CASPAR McCLOUD : Faithfulness (Anthology 1998-2016). (SNT Records : B01KTU9WKO)
Caspar is one of a number of Christian artists who started out in the secular music business but after a conversion part way through their career, turned their back on the prospect of fame and riches and decided instead to dedicate their talents to the glory of God. Interestingly enough, another one of those musicians is Phil Keaggy who mentored Caspar in his early days and led him to Christ. Signed to Atlantic records back in the seventies, Caspar was certainly expected to be the next big thing; in the words of MTV a “virtuoso guitarist” with “lightning fast technique” and was indeed touted as the next Jimi Hendrix. However, a career in the Christian music industry is where UK born but US based Caspar ended up. He’s also an acclaimed portrait artist and is now an ordained minister, so he’s a pretty versatile and talented guy. This is a ten song selection but I will pick out three for specific mention. The opener on this anthology “I Need The Lord” leaves you under no illusions as to Caspar’s style. It’s unashamedly 80’s hair metal (and yes Caspar still has the hair to go with it). It’s not backwards in coming forwards either in respect of Caspar’s faith – in many respects he’s very much in the Stryper mould. The title track “Faithfulness” has a bit more grit and a bit less cheese with a saturated guitar riff, driving drums and memorable hook for a chorus. You get some acoustic guitar work too on the closer “Presence of Our Lord” which is a straight up worship song befitting of its time. Yes, today these songs sound dated but they reflect a very important period in Christian music when brave folk defied convention and a stuffy church establishment to embrace the creativity and relevancy of popular music. If you were there, it’ll take you back, if you weren’t it’s a lesson in where it all came from. 7/10 Robin Thompson.