Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child ~Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child | Then and Now
“Making a go to start off right the past behind I know
Never again, never intend to show
And I try not to think of things that can’t be done
Each day at a time, whatever life demands, I’ve just begun”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child’s self titled album. This is hands down one of my favorite Phil Keaggy albums. If memory serves me correctly, this was my first album to purchase on compact disc.
The lyric above, from “I’ve Just Begun (Again)”, is the perfect metaphor for this album and Phil Keaggy’s career in 1988. To understand this statement, you’d have to understand Phil Keaggy as a musician and singer / song writer up to this point. Phil has been around a long time. In fact, he and a mere small handful of others are the pioneers of this thing we now call contemporary Christian music. In his view, the Christian music industry was purely incidental to what they were doing in the beginning. He was just a guy who had a love for God and was a musician. Being an artist, his Christianity was bound to overflow into his craft. If you don’t know his story, I encourage you to look him up. He isn’t just a good guitarist, he’s one of the all time best.
Being the best doesn’t always mean being the most popular. Phil Keaggy seems to be much more well known in the industry, then in the world of Christian music, especially in today’s Christian music. The irony is that without Phil, there’s a good chance that industry wouldn’t have existed, especially in the 70’s and 80’s.
Back to the above lyric. When Phil got together with some friends, all who play on the album, something magical happened. This band concept and album are different than most of Keaggy’s previous works. You can tell this was written and put together collectively, not driven just by a producer or by Phil alone. This was a band effort. I used the word, “concept” because this is also different for Phil. In hearing Phil’s voice and reading about his story, there is no mystery of the influence the Beatles had over his imagination. As it turns out, this album is a complete homage to the Beatles. They used as close to vintage instruments and tones as possible, even used Ringo’s drum kit. The sound and harmonies? They nailed it.
You get the sense when listening, that there was an excitement in its recording. Sunday’s Child marked a definitive milestone for Keaggy. I find it really interesting that he went all the way back to the beginning, to the place, or really the sound, that drew his imagination and talent in and set his life on a course that has impacted and influenced countless individuals. Sunday’s Child set Keaggy on a course of more musical freedom. When you listen to his albums before and compare them to after, its undeniable.
So, how does Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child stand today? That’s the beauty of this album, though it was recorded in 1988, the sound and influence are taken from music created 20 years before. And that is what makes this album timeless.
“Fencing with the windmills of my deepest fears,
Jousting with this armor that I’ve riveted on.
And if I’d listen to You, if I’d listen to You,
If I’d listen I’d be a bit softer than stone.”
Not only do the melodies and harmonies hook you, the lyrics will feed your imagination, giving you food for thought. Whether pulling imagery from Don Quixote to an old spiritual, the lyrics are fun, sincere and even haunting at times. Sunday’s Child has plenty to offer to a listener.
Whether you were an old Keaggy fan, but lost touch or you have never discovered his music before now, this album is for you. You won’t necessarily find his flashiest guitar efforts here, but even his subtlies are amazing. When you listen to Phil Keaggy, you are listening to a master.
Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child by Phil Keaggy and Sunday’s Child
Released: October, 1988
Producer: Lynn Nichols
- Phil Keaggy: lead vocals, guitars and bass guitars
- Robbie Buchanan: Hammond B3 organ
- Lenny Castro: percussion
- Rick Cua: bass guitars
- Derri Daugherty: backing vocals
- Mark Heard: guitars, keyboards and backing vocals
- James Hollihan: guitars
- Mike Mead: drums
- Lynn Nichols: backing vocals and guitars
- Jimmie Lee Sloas: backing vocals
- Randy Stonehill: vocalsRuss Taff: backing vocalsSteve Taylor: “hand claps”Alwyn Wall: backing vocals Rudy Valentine: megaphone