Friday, June 17, 2011

97 – Revival- David Mullen

In 1989 I discovered a folk duo whose music changed my life. I had been sticking with mainly Christian music at the time, but after seeing a video on MTV (when the M stood for “music”) for a song titled “Closer To Fine” I thought I might have found the next U2- you know, a group of Christians trying to sneak in under the radar. And when I bought the cassette simply titled Indigo Girls, and heard songs like “Prince of Darkness” (“I will not be a pawn for the prince of darkness any longer”) I was sure of it. At that time in my life I felt like I had to justify my entertainment choices by the Christian content.

I was getting frustrated with the Christian music being produced. The arguments about Christian music being of less quality musically don’t hold water with me now, but they certainly had merit at one time, and this was one of those times. The lyrics “God knows the way/ you’d better stick like glue” were the last straw. I wasn’t going to buy any more Christian music until they could give me something better. Indigo Girls and Tracy Chapman were giving me more meat than the Village Preacher bookstore could supply me.

Just when I thought I was out… they keep pulling me back in.

Back then you could go into the Christian bookstore, slip on some headphones and give tapes a listen before you bought one. Just out of curiosity, and a tad bit of boredom, I stopped in and started through the cycle of new releases. Bleh… bleh…bleh… hmm, wait a minute, let me fast forward this one… oh wow… oh man, this is actually some decent rock and roll here! The tape I was listening to- Revival by David Mullen.

David Mullen had a good blues-pop-rock thing going on that album. The first song, “Revival”, was decent, but the second song “Sho Love You” kicked things up a notch. Had I stopped there, I would have missed the gold, but fortunately I flipped the tape and heard “Fallen World”, “The Blood” and the highlight, “Live So God Can Use You”. Prayers that kick ass. I can dig that.

David Mullen won the Dove Award in 1990 for Best New Artist. I haven’t been able to find a list of nominees for that year, but I can guarantee you that either the field was weak that year or someone was asleep at the wheel, because back then rock artists just didn’t win any of the big awards.

I waited two whole years for the follow-up, and the Christian music industry didn’t disappoint me, sanitizing David Mullen’s sound to a brightly polished sheen. Oh man. He released one more album two years after that which I never even bothered with for several years, until I could get it in the discount rack for a buck. He hasn’t recorded since then, although he is a prolific songwriter and producer. He is better known as being Mr. Nicole C. Mullen.

Hey, I like Nicole C., but I miss that sound.


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