193. Crimson and Blue / Blue – Phil Keaggy
CRIMSON AND BLUE / BLUE (1993)
Born out of the same studio sessions and featuring many of the same songs and all of the same musicians I am including the separately released albums “Crimson and Blue” and “Blue” as one title. The former was created for and released to the Christian market while the latter was released into the mainstream market with a different lyrical focus, despite sharing several songs from its counterpart.
After releasing one of the most beautiful acoustic/instrumental albums in his career (Beyond Nature), Keaggy followed with what is probably heaviest rock release outside of his work with Glass Harp. It’s notable that Glass Harp drummer John Sferra reunites with Keaggy on the album and many believe served as the impetus for the return to a more rock edged project. No matter the reason, it was a Godsend!
Recorded virtually live in the studio with live guitar solos played with the band the album is filled with memorable rock and Keaggy best and most subdued rock vocals. Less Paul McCartney here than on many other releases. The album also contains Keaggy’s best rock guitar work since “Time” in the reworking of the traditional blues number, “John the Revelator.” If this song was the only worthy tune it would still allow this album to be included. It’s that good!
But fortunately the whole project is impressive. Much can be attributed to the who’s who list of supporters including Phil Madeira, Lynn Nichols, Jimmy A., Ashley Cleveland, Charlie Peacock, John Mark Painter, Wade Jaynes (Chagall Guevara) and an uncredited Steve Taylor. The live energy in the studio clearly paid off on this raw and passionate project.
Blue would remove a few songs and add three including a cover of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.” One notable song of inclusion is “All Our Wishes.” The song recounts the loss of a child and was written musically back when Keaggy was in the 9th grade.
Many fans of Keaggy have complained over the years that he never “shows off” his ridiculous skills on his albums like his live performances are noted for, but here that is not the case. It kind of feels like there record company let Phil make a “Keaggy” album. we, the listeners, are the beneficiaries.
Hmm, maybe this should have been listed higher!