1+1: Cutting Edge 1 & 2 / Here I Am to Worship
Artist: Delirious? /Tim Hughes
Time: 12 tracks / 60 mins
11 tracks / 47 mins
Survivor Records would probably confess that this is a pure vacuuming up operation to get every last sale that they can get from some of their most popular acts with this no-frills Oneplusone series. The physical product may have only a basic inlay (with no guests credited) but there is some fine material on the discs.
Now that Delirious? have finished releasing new albums (or will they explore the archives in the years to come?), Survivor have gone back to the start and brought some old albums back to the market by releasing a series of two-in-one packages along with early Tim Hughes and Matt Redman.
Collected into an hour’s worth of material that shows how strong their writing was from the very start, these are Delirious?’s very first EPs. For the first recordings, they were still called the Cutting Edge Band and a couple of the members had not officially joined up (Jon Thatcher was selling tapes at the gigs at this stage).
Still, they were able to produce classic works that have been part of the set for nearly two decades, such as “I Could Sing of your Love Forever” and “Lord You Have my Heart,” while the church has also been singing “Thank you for saving Me” for much of that time.
The sound on the first half is unquestionably rough around the edges, especially with some of the background vocals (although that shows less on the quieter songs) and it is strong for a 1990s début. Moving to Cutting Edge 2 , as the band was still getting its identity, we hear tones that seem to have been ditched along the road, such as “Prophet Song’s” chiming guitar with honeyed sustain. Those who have discovered the band later in their journey may not have heard some of the songs that never made it into the later sets, such as “Lead Me,” a meandering, reflective piece with some Bryn Haworth-like slide guitar lines.
Hughes has consistently produced strong tunes and mass-appeal albums with meaty, thoughtful lyrics. Just as the Delirious? début had classic, career-spanning songs, this has the title track and “Jesus You Alone.” But the quality is very even across the disc, showing that Hughes had considered what he was writing about for a while before recording. (He had also released a joint worship collection with Martin Layzell with some highly promising pieces). Songs like “May the Words of my Mouth” and “Day after Day” are mature, personal and prayerful, having words that are relevant to believers across the years.
This series includes a couple of early works by Matt Redman, who is a natural musical partner to Hughes. These albums would suit both completists and those who appreciate a simpler, more direct approach to worship.