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Cordell, Phil - 1977 Born Again

ARTIST: Cordell, Phil
ALBUM: Born Again
LABEL: Prodigal
SERIAL: P-10023
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2006, Airmail Recordings (Japan), AIRAC-067 * 2008, Angel Air Records (UK)


LINEUP: Phil Cordell - vocals, keyboards, piano, guitars, bass * Ray Fenwick - guitars * Paul Kendrick, Dave Marquee - bass, backing vocals * Lennie Watts - Rev Stockdale - keyboards * Madeline Bell, R&J Stone, Doreen Chanter, Lisa Strike, George Chandler, Jimmy Helms, Tony Burrows - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Doin' The Best I Can * 02 Beautiful Baby * 03 One Man Show * 04 Cheatin' In The Dark * 05 Needles And Pins * 06 06 Bavarian Nights * 07 Back In Your Arms Again * 08 Return Ticket * 09 God Bless You * 10 Born Again

While the title and very west coast looking cover suggests one of those dime-a-dozen Christian pop albums that littered the market in the late '70s, that's not at all what we have here. The late British multi-instrumentalist Phil Cordell (passed away in 2007) was leader of the band Springwater; an interesting outfit recalling a less-progressive Stackridge and during his short life released several singles for more than a few labels with some chart success, although nothing can compare to the material found on his masterwork - 'Born Again'.

The Songs
This is simply a wonderful pop album sliding somewhere between the razzle dazzle of Pilot and Dwayne Ford's smooth west coast pop. 'Doin' the Best I Can' should have sat comfortably on American radio way back when and every time I play this album, I long for the days of song writers like Cordell who understood melody. 'Beautiful Baby' and One Man Show' both could have been lifted from a Pilot album, plus special mention for the ELO styled string arrangements which add that extra special something to each track. 'Cheatin' In The Dark' is definitely one for Dwayne Ford 'Needless Freaking' fans although the album's only downside and I do mean only - is his cover of 'Needles And Pins' which still leaves me scratching my head as to why it was included in a set this strong. Side two's 'Bavarian Nights' comes on a bit like George Harrison and definitely puts the album back on track with further classics coming in the form of 'Back In Your Arms Again' and 'Return Ticket', both beautifully sculpted pop songs from an artist who never received the recognition he deserved.

In Summary
From here, Cordell released a couple singles on Virgin, one of which 'Movie Star/Lying Down By The River' I own and can recommend as it's very much in the Tarney-Spencer Band frame of reference. On the reissue front Angel Air have reissued 'Born Again' with the Springwater album on one disc and has a 'best of' available as well. Your best bet is picking up the Japanese Air Mail Recordings reissue with the original artwork housed in a mini-LP sleeve. One of my 'Desert Island Albums', every home should have one.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 26 2009 14:49:26
I remember Springwater's instrumental hit 'I Will Return' from 1972 (I think it was). I loved that song. It made the charts in NZ if I remember rightly. Very cool guitar tones, sort of like a heavier Procol Harum.

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