Steve Camp – Start Believin’ – 1980

This is one of the early albums that set the stage for Steve Camp’s 1980’s popularity. His recording career spanned from 1978 through 2002. The track “Under His Love” was co-written by Steve Camp and Larry Norman. The two would cross paths many times over their respective careers and there are a few examples of them appearing on stage together and recording each other’s songs. In addition to working with Larry Norman, it seems to me that Steve has an uncanny vocal similarity. Not only the tone of his voice, but the way he expresses it has a strong similarity to the way Larry sounded. No wonder they were able to work together easily.

Tracklist
1 – The Feeling Is Happening – 6:02
2 – You Are The Rainbow – 3:12
3 – Under His Love – 3:35
4 – Easy Livin’ (Under The Sun) – 3:05
5 – Ambassador In Chains – 3:51
6 – Start Believin’ – 4:46
7 – Do They Have To Grow Up? – 3:56
8 – I’ll Always Need You Lord – 5:47
9 – Bobby – 5:19
10 – Psalm 131 – 2:10

Credits
Steve Camp – Songwriter, Vocals, Production Assistant
Jack I. Baron – Tenor Saxophone
Big Foot – Feet Stomps
Phillip Blum – Cello
Sol A. Bobrov – Violin
Phil Bonono – Additional Engineering
Leonard Chausow – Cello
Dale Clevenger – French Horn
Gary Elghammer – Additional Engineering
Richard Royce Ferrin – Viola
Ronald Friedman – Trumpet
Joseph Golan – Violin
Tommy Hanson – Additional Engineering
John W. Haynor – Trombone
Tom Howell – French Horn
Arthur Hoyle – Trumpet, Fluegel Horn
Russell Iverson – Trumpet
Harold D. Klatz – Viola
Robert Lewis – Trumpet, Fluegel Horn
Paul Libman – Production Assistant, Songwriter
Arthur F. Linser – Trombone
Samuel Magad – Violin
Glenn Meadows – Mastered
Rodger Moulton – Viola
Hank Neuberger – Recorded and Mixed
Larry Norman – Songwriter
David Isaiah Radford – Songwriter
Arnold Roth – Violin
Kenneth G. Soderblom – Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Fred Spector – Violin
Morris Butch Stewart – Producer, Songwriter
The Chicago Hands – Hand claps and Finger Snaps
Cyrill J. Touff – Trombone

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Recorded At – Chicago Recording Company

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Leslie Phillips – The Turning – 1987

“The Turning” is a fitting title for this album for several reasons. This 1987 release was Leslie Phillips’ last CCM recording. After this she signed with Virgin Records and released a few albums with then husband T Bone Burnett, whom she married after recording this album with him as producer. The Turning was the only one of her four CCM releases produced by T Bone and it has a very distinctively different sound. The acoustic sound familiar to T Bone’s work replaces all the the 80s glitz that Leslie had been doing an excellent job of until now. Leslie’s deep songwriting continued under the folk influence of the music on The Turning. However, she managed to squeeze out some pop sounding folk on a few songs, particularly “Libera Me”. In “Down”, Leslie addresses some of her “Turning” directly: “Shattered convictions I thought were offending you” suggests she has experienced a shift in her relationship with God, in a way that probably gives her more room as an individual. Bookended with two cheerfully haunting sounds at the lead track “River of Love” and the closer “God Is Watching You” this album brings a deep echoing sound that matches Her lyrics perfectly. It was an unexpected turn from the upstart who was hailed a few albums ago as the CCM version of Cyndi Lauper, but under T Bone’s influence, any artist seems to turn ahead of the curve.

Tracklist
1 – River Of Love – 2:43
2 – Love Is Not Lost – 3:57
3 – The Turning – 3:36
4 – Libera Me – 3:09
5 – Carry You – 4:18
6 – Beating Heart – 2:56
7 – Expectations – 3:15
8 – Down – 3:25
9 – Answers Don’t Come Easy – 4:10
10 – God Is Watching You – 3:50

Credits
Bass – Jerry Scheff
Drum Programming – Ralph Forbes, Ralph Forbes, Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett
Drums – Mickey Curry
Executive-Producer – Tom Willett
Guitar, Producer – T-Bone Burnett
Harmony Vocals – Dawn O’Hanlon, Peter Case, Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Tonio K.
Mixed By – Tchad Blake
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Recorded By – Bill Jackson, Bobby Hickey, Judy Klapp, Larry Hirsch, Stephen Shelton, Steve Ford, Tchad Blake
Recorded By [Assisted By] – David Knight, Mike Kloster
Remastered By – Steve Hoffman
Synthesizer – John Schreiner, Leslie Phillips
Written-By – Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Myrrh Records
Copyright © – Myrrh Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word Music
Copyright © – Word Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Black Tent Music
Copyright © – Black Tent Music
Manufactured By – DCC Compact Classics Inc.
Marketed By – DCC Compact Classics Inc.
Recorded At – The Sound Factory
Recorded At – Sunset Sound
Recorded At – Mad Hatter Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Recorded At – Eagle Audio Recording
Recorded At – Capitol Studios

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Dead Artist Syndrome – Prints of Darkness – 1990

Dead Artist Syndrome is actually simply Brian Healy and a host of friends that over the year, records and concerts rotated in and out in support of their friend who is easily Christian Music most unheralded alternative artists. Too often pigeon holed as exclusively a “goth” artists, DAS was an alternative that presented a darker, gloomier and deeper perspective to the world than most in CCM. The label most obviously comes from Healy’s baritone and at time monotone vocals associated with goth rock. It is not a whole lot different from many Mike Knott (who makes in appearance here) created projects. On “Prints” Healy is joined by Undercover’s Ojo Taylor and Gym Nicholson and it shows. There is an atmospheric sound to the record that is reminiscent of Undercover as well the Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Sisters of Mercy. Healy willfully uses satire, sarcasm and symbolism throughout and, as a result, often misunderstood. Healy is an ordained minister and infuses much of his lyrics with doctrinal ideologies. I was working for Frontline Records when the second album was released and met Brian on a few occasions as result. I always found him to be incredibly nice, very, very funny and quite intelligent and interesting. These virtues would appear within the content of all of DAS’s music and is most evident on this debut. The opening track, “Christmas” is a sly indictment on the commercialization of the “Winter Break” and the rejection of the truth of the season. “Red” appears to be inspired by the story of Hosea and the harlotry of God’s people over the generations. I love the album’s finale, “Reach,” which is a very simply expression of worship in a somber and powerful way. It reminds the listener of the need to reach out to God in glory and honor.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Christmas – 3:35
2 – Amy – 3:41
3 – Dancing Without Touching – 3:25
4 – Vision – 3:35
5 – Hope – 4:35
6 – Dance With Me – 4:04
7 – Think Of Me – 3:16
8 – Red – 3:40
9 – Reach – 3:30

Credits
Backing Vocals – Annica Svensson, Brian Miller, Camille Miller
Bass, Guitar [Acoustic] – Mike Knott
Bass, Keyboards – Michael Saurerbrey
Executive Producer – Thom Roy
Guitar – Gym Nicholson
Guitar [Rhythm & Acoustic] – Chris Harvey
Keyboards – Jeff Sheets, Ojo Taylor
Mixed By – Brian Healy, Ojo Taylor, Thom Roy
Producer – Brian Healy
Recorded By – Brad Jeffers, Dave Hackbarth, Ojo Taylor, Scott Macklin
Synthesizer [Synclavier] – Whitney Quinn
Vocals – Brian Healy

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Dead Artist Syndrome
Copyright © – Dead Artist Syndrome
Produced For – The Points
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Recorded At – Neverland
Mixed At – Neverland
Published By – Blatant Christian Music
Published By – B-1 Music
Made By – Disctronics Group, United States – 112970

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Philadelphia – Tell The Truth – 1984

This was the first album from Philadelphia who were out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Apparently the band had been together for quite some time at this point (1984) and actually started in the late 70’s as a secular band. When I was researching this album I was surprised at the reviews. It seems like some people loved the album and some just liked it and a few definitely did not like it. I usually don’t see such a variety of opinions on an album. Well I fall in the like it to love it category. I know I would have loved this album in 1984 but I doubt it ever made it anywhere near Canada so I would never have heard it. Yes I agree with others that the production is thin but I can forgive that because I think the writing is excellent. There is an 8:43 song which I feel is a little over the top but it’s an OK listen. My favourite track is actually the one most people seem to hate. “No Time For Honey” definitely will make my regular rotation playlist, probably once a week.

Tracklist
1 – Tell The Truth – 4:53
2 – Livin’ In Love – 5:26
3 – No Time For Honey – 3:26
4 – No Compromise – 4:01
5 – Razor’s Edge – 5:01
6 – The Life Inside – 3:07
7 – New Jerusalem – 8:43

Credits
Bass, Vocals – Brian Clark
Drums – Brian Martini
Executive Producer – Bill Bafford
Guitar – Phil Scholling, Ronn Flowers
Layout, Design – Scott Waters

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Patmos Records
Manufactured By – Patmos Records
Distributed By – Patmos Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Patmos Records
Copyright © – Moona Music Company

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Mike Warnke – Alive! – 1976

This was Mike’s first album. Strangely I missed this one in the 80’s and just now listened to it. It was quite funny as I always think Mike is.

It should be noted that Warnke was revealed as a liar and fraudster in 1991 by Cornerstone magazine. This recording is offered as a historic record of what was being listened to in the Christian community in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Tracklist
1 – Preacher Lessons And Cookie Cutters – 3:49
2 – Tennessee Home And Blankety-Blank – 3:00
3 – Catholics And Hell – 1:13
4 – Bible Stories And Jonah – 2:59
5 – Do’s And Don’ts – 2:37
6 – The Occult – 1:39
7 – The Jesus Freaks – 6:33
8 – Scuzball – 3:27
9 – Catholics And Heaven – 2:20
10 – Suicide And The Gospel Trio – 1:57
11 – The Navy’s Number One Grade A Fruitcake – Wow! – 6:18
12 – Three To A Cubicle – 7:01
13 – The Gideon Bible And The Mop Closet – 2:29
14 – Like Yourself – 2:23

Credits
Engineer – Fred Cameron, John Mir
Liner Notes – Honeytree
Other [Introduction] – John Lloyd
Photography By [Photographer] – 20-20 Photographics, Inc., Ron Pinter
Producer – Paul Craig

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Superior Sound Studios
Mastered At – EMI

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Xalt – Dark War – 1988

Here’s another great Metal band out of Michigan. This was Xalt’s first album which I guess is technically a demo but is probably best described as self released. It was only released on cassette which is a pity because the quality was, well, questionable. The album was finally re-released in 2017 by Retroactive Records with 6 bonus tracks. I have heard however that the quality is still questionable. Doesn’t matter what format you want to distribute music on, it’s only going to sound at best as it’s source. Anyway we do have a pretty good Metal album here that leans commercial but not overly. If you only have time for one track try out “God In A Box”.

Tracklist
1 – The Cross – 3:13
2 – God In A Box – 2:49
3 – Where Victory Storms – 2:59
4 – Angry Fire – 3:59
5 – Ready For The Fight – 2:29
6 – A Warrior’s Honour – 2:43
7 – Looking Down A Loaded Gun – 4:13
8 – Palace Daydream – 2:06
9 – Soldiers In The Mist – 3:02
10 – Dark War – 5:11

Credits
Bass Guitar – Steve Davis
Drums – Todd Gleason
Engineer – John Frazier
Guitar – James Erdman
Lead Vocals – Scott Doerfler
Mixed By – Hank Horton, John Frazier, Xalt
Producer – Hank Horton

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Harvest Studios

Tom Howard & Bill Batstone – One By One – 1985

Some of the old gang from Solid Rock got together for this one minus Larry of course. Bill Batstone had helped out as a studio musician on several early Solid Rock projects and someone had the vision of him and Tom Howard doing an album. Excellent vision. This album works just perfect. Tom and Bill take turns on lead vocals and it works. The album has an excellent flow and their vocals compliment each other. The album was mixed by Mark Heard at his studio and the mix is perfect, but we came to expect that of Mark. The album is a mix of easy listening and light rock but their is something here for everyone. It’s a great rounded album and it definitely deserves a listen.

Tracklist
1 – When The Curtain Falls – 3:42
2 – Storm Moving On – 3:23
3 – Night And Day – 4:04
4 – Think On These Things – 3:53
5 – Heart of a Fool (Psalm 4) – 3:40
6 – Your Constant Love – 3:27
7 – He Took The Form Of Man – 3:23
8 – The Best Thing – 3:33
9 – Show Me The Shepherd – 4:43
10 – And He Heard Them Sing – 4:47

Credits
Arranged By – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard
Art Direction – Tim Alderson
Drums [Drum Overdubs] – David Raven
Engineer – Mark Heard
Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming [DMX] – Bill Batstone
Keyboards – Tom Howard
Mixed By – Mark Heard
Percussion – Harry Stinson
Photography By – Stewart Ivester
Producer – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard
Vocals – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – A&S Records
Copyright © – A&S Records
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Recorded At – Fingerprint Recorders
Mixed At – Fingerprint Recorders

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Larry Norman – Come As A Child – 1983

Come As A Child is a live solo set by Larry Norman released in 1983. It was probably recorded in 1982 or 83. This record is billed as a concert for the benefit of The Calcutta Mission. Very little information about that transaction is available, but we assume that a portion of the profits of record sales were used to help the poor in India. It starts out with an introduction by Barry MacGuire, who was a late convert to Christianity and had a huge hit with the spiritual song “Cosmic Cowboy.” Larry always seemed to have a heart for California Culturals who were willing to learn about Jesus. There seems to be no lasting connection between Barry and Larry other than this introduction. Evidently Barry really was a fan. The performance is good and is a great example of vintage Larry. The sound quality is not great, but better than some of the other bootlegs released by Phydeaux. Unlike Roll Away The Stone and Live At The Mac, this album is primarily an acoustic performance. He did a lot of those on tours during the 1970s as well as the ones near the end of his career. Always with his “Spanish guitar” and the contract specifying 2 microphones set at the same volume. One for him and one for the guitar. Nightmare and Peacepollutionrevolution are stand-out tracks here because he did not do them live all that often, and they do not normally show up in his acoustic sets. Some of Larry’s humourous banter is here introducing songs, and talking about salvation and what we now call “Chritianese” on his talk “Heaven And Hell.”

Tracklist
1 – Barry McGuire Introduction – 2:34
2 – U.F.O. – 3:01
3 – I Hope I’ll See You In Heaven – 5:17
4 – Why Can’t You Be Good – 2:38
5 – Singing At The White House – 2:54
6 – The Great American Novel – 4:09
7 – Nightmare – 4:52
8 – Six Sixty Six – 2:26
9 – Peacepollutionrevolution – 2:45
10 – The Outlaw – 3:01
11 – Heaven And Hell – 2:16
12 – Strong Love, Strange Peace – 2:54

Credits
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano – Larry Norman
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Written-By – Larry Norman

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Solid Rock Records
Mastered At – A&M Studios

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Barnabas – Find Your Heart A Home – 1982

Here’s the second album from Barnabas. It follows in the path of their first release but the production is much better. There was also considerable changes in the band lineup so that may have contributed to the improved sound. The album was initially released by Tunesmith Records in 1982 but Light Records worked out some kind of deal to re-release it in 1984. Barnabas had signed with Light in 1983 and released “Approaching Light Speed” so for some Barnabas fans they were getting the albums out of order. The album has been re-released twice since then. In 2000 it was packaged with “Hear The Light” and the 2 album on one CD was released by Millenium Eight Records. It was again re-released by Retroactive Records in 2017. It is a testament of this bands popularity that their albums keep getting re-released.

Tracklist
1 – Find Your Heart A Home – 4:44
2 – The Conflict Of Desire – 4:49
3 – Way To Destruction – 4:38
4 – Boogie Tyme – 4:26
5 – Swordsman – 3:47
6 – Southern Woman – 5:28
7 – Star – 7:50

Credits
Bass – Gary Mann
Cover Layout – Tim Varro
Drums – Kris Klingensmith
Engineer – Rick Hope
Lead Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner
Organ – Kris Brauminger
Piano – Kris Brauminger
Producer – Barnabas
Rhythm Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner
Synthesizer – Nancy Jo Mann
Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann

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Lone Justice – Shelter – 1986

Damn that Maria McKee can really sing. That may be the single greatest understatement in the first 370 post on this list. But really, if anyone can find a better way to express the sheer power, passion and presence of McKee’s vocal virtuosity, have at it. It was said co-Producer Little Steve (E Street Band) remarked that McKees vocal performance on “Inspiration” was the most powerful and passionate vocal he had heard since Bruce Springsteens “Adam Raised a Cain.” Mighty high praise indeed. And well deserved. More commercially appealing than the debut, Shelter infused a little more country rock and significantly less cow punk. It is better produced (in some spots a bit over-produced) and the songwriting is more accessible with superior ballads and a more consistent sound. It should have been the record to make Lone Justice rock stars. Rather, it became their swan song. I Found Love and Shelter were both that singles that just never broke through, though they ended being covered by a few CCM artists including Geoff Moore. But the real strength on this album is on the deeper cuts and ballads. Beacon, Belfry and Dreams Come True all rock with great guitar work and McKe’s emotive presence. And as mentioned earlier, Inspiration is just an emotional vocal tour de force with a once in a lifetime performance. The two side-ending ballads should also be noted. Wheels is a beautiful country song that should be covered by a more modern country female vocalist. The album closer, Dixie Storms, is just haunting and would point to the direction McKee would follow in her solo career.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – I Found Love – 4:15
2 – Shelter – 4:37
3 – Reflected (On My Side) – 4:57
4 – Beacon – 4:18
5 – Wheels – 5:05
6 – Belfry – 5:03
7 – Dreams Come True (Stand Up And Take It) – 4:06
8 – The Gift – 4:16
9 – Inspiration – 3:49
10 – Dixie Storms – 3:37

Credits
Acoustic Guitar [Additional], Rhythm Guitar [Additional] – Little Steven
Bass, Vocals – Gregg Sutton
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Janet Weber
Cover – Cooper Edens
Design – Kim Champagne
Drums – Rudy Richman
Engineer [Additional] – Bruce Lampcov, Don Smith, Greg Edward, Joe Borja, Nikko Bolas, Scott Litt, Shelly Yakus, Steven Rinkoff
Engineer [Assistant] – Craig Engel, Marc De Sisto, Michael Bowman, Rob Jacobs, Ross Stein
Guitar – Ryan Hedgecock, Shane Fontayne
Keyboards – Bruce Brody
Keyboards [Additional] – Benmont Tench, Charles Judge, Tommy Mandel
Lacquer Cut By – J. Webster
Management – Ice Cream Management
Management [Associate] – Tony Ferguson
Mastered By – Stephen Marcussen
Mixed By – Greg Edward (tracks: A4, A5, B1, B3, B4), Humberto Gatica (tracks: B2), Joe Chiccarelli (tracks: A2), Mike Shipley (tracks: A1, A3), Shelly Yakus (tracks: B5)
Photography By – Melanie Nissen
Producer – Jimmy Iovine, Little Steven, Lone Justice
Production Manager – Chuck Reed
Recorded By – Joe Chiccarelli, Robert de la Garza
Vocals, Guitar, Piano – Maria McKee

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – WEA Music Of Canada, Ltd.
Pressed By – Cinram
Recorded At – A&M Studios
Recorded At – Atlantic Studios
Recorded At – The Village Recorder
Mastered At – Precision Lacquer
Lacquer Cut at – McClear Place
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The David Geffen Company
Copyright © – The David Geffen Company
Printed By – Ever Reddy
Published By – Little Diva Music
Published By – Little Steven Music
Published By – Looking-Glass Feet Music
Published By – Black Platinum Music
Published By – Agreeable Music

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