Sunday, November 8, 2009

Talbot Brothers: Easy To Slip

It is Spiritual Sunday and the feature is the Talbot Brothers' initial Contemporary Christian single, “Easy to Slip.” The message is one of faithfulness because, “It’s so easy to slip; it’s so easy to fall.”

As program director at WKCC, I remember receiving both the album and single in the mail during spring 1976. I was baffled that the album was on one label, Warner Brothers, and the accompanying single was on a new label, Sparrow Records. The album had a phonographic copyright ℗ date of 1974, so not only were there two labels represented; it was a two-year old recording.

I gave the album a spin and was impressed immediately. The production was impeccable; however, the Christian content was scant – although Sparrow purported it as a Christian album. My favorite song on the album was one of the secular numbers about the Cherokee nation’s “Trail of Tears.” While it’s lyrical content is sad, the musical performance is absolutely beautiful.

The single release of "Easy to Slip" was a cover of a Little Feat song from “Sailin’ Shoes,” one of their best albums. While Lowell George did not write this from a Christian perspective, a few minor word changes allows it to be ambiguous enough to be about slipping from one’s faith. We played this song, as well as a few others at the station.

Brothers Terry and John Michael Talbot, former members of the underground country-rock band Mason Proffit, recorded this LP in an effort to fulfill their former band’s contract to Warners. Once Sparrow exhausted the excess Warner Brothers’ copies, they re-released the album under the title of “Reborn” sans one track "Moline Truckin'," which had a great potential for eliciting controversy because of its lyrics.

You can really see these new converts to Christianity moving into a direction that captures their new found faith, while still recording secular music as well. By the time this album was re-released, the Talbot Brothers had split for solo careers; however, they returned to the studio in 1980 with “The Painter” and again in 1986 for the album “No Longer Strangers.”

By the way, the slide guitar and lap steel on this tune is played by David Lindley who is best known as Jackson Browne’s slide guitarist (and the high voice on Browne’s “Stay”). In addition to the electric slide track, Lindley is all over the LP playing pedal steel guitar, Dobro, and Hawaiian acoustic guitar. The banjo licks are courtesy of John Michael Talbot.

If you have a chance to pick up this album, do so. It is an excellent, but an under-recognized recording.

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