The Anvil Of God’s Word (Ark 61924)  1977

 

 

In contrast to the high-tech sonic textures of his later works, multi-keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Johnson’s debut album is obviously quite sparse.  Instead of soaring synths, electronic drums and pristine production, we are treated to simple arrangements with acoustic guitar, piano, chimes, violins, bells, flute, harpsichord, sound effects and organ, all in an acoustic soft-rock-bordering-on-“art”-rock style.   Gentle songs for the most part, often led by piano, other times with acoustic guitar as the focus.  Some intriguing song titles and topics, including the lullaby-ish ‘Bible Bedtime Blues’ (with strange through-a-telephone vocals) and the solemn ‘Funeral For A Church’ (which has some cool electric guitar).  The introduction of brass brings a soft breezy jazz/pop mood to ‘Sing, We Are Children Of The Light’.  Although its presence is not as commanding as on subsequent albums, synthesizer can still be found on a few songs, including ‘The Struggle’.  ‘It’s In His Hands’ would re-appear on 1989’s Pilgrimage.  Though most consider his first truly great work to be his third album The Face Of The Deep, this is still a superb beginning for one of Christian music’s most respected artists and poets.     (The Archivist by Ken Scott, 4th Edition).

 

 

Tracks:

01. The Anvil Of God’s Word

02. The Struggle

03. Sometimes When We Pray

04. Jesus Has Risen

05. It In His Hands

06. Your Grace

07. Sing, We Are Children Of The Light

08. Bible Bedtime Blues

09. Funeral For A Church

10. Timothy, Preach The Word

11. The Rock

12. The Anvil Of God’s Word (reprise)

 

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