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Universal United House of Prayer

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Audio CD, September 21, 2004
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Pop stardom has, for many years, attuned listeners to the arrival of shining new faces filled with vital new ideas, to which attention must be paid. Instantly. Briefly, for the most part. It says here that there is another path, at least if what one cares about is music, and not celebrity. The steady lines in Buddy Miller’s face, the passions which abide within his voice, and the ... Read more in Amazon's Buddy Miller Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 21, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B0002UJKR2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,365 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Worry Too Much
2. There's A Higher Power
3. Shelter Me
4. With God On Our Side
5. Wide River To Cross
6. Fire And Water
7. Don't Wait
8. This Old World
9. Is That You
10. Returning To The Living Water
11. Fall On The Rock

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Universal United House of Prayer finds Buddy Miller's feet planted firmly in the territory that the roots-country musician staked out over the course of five previous records. Again Buddy effortlessly blends a dozen American styles & idioms, again he evokes the mongrel force that breathed life into America's best mid-century pop & folk music.

Whether recording under his own name, collaborating with wife Julie, or contributing guitar work for a range of other artists, Buddy Miller has always put forth a resonant, earthy, even spiritual bearing. So it seems only natural that Miller would turn his focus to the gospel tradition. The songs here celebrate the innate goodness in even the most lost and perplexed among us, keeping sights on the unblinking light of hope at the end of the tunnel. This is still a rootsy affair, though the set is imbued with the social concerns that unite us all. Nondenominational in terms of religious affiliation, this album uses our common language of honest singing and playing, soulful grooves, and top-flight songs to make its points. --David Greenberger

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
I have no doubt that you will be too after you listen to this album.
At the same time, the music is wonderful: a great mix of blues, gospel, country, folk, and whatever other style seems to suit Buddy's needs.
Joan Allison
They are songs that touch your soul, that make you feel the earth under your feet, and make you glad that you love music.
Look Back Dave

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Buddy Miller's first recording for the New West label is broader in scope than his previous recordings. In addition to his country roots, we get flavors of soul, blues, & certainly rock. This set also features Miller's emergence as an excellent singer and guitarist. The classic opener "Worry Too Much" was penned by the late Mark Heard. "It's the way we tell ourselves that all these things are normal till we can't remember what we mean, It's the flicker of our flames, it's the friction born of living," Buddy rocks out. Fiddles & drums pound out the Louvin Brothers' country gospel "There's A Higher Power." Another high point among consistently strong tracks is Buddy & wife Julie's "Shelter Me" with strong backing vocals by Regina & Ann McCrary that lift Buddy up to new heights. Miller's 9-minute version of the Bob Dylan classic "With God on Our Side" is first and foremost Miller's triumph as a vocalist as he sells each lyric with a passion that is aflame. The rest of the CD is also excellently strong such as the soft tribal folk of "Fire & Water" that then shifts gears and crunches full throttle with Buddy's searing electric guitar shearing the sweetness like a blade of lightning from the sky. The CD concludes with Julie's great gospel rocker "Fall On the Rock." This is the classic Buddy Miller disc in what is an extremely strong career. Undoubtedly, this will be on many "best of the year" lists for 04. Don't miss out! Enjoy!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By G. S. Ryan on November 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Look, the Universal United House of Prayer is the best album from Buddy yet, just like Poison Love, Midnight and Lonesome, Cruel Moon and Your Love and Other Lies are his best. He simply does not make anything but great music. On this latest, Wide River to Cross and Fire and Water will make you understand life and why we keep going on. And his covers, the Louvins, Dylan, and Heard complement his music perfectly, helping to showcase both his songwriting/singing abilities, and the strength of the tradition to which he belongs. People need to stand up and take notice, there are folks that are willing to maybe not pick up and wear, but certainly to help carry, the mantle of Johnny Cash. Country singers that love freedom, justice, and the truth enough to warn us when we are not doing right, and when we are not just. Don't Wait lays this out. It is a gospel number, but the title does not only apply to spiritual salvation, it warns us that we should live our lives better as individuals and as a country. "Don't drag along while it's getting late" is an exhortation to get busy and make the world better. And, like the best of his tradition, he is firm, serious, and hopeful. There is no despair or name calling, only the call to love one another, and to work together for the good everyone. This album will make you want to get saved spiritually, psychologically, civically, and politically.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By tikistitch on October 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although I've been kneeling at the altar of for some time now, I'm afraid I had up til now been almost completely ignorant of Miller's work. Then I heard "Shelter Me" on a sampler CD, and immediately decided I had to buy UUHoP. What a find! I haven't heard as heartfelt and rousing a gospel record since the Blind Boys of Alabama's Spirit of the Century. As fans have no doubt already learned, Miller's covers are just as tasty as his originals, and this disk includes, among other treats, as scorching a version of "With God on Our Side" as I've ever heard. Caveat emptor: if you intend to listen to this music on an iPod, as I do, be careful when you're in a crowd, as people tend to look askance when you howl "Amen!" to the chorus of "There's a Higher Power."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DanD VINE VOICE on December 30, 2004
Format: Audio CD
A lot of inspirational country music has come out lately, thanks in large part to the success of Randy Travis's "Three Wooden Crosses." A lot of this inspirational country music has been, well, less than inspirational. Thankfully, Buddy Miller paid attention to what was being released--and did something a little bit different.

This album fuses country, gospel, rock, bluegrass, and blues into a flowing, groovy sound with lyrics that appeal to everyone (religious and non-religous alike). It's inspiration for those seeking good music, in other words. Miller's rough-hewn voice and gritty guitar licks enhance the album beyond what it would be if someone else had tackled it. Featuring original tunes written with wife Julie Miller, covers of such songs as Bob Dylan's "With God on Our Side", and guests like wife Julie, Emmylou Harris, and Jim Lauderdale, UNIVERSAL UNITED HOUSE OF PRAYER is a unique, country-gospel record that will have you thanking God there are people as talented as Buddy Miller. Never before has inspiration been so listenable...and groovy...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Robinson on September 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I used to think of Buddy Miller as a twangy country singer--he's so much more. On many of the cuts here, the music is more blues or black gospel-based than country. Whatever you call it, it's some of the best American music you'll ever hear. And you won't hear a more soulful singer in any genre.

I heard Buddy's 9-minute version of Dylan's "With God on Our Side" the other night on the radio and sat transfixed. It's as good a cover of a Dylan song as I've heard. This is an album made by a man of faith who is angry at those who use their religion to justify war. This theme is established on track one, a cover of Mark Heard's "Worry Too Much" which was written in response to the Gulf War--it's even more apt now: "It's the demolition derby / It's the sport of the hunt / Crowd driving for war-dance / It's the slow smile that the bully gives the runt." But if this album denounces the wars of men, it also insists that human evil isn't the whole story (i.e., on the Louvin Brothers' "There's a Higher Power").

Those who are fans of Buddy's guitar playing won't be disappointed. There are more meaty solos here than on any of Buddy's previous CDs. The performances are all assured. The background vocals of Regina and Ann McCrary lend a sanctified edge to Buddy's gut-bucket swamp blues. Emmylou Harris makes her usual appearance here (on "Wide River to Cross"), as does Buddy's wife Julie (who co-wrote 4 of the songs).

Buddy is an under-appreciated treasure. And this is his best yet, music of heart, intelligence, and faith.
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