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Posted by me-is-e on 12-07-2008 at21:02:


Originally posted by Ron E
Any mention of Annie Dillard in the interviews?

I want to say yes, as my head is screaming that this should have great meaning to me. Either in the interview or in the booklet. I'll go look and get back about it.

Posted by sondance on 12-07-2008 at23:28:


Originally posted by Ron E
Any mention of Annie Dillard in the interviews?

you got a thing for Ms. Annie there big guy?

does the mrs. know or should we just keep this our own little damb secret?

Posted by me-is-e on 12-07-2008 at23:29:


Originally posted by me-is-e
Originally posted by Ron E
Any mention of Annie Dillard in the interviews?

I want to say yes, as my head is screaming that this should have great meaning to me. Either in the interview or in the booklet. I'll go look and get back about it.

I can tell you that there is a nod to her in the commentary part of liner notes under Shape of Air saying: "(with a little lyrical help and inspiration from Annie Dillard)"-need to listen to the interview again to see if there is a mention there too.

Posted by Ron E on 12-08-2008 at07:33:


Originally posted by sondance
Originally posted by Ron E
Any mention of Annie Dillard in the interviews?

you got a thing for Ms. Annie there big guy?

does the mrs. know or should we just keep this our own little damb secret?

She knows, she bought me an autographed copy of her last book for me last Christmas.

Posted by Tyler Durden on 12-10-2008 at23:53:


Have I said how great this cd sounds? The Unattainable Earth stands out as more meaningful today than 20years ago when I first listened to this album

Thanks again!!

Posted by audiori on 12-13-2008 at16:25:


No. 63: Daniel Amos, "Darn Floor Big Bite"

It's the end of the year, and quite a few magazines have best of lists for reissues from nearly every genre. However, the odds of seeing any sort of reissue guide in a Christian magazine or Web site aren't particularly good; for some reason, the holy end of the music industry has the shortest memory of any of the biz's significant segments, and only remembers its stars of the moment. Actually, there is a good reason: The majority of the recorded history of Christian music isn't really worth revisiting—and the stuff that is has often been relegated to labels that no longer exist, so the original copies are scarce and grotesquely expensive, or available only on dubious European bootlegs. Until recently, Daniel Amos was a band who suffered this fate.

"The Shape of Air": [YouTube clip]

Formed in the mid-'70s and led by singer-songwriter Terry Taylor, Daniel Amos frequently altered its lineup and its musical approach; by 1987, when the group recorded Darn Floor Big Bite, the quartet had perfected a strange and thoughtful Christian new wave sound. The album was out of print for years until the Portland label Arena Rock reissued it this fall, complete with bonus CD that featured interview material with Taylor. The copy of Darn Floor I purchased from an actual store sounded terrific coming from my car stereo. For some Christian music fans, Daniel Amos was their Velvet Underground. It's about time one of their releases has had a packaging worthy of its significance.

Daniel Amos [Official site]


Posted by audiori on 12-18-2008 at18:19:


(from http://www.tm3am.com )
By Andre Salles

Okay, let’s talk about Darn Floor – Big Bite, my pick for the most welcome reissue of the year.

Every long-running artist has an album like Darn Floor. It’s the Labor of Love that Nobody Bought, the album said artist poured his heart and soul into, only to release it to near-total indifference. In Terry Taylor’s case, that indifference was even more dispiriting – as an artist marketed to Christian outlets only in the ‘80s, Taylor managed to alienate even the tiny fraction of the music-buying audience who even knew his name.

It’s only in subsequent years, as the long-out-of-print album grew near-legendary among Taylor’s fans, that Darn Floor came in for a reappraisal. For the hardcore, it’s always been a favorite, the album on which everything Taylor and his band, Daniel Amos, had been reaching for since the late ‘70s fully came together. It was a record that could only have been made at that time, by these people, under those circumstances, and for me, it stands as a high water mark in an already remarkable career.

It is my favorite Daniel Amos album, and for years I’ve only had two options if I wanted to listen to it – I could dig out my old cassette copy, or I could spin a poorly-burned CD an old girlfriend made for me eight years ago. My other option, I suppose, would be to pay the exorbitant prices a CD copy of Darn Floor fetches on eBay, and I’ve been tempted now and again. But thankfully, Taylor and Arena Rock Recording Company have finally put together a gorgeous reissue package, complete with an hour-long bonus disc of rare stuff.

Why do I like this album so much? To talk about that, I have to take you back to 1987, and into a dark and forgotten corner of the music industry.

When I say “Christian music,” I know what you think I mean. You think I mean processed Nashville pop, with a relegated “Jesus per minute” quota and slick, squeaky-clean marketing image. You think I mean sanitized worship music geared more towards “increasing the flock” than making any kind of artistic statement. And for the most part, you’re right. But suffering in their own ghetto off to the side of the already tiny Christian music industry, there have always been real, serious, brilliant artists looking to explore faith, rather than just present a cardboard cutout of it.

Terry Taylor has always been one of the best of these. He’s a living example of the fact that religious faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, no matter what Bill Maher might tell you. What Maher’s sneering documentary Religulous missed is that faith, for thoughtful and reflective people, is a constant struggle. It’s a common assumption that faithful people are blind to the horrors of the world, or the logical inconsistencies of their beliefs, and I think this is a deeply flawed misconception. And Taylor proves my point.

Here’s a guy who knows and sings about the awful realities of life. He knows and enumerates all the reasons faith doesn’t make sense, and then tells you why he believes anyway. He’s full of doubt, but understands that these doubts don’t negate faith, they strengthen it. His is a complex, poetic worldview, and his music is similarly complicated and difficult, particularly in an industry that has consistently pumped out interchangeable cheerleaders for a simplistic “God is good” message.

And yet, for most of his career, Taylor worked within that industry. At first, he had no choice – Daniel Amos began in the late ‘70s as a sometimes whimsical country-rock Jesus band, like the Christian Eagles. The first album is almost unrecognizable as the work of Terry Taylor, honestly, and no mainstream label would have touched it. But from there, Taylor’s gone on to make some astonishing works of art, aimed at an audience that will probably never hear them. He’s labored to change a machine that has never appreciated the nuances he brings to his art.

In 1981, Daniel Amos began its most ambitious project, a four-album concept narrative called The Alarma Chronicles. Their label, Frontline, hated it – musically, Taylor had embraced new wave head on, making clattering, dissonant guitar-pop with the best of them, and lyrically, he’d embarked on a multi-year examination of just how awful the world is. It was dark stuff, with no easy answers and no pat Christian solutions. Jesus was mentioned just once in the first three albums, practically drowned out in an ocean of shady preachers, celebrity culture and greed, greed, greed. (It was the ‘80s, and where were our rocket packs? Seriously.)

It all led up to the final volume, 1986’s Fearful Symmetry, and even Taylor will tell you he stuck the landing a little bit. He’d set himself up with an unenviable task – three albums describing the world’s problems, one describing the solution – and I’m sure it weighed on him. How does one articulate God, without being cheesy and simplistic? To be fair, he gave it a great try – Symmetry is full of poetic observations cribbed from some of the best minds in history, and the music, while dated-sounding, is some of the most complex the band had yet written.

Still, the goal of Fearful Symmetry was to put God into words, and on that score, Taylor didn’t come up trumps. You can tell it was quite the learning experience, though – the entire next Daniel Amos album would be about how God is indescribable, beyond mortal ken. It’s about how we try and try to sum him up, but, as in the case of Fearful Symmetry, always fall woefully short. It’s about admitting that we don’t understand, and we won’t understand, and trying, as a thinking person, to live with that and accept it. Some theologians have written entire theses on this topic, trying to make sense of the idea that God will never make sense.

Terry Taylor? He wrote Darn Floor – Big Bite.

Yes, I know the title is odd, but it makes sense. There’s this gorilla named Koko, who lives in captivity in California, and she has learned more than a thousand words in American Sign Language. And one day, there was a massive earthquake that rumbled through Koko’s cage, and she expressed it the only way she knew how – by signing the words “darn floor big bite.” Taylor being Taylor, he saw this as the perfect metaphor for man’s attempts to describe God. We use primitive language, and we don’t even come close to getting it right.

Posted by audiori on 12-18-2008 at18:19:


(Andre Salles review, continued)

The whole album is full of imagery like that. Take “Strange Animals,” the album’s mission statement, on which Taylor uses the animal kingdom to explain why we act the way we do towards one another: “I want to hold you, but it’s not clear, just what’s your intention if I get too near, I feel the danger but I cannot leave, will you tear open the heart on my sleeve?” “Earth Household” imagines us as caretakers, the world as a single home, and its characters struggling to get out, to “go to the other unknowable side.”

“Pictures of the Gone World” is brilliantly foreboding, its protagonists sharing photographs of a world that no longer exists. They are meant to be Adam and Eve, saying to each other, “We could lose this world too.” The album’s centerpiece, “The Unattainable Earth,” is at track nine, near the end. In it, Taylor brings all the threads together – “Language is weak, but I keep on speaking,” he says, before wondering, “Should you really reveal anything when I just misunderstand it?” The denouement, “The Shape of Air,” is Taylor’s last word (well, here, at least) on the futility and beauty of trying to reflect God in art. “Describe the voice from heaven, and paint the grace you’re given, it’s the shape of air…”

I’m giving the impression that Darn Floor is a scholarly document, but that’s because I haven’t talked about the music yet. It was on this album that Taylor, guitarist Greg Flesch, bassist Tim Chandler and drummer Ed McTaggart cohered as a unit. The music on Darn Floor is spacious, jagged, energetic, and unfailingly melodic. It occasionally sounds like it was recorded in 1987, which it was, but of all Daniel Amos’ ‘80s works, this one holds up the best, because it sticks to the three basic rock instruments and lets them breathe.

There are only a handful of bass players in the world as good as Tim Chandler, and on Darn Floor, you can really hear how terrific he is. On the album’s opener, a snide retort to puritanical Christian attitudes called “Return of the Beat Menace,” Chandler is as reserved as he’s ever been, laying down bedrock-solid accents. But jump ahead to the almost jazzy arrangement of “Pictures of the Gone World,” and you’ll hear a dissonant master at work. Chandler gets away with incredibly bizarre bass parts in otherwise simple songs – man, just listen to what he plays during the chorus – but they work.

Then there’s Greg Flesch, who doesn’t as much play the guitar on this album as conduct it. You will very rarely hear a strum or a simple chord from Flesch – he complements Chandler’s improvisations with his own dissonant lines. Often, neither one is playing what you’d think of as “the song,” but with Ed McTaggart’s rock-solid drumming, they hold it together, and Taylor’s vocals are always to the point, tempering his bandmates’ flights of fancy.

Darn Floor covers a lot of ground in its 10 tracks, 36 minutes. There are the straight pop songs, like “Strange Animals” and “The Unattainable Earth,” but then there is the groove-laden powerhouse of the title track, which sees Chandler providing the foundation for Flesch’s towers of sound. “Safety Net” is built around a merciless electronic drum beat and an odd 7/4 time signature, but it rocks like a house on fire, Taylor’s vocals sounding ragged and worn by the end. “Half Light, Epoch and Phase” gives Flesch a chance to whip out his surf guitar chops over a constantly shifting backdrop, and “Earth Household” is strikingly beautiful, its circular bass line leading into the perfect chorus.

And then there is “Divine Instant,” which, thanks to the reissue, sounds like a completely different song to me now. I never quite figured out that the lyrics are about sex, which Taylor sees as another way of touching the divine. Now that I know that, thanks to Taylor’s new liner notes, I can hear that the music was trying to tell me that all along. It’s so funny – the whole vibe is almost porn-tastic. Even the way Flesch bends his strings here sounds salacious. I don’t know how I didn’t hear it before. “Divine Instant” is a really good song to begin with, but now I just crack up every time it plays. “Time standing still…”

Darn Floor – Big Bite is the most beautifully odd record Daniel Amos ever made. Even now, after two decades, it remains one of the most insightful examinations of faith, doubt and the inability of language (both spoken and played) to encapsulate either one. It also remains a challenging, incredibly rewarding work of musical art by four men at the top of their game.

So why have you never heard it? Beats me. This record stands shoulder to shoulder with its ‘80s contemporaries, and towers over most of them. The only reason for its obscurity is that it was produced within, and released strictly to, a part of the music industry that doesn’t look for, nurture or support thoughtful art. You can shout about Jesus from the rooftops in this part of the industry, but if you sit down and carefully examine your thoughts about and relationship with him, without overtly mentioning his name in the lyrics, then you will be shunned. You’ll be “not Christian enough” for the Christian marketing machine and “too Christian” to have your records sold anywhere else – even in the days when U2 ruled the world.

It’s a strange little trap, and Terry Taylor’s been in it for roughly 30 years. In that time, he’s created a legacy many songwriters would kill for, and he’s still at it. Last year’s The Midget, the Speck and the Molecule, under the Swirling Eddies moniker, was extraordinary, and he continues to write one great song after another with the Lost Dogs. And he keeps struggling with his faith and his doubt, always with the honesty that marks a true artist. Darn Floor – Big Bite may be my favorite, but it’s just the tallest spire, and the whole building is worth exploring.

Arena Rock’s reissue, by the way, is beautiful, and the bonus disc is great too. You get some instrumental cuts that really show off Chandler and Flesch, a few live bursts (including an awesome rendition of “Safety Net”), and a 22-minute interview with Taylor that puts the whole thing in perspective. I highly recommend it. Get it here www.DanielAmos.com .

Next week, a couple of live box sets to mark year’s end.

See you in line Tuesday morning.

Posted by Ritchie_az on 12-19-2008 at10:49:


I disagree with the line: "It’s so funny – the whole vibe is almost porn-tastic." (talking about Divine Instant). To me, it has more of a coastal vibe--a cross between Hawaiian and Californian surf--that makes me think of a vacation or honeymoon at the beach. I think describing it as "porn-tastic" takes away the innocence of the song.
Terry's lyrics on the subject are amazing. He's able to capture in words a wonderful and intiment moment between a husband and wife without getting the least bit trashy or making the listener uncomfortable.
And it fits so well with the theme of the album. That divine instant is perhaps the greatest thing we can experience in a relationship...until we slip through a tear in the fabric of the world, when there will be something even greater we can experience in a relationship with God (that we can't yet comprehend). We are like the kid who thinks there is nothing greater on earth than a chocolate can dy bar.
I also wish Andre had commented more on the bonus disc, which is exceptional.

Posted by Audiori J on 12-19-2008 at12:52:


"Coastal vibe--a cross between Hawaiian and Californian surf", thats what I get a sense of as well.

Posted by Ritchie_az on 12-21-2008 at06:23:


Found this one while "surfin'":

"Was cruising the Zune Marketplace today and found a very interesting new release! One of my favorite bands, Daniel Amos, has (evidently) remastered and re-released their 1987 album, ‘Darn Floor, Big Bite’.
"Other than the fact that it’s been about 20-years since this album was released, I’m not exactly sure why this particular disc was chosen for a remaster and re-release, but I’m glad it was! In some ways, ‘Darn Floor’ is perhaps one of their more accessible albums, and a good option to draw fans back in again. Here’s hoping that some of their other great albums (Alarma, Doppelganger, Vox Humana) follow suit!"

It's certainly not the most informative review ever written, but it's good to see DFBB get some more attention.

Posted by Ritchie_az on 12-21-2008 at06:30:


Another one:

"I lack any sort of healthy perspective regarding Daniel Amos, the legendary and nearly totally unknown Christian alternative act of the 80's to the present. I feel like I should say that upfront. I wasn't forced to listen to Christian music as a kid, but there were some dodgy times back there when the Southern Baptist church I attended put the guilt trip on pretty hard, making me think that the Replacements and Smiths tapes I loved so much back then were going to be the soundtrack for my journey straight to hell. I wanted to like Christian music, but let's get real...in 1987, the Christian music industry's artist of the year was Sandi Patty. The Dove award winner for best rock album went to Mylon Lefevre. Nothing personal against the guy, but how relevant does this sound considering that Guns n' Roses released Appetite For Destruction the same year?

"Seemingly out of nowhere, Daniel Amos emerged with a funny named album mixed in with the other tapes at my local Christian bookstore. The thing is that Daniel Amos had been around for awhile, starting their career as a country rock act in the Poco/Eagles vein performing in front of thousands of Calvary Chapel parishioners. At some point, Daniel Amos (a band, not a person) turned a corner and started playing weird new wave while disowning the rest of the Christian music biz, discarding it as lacking substance or artistry. It took until 1987 for me to hear the band which was my loss. I could have been spared at least one Degarmo & Key album purchase.

"Of course, Darn Floor Big Bite (named for a gorilla's sign language explanation of an earthquake) bombed. See if this rings a bell: Christian music wasn't ready for an album that explored man's inability to understand God, especially one inspired by Czech poet Czeslaw Milosz. After all, there were Petra records to hear. To add insult to injury, the album would be tied up in label politics for years afterwards, so the band was unable to reissue the disc for audiences possibly more prepared. There are stacks of great Christian albums that might not ever be available again other than burnt CD-Rs passed from one fan to another. It seemed that Darn Floor Big Bite would be resigned to that fate as well.

"Thankfully, due to the hard work of writer J. Edward Keyes and the Arena Rock label, Darn Floor lives again in a deluxe edition. I recognize that this entire post is sounding suspiciously like an advertisement, but it's really more like an evangelistic message. If you've ever cared about Christian music at all, if you've ever complained that real artists wouldn't get caught dead in the genre, if you spent the late 80's in the company of the Jesus and Mary Chain instead of listening to music about Jesus...you owe it yourself to pick up a copy of the Darn Floor Big Bite reissue. This is the sort of album this "Great Christian Music" feature was created for."

Posted by Audiori J on 12-21-2008 at10:29:


Nice review although, "disowning the rest of the Christian music biz, discarding it as lacking substance or artistry", not sure they disowned the biz since Terry produced a ton of CCM stuff after that point. And "To add insult to injury, the album would be tied up in label politics for years afterwards, so the band was unable to reissue the disc .." is more like 'the album cost too much to license and release..'

Everything else seems spot on.

Posted by dennis on 01-03-2009 at17:00:


I got my copy of the DFBB re-issue in the mail yesterday and it looks and sounds great. I enjoyed the interviews on the CD and the thoughts from all the band in the booklet.
I always kinda wondered if "Divine Instant" was about sex, cuz it sure seemed like it was, and the music always struck me as "porn-tastic" so it there ya have it.
I say anyone who enjoys this record should buy this re-issue.
It fits into my DFBB collection nicely. I think this is my 5th copy!

Posted by audiori on 01-04-2009 at05:19:

  Strange Animals

And now.. a picture of DA made up of more than 500 photos of birds and kitties....

Posted by sondance on 01-04-2009 at11:20:


wow - what's that stuck in Ed's nostrils?

Posted by Aqua Green Toupee on 01-04-2009 at19:31:


My Review of Darn Floor Big Bite 20th Anniversary

The first thing I can say about this wonderful new double CD is that the package was very easy to open. That means a lot to me. I am a very busy man and I don’t have all day to stand around slicing open jewel boxes.
I would also like to point out that the CD seems a bit heavier than many of the recent re-releases I have purchased. I cannot verify this scientifically as I have unfortunately misplaced my kitchen scales; it just feels heavier to me – perhaps by only a fraction of a gram or possibly eight or nine ounces. I appreciate this as I identify heft with substance, as I believe most people do.
This leads me to another aspect of this release that I believe most reviewers tend to overlook or even ignore – the scent. It comes packaged in a thin cardboard that has a very pleasant aroma when held up to the nostrils. I found it to be deep and musky but not overpowering. A very delicate bouquet. Some may consider it superfluous for me to even mention this but I feel that all seven senses are important when considering any form of art.
Now, in terms of the music itself I cannot say much. I do not consider myself qualified or learned enough to be a judge in this area. Basically all the musicians seem to be playing the same songs at the same time which is good and the singer remembered all the words. A lot of Terry Taylor’s lyrics are typically filled with abstractions and philosophical notions that I don’t really understand but seem to make him very happy. I should listen to it again but I’ve been pretty busy.
In summary, I give this album five stars and a hearty thumbs up because it has a picture of a monkey on it.

Posted by wayneb on 01-05-2009 at04:31:


Oh boy, AGT, your love life must have moved up a few notches!!!!!!

Hope all is going well for you, and now that I know what "Divine Instant" is all about, I will say BE CAREFUL as well...

Posted by UnderDawg on 01-05-2009 at05:47:


This has to be the most thorough and succinct album review I've ever read. Well done.

And I agree with you, any record with a monkey on it is aces in my book!

Posted by Ron E on 01-05-2009 at07:03:


Originally posted by sondance
wow - what's that stuck in Ed's nostrils?

a kestrel

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