Chase the Kangaroo
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|Chase the Kangaroo|
|Studio album by The Choir|
|Released||March 24, 1988|
Los Alamitos, California, 1987
|The Choir chronology|
The cassette version.
The CD version.
Chase the Kangaroo was a radical departure from the upbeat, alternative pop sounds of Diamonds and Rain, and quickly proved to be a seminal work—not only for The Choir, but for Contemporary Christian music in general. A variety of artists such as Jars of Clay, Switchfoot and Sixpence None the Richer have pointed to this album as a strong musical influence, and it singlehandedly pushed contemporary Christian music into lyrical and musical terrain it had never before explored. Because of this, the album is listed at No. 50 in the book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.
Unlike Diamonds and Rain, which was recorded in a scant 12 weeks, Chase the Kangaroo took six months of experimentation in the studio to complete, and even then, it was still being recorded and mixed up to the last minute before its release, which led to some confusion as to song order and inclusion on the LP and cassette versions. Because this moody and somber album deals almost exclusively with sadness, grief and loss—not exactly Christian pop chart material--Myrrh Records couldn't determine how to market the album, so it ultimately received little promotion. The lead-off track, "Consider," did prove to be a No. 1 Christian rock hit, but the song was the last one written for the record in order to satisfy the label's desire for a radio-friendly single, according to drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong.
The questioning and even sad nature of the album has to do with difficult and tragic events that the band experienced in the year prior to recording. Contrary to the idea that even successful Christian musicians are well-to-do, Hindalong was forced to work in construction to make ends meet, and his frustration with being reduced to digging ditches is directly addressed in the final track, "Kangaroo." In addition, his wife Nancy had suffered her second miscarriage, and "Sad Face" was written in response. Due to the painful honesty of the lyrics and the longest guitar solo that Derri Daugherty ever recorded, the song immediately became a favorite that the band has included in almost every live set they have performed since.
Other songs on the album also deal with complex and uneasy topics, like the nature of evil ("Children of Time"), personal betrayal ("Cain"), anger and revenge ("The Rifleman"), the exploitation of children and the elderly ("Look Out (For Your Own)") and the threat of permanent separation from loved ones ("So Far Away"). Despite the pain expressed in these songs, Chase the Kangaroo has at the same time a strong worshipful feel, due to its ever-present lyrical acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, even when life's events don't make sense. "Clouds" is the album's preeminent example, as it directly addresses God's awesome yet mystical nature. Despite this, the record label had serious problems with the lyrics "The blood is still as rich / That poor sinners drink like wine," until Hindalong had to explain to them that the phrase refers to the Christian practice of Communion.
Some of the musical highlights of the album are the transitions between songs, which often blend into each other. "Clouds" and "Sad Face" are linked by the snippet of a hymn sung by Daugherty's mother, recorded at his parents' church, while "Sad Face" ends with a long instrumental break that includes portions of the drum tracks to "Clouds" played in reverse before it slams into the beginning of "Cain." "The Rifleman" includes a number of spoken verses recorded by everyone who was in the studio that day, and the fade-ins and -outs to different individuals speaking at the same time was mixed live as it was recorded, ultimately fading out to a snippet of "Render Love," from the band's previous album Diamonds and Rain.
The CD release of Chase the Kangaroo also includes all five songs from Shades of Gray as bonus tracks.
|2.||"Children of Time"||5:09|
|3.||"Clouds" (Daugherty, Steve Griffith)||7:00|
|5.||"Cain" (Daugherty, Griffith)||5:18|
|7.||"Look Out (For Your Own)"||3:28|
|8.||"Everybody in the Band" (Hindalong)||1:35|
|9.||"So Far Away" (Daugherty)||3:48|
- Derri Daugherty - Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Steve Hindalong - Drums, percussion, vocals, and lead vocals on "Everybody in the Band"
- Tim Chandler - Bass guitar
- Dan Michaels - Saxophone and lyricon
- Bill Batstone - Keyboards ("Clouds"), background vocals ("Clouds", "Cain")
- Gene Eugene and Riki Michele - Background vocals ("Look Out (For Your Own)")
- Jerry Chamberlain and Sharon McCall - Background vocals ("So Far Away")
- Nancy Hindalong - Background vocals ("Sad Face")
- Steve Griffith - Background vocals ("Clouds")
- Marc Sercomb - Spoken verses ("The Rifleman")
- Executive producer - Tom Willett
- Producer - Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong
- Additional production - Gene Eugene, Steve Griffith
- Recording - Mark Heard, Dave Hackbarth, Gene Eugene, Steve Griffith, Derri Daugherty
- Concept and design - John Joseph Flynn for OZ graphics
- Art direction and coordination - Tim Anderson
- Photography - Stewart Ivester
- Additional graphic assistance - Phillip Foster, Stewardt Ivester, and Ed, June, and Marcella at Slides and Print
- Handwritten liner notes - Steve Hindalong
- Management - Brian Martin