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388. First Things First – Bob Bennett

FIRST THINGS FIRST (1979)

Bob Bennett

The first Bob Bennett album is also the first of three that will be included on this list. One of CCM’s finest songwriters and unheralded guitar players. His warm and soothing James Taylor style vocals and music provide a stunning platform for some of the best lyrics in CCM.

Before the world of CCM became as dominated by looks and image as its secular counterpart an artist could make it simply by the impact and quality of his work. This to say that we are fortunate that Bob Bennett’s artistry and amazing songwriting skills were not hampered by today’s ridiculous standards and superficial fan base.

The album starts with Bennett’s most successful song, Carpenter Gone Bad. The song, written from the point of view of the first century Jew, remained a Christian radio staple for many years. “The Night Shift” speaks to those on the fringe who rarely come to the mind of the average Christian while “Whistling In the Dark” deals with the exclusive call of Christianity and the danger of responding to the call of Gospel passively.

The album also contains and wonderful rendition of the traditional hymn, “My Redeemer Lives,” with a beautiful contemporary arrangement. One other song of note is “The Best,” which is the other song that has remained a favorite for some three decades. Bennet’s songwriting mastery will even improve from here as the two other projects listed will show.

 

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  1. October 17, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks so much for including me (and this album) on The List. I appreciate your kind words about FTF. 1979 is literally a lifetime ago now, but I still sing many of these songs in concert. Of course there’s no substitute for a few decades of full-contact living … with gains and losses, victories and defeats, the heights and the depths of a life intended to be Faithful. In that sense, many of these tunes have been fit companions for the journey, some are more like old photos that I look over from time-to-time. I was never really the Flavor of the Month in CCM circles, but that’s probably all to the good. 30+ years later I’m still writing, recording, playing concerts … and I love my job. I take great encouragement from Barry McGuire who, as of this writing, at age 70 is still out there singing. That’s my goal. Retirement? Not on the schedule. I am grateful to have been a small part of the soundtrack of people’s lives. If lives were impacted for the Kingdom, it’s only because the Holy Spirit gave ears to hear something that I could have never delivered on my own. Best regards, Bob Bennett

    • October 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      Bob, your response is so true to form, displaying your continued humility! Thanks for sharing your gift with us! Your music has been a source of encouragement to me and my family through the years. Keep it up, bro!

    • Brett C
      December 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Bob, I have been buying Christian music since I came to the Lord in 1980 and I own many, many albums, unfortunately (for me) I never learned of your music until about 10 years ago, probably due to your music not being distributed very well here in Australia where I live. I now own nearly all of your albums and each one is special. Your songwriting, singing and guitar playing is up there with the greats and it is truly a blessing to listen to your songs.

    • July 17, 2014 at 4:19 am

      Bob, you never cease to amaze me. We’ve met many times over the years, in many different venues and every time you’ve been gracious to a fault. I remember the first time I encountered you (And this particular album) was at an event you were supposed to speak at. You had carefully laid out a copy of this record on each chair… and yet only 10 people or so showed up. I managed to snag 10 extra copies of this, and presented them to you to sign…. because I wanted to use them as give-aways at a roller skate ministry I was doing. I never considered that these records were paid for out of your own pocket — and neither did you as you cheerfully signed each and every one. (All while throwing generous sarcastic barbs in my general direction. Hee hee)

      I interviewed you years later for a small mag I was writing for… and you remembered me, and that day. I was blown away. 5 years had passed at that point… and yet you remembered. And you still graciously answered my questions as we talked in a Cornerstone Side-tent for what seemed like hours. (Side note: My editor axed the interview…. grrrr, editors have no clue about what’s relevant it would seem.)

      I will likewise never forget you introducing yourself to me from one of my Ebay Auctions… and then bidding on a CCM Magazine I had posted which had you in it. We talked many times over the years from that encounter… and every time was refreshing. You weren’t the BIG TIME STAR — just an ordinary guy who liked ordinary things and enjoyed life as well as you could. I remember pointing people to your website in my plethora of Ebay Auctions that followed — it was always my joy to send people to you rather than make $$$ for myself. To that end you actually sent me a CDR of all your music in MP3 format — not for me… I already had your stuff…. but so that I could pass it along to my customers.

      Gracious…. to a fault.

      I haven’t gotten to talk to you since I moved on in life. I’m a missionary now in Taiwan, and CCM music really doesn’t occupy my thoughts much any more. My life in those circles is about finished. But seeing your comment here just now brought back such a flood of memories.

      And not one of them bad.

      Signed, your brother in Christ

      Wayne “JulieMillerFan” Shuman. Top seller of CCM on Ebay for 9 straight years…. and very solidly a “BobBennettFan” for life. (BTW: I occasionally post things up for sale still as Bethel*Abba now. Usually around Christmas — and with the money going to support our mission work over here in Taiwan. Hook up with me again sometime. Would love to hear from you.)

  2. Brian
    October 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Bob Bennett’s song just reach inside of you – to the honest part of you – and lay it out so plain and clear.
    Always a fan, glad to have had all the classic BB releases. I think Mountain Cathedrals is my favorite song but always enjoyed this album fully

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