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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Smith, Michael W - 1990 Go West Young Man
Smith, Michael W - 1990 Go West Young Man

ARTIST: Smith, Michael W
ALBUM: Go West Young Man
LABEL: Reunion
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Michael W Smith - vocals, keyboards, programming * Dann Huff, Jerry McPherson, Chris Rodriguez, William Owsley III - guitars * Tommy Sims - keyboards, bass * Trace Scarborough - keyboards, programming * Matt Pierson - synthesizer bass, bass * Mike Lawler - keyboards * Paul Leim - drums * Bryan Lenox - keyboards, drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Go West Young Man * 02 Love Crusade * 03 Place In This World * 04 For You * 05 How Long Will Be Too Long * 06 Seed To Sow * 07 Cross My Heart * 08 Emily * 09 Agnus Dei * 10 1990


During the late 80's I tinkered with a few CCM albums, and collected a few of them during that era. I lot of it hasn't dated that well, but a handful remain often-played CD's from my collection. In that list you can include Nashville CCM hero Michael Whittaker Smith, known in the trade as Michael W Smith. Originally from West Virginia, Smith moved to Nashville to try and break into the scene. He got a gig as the keyboardist for the band Higher Ground, and along with many gigs beside CCM queen Amy Grant, his solo stocks began to rise. His debut album 'Project' was released in 1983, and over the course of the 80's his material got stronger and better. By 1990, he had achieved crossover success into the secular market with this album 'Go West Young Man'.

The Songs
Smith is a great songwriter, and though self contained in the CCM market primarily, his lyrics are not at all preachy. He writes about issues, he communicates quite clearly with the youth market, which makes it easier for them to identify with his music and message. This was particularly so with his smash hit 'Place In This World' which went to #5 in the secular market - unheard of for a Christian artist at the time. But this ain't no one-hit wonder album. The infectious and bouncy lead off title track 'Go West Young Man' is an inviting number for the uncertain public - unfamiliar with Smith's music - to dive right in. CCM followers don't need to be asked twice. The hip-hop oriented 'Love Crusade' is not a track that I like much, thankfully it's put to rest by the Supertramp sounding 'For You', another bouncy number with a big booming drum sound, and quirky keys. 'How Long Will Be Too Long' is the album's gospel moment, it's followed by another upbeat 'happy' tune called 'Seed To Sow', where the use of an Choir was employed. The ballad 'Cross My Heart' is heartfelt, and I've played this track many times over the years. Beautiful stuff. Equally touching is 'Emily', but the piece de resistance on the album without doubt is the epic 'Agnes Dei' (Lamb Of God).. The closer '1990' is a small instrumental outtro with a strange message at the end.. Listen to it..

In Summary
As mentioned, this album was a big success in the mainstream market, eventually going platinum. You'll find many video/audience references on You Tube for this album. While you're at it, check out the various interpretations of 'Agnes Dei' within YT as well, some of the Spanish versions are incredible! I've included one link within this review. A great little album, for those not yet familiar with Michael W Smith, this is as good a place to start, though all of his albums from 1986's 'The Big Picture' right up through to 1998's 'Live The Life' are worth obtaining.

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#1 | Jez on September 13 2009 16:25:56
This guy has released some really excellent albums over the years including this one, 'I 2 Eye', 'Big Picture', 'Live The Life', 'Change Your World' and 'This Is Your Time' amongst others. Very highly recommended from me and an artist I enjoy immensely.
#2 | Eric on September 15 2009 02:24:50
'A Place In This World' melody and Smith's vocals make this song one of the best CCM songs ever recorded. It deserved top spot in the so-called 'Secular' market and while I've never been too thrilled with his other stuff- oh well- 'A Place...' more than makes up for it..Thumbs Up
#3 | gdazegod on June 25 2011 14:47:08
YouTube Video:
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