Orphans of God

(a Mark Heard tribute)

A Review by Tom Moellering <tmoeller@i2.com>

14 Jun 1996

NOTE: this hardly counts as a review since I've only been through the music twice now. So hopefully I have stayed away from that kind of criticism. However here is what I do think/know so far, for those who haven't purchased yet:

OK, so I am a pretty negative/critical individual at times, so when I got my OOG in the email that I ordered last November, I was probably set to be a little harsh in my evaluation. However, let me just say that the little note that they included to explain the reason for the delay (Which BTW, described the VIA issue w/o naming them: very mature IMHO), and also apologized, was a very nice touch.

And reading the track listing on the back I found a few things that bugged me. But music isn't about reading, now is it? So please, *read* on ;-)


  1. Lots of songs (2 discs, each with 17 songs and each clocking in at 75+ minutes)
  2. Long renditions (avg 4.5 min each)
  3. Very WELL DONE booklet. (color pictures, journal excerpts, full lyrics, full lists of players, etc.)
  4. Lots of artists I already know and love
  5. Mark's timeless lyrics
  6. Lots of performers I have never heard (but have heard plenty about) with whom I obviously have an appreciation for MH in common with.
  7. Marvin Etzioni: who is this guy? WOW! His intrepretive version of "Hammers and Nails" (which covers lyrical snippets from quite a few other Heard favorites as well) is a befitting closing to the second disc and collection as a whole. (Maybe a tad over the top, croaking voice and all, but you can't deny the man's emotion!)
  8. For that matter, the whole collection seems to be layed out quite well. (i.e. both the starting song and ending song for each disc seem to me to be the perfect picks)
  1. There are 3 songs that are covered twice (but at least they put them on separate discs) Its "34 songs written by Mark Heard", not "34 DIFFERENT songs written by Mark Heard", see the difference? Namely:
    Strong Hand Of Love: Bruce Cockburn, Da (actually BC's is a very stripped-down mostly acoustic effort, and Da's is pretty much the opposite of that)

    Rise From The Ruins: Brooks Williams, Parmin Sisters (actually PS's includes Nobody's Looking, too)

    Tip Of My Tongue: Tom Prasada-Rao, The Choir (again, like the BC vs. Da pieces, acoustic vs. electric-rock)

    All in all, even though this is a con, that in a perfect world they all would have covered different songs, they handled it pretty well IMHO. Besides, who hasn't bought a 12 song release only to find that 2 of the songs are only remixes/alternate-versions of songs already on the disc?
  2. The cynical amongst us might on first pass see this as "A Fingerprint Talent-Pool Sampler" it does include these Fingerprint artists:
    parmin sisters
    swinging steaks
    big faith
    ramona silver
    dan russell
    tom prasada-rao
    harrod and funck
    And except for the last 4, probably not his contemporaries and/or a stylistic-fit. But thats only if you are *only* reading. These people do great jobs with Mark's songs. There isn't a slouch in the bunch. I shouldn't have expected any less, but then again, we've already covered me, haven't we? ;-)
  3. No T Bone, No Sam: this issue has been beaten to death before. Suffice it to say, that its not under Fingerprint's control to *make* them contribute something, that wouldn't be in the spirit of this project anyway, now would it? So my dissapointment in the final estimation has more to do with them and less to do with OOG.
Summary: Buy it, I'm not dissapointed at all, even after having ordered it 6 months ago!
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Last updated: 07 September 1999

Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514