Knowledge & Innocence

Album Reviews

Knowledge & Innocence

Album Reviews

Harvest Rock Syndicate 1986

by Brian Quincy Newcomb

"Heart, warming in the afterglow," the opening lyric from the solo album of Daniel Amos' guiding light Terry Taylor, wasn't my first impression listening to Knowledge &Innocence but it was the overall effect. My first thought was that Taylor's infatuation with John Lennon and the Beatles had finally gone too far; this record is more Beatle-esque than Horrendous Disc, Vox Humana or even Abbey road. After many listens, my heart is warmed and a bittersweet smile crossed my face. I concluded that it really didn't matter that the album was derivative; it was so good I didn't care.

Knowledge & innocence deals with the paradox of faith, the union of adult reasoning and questioning with childlike belief and acceptance. On side one Taylor plays it straight in five of the finest pop songs to come from his often quirky mind. The first single, "Dancing On Light," sets the light and reflective tone that dominates the whole record. Here the joy and anticipation of God's presence are celebrated in "Song Of Innocence," a duet with Randy Stonehill; "Picture Of You," and "Ever After." The other side of life, the frailty of human existence, the longing for fulfillment and God's presence are expressed in "Waiting," "Here He Comes, Second Time" and most succinctly in these lines from "One More Time:" "you took a part of me/a broken heart left here to play/this sad/sweet music/the air that I breath/fills me with longing."

On side two, Taylor's more bizarre leanings come through on the "Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour," a medly of radio country Gospel favorites ("The Old Rugged Cross," "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" and "In The Garden") sung by The Riders Of The Western Skies, which is Taylor's vocals multitracked to create the quartet effect. We also hear excerpts from Christmas at the Taylor home, Terry's son Andrew counting to twelve, and a muzak reprise of "Picture Of You."

Perhaps the most emotionally provocative sound is of a baby's heartbeat recorded at six months in the mother's womb which leads into "Light Princess," an ode to a daughter who died in miscarriage. Nearly a complete musical ripoff of Psychedelic Furs' "Heaven," the song evokes the feelings of loss and of comfort in a stirring blend of realism and idealism that is characteristic of Taylor's best work with DA. The emotional song, expresses faith's hardest moment - a death not welcomed, but accepted. This one will leave anyone who has feared the loss of a loved one, yet trusted God in difficult times, in tears.

Knowledge & Innocence is a very personal statement by Terry Scott Taylor, exploring all that seems to be most important in his life. While I wish he would push himself to make his music stand on it's own two feet, these well crafted and finely-produced songs offer a rewarding journey into the artist's important perceptions of life and faith. Daniel Amos fans will hear a softer but still intriguing side of Taylor's music, and pop listeners will be introduced to one of the more creative minds in Christian rock music. Knowledge & Innocence are a difficult mix, but in this setting a rewarding union.

On Being February 1987

by Martin Fawkes

Terry Scott Taylor is not simply a musician - he is an artist, capable of expressing his hopes, longings and experiences in a manner that evokes hope, joy and empathy in the listener. His is a rare gift.

Knowledge & Innocence looks at knowledge, innocence, death, life and afterlife in a music tour-de-force which is crafted with tenderness and love. Part of Taylor's artistry is that he doesn't use his songs simply to force-feed his message, but allows the listener to wonder, think and then realise.

The lullaby-like "Song of Innocence" (a duet with Randy Stonehill), the soft-rock of "Light Princess" and the synth-pop of "Dancing on Light" are highlights of one of the best albums of 1986.

Vortexx Summer 1986

by Kevin Wilson

An urgent request: All underground and avant-guarde music fans, please listen closely to Terry Scott Taylor's Knowledge and Innocence. It is definitely in a different ein than his recent work in the Daniel Amos Alarma Chronicles.

Daniel Amos was on the steel-blue edge of the underground avante-guarde movement when it recorded Horrendous Disc a few years back. Since then, the group's music, purpose and art have been refined - a lot! While Taylor is no longer leading a new musical trend, he is still very concerned with art. In Knowledge and Innocence, the listener is thrust into art before the stylus hits the first groove.

"Knowledge and Innocence" is a time-held theme of mistrels and poets reaching back to the height of the Greek civilization. The doctored photograph on the back of the album cover alludes, whether intentionally or not, to the painting LAS MININAS by the Spanish realist Vela'squez in the 17th century. In the painting, Vela'squez offered his world-view, complete with special commentary. In this album, Taylor does the same from an intensely personal standpoint.

It would be irresponsible and naive to attempt to interpret the theme's twists and subtleties in a review. However, it is possible to offer some high points. In "Song of Innocence," Taylor offers innocence through children and a child-like faith. The same combination is alluded toin "The Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour," which was recorded to sound like it was on the air 30 years ago.

Knowledge, in some ways, steals innocence from man. "Ever After" describes in societal knowledge that has them working on weekends, not spending enough time with junior and never realizing their dreams. Two deeply moving songs, "One More Time" and "Light Princess," show Taylor's responses to the death of a grandfather and the stillbirth of a child.

The album's success lies somewhere between personal experience and the theme of the music. Music was not discussed out of respect for the writer: Taylor has a reputation as an expressive and innovative writer. Besides, what's the use of listening to the music and letting the lyrics in one ear and out the nose? Please listen carefully.

Vortexx Summer 1986

by Jeff Butz

This album, from the lead vocalist for the band, Daniel Amos, is intelligent and original. Lyrically, the words seem to come from an uninhibited musician. Musically, it is mostly laid-back.

Some songs have a sound similar to the Beatles. A few do resemble early Daniel Amos. "Here He Comes, Second Time," one of the more upbeat songs, sounds a little reminiscent of the Psychedelic Furs. "Picture of You" has a Carribean sound to it, showing Taylor's versatility.

Children are often the center of attention on this album. In fact, Taylor's son Andrew makes a guest appearance. Could this be daddy starting son early?

Taylor has put out an excellent album that can speak to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

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