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Daniel Amos - Darn Floor Big Bite 1987


01. Return Of The Beat Menace
02. Strange Animals
03. Darn Floor-Big Bite
04. Earth Household
05. Safety Net
06. Pictures Of The Gone World
07. Divine Instant
08. Half Light, Epoch, And Phase
09. The Unattainable Earth
10. The Shape Of Air

Hard to find original pressing of the classic album by Daniel Amos. Canadian import.

The Band known as Daniel Amos was now streamlined to DA, and there were so many other Taylor-made projects, with the Swirling Eddies, and later the Lost Dogs, and Terry's great songs most would never hear, like "Kingdom Come" on Canadian rocker Carson Cole's rare debut.

DA made great music, but it was 1988 and there was so much great music around. Only now, reading the extensive liner notes in the 20 page booklet in this 20th anniversary retro CD edition did I find out that Terry was inspired from reading Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz. As an English major, I would have relished that thought-- I loved to trace ancient ideas into modern rock: Pascal in the 77s, St. Augustine in Randy Stonehill. Larry Norman seemed to read voraciously and be inspired by everyone.

But I didn't know all that then, and you wouldn't need to, because there was the music. Darn Floor had a sort of stripped down, minimally produced sound, but so many electronic effects were being introduced at the time, I wondered if it was a gimmicky sound that couldn't be reproduced live. The second "bonus" disc in this set put those fears to rest, as it features four live performances at Chicago's Cornerstone festival in 1988 and 2000. There's also a 22 minute interview with Terry Taylor (divided into six sections) by Tom Gulotta, who also penned the insightful blurb in the back of the booklet. Pieces of the interview include rough demo tracks of the songs in progress, providing an unusual look at the band's creative process. The final track is a very rough demo of an unreleased song, "Sacred Heart", which this listener hopes to hear in future in more finished form.

If that's not enough, slip the bonus disc in your PC or Mac, and there are also two videos. The first, "Covershoot" shows the band members jostling for position, Tim Chandler smoking, Terry trying on looks, until it devolves into a manic free for all. The second video shows the band rehearsing for, and then playing at Cornerstone in 1987. Afterwards, they're awarded the Readers Choice award from the late, great Harvest Rock Syndicate magazine, which, true to form, they promptly break.

Reading the liner notes it was a revelation to see that the backing vocals on "The Shape of Air" are by the late Gene Eugene and his wife, Rikki Michelle, both of Adam Again, and the Altar Boys, who around that time had produced their own classic punk rock album, Gut Level Music. But there were lots of great bands and there was lots of great music. And when I put on Darn Floor, it seems like yesterday.

The literary depth to the lyrics, the way DA swing from the sublime to the cynical, the playing and arrangements, the hooks ... damn this is good. I don't for one minute share the belief systems these guys are on about but I love the way Taylor delves into the mysteries of life and doubt. Taylor's canon is to my mind up there with the finest in contemporary music.

I loved early DA including all six from Daniel Amos, Shotgun Angel, Horrendous Disc and the first three Alarma's. Once they got into Alarma the lyrics started getting extremely esoteric but most of us don't buy music for the lyrics. There are books for that. If I want Christian theology I go to the bookstore. DA was great because they wrote enjoyable songs with great riffs. Unlike another reviewer, I think Taylor has a fine voice.

Their songs always had a creativity to them and they were fun to listen to and sing along to. Then came Fearful Symmetry the last Alarma CD. Boring! Darn Floor from the following year has a similar feel to it. None of the songs stand out. This is pop more than rock n' roll. I guess I can forewarn you that if you like Fearful Symmetry more than the previous CD's get this one. If you felt Fearful was a huge drop off from prior records avoid this one.


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