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Music -- Monk Rock

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  • mwittlans@aol.com
    My teenaged children enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music. At our library, the Christian music is mixed in with the secular music. For this
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2006
      My teenaged children enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music. At
      our library, the Christian music is mixed in with the secular music. For this
      reason, I don't let the children browse through the selections -- too many
      inappropriate selections for their eyes to view. However, this can work in the
      opposite way. Wouldn't it be lovely for a teen searching for the latest rock
      album to stumble across a Christian title to check out?

      Title: Monk Rock
      Artist: John Michael Talbot
      Date CD Released: August 2005
      Label: Troubadour for Lord
      ASIN: B000A8AX72
      Price: $17.98
      Comments: http://www.johnmichaeltalbot.com/

      Reviews from amazon.com
      Rock Music with Simple but Inspiring Lyrics,

      This latest offering is very good, but more in the tradition of CAVE OF THE
      HEART than either Mason Proffit or other Talbot Brothers material, with one
      or two exceptions. "Spread the Good News" sounds a lot like material on John
      Michael Talbot's early, self-titled Sparrow LP, while there are moments
      reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. This CD may or may not be for those who prefer
      the softer side of his music, but it will do for those of us who enjoy Terry
      and John Talbot's earlier style and don't mind variety. The ministry value here
      is quite high, as the simple yet profound message continues to be
      proclaimed, and the musical quality is appealing.

      John Michael Proffit

      The Mass has been set to numerous musical styles throughout history. As John
      Michael Talbot writes in the liner notes to "Agnus Dei," "The challenge was
      in finding an electric setting that did not do violence to the meaning of the
      text." Whether he succeeds the listener can decide, but note that he does
      not consider rock music per se inappropriate. Since the text consists of
      Scripture and the Mass (itself mostly Scripture), the unique approach lies in the
      The latin song titles at first seem inaccessible, but they are sung in
      English (with some Spanish), and in the English versions are quite well known:
      "Kyrie": "Lord have mercy;" "Sanctus:" "Holy, holy, holy;" "Credo:" "I believe;"
      "Agnus Dei:" "Lamb of God." One reason for this familiarity was Talbot's
      1978 album, The Lord's Supper, which put parts of the Mass in a folk-rock
      setting, became a best-seller, and was one influence of the contemporary praise

      One of the best things about this album is the booklet. Talbot is very much
      a musician's musician, and the liner notes let the rest of us in on the
      process of creating. The genesis of this album came when John's brother, Terry
      Talbot, brainstormed putting Mason Proffit back together. As the "silent
      partner" in a monastic community, John was showing him a few licks and just got
      hooked. When John told Phil Keaggy his idea, Phil wanted to play, and who doesn't
      know that Keaggy's best stuff is rock? (What about his seven minute plus
      rock epic, "Time"?) John wrote a song in the style of the Jesus Movement of the
      '70s, "people said it sounded 'fresh' or 'anointed' and it was all downhill
      from there."

      John has a long songwriting history, from the country rock group, Mason
      Proffit to the present, and he could have penned original lyrics. His early
      Sparrow album, The New Earth, is as radical as Keith Green. Before forming the
      Little Portion hermitage, he was a third order Franciscan lay brother. Arlo
      Guthrie was also briefly a member, and Guthrie wrote one of his best albums,
      Outlasting the Blues, at that time. As a worship leader, the texts of the Mass
      were a natural choice for John, but the liner notes hint that there may be
      more rock records, and I hope some will include original songs. Could monk rock,
      like punk rock, be the thing that brings music back to the streets and to
      the people? Can it derail the current overproduction that makes rock, pop and
      country all sound the same? O brother, where art thou?

      "Monk Rock" Joins Classic Riffs, Timeless Truths, August 21, 2005

      (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/14279681/pop-up/ref=cm_rn_bdg_help/103-6839038-0667039#RN) The good news is
      John Michael Talbot, Catholic's music top-selling and highest profile artist,
      hasn't pulled a Pat Boone, donned leather and covered Metallica and AC/DC.
      Nor, as the title might suggest, has he donned a wool cap and joined Mickey,
      Peter and Davey (or for that matter, Alvin and Theodore) on their next reunion

      The better news is this founding member of the country-rock and Christian
      rock genres (in his words, "for better or worse") has rediscovered his love of
      electric guitars, classic rock riffs and the singalong anthems of the
      late-60s Jesus movement. Those familiar with contemplative Talbot works like "For
      The Bride" and "Simple Heart" will be pleasantly surprised by the sharp rock
      he plays here.

      Musically and throughout his exhaustive liner notes, Talbot name-checks
      classic rock influences from CSN and the Byrds to the Stones, Who, Hendrix and
      Clapton. Traditional Catholic Mass music rocks here as it hasn't since folk and
      rock masses dominated the first post-Vatican II years. (Talbot cites the
      Lifeteen movement as a strong musical influence on "Monk Rock"'s songs and

      "Kyrie" (not Mr. Mister's 1985 hit) finds Talbot floating smoky, vintage
      acoustic/electric riffs solo around his "psuedo choir" multi-tracked vocals.
      "Gloria" recalls "Captain and Me"-era Doobie Brothers. "Credo," (the Apostle's
      Creed), comes alive with a reggae beat and some sharp 12-string playing.
      "Jesus Prayer Swing" cuts a deep groove thanks to veteran bassist Leland "Funk
      Monk" Sklar and drummer Neil "Thump Monk" Wilkinson. The only three lines the
      faithful speak during the Eucharist Prayer are turned into a fist-pumping
      anthem in "Proclaim the Mystery."

      From "One Body In Christ's" anthemic chorus and swift tempo changes to the
      vocal blast opening of "Walk With Jesus" ("All...life...long!") JMT uses his
      chance to plug in to deliver his sharpest guitar playing and catchiest
      melodies in years. Musically, "Monk Rock" doesn't recall the blues rockers Talbot
      mentions so much as it does John Mellencamp. He, like Talbot in Mason Profitt
      and solo, successfully incorporated country-flavored instruments into the
      heartland rock he loved. "Monk Rock" is John Michael Talbot not only sharing the
      joy of his Gospel-based lyrical message but his sheer musical fun delivering
      it. It's an exuberant CD, unique to his long career, and well worth owning.

      Jesus Music lives again as John Michael Talbot goes electric on his 48th

      "There were two things I wanted to do musically as I move a bit past middle
      age: Really learn some classical guitar, and dig out my old electric guitars
      and learn to play pretty well again," said John Michael Talbot. "Monk Rock
      is the initial fruit from this effort."

      I never thought I would hear John Michael jamming 70's style on electric
      guitar on "One Body in Christ." Who would have guessed he would be playing blues
      licks on "Kyrie"?

      With vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Talbot Brothers, and lyrics written
      in the simple and innocent style of the early Jesus movement music, these
      songs fit that genre but have the advantage of modern production.

      Some of the songs have Latin titles and include background chants, which
      gives them a slight otherworldly feel. A few are built around just a line or two
      of verse and are carried by the music.

      One of the highlights is "Gloria," which is built on a catchy guitar riff
      and a chorus that could go on forever. The "Jesus Prayer Swing" features some
      rollicking, country rock guitar playing. "Spread the Good News," the first
      song written for the recording, is dedicated to the late John Paul II.

      Though banjo is used effectively on several cuts, and "Sanctus" starts off
      with flute reminiscent of Jethro Tull, the acoustic takes a back seat on this

      Aside from the semi-humorous title, this is a serious and unique effort-one
      that uses the best elements from an earlier era to make a recording that is
      fun and relevant for today.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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