Preachers from Outer Space

Album Reviews

True Tunes News Vol. 7 Issue three 1994

by John J Thompson

Daniel Amos has been raved up quite enough in these pages, so I'll try to keep the sentimental slobbering to a minimum, but Terry Taylor and the various incarnations of Daniel Amos really paved the way for the kind of Christian music that pushed boundaries, musically and lyrically.

If you were one of the desperate souls looking for good Christian music in the late 70's or early 80's, this band had to have been your favorite. Fortunately for us, Terry & Co. are still alive and kickin', and they're still creating relevant, challenging music - but it is kind of fun to traipse down memory lane to remember the bad old days now and again.

Tom Gulotta has earned the title of Daniel Amos freak-case fan over the years. He breaks into various members' homes and raids their private attics and garages looking for classic Daniel Amos gems to re-package and re-present to fans new and old. A few years ago, he teamed up with uncle Terry himself to start Stunt Records as a venue for the release of this odd memorabilia. It started with the release of Live Bootleg, a concert taped in 1979 (it was actually 1982 - by Bruce Brown as a collee project. Then came a few compilations and re-releases of actual DA (that's what the in-crowd called 'em) albums. Now the next in the series of bootlegs is out, and it's a particularly interesting one.

Daniel Amos made some drastic changes between 1978 and 1980. They sprang from the gates in 1976 with a self titled album of pure country rock. It was a hit. Not more than a year passed before their country influences started turning toward rock. Shotgun Angel sported a combo platter of rock and country, with a bizarre twist toward the Beatle-esque.

This live concert, recorded Easter weekend of 1978, catches the band at the start of their fateful metamoprhosis. Sonically, it sounds like a really good recording - for 1978. But don't let the low-fi old tape sound scare you; Gene Eugene and Doug Doyle did a fine job of mixing and mastering.

It's actually surprising how tight the band sounds. And seeing that the event recorded was a Maranatha event, it's not too surprising that the crowd seemed to appreciate only the country material. But liberally dispersed among the boot stompin' classics like "Shotgun Angel," "Abidin'," and "Happily Married Man" were such rockers as "I Love You #19" and "Hound of Heaven." You can hear the cicada crunching out of its shell, but you can also tell that the crowd didn't like the new creature. Maybe this was sort of a premonition of things to come for DA as they shook off the safety of the Maranatha set for the dangerous waters of "alternative" Christian music.

Preachers From Outer Space is a must-have for any DA/Terry Taylor/Swirling Eddies fan. It should also prove intriguing and, dare I say, enjoyable to any musicologist or historian of contemporary Christian music. But then again, I haven't heard of any of them. This might also be interesting to Lost Dogs fans who are curious about these guys' country roots. All in all, it's a load of fun.

Visions of Gray Volume 5 Number 3 1994

by MC

Let's just say that 3/5 of the band is wearing cowboy hats and big belt buckles. In 1978, we see, DA was definitely a country band, still fresh off of Shotgun Angel but befor ethe wild recordings of Horrendous Disc. There are great versions included of "I Love You #19," "Horrendous Disc" and "Hound of Heaven. but the material the guys present here is largely decidedly of a more rural persuasion. It's an odd thing, really, and one that the DA aficionado will enjoy.: a track or two with enough twang to paint the barn followed by adrenaline attack new wave fervor, then back to meander down that provincial lane, then finishing up with a new wave rendition of the Beach Boys' "I Get Around."

It's an ambitious release, to be sure: as with other contestants in the Stunt Bootleg Series, you've got not a lot of real sales potential, but a treasured rarity to those who do make the purchase. Few of us saw DA in 1978, and fewer still attended this concert. This little collection lets us all look into the murky past of the band, complete with explanations for songs, readings of scripture to justify bent creativity, and unabashed trademark patronizing of the audience. Some will like this DA better - you can quickly discover (and easily, too) that they are believers. Some will wince with pain at the hokiness and country licks. This is not serious bluegrass or country music, but a band that makes a joke of everything they do (i.e., try to tell me what they sound like - every record is imitating something else besides themselves). Basically, if you ever liked Shotgun Angel, the Eagles, the Sanctifieds, and TNN, (all stirred together) you're a condidate for office.

As far as packaging goes, this is a shining example to us all of a way to do it well. There is a center spread of 1978 DA memorabilia, lyrics, a band photo with the various people actually identified ("Which one's Jerry!?!"), neat-o art on the disc, and even a couple of pages of descriptive text by Terry himself. Projects like this often come off as self-glorifying and self-serving, but this one is honest, even including a few embarrassing moments for the record. It is easy to see why the 1982 concert was released long before this one, but it's a good thing that this one has seen the light at last.

Cross Rhyhms August 1, 1997

by Mike Rimmer

Terry Taylor and Daniel Amos are Christian alternative rock pioneers who've battled with prejudice from the moment they abandoned the good ole boy music of their first two mid '70s Eagles sound alike recordings and decided to push the boat out and experiment with new wave. 20 years later their journey has taken them through a number of line-ups and musical changes. On import, we have what amounts to a bootleg quality live recording from the "70s as they debuted their new alternative music in front of a home church crowd at Calvary Chapel.

This will be of interest to those who have longed for Larry Norman to authorise a CD re-release for the classic 'Horrendous Disc' because this features live versions of "Hound Of Heaven" and "Horrendous Disc" which sound naked and vulnerable next to the crowd pleasing "Happily Married Man" (Yeehaw! Even back then they were being ironic!) and "Shotgun Angel". Clearly a band nervous in transition before they found their stride with the 'Alarma Chronicles'. Incidentally, there's a demo of "I Love You" as well as their reworking of the Beach Boys' "I Get Around", a staple of their live set in the late "70s. Definitely ahead of their time.

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