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CD: Lou Fellingham
So when my copy of Lou Fellingham's first, and long-awaited solo album Treasure arrived, the eagerness was coupled with certainty, and did not disappoint: we have great, well-composed photos showing the beautiful singer in fine form, and then there's a great close up on the last page which emphasises how gorgeous her eyes and smile really are. There's still the old question of 'what should I do with my hands?' and sometimes the answer seems to be 'fiddle nervously with your tummy-button-ring', sometimes 'shove your thumbs in your belt loops and point at your zip', but concludes with 'hold this expensive-looking studio vocal microphone, sit down in a big old chair and lean well forward.' There's a nice mixture of seriousness and Lou's attractive smile, and the vast rock of her wedding ring is in evidence in every pic. No confusion there, then.
How lovely to get a mention in the credits; cheers, mate!
Once again the correct use of the English language has deserted Executive Producer dear old Stephen Doherty of Kingsway Music. He describes the powerful Prayer Song as heart-rendering. My dictionary says that rendering is to do with repayment (esp to Caesar), covering things (a wall with plaster, for example) or boiling down fat to its constituent parts. Hopefully, what he meant was rending, which is to do with wrenching and splitting. Doesn't anyone check these things? Makes him look foolish.
More annoying still is the final suggestion: 'sit back, relax and discover the Treasure'. This is a worship album, and the last thing God desires of us is to doze off while we were focusing our attention on him. 'Sit up, engage your spirit with the heart of the Lord and rejoice in the treasure' might have been nearer the mark. Ho, hum, Kingsway Music. How disappointing. I hope that doesn't put too many browsers off when they see that. It's poor marketing, frankly, of an album that deserves the best we have to offer. Since there are so many apparently competing CDs out there, then making this one stand out would have been a good idea.
So much for the packaging; the real issue is the sound of the disc, I understand that. It's a collection of familiar and new songs, with a new selection of musicians and a new producer (busbee), which gives the Lou Fellingham voice a different flavour. There's not a lot of the Alan Rose hard edge, and there's not a lot of the complex, skilful hubby drumming either. But the musicianship is of quality, and the idea flow throughout. No middle-of-the-roadness here; more to my taste than the generally safe Faithful, less radio-friendly than Fishtank.
The new songs are mostly Nathan and Louise creations, and they seems to be as good a songwriting team as you could wish for
O God of Love
The catchy tune and positive vibe are infectious; surely things aren't as gloomy as we first thought? It reminds me of some of the Psalms of David, where he begins with terms of miserable depression, and end us admonishing his soul to praise the Lord.
Makes you wonder what Lou's mum has been suffering.
Does that sound a bit cynical? I don't mean it to be. I think this song has every hallmark of a great church song, packed with truth and easy to learn.
I really like the way the ending just hangs, ready for twinkling or whatever your churchmanship allows.
Build this House
I think this one will be taken up in congregations, too, where songs like Holiness unto Jesus and Just as I am still feature on the playlist.
The B3 and girlie choir towards the end of the song are absolutely fine.
Before the Throne of God above
Again, the B3 features in excellent proportion. I like the apparently freeform section at the end, when the drummer, the choir and the lead vocal take turns to experiment.
Sing to the Lord
Was the key-change necessary? Perhaps not, but I love the reprise ending, with just chordal piano.
God of Mercy (Prayer Song)
A fabulous note, hit right in the middle, without show but without anxiety, either, on 'but I know that you are watching over them'.
Let it Rain
Not a problem, but perhaps you might have finished with another of your excellent songs, rather than a cover?
I think this one will be in my player for some time.