Beech, Jay - 1982 The Death Of A Stickman

ARTIST: Beech, Jay
ALBUM: The Death Of A Stickman
LABEL: Eagle Records
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Jay Beech - lead vocals, guitars * Curt Bartlett - guitars * Don Harris - bass * Doug Dimmel - drums, percussion * Bill Busch - keyboards * Mark Isackson - sax, flute * Amy Swartzendruber, Lyndon Bartell - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 I'm All Right * 02 Anchor My Soul * 03 It Is Not Me * 04 For Real * 05 Forgiveness * 06 God-Man * 07 Watching The Sky * 08 Broken People * 09 Faith * 10 Black & White


Here's an album that's been floating around record bins in my area for as long as I can remember but now thanks to the Internet 'The Death Of The Stickman' is receiving long overdue attention from west coast fans far and wide. Beech hails from Western Minnesota and back in the day the Jay Beech Band was a popular fixture on the early Midwest Christian rock circuit. The band existed for several years after this LP, but these days Beech has a music ministry of his own and unfortunately, far removed from the style of this record.

The Songs

'I'm All Right', the record's opener is a straight ahead rocker and similar to Canada's Daniel Band. I imagine it got everyone on their feet at the 'Praise & Worship' festivals, but in reality it's just an average tune and not worth getting too worked up about. Much better is 'Anchor Of My Soul' and it's here on the west coast influenced material Beech truly excels. Ali Thomson would be a good reference here moving effortlessly into Randy VanWarmer territory on the excellent 'It Is Not Me' and the acoustic ballad 'For Real', closing out side one with 'Forgiveness'; a light fusion piece similar to some of Pat Metheny's sunny mid-80's work. Tasty stuff although on the flip, Beech doesn't seem to be able to come up with the goods. We have another very average rocker in the REZ/Daniel Band style titled 'God-Man', a rather blah ballad 'Watching The Sky' and a moody mid-tempo number titled 'Broken People' which seems to go on forever as my interest wanes. Just in time before I nod off is 'Faith' and a step-up with a nice pop jazz piece complete with colourful sax flourishes and this would have brought 'The Death Of The Stickman' to a nice end, but for some reason Beech just had to tack on 'Black & White'; a demo sounding acoustic track that's as boring as it's title. I wonder why he bothered.

In Summary

About 60/40 good to bad and some of you might roll your eyes at the overtly religious lyric content but let's face it, there are not that many good indie Christian releases in the field of AOR/west coast from this period and 'The Death Of The Stickman' holds up rather well, despite the inconsistencies on the second side. The Jay Beech/Baytone Music web site has a download available of the entire album, although cherry picking the best tunes would be a better option.
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Eric April 07 2009 2439 reads 0 comments Print


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