the cameo shot by Speedy Gonzales at the end!

Audio Adrenaline isn't safe, either. "Big House" is sung by Droopy Dawg, and is sure to draw a few laughs...at least the first time through. One catch - the band can't seem to remember which song their playing..."Alcatraz" keeps popping up in the least expected places!

Sacred Cows is definitely not an album for the serious types who can't take a joke. And even with it's funny parts, most of the album is musically so off track that it's not very pleasant to listen to. But for those oddballs who like everything just a little off-kilter, check out The Swirling Eddies - you just might be surprised! And check out the Stryper song at the end - it's enough to make me want to find the original to see how it's supposed to sound!


Crossings Issue 7 November 1996
by Jeff Bradshaw

After taking a more serious route in Zoom Daddy, the Swirling Eddies return to the fun side of Christian music, this time making parodied covers of recently popular CCM tunes in a collection that is most appropriately titled Sacred Cows.

Attributing Zoom Daddy to impostors (the "real" Eddies were supposedly shipwrecked in 1993, the Year of the Cow), Camarillo Eddy goes on to state that upon their return, they wanted to reach the CCM radio audience with a loving tribute to the songs which have helped them. Roughly translated from Eddyspeak, this is really a tribute to the absurdities of Contemporary Christian music, and the Eddies use their unique talents to make equally absurd cover tunes.

Two DeGarmo and Key cuts make the grade for Eddy makeovers, "God Good/Devil Bad" (yeah, so what else is new?), and "We Use the J-Word", which almost sounds like a serious cover. I said almost. Amy Grantís "Baby, Baby" gets a little help from former DA guitarist Jerry Chamberlain (posing as the feminine half of a hilarious duet), and Camarillo gets to spit his way through Carmanís "Satan, Bite the Dust". The real side-splitter, though, belongs to the lounge-lizard version of DC Talkís "I Luv Rap Music", which sounds convincingly like it came from the International Lounge at the Ramada Inn in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Not every tune here is well-done, though. The Eddiesí cover of Whiteheartís "Convertibles" is anything but a well-crafted, tight mix, and the vocal disharmonies make it a bit difficult to listen to, though it does sport some of the liner notesí much-ballyhooed "Casionization" of the keyboards. Al Denson's "Alcatraz" gets a hybrid ska/Tales From the Crypt-style sendup, which is quite fun to listen to.

Finishing off this sarcastic salvo are a fun cover of Audio Adrenalineís "Big House" (with Spot doing Droopy-ish vocals), which occasionally drifts off into "Alcatraz" land (from the big, big house to the BIG house!); and the tour-de-force, Stryperís "Sing Along Song", done with a little bit of studio wizardry, the guitar and drum tracks recorded fast and slowed down to the proper tempo, and the vocals recorded slow and sped up to match the slowed guitars and drums. Itís as stunning as it is hilarious. Sacred Cows is a must for all Eddies fans, and should be checked out by zealous fans of the artists whose work is lampooned here. It teaches us all never to take things too seriously, because as Mark Twain was fond of saying, "Sacred cows make the best hamburger."