In 1990 two Christian music legends, Glenn Kaiser (Resurrection Band/Rez) and Darrell Mansfield joined together to release TRIMMED & BURNIN’ (Ocean/GRRR Records). Kaiser writes in the liner notes: “Blues speaks to hurts, struggles, and desires in a powerful, emotionally passionate way. In a time when the world is so full of turmoil, I am of the opinion that true Christians must learn to do the same. Jesus did and does and He is ultimately my reason for living and singing”. Kaiser sings, plays guitar, dobro, dulcimer, and a bit of harmonica (harp). Mansfield sings, claps, stomps, and plays harmonica. Rob Glickman plays dobro and guitar.
First up is one of three Rev. Gary Davis compositions (1896-1972), ‘Great Change Since I’ve Been Born’. Glenn sings and plays guitar on this spirited song of testimony: “Lies that I used to would tell, I don’t tell no more (2X).../People that I used to would hate, Lord, I don’t hate no more.../Been a great change, Lord, since I been born.../A new song been sung since I’ve been born”. ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin’’ is one of five Blind Willie Johnson compositions (1897-1945). It’s a song of encouragement: “Brother, don’t get weary/Sister don’t get weary/Ever don’t get weary/For the work is almost done”. ‘Shaky Ground’ is one of six penned by Glenn Kaiser. Curt Bley plays upright bass. It speaks of how we can be deceived: “I thought I’d been livin’ in the light of day/I thought I’d been redeemed/I prayed my prayers but I went my way/Livin’ just like I’d been/Standin’, standin’ on shaky ground”.
Darrell takes the lead on ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’, a song about taking responsibility: “Well, nobody’s fault but mine/Nobody’s fault but mine/If I don’t read my soul be lost/Nobody’s fault but mine/I have a Bible in my home (2X)/If I don’t read my soul be lost/Nobody’s fault but mine (2X)”. The song has a definite twang! ‘Go Tell Pharaoh’ is a fast paced number that draws from Exodus: “Go tell Pharaoh let my people go! (2X)/ I am the God of the Israelites, that I’ll surely show/Power in the water, power in the sky (2X)/Woe to those in Egypt/That’s the apple of my eye!” ‘You Got to Move’ has simplistic lyrics: “You may be high, you may be low/You may be rich, child/You may be poor/But when the Lord gets ready/You gotta move”.
‘In the Light of the Morning Star’ anticipates heaven with joy: “The moon comes down/Shinin’ on the earth/It’s a wonderful thing to behold/But someday I know we have been foretold/We will walk on streets of gold”. ‘Celestial Shore’ is a nice ballad on the same topic: “It won’t be long, but it’s for sure/Soon I’ll be walkin’ through that special door/There’ll be no more cryin’, fightin’, or war/When we gather together on that celestial shore/When we all come together (3X)/On that celestial shore”. ‘Jesus is Comin’ Soon’ is upbeat musically and has bold lyrics: “God is warnin’ the nation/Warned us in every way/Turn away from the evil/Seek the Lord and pray/We been told/God has warned us/Jesus a comin’ soon”.
‘God Don’t Never Change’ speaks of His faithfulness: “God in creation/God when Adam fell/God way up in heaven/God way down in hell/He’s God/God don’t never change/Always will be God”. ‘What You Did’ reminds us of the importance of our actions/deeds: “What you did for the least you did for Me/What you did for the least (3X)/You did for Me/You ask/When was this?/How could this be?/What you did for the least/Child, you did it to Me”. Glenn and Darrell share vocal duties on ‘I Belong to the Band’, while Glenn plays guitar, and Darrell harp. It is cheerful: “When I get to heaven gonna sit right down/Ask my Lord for my starry crown/I belong to the band, hallelu/Hallelu! Hallelujah!/I belong to the band/Hallelu (2X)”.
Rob Glickman plays the 12-String Slide Guitar on ‘You Got to Die’, which offers frank advice: “Sinner man, you just as well to get ready, you gotta die (2X)/Well, it may be today or tomorrow/Well, you can’t tell a minute or hour”. ‘Cornerstone’ offers an acapella invitation: “He is the Cornerstone (3X)/Come under Him, the cornerstone/Come unto Him, the cornerstone/Come unto Him, the living stone/Rejected by men, the cornerstone/But chosen by God, Precious Stone”. Last up is ‘We Shall See the King’ which offers hope: “There’s a blessed time/It’s comin’, comin’ soon/Maybe even mornin’ night or noon/The wedding of the bride united with the groom/We shall see the King when He comes”.
TRIMMED & BURNIN’ is one of the finest CCM albums ever put out! Both Kaiser and Mansfield are talented musicians and have raspy, seasoned voices. This is a raw, stripped down, rootsy, passionate album of both fast and slow selections. The most common topic is anticipating the joys and glory of Heaven and being with God-no more troubles in sight! The second most common theme is how Christ changes our lives and the importance of having a personal relationship with Him and living for Him. A third theme is the coming judgment. I’m rating TRIMMED AND BURNIN’ (49 min, 50 sec) a perfect 100%. For more info reach out to the artists on Facebook.