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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Denson, Al - 1989 Al Denson
Denson, Al - 1989 Al Denson

ARTIST: Denson, Al
ALBUM: Al Denson
LABEL: Benson
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Al Denson - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Reckless Heart * 02 Love Is Taking Hold * 03 Heaven Knows My Name * 04 Right Where You Are * 05 On The Upbeat * 06 Strong Love * 07 It Takes The Strong to Surrender * 08 Warm Place In A Cold World * 09 Faces And Names * 10 Peace Be Still


Albert Denson, a Mississippi native but now Texas resident is a stalwart of the CCM movement since the late 80's. So many excellent artists in this sub-genre reared their heads during that late 80's heyday, but Al Denson seemed to slide off the map. Why that was remains a mystery, because the man has released a ton of albums from his major label 1989 debut reviewed here, up until current day. So there should be no excuse. His longevity in the music scene stems from a solid introduction to music during his youth - and couldn't be better demonstrated than on this album. A few familiar similarities are on show when you listen to the album. Think along the lines of Paul Janz, Michael Gleason, Michael W Smith, Liasion and Brett Williams )of In Reach fame. All of these guys in a big melodic melting pot, stirred up big time is what Al Denson churns out on this magnificent debut. I'm not quite sure of the musician lineup for the album, but when I do, I'll update the review accordingly.

The Songs
Getting a handle on Al Denson's music should take place at least 10 seconds or so leading into the album. The opening strains of 'Reckless Heart' echo down from AOR heaven. What a stunning track, awesome arrangement and killer vocals all round. Wow! Migrating to the next track 'Love Is Taking Hold' would seem insurmountable after the opening track, but the hi-tech and rhythmic style is pretty catchy too - especially that chorus, the whole thing has that Michael Gleason vibe about it. The jangly 'Heaven Knows My Name' is a bright uplifting tune with another killer chorus. The ballad 'Right Where You Are' contains some deeply melodic passages, the stuff that Michael W Smith used to churn out with alarming regularity. 'On The Upbeat' is probably the odd track out. Its hi-tech nature is a bit robotic and a victim of synth and effects overuse. 'Strong Love' is another album highlight, galloping along on a upbeat tempo with many melodic interludes in between. Taking the funky path is 'It Takes The Strong to Surrender' with its use of parping brass, sax and fluid bass lines. Further reminders of Michael W Smith's style is echoed on 'Warm Place In A Cold World', though equally, Brett Williams singing style is also prominent. 'Faces And Names' as a ballad is probably not as good as the one before, however 'Peace Be Still' the album closer is the better ballad effort, and went No#1 on the Christian charts back in the day. One listen and it's no surprise why.

In Summary
As mentioned, Al has since released a ton of albums, including two hard to find efforts from 1985 (Stand Up) and 1988 (The Battle Is On) which were independent/private releases. Not only that, but he is active in the Christian Ministry as a motivational speaker to America's youth, and also has his own weekly TV programme called 'The Al Denson Show'. Judging on this debut effort, I will need to seek out more of his albums and discover some more great music. Along with Russ Taff, who I have also been listening to lately, some of you with more than a passing interest in CCM styled music should hunt around for some of their albums. You won't be disappointed.

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#1 | jeffduran on December 04 2007 21:24:26
Classic Christian AOR! In My Top 10 Christian CD's alongside debuts from Allies & Idle Cure. Well crafted songs rich in melodies and message. Great review! On point!Cool
#2 | kim_hp on January 06 2013 13:38:22
"Reckless Heart"...what a killer track that is! Good album overall.
#3 | kim_hp on August 26 2013 13:52:42
According to Wikipedia, Al had two releases out prior to this, namely "Stand Up" (1985) and "The Battle Is On" (1988). Strangely enough these seem absent on his website and pretty much elsewhere, I wonder why that is? The search is on!
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