Water Into Wine Band – Hill Climbing For Beginners [LP]
Probably the best album to appear on the leading Myrrh label, established as a division of Word Records by Billy Ray Hearn in 1972. This was the debut recording for the British outfit, Water Into Wine Band which appeared in different forms on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-70s. Although Myrrh enjoyed some commercial success with cross-over artist Amy Grant whose secular albums were marketed by A&M and were also able to boast CCM albums from the likes of Billy Preston, Mighty Clouds Of Joy, Al Green and even Cliff Richard, from a musical perspective Hill Climbing was in an all-together different league. The band was formed at Cambridge University by four extremely accomplished musicians, two of whom were to go on the perform with major orchestra, and Hill Climbing, or at least the UK version presented here (Myrrh, feeling the album too raw for the sensitive American market, shipped the band to the States to do an anodyne re-record), has gone to achieve the status of a progressive folk masterpiece. The album is beautifully recorded and the exotic array of instruments including bongos, timpani, gongs and violins, combine wonderfully to produce a recording of musical and technical brilliance.