|Welcome Back Phil! | Posted December 17, 2016
Phil Keaggy is one of our greatest guitarists. He has released more than 50 albums, has won seven Dove Awards for Instrumental Album of the Year is a two-time Grammy Award nominee. Although his instrumental albums are a frequent companion of mine, I hadn’t heard one of his vocal albums for some time. So this fan-funded album of thirteen vocals and one instrumental was a pleasant surprise. And though he is now 65, his sweet McCartney sounding vocals haven’t aged at all. Keaggy wrote or co-wrote all songs with the exception of the title song (written by Gordon Kennedy and Ben Cooper) and the closing hymn “I Must Tell Jesus”.
Below are a few comments about each song on this excellent album which features Keaggy’s superb guitar playing and contributions from strong backing players. In addition, the production is top-notching, giving the songs a live feel.
Mercy – The album starts out with a bang with this blues rocker. It features some great guitar, organ, drum and some backing vocals. There is no one like the Lord. Everybody wants and needs mercy all around the world. A great opener.
Undertow – This rocker features some excellent guitar work and a driving drum beat. Tell me about where you’ve been and what you know, your dreams. Grab ahold and don’t let go you’re not alone here in the struggle. Keep fighting in the undertow. An encouraging song that features some good backing vocals.
Call the Doctor – Keaggy slows it down a bit on this song that features some excellent blues guitar, backing vocals, organ and drums. Somebody call the doctor, the Great Physician, because this old world is a troubled soul. Ring that number straight to the heavenly throne. There is so much pain and hurt.
All At Once – Keaggy slows it down on this title track that starts with him singing a McCartney like vocal over piano. It builds with drum, bass and guitar. How do you deal with the pain? All at once. It breaks the heart, but puts it back together stronger than it was.
I Love the Way You Love Me – This easy-going, joyful catchy love song starts with piano, drums and keys. He can’t wear a frown whenever she’s around. He loves the way she loves him. Features some good backing vocals and guitar work.
La La La Love You – This is another joyful love song. He could never write a song to say everything that she means to him, so he just says “La, La, La Love You”. Includes a nice guitar solo.
My Guitar's In Love – This is a blues rocker that features some great guitar playing. She (his guitar) won’t do what she’s told. He’s lost control. They had been so close like a hand in glove. It includes tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as “don’t string me along”.
Stay Home Baby – This toe-tapper opens with drums, blues guitar and organ. He’s satisfied with everything he’s got and just wants to stay home with his baby and be by her side. Reminds me of Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago”. Features some great blues guitar playing, organ work by the legendary Al Cooper, and backing vocals.
Fearless Love – This rocker opens with piano, guitar, and driving drum beat. I believe there is a way. We have to make a few adjustments to keep the ship on course. We need to show fearless love across the great divide. A love that is compassionate and slow to judge. What unites us is greater than what divides us. Features some great piano and guitar. Also features some good backing vocals.
Not Be Moved – This song features a Dylan-like “Gotta Serve Somebody” sound. We’re living in a world of trouble. It can get the best of us. Bad news and darkness. Trials and temptations that try to bring us down. He knows that there’s an answer that helps him stand his ground. But we stand on solid ground and we shall not be moved. Features an excellent guitar solo and some good organ work.
Ezekiel – This blues rocker features the exemplary vocals of Ashley Cleveland, which blend well with Keaggy’s. They sing about the valley of dry bones from chapter 37 of the book of Ezekiel. This is the Lord, this is the God who saves. The song features some excellent guitar, drums and organ.
I Prayed For You – This slow blues number is about him praying for someone not to give in. He pleaded with the Father until the answer came. Don’t give in to darkness before the battle is won. He prayed for them when they needed strength and were losing the fight. Features some good blues guitar.
Breathe – This is the one instrumental track on the album. Those familiar with Keaggy’s instrumental albums such as his classic The Master and the Musician will enjoy this.
I Must Tell Jesus – Keaggy closes out the album with a version of this 1893 hymn written by Elisha Albright Hoffman. The focus is on the vocal, but it also features some nice guitar playing and backing vocals.
Comments (0) | Add Comment | Is This Review Helpful? Yes | No