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The Lost Dogs

Scenic Routes

CCM Magazine April 1992
by Brian Q Newcomb

Yowsa. I'm suddenly at a loss for words. Go figure. Well, actually that's not entirely true. But I must confess I never expected to be using words like "cornball country" and "rootsy acoustic blues" in a review of a combined effort featuring the lead vocalists from four of the best-loved and critically acclaimed bands on the alternative edge of Christian rock. But sure enough, da's Terry Taylor, The Choir's Derri Daugherty, 77s Mike Roe and Adam Again's Gene Eugene have come together as the Lost Dogs, and the result is a homespun acoustic outing that recalls the concept of Traveling Wilburys and the spirit of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. By todays pop sales standards it would be presumption to refer to this loose conglomeration as a Super Group in the same way as the joining of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, but by any artistic standard this talented bunch is a super group.

On 17 tracks (some rather brief) these four recognizable voices blend their creative efforts in pursuit of a good time, a fun sound and an immediate presentation. The effect is a rather contagious good feeling on songs like the title track, the Dylan-esque speak rhymes of "Breath Deep," and a sing-along country/blues feel on tracks like "Built for Glory, Made to Last," "Bullet Train" and "The Fortunate Sons." While the setting offers a unique opportunity to say traditional things in an authentic fashion (i.e. the gospel song references in "Built for Glory," and the hymn-like arrangement of Stephen Goster's "Hard Times Come Again No More"), what stands uot are the quirkier lyrics that reach beyond the somewhat sentimental forms.

"Amber Waves Goodbye," written by Taylor, uses a lost love song format to challenge the pollution of our homeland, while "Bush League" outspokenly chastises the failed economy of our President's military-backed new world order: "Your points of light are almost gone" and "Will you give me a job?/I doubt it." Elsewhere these Dogs ask important theological questions like "Why is the Devil Red?" "Bullet Train" looks at unfortunate deaths by gun shot, and "Smokescreen" deals with tobacco as the addictive drug and health hazard it is. The blues classic, "You Gotta Move" gets covered, recalling the earlier Rolling Stones version, a Jimmy Reed song gets reworked into "Old and Lonesome," and Dylan's "Lord Protect My Child" becomes a compelling rock prayer that will be familiar to any parent.

On the whole, Scenic Routes from Lost Dogs is unlike anything Eugene, Roe, Daugherty and Taylor have done in their respective bands (with the possible exception of Roe's bluesy experiments as 7&7 Is), which makes it all the more fun. Cornball country at times, sure. And definitely in a decidedly rootsy acoustic blues vein at times, but a delightful listen for all kinds of music fans nonetheless. These Dogs will find their way back to the bands they front, but heres hoping they get Lost again from time to time.