Down The Line Magazine September 2011
2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Steve Ruff
My introduction to Daniel Amos came through the Fearful Symmetry album which was released back in 1986; I probably came across it somewhere around '88 or '89 when I was 14 or 15 years old. It absolutely changed the way that I viewed Christian music and stamped Terry Taylor's name on my brain. After finding and purchasing everything prior to Fearful Symmetry (and everything that came after), I easily rank Terry Taylor's creative genius in my top 5 favorite artists of all time. The man has an incredible gift!
The Shotgun Angel re-issue is simply amazing. This is really the record that I would consider to be the hub track that all the various projects of Taylor and Co. would be birthed from at later dates. For example, listen to Meal (track 5 on the first disc); it could be released as a Swirling Eddies track at any point and stand right there with the best of them. That is another thing that struck me about the brilliance of this deluxe reissue: these songs are so good and sound so strikingly crisp and well done that they hold up amazingly well today some 30+ years later. Hearing in these songs the sounds that were to come (in other formats with other bands) is a real treat for the listener and a testament to the creativity that not only helped create the industry, but also helped to define and expand the musical scope of the "Jesus music" genre. In addition it also speaks to the talent that these guys' posses – a talent that would continue to push musical boundaries and define the sounds as the standard which so much would be compared to over the next several decades.
To try and define the songs and the sounds here is difficult because when this came out in 1977 there was nothing else quite like it. I would definitely give this a laid back country type feel, but it also has an Americana rock ‘n roll vibe saddled right there in line with it. Once you throw in all the quirky zaniness that only comes from Daniel Amos, this is a release that stands in a category by itself. Take a healthy dose of early Eagles tunes, whip that with some beautiful harmonies a la the Grateful Dead, season that in a container with The Beatles and shake vigorously…that is what Shotgun Angel sounds like.
Lyrically this album is rich with imagery that is as broad as the sounds themselves. Topics range from a person who gives up pursuing money to pursue spiritual riches instead ("Black Gold Fever"); a truck driver who finds Christ by talking on his C.B. radio (title track "Shotgun Angel"), all the way down to the first disc's closer about the return of Christ ("Posse In the Sky"). The lyrics run a gamut of situations with a spiritual focus on many day to day living situations. The parallels that the lyrics draw are as unique as the songs and circumstances themselves. From the longing ache in "Days and Nights", to the comedic chorus of "Meal" or the worshipful colored "Praise Song", Taylor has crafted a journey of lyrical life experience in his unique humor and style.
The remastering on this release is superb. This is the classic line up of Taylor (guitar, lead vocals, BGV), Jerry Chamberlain (guitar, lead vocals, BGV), Marty Dieckmeyer (bass, BGV), Mark Cook (keyboards, lead vocals, BGV) and Ed McTaggart (drums, percussion, BGV). The songs are vibrant, clear and sonically pleasing. When Daniel Amos releases a re-issue you know it will be first rate and top notch. Such is the case here as well, 2 discs with a track count of the original 13 tracks on the first disc, and a staggering 26 tracks on disc 2. This release has it all: four-track demos, pre-production demos, alternate mixes and a 24 page color booklet that has over 30 never before released photos as well.
This is a great re-issue, a classic album and an amazing band! Look for this to be available on the Daniel Amos tour this summer. It will also become available on the website as well. It doesn't get any better than this! Check out www.danielamos.com and support the band, spin the tunes and catch a show this summer!
Cross Rhyhtms February 16, 2014
2-CD Deluxe Edition
By Stephen Luff
As any longtime follower of Christian music will know, Daniel Amos were a seminal band who in the '80s particularly took Christian rock into uncharted territory. This album from 1977 was the transition between the country of their self-titled debut album and the Beatles-esque rock of 'Horrendous Disc' a year later. There are influences aplenty here including Queen and Pink Floyd mixed with vocal Eagles style harmonies (just listen to the title track and "Posse In The Sky") which would feature in similar bands of the time such as the Sweet Comfort Band. Outstanding tracks include "Praise Song" with its encouraging lyrics and the humorous, country track "Meal". There are instances of rock opera such as "Finale:Bereshith Overture" and "The Whistler" which both take you by surprise the first time you hear them. The transfer quality is remarkably good given the age of the original recordings with only tape hiss noticeable.
Disc two contains 26 tracks including demos and alternative mixes. One track "Jonah And The Whale" is new, but it is not up to the quality of the songs elsewhere - you can see why it never made it to the final album. This, although interesting, does not offer long time listening enjoyment especially as songs are repeated with slight differences, although the studio chat is interesting. Overall an enjoyable album though probably only hardcore Daniel Amos/Terry Scott Taylor completists will get much from disc two.
CCM Magazine June 1988
"The Best Contemporary Christian Albums of All Time"
(Selected by the CCM Magazine staff)
"Hats off to the band!" hails Baker. Jonathan David Brown (now with Twila Paris!) produced this early Daniel Amos, uh, DA, uh Da project. "This album from DA's Eagles period was an artist triumph," Rabey says. Somewhere between country and new wave, the guys came up with a winner in Angel
. Pinzon elaborates, "Most bands lose fans during the transitional period; it is a tribute to DA's talent that their transitional album is still their most popular." Side two's musical vision of the end times is a seamless masterpiece. "Father's Arms" and "Days and Nights" are standout cuts too.
Syndicate December 1990
4 points out of 5
By Brian Q. Newcomb
It's way past time for all of DA's albums to hit the
street on compact disc, and slowly but surely (actually,
all of a sudden) that's happening. Shotgun Angel
the band's second vinyl confession finds Terry Taylor,
Ed McTaggart, Jerry. Chamberlain and Co. laying the
groundwork for all that was to come. It's not quite
a rock 'n' roll album, but it has Beatles and country
rock influences, strong melodies, some very. promising
writing and enough silly stuff to warrant both excitement
and dread. Somebody please tell me why
they recorded "Meal," and Taylor has written other
beautiful songs, but "Father's Arms" is clearly a
Of course the second side of the album takes a
rather obnoxious pre-millennial dispensational look
at the book of Revelation, something I learned in
seminary is probably an inadequate approach. Since,
I've become a pan-millennialist; the foundational
tenets being that the future is in God's hands, Jesus
is coming back, We know not the day or the hour and
it'll all pan out in. the end. DA presents its own pop
opera on the end times, and for the most part it'll
be acceptable to all kinds of Christian perspectives.
Certainly "Sail Me Away" and "Posse In the Sky" are
fabulous songs with engaging imagery.
The tracks convert to digital very nicely, although
my vinyl copy has sounded pretty bad for years. It's
exciting to have this classic back in a format that will
last until Jesus' return. - Brian Q. Newcomb
Harvest Rock Syndicate 1987
The 25 Best Albums of Early Christian Rock
by (Various Authors)
#8: Shotgun Angel
"A long cry from the first Daniel Amos album, Shotgun Angel
demonstrated the creative scene that has become a trademark of all Da (nee Daniel Amos, then DA) work through the years," says T.L. Faris. "They never did take country music that seriously," asserts Greenfield, "still, Angel
did showcase Terry Taylor's up-and-coming, unique songwriting ability." "Side Two is a masterpiece. A little too Beatle-esque for some tastes, perhaps, but I admired the band's ambition at the time and still do," says Styll with SChmitz in agreement, "I could still listen to Side Two for hours every day." Ok, Ok, so there are great songs like "Days and Nights," "Father's Arms" and "Shotgun Angel," and Side Two is brilliant, given you have to be able to endure a rather literalistic reading of Revelation from a Pre-Millenial Dispensationalistic point of view, but would someone tell me how "Meal" ever got on this record?
"Not until now have we seen an album that is as versatile, professional, or as serious musically as is Daniel Amos' 'Shotgun Angel'."
"'Shotgun Angel' should inspire other musicians to break some of the molds they've cast themselves in."
"This record is a flat-out winner. Brilliant."
"'Shotgun Angel' is truly an offering of excellence to the Lord."
BUZZ magazine (Eng.)
Reviews provided thanks to the writers, magazines and newspapers listed as well as fans that have helped us collect them - Todd Swisher