RECORDINGS

LABEL: COLUMBIA
CATALOG NUMBER: CK31713
UPC NUMBER: N/A
NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
RUNNING TIME: UNKNOWN
DATE RECORDED: 1972
RELEASE DATE: 1972
CONDUCTOR: ANDY BELLING
ORCHESTRA: REVELATION PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: ONE EXPERIENCE CHOIR
SOLOISTS: JESSICA SMITH
JIMMY WALKER
CLYDIE KING
ALEXANDER ST. CHARLES
GERRALD GARRETT


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

SIDE ONE
1. Overture 1:38
2. Unto Us A Child Is Born 3:34
3. Glory To God 2:22
4. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth 2:29
5. And The Glory Of The Lord 2:12
6. Hallelujah 3:18

SIDE TWO
1. All We, Like Sheep 3:37
2. Surely He Hath Borne 2:49
3. He Trusted In Him 3:53
4. The Trumpet Shall Sound 3:21
5. Since By Man Came Death 2:02
6. Hallelujah (reprise) 2:59

SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  The 1970s must have been a truly groovy time to be an religious neoclassicist - it gave us Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, David Axelrod's rock Messiah, and here, a similar experiment in pop reconstructionism, The New Messiah.  Released on Columbia Records in 1972, arranger and conductor Andy Belling adds some gospel choir sensibilities to Handel's venerable oratorio, as well as a hefty dollop of hippie peace-love-understanding vibes that places it firmly in the era.  So, in place of any crusty London Symphonic Orchestra we have instead the "Revelation Philharmonic Orchestra" and you won't find the starched shirts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir here,  - no, here we have "The One Experience Choir".  As well as a prominent drum set, a Stax soul brass section, and electric guitar.  Belling, whose professional credits range from session work with Linda Ronstadt and Rick Nelson, as well as composer credits for TV series such as Grizzly Adams and Happy Days, doesn't radically reshape Handel - he's content to simply juice everything up, adding thundering drums and swirling flutes to the "Hallelujah", and allowing the full orchestra and choir (nicely credited by name on the back cover) to play and sing their hearts out.  The best numbers are the most radical - "He Trusted In Him" is re-imagined as a twelve-bar-blues number, with walking bass line, New Orleans-style brass flourishes, and hissing snare.  Similarly, "The Trumpet Shall Sound" is recast as an amazingly adept soul/blues number. The soloists all seem to hail from the Bronx, singing in natural, unschooled voices, and my only real question about the soloists is whether the "Jimmy Walker" listed here is Jimmy "Dy-no-mite!" Walker from the TV series Good Times.  If you have a fondness for any of the eccentricities of the era, (and especially if you are a fan of Godspell or David Axelrod's Messiah) you will find much to enjoy here.  I must confess that I found this interpretation involving, amusing, and very, very interesting - a true "guilty pleasure."  I would love to see this LP remastered and released on CD.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.