Home > CCM, Christian Music, Christian Pop, Christian Rock, Greatest Albums, Jesus Music > 16. David Edwards – David Edwards

16. David Edwards – David Edwards

DAVID EDWARDS (1981)

David Edwards

From the outset it should be duly noted that this is my all time favorite album…ever!

And now that the disclaimer has been provided let’s get on with the review.

Before DA sounded the Alarma. Before Taylor built a Clone. Before the Choir, Lifesavers, Altar Boys or Undercover. There always has to be a first. And most often, the first is either soon forgotten or remains unknown for decades. This happens more often in Christian music because an artist is not only breaking down musical barriers, but spiritual and self-righteous one as well.

If there was a Top 50 “Albums You Should Own, But Probably Don’t” this one would top the list.

David Edwards’ self-title debut topped Campus Life Magazine as one of the best releases of the year at a time when Christian music was dominated by Amy Grant, Evie and the Sweet Comfort Band. Then along comes this little album on Myrrh Records with a pink rising sun backdrop and a guy wearing a loosened thin tie, looking either quite tired or possibly stoned.

I was a Freshman in High school when the album came out and it was life changing. I wasn’t familiar with David Edwards’ history in Christian music at the time as I later discovered he played bass for J.C. Power Outlet and was friends with Keith Green, Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill. All i knew was that he looked pretty cool on the cover and Campus Life Magazine compared him to Elvis Costello.

I bought the album as soon as I found a Christian Bookstore that was willing to carry it. I ended working at that same store a couple of years later. After listening to the first song I lifted the needle of the record and put in a tape to record it as I knew right away I would want to listen to this album everywhere I went.

Three years later after the release of his follow-up album, “Get the Picture” I wrote a letter to him and told what an impact his first album had on me and that his lyrics had encouraged me to start publishing my poems and I sent a few of them along in the letter. Not only did he respond but began an occasional correspondence that continued for some  time.

Later that same year he performed at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa during one of their famous Saturday Night Concerts. I went up afterward and introduced myself and he in turned introduced me to the rest of his band who he had mentioned my letters to. I was overwhelmed. My wife and I even went to visit him in upper state New York several years ago on his farm and introduced me to a great recipe for scrambled eggs that remains a favorite in our household.

While the self titled debut project was fueled by short, fast paced pop punk/new wave that would influence the likes of Sheila Walsh and Steve Taylor, the follow-up album was more Billy Joel and less Elvis Costello. It was a little darker thematically as it deals with the internal struggle for true and lasting love and the positive and sometimes quite negative results. The single, “Someone to Trust” was actually used by wife and I in our wedding. But most of that album dealt with the deception and moral failings of those seeking love in all the wrong places. This included songs about rejection (Girls Like You), abortion (Break the Big One), moral failings (Get the Picture), self-destructive infatuation (Anything But Love) and the destroying a good relationship (How Could You throw It All Away).

Musically the album was much more accessible than the first one with a more Billy Joel piano drive pop style, but Christian radio was not responsive to themes with a limited “Jesus quotient” and Myrrh simply struggled trying to find a marketing plan that would work.

The two years later Edwards released the “kiss of death” album entitled “Dreams, Tales and Lullabies” with a corresponding book of fairy tales and short stories of the same name. The project was a tribute to the wonderful writing of George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. The album is filled with beautiful, classically arranged ballad and lullabies with stunning orchestration provided by the late Tom Howard. Again here, Edwards created a wonderful piece of art with no known way to properly market and support.

Edwards has since recorded a very good Christmas album and has reissued the first two records on a double CD with several unreleased tracks included. All is available at

http://www.studioedwards.com

But the focus here is on the classic and tremendous debut project. Part late 70′s new wave ala Elvis Costello and part 60′s influenced pop with jangly guitars including a fantastic cover of Paul Revere and the Raiders’, “Kicks.” David Edwards was quirky, rocking, fun and unforgettable to those fortunate enough to discover this amazing project. Like the follow up project, this album also was low of the “Jesus per note” equation but the Biblical themes are blatant and creatively presented.

The album kicks off with the Elvis Costello influenced “Best Friend,” a high energy two minutes about a true loving relationship.

Many things I’ve doubted and oh I’ve tried
But now I know it with all of my soul
No one ever believed in someone more
I’m giving it all
I never thought I’d take my life
And give it to another
Giving everything I know
And now I’ll be with you forever

So love me if I fail you
’cause I will be true in the end
Never found a way to tell you
I always wanna be your best friend…

Complete with the keyboard, guitars and drums a blazing this was the perfect way to kick off the album and set the tone musically for the majority of the release.

“Rather By Wrong” addresses where ones priorities should be and just who it is we need to make sure we are right with at all times. Whether addressing the Devil or someone who is demanding compromise in a relationship the message still rings true.

I’d rather be wrong, with someone who loves me
Than be the victor in your game ’cause I’ll only lose

Musically the album is clearly locked into the 80′s new wave sound and production, but one stand out that seems to have stood the test of time the best is the ode to Bob Dylan, “Commercial Suicide.” Driven by a Dylanesque keyboard and blues, jazz styling Edwards decried the two-faced world of radio and media when a person can proclaim a belief of faith in anything, except Christ.

He was the prophet of a generation
They watched his every cryptic verb
People everywhere in every nation
Would bow and worship every word

He gave them songs and made them wild with passion
They would leave his name is history
Then he sang a little out of fashion
And so he gave them one more mystery

And then they cried – Commercial suicide…
Watch how you say it
We’ll never play it

Clocking in at over 4 minutes this song is nearly epic by the albums standards and includes some great guitar work. The end of the second verse though hits the nail on the head.

The loved a moral battle til they fought one
Guess they loved the game but not the rules
They loved a better cause until he brought one
‘Cuase singing jesus songs is not so cool

And then they cried commercial suicide…

Returning to the more Cars or Devo like new wave, “Nagging Optimism” could have been a radio hit in mainstream radio markets. The theme is about how the Lord provides an optimistic approach that is clearly inexplicable.

What should be nothing but the dead of night
Looks more like something bad gone right
I have no mind for giving up
I just can’t shake it
Cause I can’t get away from you…

“Hollywood High” addresses explores the fascination with popularity and fleeting fame’s downside. Like several songs on the album it is tough to pigeon exactly the musical form. Part Beach Boys, part British new wave, the song is classic pop styling that would later serve Tonio K. well.

“The Getaway” continues to be a personal favorite and one of the strongest of Edward’s career. It deals with the need to flee evil. It is easily one of the best musical experiences on the album combining 60′s beach flavored rock with late 70′s new wave sensibilities. It also contains Edwards’ best vocals.

The cover of “Kicks” addresses the dangerous influence of drugs and rocks quite a bit more than the classic original. Taking a classic 60’s rock song and bringing it squarely into the new wave sound of the early 80’s was risky, but the reward was worth the risk here.

“Disposable Love” looks at love that is simply tossed away when the “feelings” just aren’t what they were before, even within the walls of the Church. The song is a firm attack against the unBiblical approach to love and relationships that permeates modern Christendom.

Your fun is all gone
And you’re walking out the door
Her love just doesn’t give you pleasure anymore
You’re saying to me that it wasn’t in the stars
If she could give you more then you’d stay
The stars won’t tell you what you’re paying
Don’t you know this could have been from heaven

…and you can’t get enough disposable love

On “The Tongue is a Fire” Edwards deals with the danger of words. This song taken from the book of James hints at the more commercial feel that “Get the Picture” would feature complete with saxophone solo and big backing vocals and a ‘wall of sound” production . It also shows of Edwards’ vocal range more than anything else on the album.

“Don’t Ever say” deals with the concept that no one is without excuse and that every great movement and idea is meaningless without a God centered view of the world. Musically it is the most unique on the album, sounding unlike anything else.

“Not Going to Fall Away” should have been a HUGE hit! Plain and simple. And unfortunately it was, but that would be several years later as a duet by Steve Taylor and Sheila Walsh. I prefer the version here. This is the most uplifting song on the album and is a simple declaration of a faith that will not fade or fall away. The musical style would fit Taylor quite well some 5 years later.

The album finishes with the acoustic ballad, “Song of Wholeness” that I remember being nicknamed, “the Pinocchio Song.”

Make me a real live boy
I want to be everything real a boy should be
Oh Jesus
Make me a real live boy
I want to feel everything real a boy should feel

I don’t want to be a part of some machine
And I’ve gotta break away from this routine
You can turn me into something that’s alive

An album that starts with driving keyboards and guitars closes with a simple expression of faith that leaves the audience wanting more. It is simply a crime that the audience was not large enough to begin with. I will lay odds that those who loved this album will come out of the woodwork to comment on this album because for those familiar with it, it was a life changer. It made Christian music cool. VERY, VERY COOL!

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  1. November 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Never even heard of this guy, I’ll have to look him up.

  2. Don
    November 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I wouldn’t put this at 16, but probably in the top 50. Very good album. Very catchy!

  3. Don
    November 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the historical importance of the album – thanks. And, if you need a recommendation – lowpoint5 know more about this than I do – so 16 is probably about right.

  4. November 18, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I am sad, sad, sad to say that I am one of the ones that has not (yet) heard this record. As I have been researching the beginnings of Christian punk/wave, I am almost ashamed that I don’t know it!

    I have, however, had the lullaby release for many years! I never would have guessed his roots from that, but now I know!

    Thanks for the informative write-up!

    • low5point
      November 18, 2011 at 12:14 am

      David’s website store has the double CD of this album and get the Picture for just 12.99 for an autographed copy…and you get a second unsigned copy for free. That’s a pretty good bargain. Plus there are a ton of unreleased songs and demos on them as bonuses

      Studioedwards.com

      • Don
        November 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm

        I went to Amazon to buy this and Amazon reminded me that I bought it back in 2007 – and there it was on my shelf – the double cd (not autographed, though, and only one copy),

      • Don
        November 20, 2011 at 1:02 am

        And after listening to it again I do think Dave is right to put it so high. It is very good! And my copy IS autographed!

  5. Bill B
    November 18, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Retro Hound, I have never heard of Dave Edwards either. I am near fifty years old have have followed the CCM industry quite closely since I graduated from high school. I was in my local christian bookstore browsing music every week. All I can say it that it is possible I missed this artist or the store did not carry his music.

    As to this list, I have to admit that as much as I enjoy reading this blog, my musicial tastes differ greatly. I will be shocked if any album I have makes the Top 10.

    • TMc
      November 18, 2011 at 2:16 am

      I’m older and was in college when this came out. I’d bet that the store didn’t have it. Only reason I ever saw it was that the campus radio station got a copy. The local book and bible never had it. We had a show called Radio Free Jesus once a week that I subbed for a few times my freshman year. Kicks was on the play list. Never knew about get the picture until a couple of years ago.

  6. Mr. Bultitude
    November 18, 2011 at 4:06 am

    I’ve never heard of David Edwards but I’m still thinking that David Eugene Edwards > David Edwards.

  7. Don
    November 18, 2011 at 4:35 am

    There is also a pastor in Lynchburg, VA named David Edwards who has a few cds out of original songs.

    David Eugene Edwards (Born 1968 in Englewood, Colorado) is an American musician.
    He is the lead singer of Wovenhand, and also the main songwriter and the principal musician on the recordings of the band. He is the former lead singer of 16 Horsepower.

    • November 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      There’s also Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards the blues singer.

  8. Greenchili
    November 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I’m pretty sure I listened to this one earlier this year (was it in your top 50?). Nice to know it’s available at his web site. Definitely worth a pick up if you like this one!

  9. Brett C
    November 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Well Dave I am surprised. Knowing your love of this album I thought that you were going to have this higher on the list. I applaud you putting your personal feelings somewhat aside and placing this album at No. 16.
    Now don’t get me wrong I think this is a good album and deserves to be high on the list. My problem is that I only got to hear this album a year or so ago after I purchased it based on your review in your other list. Upon hearing the album I of course immediately liked it and I’m sure that over the next few years it will become a favourite (better late than never).
    I did however know one song on the album and that is “The Tongue Is A Fire”, it got some radio play her in Australia on a late night Christian Radio program in the early 80’s and I distinctly remember it and loved it at the time and over the years forgot about it. So it was like seeing a long lost friend again when I heard it on this CD. So thank you.

  10. November 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Dave, reading your reviews has been such a blast – many, many good memories. I think I discovered CCM about the same time you did, although I was a bit older. This particular album was, in fact, a life changer for me. Each album I purchased in those days was a desperate search for the Holy Grail of Christian music. This was it! Though I have many favorites, most albums are relegated to “favorite songs.” This was and is my favorite CCM album.
    By the way, I think you were my sales rep back in the day. I was the buyer for Christian Emporium in Phoenix, Az circa 88-92.
    Rick
    PS: thanks for the trips down memory lane

    • low5point
      November 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Yep Rick…that was me.

    • November 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Hey Rick! If you are interested, I would love to talk about some of YOUR favorites, especially the older ones that aren’t as well-known. If you are interested, you can reach me here – notmine@yahoo.com. Change the notmine to timhen and the yahoo to gmail and you’ve got it. Just tryin’ to mystify the bots… 🙂

  11. November 20, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Rick and Dave, weren’t you both in the PNW at the same time? Rick you started at Brentwood right after Linda Irish….96? Dave left in August 96, I believe.Of course, Dave is back if a little further south now.Close to where you lived, Rick.

  12. Sam
    November 20, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Haven’t heard this one in about 20 years. I had it on cassette back in the 80’s and played it until the tape broke. Absolutely one of the best albums ever recorded. Glad to hear David rereleased this one. I’ll have to order it from him.

  13. aarjayaitch
    November 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Unfortunately for me, I never saw or heard of this one until I started reading these blogs. But “Get The Picture” was a HUGE favorite for me. I will have to break down and order the re-issue.

  14. Adam
    November 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I found this one in a bin after I was already a fan from “Get the Picture.” I bought “Get the Picture” because Campus Life Magazine gave it a good review. I agree that “Get the Picture” was more accessible, but I enjoy them both!

  15. Charles H
    November 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    One of the artists I had forgotten about. Thanks for the website link. After hearing the CD’s, I remembered him very well. Back in the day, I used to keep flipping the cassette over and over and listen to it non-stop. I remember my mom yelling at me once to listen to something else.

  16. November 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    As of this date, there are exactly 14 copies of the autographed version left at David’s webstore: http://www.studioedwards.com.

  17. Greenchili
    February 1, 2012 at 9:05 am

    “Not Going to Fall Away”..

    Isn’t that a song that Steve Taylor said he kinda wished he never done? Or was he joking when he said it? Kinda like the shark sandwhich song.. or was it that song with the mexican band?

  18. Trevor Butler
    June 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I do agree that the first David Edwards album was an important milestone for Christian rock, particularly those interested in late 70’s early 80’s New Wave pop. I bought this a few years after it came out while it was still available via mail order. On first listen, I was actually disappointed in the record, honestly. Being a fan of the more electronic rock/New Romantic bands coming out of Europe, I was hoping for more of that kind of sound. However, I eventually grew to like the album for what it was and even purchased the double CD set last year, giving a friend the bonus copy.

    In response to Dave’s (the blog author) comments about this album being the “first” New Wave Christian record, I have to point out that QuickFlight’s “Breakaway” was released in 1980, a year before “David Edwards”. Just saying… “Breakaway” was more drenched in New Wave than “David Edwards”, I have to say. Though it may not have been as well produced, and the song writing was more mixed.

    Also, “Laser Love” by After The Fire came out in 1979, a year earlier still.

    • tim
      June 13, 2012 at 1:18 am

      Yeah, and Writz was 1979 as well. There were at least 10 songs or so before 1979 but they were all Christian bands of other styles dipping their toe in the water. Plus, the “new wave” of acts like “Pop Musik” is different from the later wave you are describing (the new romantics), Are you a collector of old music like this (60’s – about ’83?)

      • Trevor Butler
        June 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        Ah, yes, I forgot about Writz! They were definitely New Wave!

        I guess you could say I am a collector of older CCM like this. From the 70’s to the mid-eighties primarily. It is a fun hobby. Now that I have two young children, I have less time for it though. I bought equipment to digitize all of my vinyl albums last year, and have not yet found the time to do even one… sigh…

  19. Kevin Baker
    February 3, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Could someone please post some advice on where I can hear at least some samples – if not entire songs – from David Edwards albums? I am a CCM connoisseur from way back, but I have never heard of this artist. Actually, I would ask the same question about the album/group “Love Song.”

    • Tim Hendersont
      February 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Love Song = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bAlE3Y2MAk

      David Edwards – Hollywood High (short clip of song)

      SUPPORT David Edwards by buying his double CD which comes with another double disc for you to give away here – http://studioedwards.autsys.com/

      • Tim Hendersont
        February 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        sorry! Forgot the clip of Hollywood High!
        http://ge.tt/6HqlvLX/v/0

      • Kevin Baker
        February 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        Thanks, Tim & Don! You gave me more than I needed for Love Song! As for David Edwards, is Hollywood High a song from the self-titled album that is ranked at #16 in this blog, or did that come from some other album? I have to ask, because Tim’s 60-second sound clip does NOT sound like a cross between Steve Taylor and Elvis Costello. That was a tantalizing comparison…until I listened to the clip. I realize, of course, that you can’t judge an entire album that way. I am unemployed, so spending ten bucks is a big deal. If anyone is in a position to share .mp3 files of two or three of his best songs, then I could make a more informed decision.

      • Don
        February 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        I didn’t think Hollywood High was one of his best songs. Maybe about average for DE. I like Kicks, commercial suicide, I’d Rather be Wrong, Call It Anything but Love.

        If there is some secure way to get your address I can send you my copy and buy another one from Mr E. Don’t post your address online, though.

      • Kevin Baker
        February 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        Thanks, Don. You can contact me through Gluten Free Lexington. Just use glutenfreelex, and add the dot com to find the web site. I am webmaster plus the “at” sign plus the domain name. Once you contact me, I can talk to you via email and give you the email address that I would prefer you use to send me files. I look forward to it!

    • don
      February 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Love Song – try groove shark dot com http://grooveshark.com/#!/artist/Love+Song/482504

      David Edwards – http://christiannewwave.wordpress.com/2006/06/16/david-edwards/

      studioedwards dot come doesn’t seem to have his stuff anymore.

      Did you know he released five albums? http://www.banophernalia.com/reviews/music/artists_edwards.htm

  20. don
    February 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I suppose since the DE mp3 I linked to comes up as a “warning – virus” Just take our word for it. He is a cross between Elvis Costello and Steve Taylor, and particularly the first album is excellent! I think you can only buy the first two albums together now – go for it.

    • don
      February 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Tim Hendersont for the clip!

      • Tim
        February 4, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        Don,

        I felt like I shouldn’t post more than a clip of a song, just to protect the copyright. I know that’s very conservative for a lot of people but I’m trying to stay within the bounds of posting on this blog.

        As far as Elvis Costello, especially, you can throw that comparison out the window in my opinion. I am not the writer of the original review but bought the double CD on its recommendation. When I got it I got a good feeling from supporting the artist (he’s tried SO hard to make a living from music over the years!), some music that was a bit ahead of its time in relation to Christian music, and 2 CD’s that sounded NOTHING like Steve Taylor or ESPECIALLY Costello.

        If you want my opinion on the vibe of this CD, I’d say it’s more like the Michael W. Smith Project record or many of David Meece’s more melodic, upbeat songs.

        Hollywood High was from the 1st CD but you can only buy them together now for the price of one, so you don’t lost if you don’t like the other.

        Most people probably won’t agree with me equating the overall sound to MWS or Meece, but to me it’s just waaaay to conservative to compare to Costello, or even Taylor. But you are a connoisseur of this stuff and David Edwards is VERY collectable for early CCM – I say go for it.

        His domain was “hijacked” so his stuff is now temporarily here – http://studioedwards.autsys.com/

        Tim
        timXhen@gmail.com
        remove the X – it’s just timhen

      • Don
        February 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm

        My comarison to Costello may be way off – I don’t listen to Costello much.

        I guess he sounds like David Edwards – and like Hermans Hermits on one song. I just know I liked his stuff and put him in my very loose category of Steve Taylor – not that he sounds like Steve but fits in the same style – loosely speaking.

        Sorry if I have led anyone astray. The original blogger probably described his sound better, and then you have Tim’s thoughtful comparison.

        Don

        Tim :
        Don,

        As far as Elvis Costello, especially, you can throw that comparison out the window in my opinion. I am not the writer of the original review but bought the double CD on its recommendation. When I got it I got a good feeling from supporting the artist (he’s tried SO hard to make a living from music over the years!), some music that was a bit ahead of its time in relation to Christian music, and 2 CD’s that sounded NOTHING like Steve Taylor or ESPECIALLY Costello.
        If you want my opinion on the vibe of this CD, I’d say it’s more like the Michael W. Smith Project record or many of David Meece’s more melodic, upbeat songs.
        Most people probably won’t agree with me equating the overall sound to MWS or Meece, but to me it’s just waaaay to conservative to compare to Costello, or even Taylor. But you are a connoisseur of this stuff and David Edwards is VERY collectable for early CCM – I say go for it.
        Tim
        timXhen@gmail.com
        remove the X – it’s just timhen

    • Kevin Baker
      February 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Sorry, Don: I should have said dot org in my previous instructions, not dot com. Especially when it comes to the email part.

  21. Don
    February 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Duh – I meant Paul Revere and the Raiders – not “Herman’s Hermits” – don’t post and have a bad cold at the same time.

    • low5point
      February 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Actually, the Elvis Costello comparison is quite fair, especially on songs like Best Friend, Not Fall Away, The Getaway…not unlike that heard on My Aim is True and Get Happy

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