Review: Colin Buchanan Bible Jam (CD)

Full disclosure. I love Colin. He’s an easy man to like and has inspired me to do what I do now. Colin has given me wonderful advice as I’ve started my career writing and performing Christian kids' songs. We even use the same artist for our album covers.

So, I may be a little biased here.

If you’re still reading then I guess you’ve decided to trust me, bias aside. In which case, let me tell you… this is a fantastic album. Funny and thought-provoking drama, catchy and Bible-filled songs. What more could you want from a kids CD?

At the start of the album we find ourselves in a radio station. For some of us this may be a well-used tool, though I’m guessing for many children in this Spotify age they don’t have so much experience of radio stations. For them it may well be a fresh and exciting setting. Either way, it’s a great vehicle for the sketches, teaching and gags to jump on board and make their merry way to our ears.

Colin and his puppet Nudge are our DJs presenting a show introducing the Bible. As any radio station will have, there are weather reports (cue lots of gags) and adverts, but these are with a twist. Most adverts try to convince us to buy something we don’t really need. These adverts convince us of what we most definitely need as we follow Jesus. Advertising both the New and Old Testament and even the church, it’s such a fresh way to teach these basic elements of being in God’s family.

The drama doesn’t stop there. Colin and Nudge demonstrate how simple and rewarding it is to sit down together and read God’s word. It leaves us certain that we too could attempt a family Bible time, perhaps for the first time.

I’m so glad that they’ve included sketches this time around. Some of Colin’s more recent albums haven’t had these, but I always enjoyed them on the early records. They’re such a brilliant way to get kids (and adults!) listening, learning and laughing.

However, no Colin album would be complete without a healthy dose of songs. And he’s a master-writer. There are 5 brand new tracks to worm their way into our ears. I think one of my favourites is ‘Hold it up to the Bible’. It’s a stonking number, reminiscent of ‘God Rock’. In an age where feelings rule and truth is jettisoned for emotive narratives we need to embed in our youth the importance of going back to God’s word, sitting under it and living by it. Even developing the habit of literally pulling out the Bible when we have a question and finding out what it says about something. This may be an opportunity for us as parents to assess how well we model this to our children.

As well as brand new tracks, there are old favourites (Isaiah 53:6 for example - a great way to get a new generation listening to a song that came out 16 years ago!). Although the majority of songs on this record are older songs (13 out of 18 by my count), this isn’t simply a ‘greatest hits’ album - a number of these older songs are given a different feel by being recorded live or having Nudge get involved, and all of them add to the teaching narrative of the album. That’s the beauty of listening to an artist’s work as an ‘album’ rather than individual tracks. The songs are put side by side to create a collective whole, and thus older material can be given new life in this context.

I don’t know why it is, but if you stick with an album all the way through you’ll often find a hidden gem at the end. The final track of this album is no exception. It is a song for parents, in Colin’s familiar and catchy country-style. ‘Press on Mums’ encourages parents to keeping on going on. The Christian life is a race, and at times very hard. Jesus promised as much, but also that he’s with us every step of the way. One of the most beautiful things families can do is run this race together, cheering each other on, pointing each other to the finish line (Hebrews 12:1-2), crying and laughing together through the ups and downs. Kids need to sing songs of encouragement to their running parents as much as parents do to their children, and ‘Press on Mums’ is a great track to do that with.

In conclusion, there’s only one thing to say. Buy the CD now, download the mp3 (or whatever it is you do), relish the wonder of the gospel and have a Fam Bam Bible Jam!

Review written by: Michael Tinker

Michael Tinker is a song writer, performer, actor and author. He can currently be seen touring his Christian family show, “Michael and the Topsy Turvy Kingdom” which accompanies his latest children’s album. Click here to read our review of it!

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