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  Come as a Child or Not at All
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Andy's Angels Records (2003)
Length: 18 tracks (65:39)

The offshoot of a Seattle hospital visit to honor the dying wish of fifteen-year-old cystic fibrosis victim Andy Obrastoff, the Come as a Child or Not at All anthology, assembled by veteran writer/producer/performer Terry Taylor, is, at its heart, a commentary on the relationships between parents and their children.  Derri Daugherty's "All the World to Me" and the Choir's album-opening "Yellow Haired Monkeys" are each jubilant tributes to the delight-filled world of young ones.  Mike Roe's "Audrey" is a heart-rending ode to a daughter's growing up.  Taylor's "Lovely Lilly Lou" combines ragtime piano, Beatles-inflected pop and a melody line reminiscent of the Sesame Street theme song for a lilting, high-spirited paean to its namesake.  And "You," from Seattle native Carolee Mayne, is a soaring and melodic worship piece likely to find favor with children and adults alike.

Lest it be accused of painting too rosy a picture, a goodly portion of the Come as a Child record deals with the darker side of the parent/child bond.  Taylor's "Light Princess" chronicles his wife's miscarriage.  "Loved and Forgiven" from the Lost Dogs is a solemn exhortation to a wayward older child.  And Kim Patton-Johnson's "Said One Mother" recounts a chilling post-crucifixion conversation between the mothers of Christ and Judas.  Like any multi-artist effort, the compendium has its share of both stronger and weaker material.  And, its broad stylistic palette necessarily sacrifices a certain measure of musical cohesiveness.  That said, the Child project's overarching thematic unity offsets the lion's share of its instrumental variance.  And, at eigthteen tracks and over an hour's worth of music, most listeners will find plenty to take a shine to, making the album a worthy addition to most collections, particularly those of listeners already familiar with Taylor's previous work.

Bert Gangl 7/29/2003


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