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Come To the Waters
Artist:  Children of the Day
URL:  http:// www.retroactiverecords.net
Label: 1971 reissue by Watergrave Records
Time:  9 songs, 37 minutes  
   
Ah, the 1970s.  Lava lamps.  Disco.  The Fonz.  If you weren’t having a nice day, you just weren’t groovy.  It was a decade for the weird (pet rocks) and wild (streaking), not to mention a number of movements for women, gays and environmentalists.  It was also the decade the “man from Galilee” made a superstar comeback.
 
The Jesus movement of the early 1970s sparked a revolution in modern Christianity and birthed a new genre of music known as “Jesus music” (later dubbed contemporary Christian music).  Unfortunately, the artists and bands that pioneered this movement are now largely lost to history, forgotten by time and lack of exposure.  Like dusty relics in grandma’s attic, there are some old musical treasures that deserve a second spin.
 
Enter Watergrave Records, a new label specifically focused on re-issuing out of print Jesus music and classic Christian tunes.  It’s an idea a long-time coming, especially for those fond of vinyl records, shag carpets and the Brady Bunch.
 
The first release by Watergrave is a limited edition 1000-copy pressing of Maranatha Music’s 1971 “Come to the Waters” by Children of the Day. Considered by many historians as the first CCM group (a debatable fact), Children of the Day was indeed the first group to record for national distribution, thanks to Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.  On their heels was Love Song, but that’s another (and better) review.
 
Often compared to other folk and soft pop artists of their day­like Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and Papas­such similarities are exaggerated and California dreaming.  Later recordings (the group released six albums) might fare better in that comparison but this debut isn’t one of them.  “Come to the Waters” is simple folk with occasional flashes of brilliance (“New Life”) and offbeat odes like a choral rendition of Bach’s Sing Ye To The Lord (“All Breathing Life”). Only the song “For Those Tears I Died,” long considered a classic in Jesus music, lingers as a lone highlight.  Still it’s hard to be overly harsh.  In 1971, Children of the Day were four teenagers who simply loved Jesus and wrote some songs that pioneered the genre and gave church soloists for years to come a tune to sing.
 
The reissue of this classic album also sparks hope that other classic “Jesus music” recordings might one day be re-mastered and released.  The window to document this critical period in Christian music history is closing and no other musical genre has saved less of their catalog than the Christian music industry.  
 
So for the collector and Jesus music audiophile, Children of the Day is a worthy pick.  However, there are better releases (hopefully) to come. 
  
By Rick Chromey
September 25, 2008
 

 

Dr. Rick Chromey is an author, professor and music aficionado currently living in Idaho. 
 
 

 
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