Andy Pratt

Life

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Andy Pratt's album entitled simply Life was recorded at Abakus Studio in Allendorf, Germany, and produced by Dan Cutrona and Gerhard Barth. It is musically stunning with a spacious -- very big -- sound and quality performances that listeners have come to expect from Andy Pratt. There are a dozen spiritual tunes, 11 written by the singer/songwriter along with a cover of D.J. Butler's "I Will Change Your Name," a song that hesitatingly breaks up the tempo of the disc with voices that come in like a Sunday church service. There are some excellent moments here, most notably "Yes, There Is an Answer" and "Come Unto Me." As with the One Body disc, none of this music appears on the Heaven & Earth compilation of Pratt's journey into sounds religious. The album begins with a wonderfully ominous "Holy Spirit" noting the source of Samson's power -- thought-provoking lyrics over a style that is most definitely gospel fused with jazz, a very interesting combination. Grand and ambitious, one wonders if the material would have reached a wider audience were it put in the context of a "rock opera" -- a serious Jesus Christ Superstar? "Wells of Salvation" is fascinating, borrowing heavily from the Kingston Trio by way of Terry Jacks' 1974 hit, "Seasons in the Sun." "With joy I will draw water from" has almost the same melody as "We had joy we had fun/We had seasons in the sun," and that's not where the '70s references stop; "Psalm 107" is more reverent than Jethro Tull's "Hymn 43" -- somber and beautiful, the album would benefit from Ian Anderson's question of organized religion and the motives of individuals joining a specific church.

"There Is an Answer" is among Pratt's best work -- if only the artist would breathe new life into the work by being more figurative and perhaps write some new lyrics for this melody. Dropping messages between the lines worked well for Jeremy Spencer & the Children when that guitarist left Fleetwood Mac to explore his soul. Much of Pratt's audience just isn't ready to hear about a "torn and bloody body, pierced and crushed." Some would rather discover the wisdom in the parables or be touched to know that miracles can happen as they did a couple thousand years ago. This was the mission of the Saviour, which sometimes gets lost by the horrible murder that Rice and Webber called "a record breaker." The key to where this album shines is "Come Unto Me" -- more gospel than the opening track. Gospel music is timeless and universal, as Doris Troy of "Just One Look" fame proves convincingly on her brilliant The Rainbow Testament LP. Andy Pratt performing a full gospel album would be dynamite -- this track proves that. Life is a good but still perplexing album, a word that also describes the Perfect Therapy disc created by this artist. The plea is here, but it is not as desperate as Andy Pratt's rock & roll cry. The spiritual reverence is admirable, but the singer's faith tempers his confusion. An all-out therapeutic scream to and at God would be more preferable.

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