Sacred Cows

Album Reviews

Sacred Cows

Album Reviews

True Tunes News Vol 8 Issue 2 1996

by Chik N. Alaking (Disgruntled Eddie Wannabe and Former Postal Worker)

The official party record of the summer is here. Sacred Cows brings us the technical brilliance, lyrical insight and eschatological forecasting of Christian music's favorite ingrates, The Swirling Eddies. Camarillo, Berger, Prickly, Hort, Pool, Arthur, and, uh, Mike Roe take respectful shots at some of the best, er, worst songs in the ccm library.

It's often been wondered what kind of stressful catastrophe can have turned the members of Daniel Amos into their drooling alter-efos, called The Eddies, and it seems we have an answer. They've actually been listening to this stuff.

After being shipwrecked and lost at sea in 1993 (a year of the Cow, by the way), the Eddies wanted to pass some of their favorite songs to the audience. Included here are borderline psychotic renditions of Degarmo and Key's "God Good, Devil Bad" and "I Use the J-Word"; Amy Grant's "Baby Baby" (wonder if the Eddies are This Train fans?); Carman's "Satan, Bite the Dust"; DC Talk's "I Love Rap Music"; Kim Boyce's "Not For Me"; Whiteheart's "Convertibles"; Al Denson's "Alcatraz"; Audio Adrenaline's "Big House" (was that Droopy Dog on lead vocals?); and Stryper's "Sing ALong Song."

From the meticulous re-structuring of the instrumentation to Camarillo Eddie's uncanny ability to mimic any vocalist he chooses, many people will mistake these cuts for the originals. Of course, people with functioning ears will be able to hear the difference. Without exception, these versions are far superior to the iriginals, in sound as well as in ministry value.

Rumor has it THe Eddies will soon back up Carman on a world-tour crusade. And I've been told that when he heard the Eddies' version of his song "Satan, Bite the Dust," the true power and emotion of the number finally got through to him and he broke down in tears. We can only hope that someday the Eddies will add their special touch to more of Carman's brilliant songs. An Eddies spin on "The Champion" and "Who's In The House" will be especially inspiring. Who knows? It can happen.

Possibly the biggest mystery here is that there may be versions of these songs that are actually worse than the originals. That in itself is a thing of bizarre beauty. Gather up your toys! This is a good time to be scared, kids

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 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 Grant's "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 Carman's "Satan, Bite the Dust". The real side-splitter, though, belongs to the lounge-lizard version of DC Talk's "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 Eddies' cover of Whiteheart's "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 notes' 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 Adrenaline's "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, Stryper's "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. It's 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."

by Mike Rimmer

The sleeve notes say that the Swirling Eddies are attempting to cross over into mainstream CCM and so they've recorded their 10 favourite CCM tracks which have helped them! Ahem! Terry Taylor's alter ego band have a reputation for the tongue in check ever since the epic "Hide The Beer The Pastor's Here". Now it seems that they want to upset the entire Christian community by taking some of CCM's best loved and most successful tunes and sending them up in a way that only the Eddies could manage. This spoof could be highly offensive if you love Amy's "Baby Baby" which is here reduced to a sub Crash Test Dummies soundalike complete with a brilliant keyboard solo.

The hero of Carman's spiritual warfare epic "Satan Bite The Dust" is reduced to a wimpy sounding lisper who delivers all the right lines but doesn't speak with quite the same authority of Carman. "I Luv Rap Music" becomes a hilarious piece of lounge jazz! Al Denson's "Alcatraz" loses its impact when performed using cheesy synth sounds with a variable tape speed. Audio Adrenaline's "Big House" is sung by "Spot" who suffers from Elmer Fudd's disease! I suspect that there is some intention of a deeper meaning from Taylor as an observation that a lot of successful Christian tunes are theological no brainers. Ok, ok, ok. it's just one huge pointless but highly entertaining laugh! Buy the album and help the band defend themselves when the cream of CCM join together and sue them down to their Y fronts! Some Sacred Cows deserve a trip to the abattoir!



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