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My daughter pulled my copy of the 77’s Sticks and Stones out this morning and asked to listen to it.  My heart skipped a beat in joy.  But I’m not sure she really understands the greatness that is this album.

I had listened to Ping Pong Over the Abyss as a new Christian back in ’86 or ’87.  I didn’t like it.  I wrote them off.  Then, on my initial visit to RTS Orlando, a guy named Andy Graham gave me a tape of Sticks and Stones.  I was converted.  It was alternative enough to be ‘cool’ and ‘pop’ enough to be accessible.  Sticks and Stones is a compilation of sorts featuring 14 hits, cast offs and unreleased takes.  There is plenty of great music here.

The album starts off with 3 alt-pop-rock numbers featuring some good guitar work.  Make that very good.  The focus of MT, Nowhere Else and This is the Way Love Is seems to be a relationship with Christ. 

The sound and subject matter shift with Perfect Blues.  It is a more blues oriented number about how none of us meets the standards of others in relationships.  It is about the struggle of relationships and expectations.  Once again Mike Roe provides some nice guitar work.

I had this album for years before I realized what Don’t, This Way was about.  I had thought it was about a failed relationship.  I was cranking the album in my apartment when the truth hit me like a ton of bricks.  It is, as the liner notes say, the saddest song ever.  It is about a lover looking over the dead body of their beloved.  It is a return to a more alt-pop-rock sound, but the music matches the lyrics to create a nearly perfect song.  There is plenty of mournful guitar to set the mood.  It nearly brings me to tears when I listen.  Some might find the length of song (7:22) excessive, but I don’t.  I love some of the extended jams on this disc.

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