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Shotgun Angel

Album Reviews

Shotgun Angel

Album Reviews

Christian Acts Volume 1, Number 5

July 1977

"I'm gonna lay it on you,
Where the rubber meets the road,
It's the Lord talkin' to you
On your radio."

Shotgun Angel is the latest incredible creation by Daniel Amos. This album breaks through many of the traditional boundaries set by contemporary Christian music. It is such a departure from the "normal way of doing things" that you'll have to have an open mind as you listen to the album. You'll have to laugh as you hear "Meal" - a song that is virtually a "musical cartoon." Side 2 will sober you up in a hurry, however. It's about the end times... the antichrist and the Second Coming. Get out the lyric sheet and your Bible when you listen, Editor's note: Shotgun Angel is a giant step forward for contemporary Christian music. It should insire other musicians to break some of the molds they've cast themselves in.

"Not until now have we seen an album that is as versatile, professional, or as serious musically as is Daniel Amos' 'Shotgun Angel'."

"This record is a flat-out winner. Brilliant."

"'Shotgun Angel' is truly an offering of excellence to the Lord."
BUZZ magazine (Eng.)

Campus Life November 1978

The Top Records of 1978
By Steven Lawhead

The countryfied flavor of Daniel Amos in full swing is something to savor. The mixture of elegance and off-the-wall humor betrays a group of considerable imagination underneath it all. The collective talent of the band is impressive, displaying a depth and facility other groups might envy.

Down The Line Magazine September 2011

2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Steve Ruff

My introduction to Daniel Amos came through the Fearful Symmetry album which was released back in 1986; I probably came across it somewhere around '88 or '89 when I was 14 or 15 years old. It absolutely changed the way that I viewed Christian music and stamped Terry Taylor's name on my brain. After finding and purchasing everything prior to Fearful Symmetry (and everything that came after), I easily rank Terry Taylor's creative genius in my top 5 favorite artists of all time. The man has an incredible gift!

The Shotgun Angel re-issue is simply amazing. This is really the record that I would consider to be the hub track that all the various projects of Taylor and Co. would be birthed from at later dates. For example, listen to Meal (track 5 on the first disc); it could be released as a Swirling Eddies track at any point and stand right there with the best of them. That is another thing that struck me about the brilliance of this deluxe reissue: these songs are so good and sound so strikingly crisp and well done that they hold up amazingly well today some 30+ years later. Hearing in these songs the sounds that were to come (in other formats with other bands) is a real treat for the listener and a testament to the creativity that not only helped create the industry, but also helped to define and expand the musical scope of the "Jesus music" genre. In addition it also speaks to the talent that these guys' posses – a talent that would continue to push musical boundaries and define the sounds as the standard which so much would be compared to over the next several decades.

To try and define the songs and the sounds here is difficult because when this came out in 1977 there was nothing else quite like it. I would definitely give this a laid back country type feel, but it also has an Americana rock ‘n roll vibe saddled right there in line with it. Once you throw in all the quirky zaniness that only comes from Daniel Amos, this is a release that stands in a category by itself. Take a healthy dose of early Eagles tunes, whip that with some beautiful harmonies a la the Grateful Dead, season that in a container with The Beatles and shake vigorously…that is what Shotgun Angel sounds like.

Lyrically this album is rich with imagery that is as broad as the sounds themselves. Topics range from a person who gives up pursuing money to pursue spiritual riches instead ("Black Gold Fever"); a truck driver who finds Christ by talking on his C.B. radio (title track "Shotgun Angel"), all the way down to the first disc's closer about the return of Christ ("Posse In the Sky"). The lyrics run a gamut of situations with a spiritual focus on many day to day living situations. The parallels that the lyrics draw are as unique as the songs and circumstances themselves. From the longing ache in "Days and Nights", to the comedic chorus of "Meal" or the worshipful colored "Praise Song", Taylor has crafted a journey of lyrical life experience in his unique humor and style.

The remastering on this release is superb. This is the classic line up of Taylor (guitar, lead vocals, BGV), Jerry Chamberlain (guitar, lead vocals, BGV), Marty Dieckmeyer (bass, BGV), Mark Cook (keyboards, lead vocals, BGV) and Ed McTaggart (drums, percussion, BGV). The songs are vibrant, clear and sonically pleasing. When Daniel Amos releases a re-issue you know it will be first rate and top notch. Such is the case here as well, 2 discs with a track count of the original 13 tracks on the first disc, and a staggering 26 tracks on disc 2. This release has it all: four-track demos, pre-production demos, alternate mixes and a 24 page color booklet that has over 30 never before released photos as well.

This is a great re-issue, a classic album and an amazing band! Look for this to be available on the Daniel Amos tour this summer. It will also become available on the website as well. It doesn't get any better than this! Check out www.danielamos.com and support the band, spin the tunes and catch a show this summer!

HM Magazine July/August 2011

2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Dan MacIntosh

This Daniel Amos reissue is so refreshing! These days, crazy people predict the world's end and make Christians look like idiots, yet Terry Taylor's country-rock prophetic work remains totally sane. There's also the zany fun of "Meal," as well as the vocally amazing "Praise Song." An extra CD also sports outtakes and alternate tracks, inclduing the brief but silly "Loony Tunes." Perhaps Jesus delayed his return so that more people can experience this musical treasure.

Cross Rhyhtms February 16, 2014

2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Stephen Luff

As any longtime follower of Christian music will know, Daniel Amos were a seminal band who in the '80s particularly took Christian rock into uncharted territory. This album from 1977 was the transition between the country of their self-titled debut album and the Beatles-esque rock of 'Horrendous Disc' a year later. There are influences aplenty here including Queen and Pink Floyd mixed with vocal Eagles style harmonies (just listen to the title track and "Posse In The Sky") which would feature in similar bands of the time such as the Sweet Comfort Band. Outstanding tracks include "Praise Song" with its encouraging lyrics and the humorous, country track "Meal". There are instances of rock opera such as "Finale:Bereshith Overture" and "The Whistler" which both take you by surprise the first time you hear them. The transfer quality is remarkably good given the age of the original recordings with only tape hiss noticeable.

Disc two contains 26 tracks including demos and alternative mixes. One track "Jonah And The Whale" is new, but it is not up to the quality of the songs elsewhere - you can see why it never made it to the final album. This, although interesting, does not offer long time listening enjoyment especially as songs are repeated with slight differences, although the studio chat is interesting. Overall an enjoyable album though probably only hardcore Daniel Amos/Terry Scott Taylor completists will get much from disc two.

Phantom Tollbooth

2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Bert Saraco

They must've been the good guys because Ed McTaggart wore a white hat ...well, off-white, really. Maybe that's why they were sort-of suspect even back in '77, when this seminal 'Christian rock' album was first released. There was a definite cowboy vibe left over from the previous self-titled project, but the boys seemed to be weaning themselves off the prairie by the time they got half-way through the 'end-times' medley that finishes what we used to call side two of the album. "Better," from that mini rock-opera, has as much Beatles-influence as the title track has country-pop (actually, "Shot Gun Angel" is the only song without writing credits by any band members). By the time the next album would be finished (Horrendous Disc and/or Alarma) Daniel Amos would be closer to Talking Heads than cowboy hats.

One thing that jumps out on revisiting this album is the phenomenal sound quality and Jonathan David Brown's clean, polished pop production. Jim Stipech's stunning orchestrations – especially on "Father's Arms" - still stand as tasteful and fully integrated into the music. Although the core of the band was still Terry Taylor, Jerry Chamberlain, Ed McTaggart, Marty Dieckmeyer and Mark Cook, Brown's production and Stipech's string arrangements unified the project and gave it a sound that lifted it head and shoulders above contemporary releases. Along with some California Country-pop 'n praise songs, there was emerging evidence of Taylor's trademark humor ("Black Gold Fever" and "Meal") as well as lyrical brilliance.

Along with an illustrated booklet, there's a wonderful bonus disc included that offers a treasure-trove of demos and alternate mixes that will thrill long-time fans of the band. As perfect as the orchestration is on "Father's Arms," for example, imagine hearing the band perform it – in studio – stripped down to the five-piece band alone! Essentially, taking another cue from The Beatles re-issue of an unadorned Let It Be, here you get Shotgun Angel and Shotgun Angel – Naked in one fantastic package.

Shotgun Angel – Collector's Edition is essential listening for anyone that's followed the development of 'Christian' rock music through the years – but more than that, it's just a really good album. Great listening. These are solid songs with enough stylistic variety to satisfy the musical cravings of any rock/pop aficionado

CCM Magazine June 1988

"The Best Contemporary Christian Albums of All Time"
(Selected by the CCM Magazine staff)

"Hats off to the band!" hails Baker. Jonathan David Brown (now with Twila Paris!) produced this early Daniel Amos, uh, DA, uh Da project. "This album from DA's Eagles period was an artist triumph," Rabey says. Somewhere between country and new wave, the guys came up with a winner in Angel. Pinzon elaborates, "Most bands lose fans during the transitional period; it is a tribute to DA's talent that their transitional album is still their most popular." Side two's musical vision of the end times is a seamless masterpiece. "Father's Arms" and "Days and Nights" are standout cuts too.

Syndicate December 1990

4 points out of 5
CD Reissue
By Brian Q. Newcomb

It's way past time for all of DA's albums to hit the street on compact disc, and slowly but surely (actually, all of a sudden) that's happening. Shotgun Angel the band's second vinyl confession finds Terry Taylor, Ed McTaggart, Jerry. Chamberlain and Co. laying the groundwork for all that was to come. It's not quite a rock 'n' roll album, but it has Beatles and country rock influences, strong melodies, some very. promising writing and enough silly stuff to warrant both excitement and dread. Somebody please tell me why they recorded "Meal," and Taylor has written other beautiful songs, but "Father's Arms" is clearly a classic.

Of course the second side of the album takes a rather obnoxious pre-millennial dispensational look at the book of Revelation, something I learned in seminary is probably an inadequate approach. Since, I've become a pan-millennialist; the foundational tenets being that the future is in God's hands, Jesus is coming back, We know not the day or the hour and it'll all pan out in. the end. DA presents its own pop opera on the end times, and for the most part it'll be acceptable to all kinds of Christian perspectives. Certainly "Sail Me Away" and "Posse In the Sky" are fabulous songs with engaging imagery.
The tracks convert to digital very nicely, although my vinyl copy has sounded pretty bad for years. It's exciting to have this classic back in a format that will last until Jesus' return. - Brian Q. Newcomb

Harvest Rock Syndicate Winter 1987

The 25 Best Albums of Early Christian Rock

by (Various Authors)

#8: Shotgun Angel
"A long cry from the first Daniel Amos album, Shotgun Angel demonstrated the creative scene that has become a trademark of all Da (nee Daniel Amos, then DA) work through the years," says T.L. Faris. "They never did take country music that seriously," asserts Greenfield, "still, Angel did showcase Terry Taylor's up-and-coming, unique songwriting ability." "Side Two is a masterpiece. A little too Beatle-esque for some tastes, perhaps, but I admired the band's ambition at the time and still do," says Styll with SChmitz in agreement, "I could still listen to Side Two for hours every day." Ok, Ok, so there are great songs like "Days and Nights," "Father's Arms" and "Shotgun Angel," and Side Two is brilliant, given you have to be able to endure a rather literalistic reading of Revelation from a Pre-Millenial Dispensationalistic point of view, but would someone tell me how "Meal" ever got on this record?

Reviews provided thanks to the writers, magazines and newspapers listed as well as fans that have helped us collect them - Todd Swisher


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