Randy Matthews – Plugged In – 1981

This 1981 offering from Randy showcases his ability to stay relevant in the 80’s.

Randy was an artist throughout the 70’s releasing 8 albums. This is his second album in the 80’s and his style was evolved without doing anything that would qualify him as a sellout.

I compared his previous album as having a Joe Cocker sound and Scott commented that it also had a Bob Seger feel. This album has a strong Seger sound with a lot less of a Cocker sound.

All in all an excellent album and if you can only listen to one song on the album I suggest the title track Plugged In.

Point of trivia, Steve Scruggs engineered this album and his brother Randy played guitar on the album. They were the sons of the legendary Earl Scruggs.

Track Listing:
1 – Plugged In – 3:42
2 – Ball & Chain – 3:50
3 – Can’t They See – 3:51
4 – Sooner Or Later – 3:21
5 – Hold Fast, Hold Tight – 4:04
6 – Over & Over – 2:43
7 – Prodigal Son – 3:13
8 – Loud Shroud – 3:44
9 – White Boat – 4:10
10 – Praise These Days – 3:41

Credits:
Acoustic Guitar – Randy Matthews
Backing Vocals – Bonnie D. Hatcher, Francine Belcher, Gary Scruggs, Kimberly D. Fleming
Bass, Backing Vocals – David McCaskell
Drums, Backing Vocals – Louie Weaver
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Randy Scruggs
Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals – Allen Holmes
Engineer – Steve Scruggs
Engineer, Mixed By – Tom Semmes
Executive Producer – Kent Washburn
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Gene Sisk
Producer – John Thompson

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In-3D – No Glasses Needed – 1985

This is the first of two albums from IN 3D.

If I had to describe the style of this album I would say it’s the Police with a little heavier guitar presence. That said, this band definitely had their own style.

Really this band should have had more success than they did. The lyrics and music are really well done.

If you only want to listen to one song from this album I would suggest “Under My Umbrella”.

Point of trivia about this album is that Glen Kaiser (of Rez Band) contributed some of the guitar tracks and you can pick it out on some tracks.

Track Listing:
1 – Livin’ In The Real World – 3:47
2 – Neurotica – 0:24
3 – Just One Question – 3:03
4 – Can’t Stop – 3:13
5 – Please No – 4:25
6 – Lookin’ To You – 3:40
7 – Under My Umbrella – 3:54
8 – It’s Up To You – 2:37
9 – Memories Of A Man (Playin’ The Game) – 3:19
10 – Never Again – 3:56
11 – Goin’ On (Separate Planes) – 4:01
12 – Exit 47 – 1:00

Credits:
Jon de Fincher – Songwriter, Guitar, Vocals
Larry Duttmer – Drums
Glenn Kaiser – Guitar
Mike Kroell – Drums
Todd Moriarty – Drums
Nail – Songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
James Neave – Songwriter, Bass, Lead Vocals
Jeff Pollard – Background Vocals

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First Strike – Rock of Offence – 1984

Rock Of Offense was the first and only full-length release from First Strike.

First Strike were a hard rock christian band from Sacramento, California and formed in 1979. As I said the band was hard rock, not like Stryper but more in line with Def Leppard but with less of an anthem sound.

In my opinion they did what they did extremely well. I personally can’t stand the album cover and I’ve read that the band was of this opinion also. Point of trivia about this album is that it was produced by Michael Roe who is a member of the 77’s.

Track Listing:
1 – Out of Control – 3:03
2 – Hurt by Love – 3:00
3 – I Want You – 3:52
4 – Loneliness Kills – 3:41
5 – Hard Times – 3:21
6 – Slow Poison – 5:31
7 – Your Love – 4:06
8 – Dirty Loving – 3:25
9 – Prisoner – 3:24
10 – Money – 3:35

Credits:
Pat Boylan – Songwriter, Guitars, Background Vocals
Johnnie Delaney – Songwriter, Drums
John Golden – Mastered
Steve Griffith – Assistant Producer, Engineer, Background Vocals
Tony Gunn – Vocals
Tim Larkin – Songwriter, Guitars, Background Vocals
Mary Neely – Executive Producer
Michael Roe – Producer, Background Vocals
Chris Salmon – Songwriter, Bass
Eric Volz – Executive Coordinator, Background Vocals
Daryl Zachman – Engineer

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Lifters – (self titled) – 1983

The Lifters were a rockabilly/50’s style band that showed up with this self titled EP in 1983.

In an era where the Stray Cats were popular this album filled a gap in Christian music.

With only 3 members this band put out a legitimate rockabilly sound. Too many musicians always seem to ruin this style of music.

Point of trivia on this album is that Darrell Mansfield supplied the harmonica tracks for the album.

Track Listing:
1 – Living Water
2 – Baby Left Me
3 – Bucket of Blues
4 – Eternity Bop
5 – I’m Yours
6 – He’s My Lord

Credits:
Antwan Adams – Horns
Chris Brigandi – Songwriter, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Eddie Espinosa – Songwriter, Guitars
Dave Hackbarth – Horns
Kass – Bass Fiddle, Electric Bass, Background Vocals
Mark Kirschak – Songwriter
Michael Knott – Songwriter
Darrell Mansfield – Harmonica
Brian Ray – Songwriter, Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Ojo Taylor – Songwriter, Piano
Bill Walden – Horns
Dan Willard – Producer

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Servant – Rockin’ Revival – 1981

Servant turned it up a notch for their second album Rockin Revival. Bob Rock returned to engineer the second album and gave it a much more refined sound.

The album again bounced around with a few different styles, but they all came together and were placed in a logical order on the album.

The album finished off with what I believe would have been the single (if Christian albums had singles), I’m Gonna Live.

Point of trivia is that the song, Jealousies, was a cover of an Eddie Money song and he is credited.

Track Listing:
1 – Babylon 4:03
2 – Rockin Reival 4:18
3 – Isolated 4:13
4 – Heidleburg Blues 3:00
5 – Listen 3:00
6 – Jealousies 3:47
7 – Suburban Josephine 3:53
8 – Ad Man 3:33
9 – I’m Gonna Live 5:33

Credits:
Owen Brock – Songwriter, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals
Sandie Brock – Songwriter, Percussion, Lead Vocals
Bob Brooks – Producer
Mike Fraser – Assistant Engineer
Bob Hardy – Percussion, Lead Vocals
David Holmes – Songwriter, Drums, Background Vocals
J. Lyon – Songwriter
Rob Martens – Bass, Background Vocals
Eddie Money – Songwriter
Rex Off – Songwriter
Doug Pinnick – Songwriter
Bob Rock – Engineer
Matt Spransy – Polymoog, Prophet 5, Oberheim Synthesizers, Piano, Hammond Organ
Bruce Wright – Songwriter, Lead Guitar, Talk Box

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Barnabas – Approaching Light Speed – 1983

The metal decade gave us a lot of gems and Barnabas is one of them.

This is the band’s third album, much more refined than their first two. From day one the band showed potential, and with this release the production quality shot up dramatically.

Nancy Jo Mann’s solid vocals shout out over some hard marching guitar riffs and a tight band. Even on “If Love Brings Love” with a piano part that would be Layla’s little cousin, the driving guitars won’t let you forget where you are and what decade this is.

Track Listing:
1 No Freedom 4:30
2 Stormclouds 4:39
3 If Love Brings Love 4:03
4 Waiting For The Aliens 6:10
5 Warrior 3:55
6 Never Felt Better 3:20
7 Subterfuge 5:47
8 Crucifixion 5:59

Credits:
Bass, Keyboards – Gary Mann
Cover [Cover Art] – Kernie Erickson
Drums, Percussion – Kris Klingensmith
Engineer – Tom Tucker
Engineer [Additional Technical Assistance] – John Hurst
Guitar – Brian Belew
Photography By – Dennis Mabie
Producer – Barnabas, Tom Tucker
Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann

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Elim Hall – Things Break – 1986

Elim Hall was a Canadian band that was a bit of a surprise in 1986.

There debut and only commercial release album. Things Break, was more in tune with secular music at the time.

Most compared their sound to the Police and I can definitely hear the similarities. I don’t believe they were a Police wannabe band however. I believe the style of guitar playing was similar, leading to the similarities.

They did self produce a second album, but as far as I can tell it never had a retail release. All in all this is without a doubt one of the best mid 80’s CCM releases. Oh and the cut Things Break is supposed to end like that.

Track Listing:
A1 Hypothermia 3:15
A2 Erosion 3:12
A3 The Park In Spring 3:00
A4 At The Falls 3:55
A5 Things Break 3:27
B1 Inside Out 3:26
B2 Let’s Play Science Says 3:00
B3 Moved 3:31
B4 Testimony 4:15
B5 My Flag Always Fades 3:47

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Glenn Teeple, Steve Marsh (3)
Bass – Ross Teeple
Drums – Steve Marsh (3)
Guitar – Glenn Teeple
Keyboards – Glenn Teeple
Lead Vocals – Ross Teeple
Performer [Elim Hall Is] – Glenn Teeple, Ross Teeple, Steve Marsh (3)
Producer – Gary Chapman, Tim Marsh

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DeGarmo & Key – No Turning Back (Live) – 1982

This 1982 release from The Degarmo & Key Band was required listening in the early 80’s.

Recorded in Oklahoma City, OK, this album sold very well and was a must have in every CCM listener’s library.

The album ranged from an acoustic guitar cut or two, a strong blues song, a rather odd bass solo cut, and lots of Rock and Roll.

Track Listing:
A1 – Light Of The World 3:58
A2 – Go Tell Them 3:52
A3 – Stella, This Ain’t Hollywood 3:21
A4 – When He Comes Back 3:01
A5 – Jericho 4:44
B1 – Alleyways Of Strife 4:06
B2 – Mary 2:54
B3 – Wayfaring Stranger 3:40
B4 – Bass Solo 3:00
B5 – Enchiridion 1:50
B6 – Long Distance Runner 4:30
B7 – Matter Of Time 4:55
C1 – Emmanuel 7:27
C2 – Oklahoma Blues 6:08
C3 – Preacher I’ll Need A Friend 5:56
D1 – Over And Over 3:45
D2 – Let Him Help You Today 9:25
D3 – Love One Another 3:50
D4 – I Have Decided 3:20

Credits:
Art Direction, Design – Bill Brunt
Bass, Vocals – Tommy Cathey
Drums – Greg Morrow
Engineer – Malcolm H. Harper Jr.*
Engineer [Road Engineer] – Chris Taylor (11)
Guitar, Vocals – Tony Pilcher
Illustration – Tracy Britt
Lighting Director – Jimmy Taylor (10)
Management – Dan Brock Associates
Mastered By – Larry Nix
Mixed By [Monitor Mix] – David Knight (3)
Photography By [Backcover] – Vernon L. Gowdy III
Photography By [Inside] – Larry Dixon (2)
Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Mixed By – Ed DeGarmo*
Producer, Lead Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mixed By – Dana Key
Producer, Mixed By – Dan Brock*
Production Manager [Concert Productions By] – Darlene Brock
Recorded By [Recording Crew] – Mason Harlow, Paul Stutz
Stage Manager – Terry Mackie

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Steve Taylor & Sheila Walsh – Transatlantic Remixes – 1985

Steve Taylor released yet another 12″ in 1985, continuing his highly productive streak that started with his debut in 1983.

This 12 inch EP from Steve Taylor & Sheila Walsh features 3 songs.

The first is an excellent duet cover of a David Edwards song. Track 2 is Sheila Walsh covering/reworking a classic Bryn Haworth song and rounding our the EP is a remix of Steve Taylor’s This Disco (Used to Be a Cute Cathedral).

 

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Sweet Comfort Band – Hearts of Fire! – 1981

Hearts of Fire is the 4th studio releases from Sweet Comfort Band.

While their previous release “Hold on Tight” had been met by many reviewers with a yawn Hearts of Fire was very well received. The album was more upbeat and had a more “80’s” feel.

It was also a bit more cutting edge due to plenty of lyrics to a broader group of issues, something relatively rare for albums of this period.

Track Listing:
A1 Isabel 4:08
A2 You Can Make It 2:44
A3 They Just Go On 3:34
A4 The Road 3:49
A5 Feel Like Singin’3:32
B1 Now Or Never 3:33
B2 Can You Help Me? 3:50
B3 Contender 3:10
B4 Just Like Me 2:47
B5 You Need A Reason 3:16

Credits:
Acoustic Guitar – Bob Bennett
Bass [Alembic] – Kevin Thomson
Concertmaster, Violin [Solo] – Doug Cameron
Design, Illustration – Kernie Erickson
Drums, Vocals – Rick Thomson
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Randy Thomas
Engineer [Assistant] – Bobby Gerber, Chip Orlando, Mike Wambsgangs*
Mastered By – Mike Reese
Photography By [Inner Sleeve] – Alan Bergman
Piano, Keyboards [Prophet 5], Vocals – Bryan Duncan
Producer, Piano [Acoustic], Electric Piano [Rhodes], Keyboards [Prophet 5], Organ [Hammond], Percussion, Handclaps, Arranged By [String & Horn] – David Diggs
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Jack Joseph Puig
Saxophone, Flute – David Boruff
Saxophone, Flute, Tenor Saxophone [Solos] – Jim Coile
Trombone – Alan Kaplan
Trumpet – Larry Hall, Ollie Mitchell

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