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MARK HEARD TRIBUTE: ORPHANS OF GOD (*NEW-2-CD Set, 1996, Diamante/Fingerprint)

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MARK HEARD TRIBUTE: ORPHANS OF GOD (*NEW-2-CD Set, 1996, Diamante/Fingerprint)

Brilliant - Amazing - Best Compilation ever!

1. Orphans of God- Buddy & Julie Miller
2. We Know Too Much- Michael Been
3. Freight Trains and Nowhere- Vigilantes of Love
4. It's Not Your Fault- Ashley Cleveland
5. I Just Wanna Get Warm- Dan Russell
6. Satellite Sky- Kate Taylor
7. Mercy of the Flame- Pat Terry
8. Rise From the Ruins- Brooks Williams
9. Strong Hand of Love- Bruce Cockburn
10. What Kind of Friend- Victoria Williams
11. House of Broken Dreams- The Williams Brothers
12. Tip of My Tongue- Tom Prasada-Rao
13. Everything is Allright- Phil Keaggy
14. Big and Strong- Olivia Newton John
15. All She Wanted Was Love- Big Faith
16. Another Good Lie- Hezze
17. Treasure of the Broken Land- Chagall Guevara
18. Lonely Moon- Kevin Smith
19. Worry Too Much- Harrod and Funck
20. Fire- Bob
21. Big Wheels Roll- John Austin
22. Rise From the Ruins- The Parmin Sisters
23. Watching the Ships Go Down- Iain
24. Another Day in Limbo- Tonio K
25. Love is So Blind- Carolyn Arends
26. Nod Over Coffee- Pierce Cettis
27. Remarks to Mr. Mc Luhan- Ramona Silver
28. Long Way Down- Swinging Steaks
29. Look Over Your Shoulder- Randy Stonehill and Kate Miner
30. Threw It Away- Glen Kaiser
31. Dry Bones Dance- Colin Linden
32. Tip of My Tongue- The Choir
33. Strong Hand of Love- Da
34. Hammer and Nails- Marvin Etzioni

Mark Heard has been one of my favorite artists since a friend pointed me toward his music in the early 80's. Like all great music (and lyrics), his works are (and will remain) relevant far beyond the era in which they were written. This tribute album is great on several levels. First, it is delightful to hear different takes on these songs. They don't always hit the mark, and as another reviewer mentioned, some are truly awful. (Olivia Newton-John really belts out "How to Grow Up Big and Strong", however, she hasn't a clue what she is singing about, causing her to completely mangle the lyrics.) However, some are better than the original, which is saying a lot as Mark Heard was a perfectionist in his audio productions.

One of many pleasant surprises is that many of the vocals clarify lyrics that eluded me for years. "Hang on to the wheel, for the highway to hell NEEDS CHAUFFEURS for the powers that be" (This also inspired me to download all his lyrics and insert them into the ID3 tag in the mp3 files. Linux bash one-liners fun!)

If you identify yourself as a Christian, these songs will convict, inspire, and challenge you in countless ways. For non-Christians, one of the most common accusations (all-too-often deserved) against Christians is hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. This music is brutally honest. "Honest" certainly doesn't always equate to "true", but it is a starting place.

Finally, the fact that proceeds from the sale of this album benefit Mark Heard's family is a real plus to me. It is encouraging to see the other Christian musicians honor his memory and his legacy in this way.