Altar Boys – (self titled) – 1984

Altar Boys’ self titled debut albut came out in 1984.

This California style punk was typical of what punk was at the time, although now we seem to have a lot of splinters of types of punk – melodic, thrash, pop, hardcore, metalcore, screamo, and more.

A lot of punk was poppy at the time, modeled after The Ramones, and sounding like a precursor to MXPX or Green Day.

Starting to play together around 1978, musicians that would later form the bands Undercover, Lifesavors, and Altar Boys (in that order) all came out of the same scene. Mike Stand and Ric Alba ended up in Altar Boys along with Jeff Crandall and Steve Pannier, while Mike’s brother was in Undercover, and Ric had previously done some playing with Lifesavors.

Ric also played with Undercover before Altar Boys. In the spirit of punk rock, these songs are all high energy and a lot of fun, a hallmark of Altar Boys from start to end.

Track Listing:
1 – Alright! – 2:24
2 – I’m Into God – 2:52
3 – Have A Clue – 2:36
4 – Where’s It Gonna Lead You – 2:24
5 – You Found Me – 3:46
6 – Take In The Son – 2:44
7 – Well O.K. – 2:36
8 – Good Life – 3:31
9 – Oh, Oh Nancy – 1:33
10 – We Love Jesus – 2:40
11 – It’s Up To You – 3:07

Art Direction – Alex MacDougall
Backing Vocals – Jeff Crandall, Mike Stand (2), O-Joe*
Design [Cover Design] – Debby Edwards
Engineer – Uncle Dave Hackbarth* (tracks: 12 to 15), Derald Daugherty*, Joey Taylor*
Executive-Producer – Bradley S. Hamilton
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Bass, Keyboards – Rick Alba*
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Drums, Vocals – Jeff Crandall
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Guitar – Steve Pannier
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Guitar, Lead Vocals – Mike Stand (2)
Photography By – Oh Oh Nancy
Producer – Joey Taylor*
Recorded By – Dan Willard (tracks: 4)
Saxophone – Bill Walden

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Russ Taff – Walls of Glass – 1983

This is the debut album from Russ Taff.

It is best described as an upbeat light listening album. Most tracks are rather typical 80’s gospel easy listening. That said “Inside Look” is much closer to Rock and Roll and served as the “single” for younger CCM listeners such as myself at the time.

It’s a well rounded album that was able to attract buyers from a broad range of CCM listeners.

Track Listing:
1 – Tell Them – 4:23
2 – Walls Of Glass – 3:57
3 – I Want To Change – 5:05
4 – Pure In Heart – 3:59
5 – We Will Stand – 4:37
6 – Jeremiah – 4:02
7 – Inside Look – 4:01
8 – Just Believe – 4:26
9 – Kathryn’s Song – 4:24
10 – Unto The Lamb – 2:42

Arranged By [Horns] – Jerry Hey
Co-producer [Production Assistant] – Janet Heard*
Engineer – Bill Schnee
Engineer [Additional] – Jack Joseph Puig
Engineer [Assistant] – Daniel Garcia
Engineer [Assitant] – David Schober
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Producer – Bill Schnee

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Darrell Mansfield – Get Ready – 1980

This was the first album using the moniker “Darrell Mansfield Band” It is actually the 3rd album from Darrell Mansfield. The first used the name “Gentle Faith” and the second was a self titled album.

The southern blues sound of this album was well received in the CCM community, though strangely the album was on a secular label, “Polydor”.

The lead track “Get Ready” sets the tone for the album and the album rocks from there on. In my opinion the track “Heaven Southwestern” is the “single” of the album.

Track Listing:
1 – Get Ready – 4:44
2 – Mr. Rock ‘N Roll – 4:08
3 – Above The Water – 6:18
4 – Billy Joe – 3:48
5 – Heaven Southwestern – 6:10
6 – Never Be The Same – 3:38
7 – Power Of Love – 4:15
8 – Life Saver – 5:02

Art Direction – Bob Heimall (AGI)*
Artwork [Cover] – Dan Sneberger
Bass – Charlie Souza
Bass, Vocals – Jimmy Perez
Design [Logo] – Tim Barela
Drums – Donny Vosburgh, Paul Angers
Engineer – Scott Spain, Willie Harlan
Engineer [Assistant] – Brook Johnson
Engineer, Mixed By, Mastered By – Richard Donaldson
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Anthony Dean (2)
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Guitar [12 String], Vocals – Dennis Carothers
Photography By – Chuck Schmid*
Producer, Keyboards, Synthesizer – Skip Konte
Vocals, Harmonica – Darrell Mansfield

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Randy Stonehill – Equator – 1983

There were moments when 1983’s CCM version of Weird Al Yankovic was Randy Stonehill. His sense of humour comes through on a number of songs in this collection.

Randy was a serious musician and had been for a long time. He has several very serious songs on this album, including the opener “Light of the World”, “China”, and “Turning Thirty.” However there is a good collection of novelty songs on this one. He always enjoyed hamming it up, going all the way back to “Lung Cancer” on his Welcome to Paradise album.

American Fast Food, Shut de do, Cosmetic Fixation, Big Ideas, are all fun songs but not light on message.

Track Listing:
1 – Light Of The World – 4:10
2 – Big Ideas (In The Shrinking World) – 4:37
3 – Shut De Do – 2:46
4 – Even The Best Of Friends – 4:52
5 – American Fast Food – 3:19
6 – China – 5:32
7 – Cosmetic Fixation – 4:17
8 – Turning Thirty – 3:49
9 – Hide Them In Your Love – 3:29
10 – World Without Pain – 3:54

Art Direction – Paul Gross (3)
Concept By [Album Cover] – Randy Stonehill, Terry Taylor
Engineer [Engineered By] – Thom Roy
Illustration – Kurt Triffet
Management – Ray Ware
Musician, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals – Randy Stonehill
Musician, Bass Guitar [Base Guitar] – Tim Chandler
Musician, Drums, Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Musician, Keyboards [All Keyboards] – Tom Howard
Photography By [Inner Sleeve Photography] – Charles Allen (7)
Producer [Produced By] – Terry Taylor

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Bryn Haworth – The Gap – 1982

This was the 2nd release in North America by Bryn though he had 3 UK only releases.

His first North American release did not have much success despite being on A&M Records. The Gap, however was a very successful album due in part to the quality of the backup band which was introduced as the “The Eric Clapton Band”. In reality the musicians had all played with Eric Clapton, but I think it was a bit of a stretch to call them the Eric Clapton Band. That said, they are a fantastic backup band and this album is fantastic and it ranks as one of my top 10 80’s CCM albums.

Track Listing:
1 – The Gap
2 – Egypt
3 – I Can Do All Things
4 – New World Coming
5 – It Would Have Been Me
6 – Power Of The Holy Spirit
7 – More Of You
8 – New Jerusalem
9 – No Time
10 – Send Down The Rain

Bass, Mandocello – Dave Markee
Design [Sleeve] – Phil Thomson (2)
Drums – Henry Spinetti
Engineer – Paul Cobbold
Keyboards – Chris Stainton
Percussion – Bruce Rowland
Producer – Bryn Haworth, Dave Markee
Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harp [Harpolek] – Bryn Haworth

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Idle Cure – Tough Love – 1988

The second release from Idle Cure doubled down on their first album.

Hard rock rifts and vocals return to give us another hard rock album. This album featured improved lyrics and slightly better vocals, likely due to improved engineering. In fact I would say the entire album had improved engineering.

Track Listing:
1 – Just Believe It 3:49
2 – Barter Mercy 4:18
3 – Frontline 4:06
4 – So Many Faces 3:36
5 – Hungry Hearts 4:02
6 – One For The Money 3:30
7 – How Long 3:55
8 – Runnin’ 4:01
9 – Draw The Line 3:19

Co-producer – Tim Heintz
Engineer – Dave Jahnsen
Producer – Bill Baumgart

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Leon Patillo – The Sky’s The Limit – 1984

This album from Leon Patillo was an easy listening effort.

Leon’s past work was varied, but his solo career had a “funk” sound, and that sound does come through slightly on this album. Prior to releasing Christian albums Leon was a member of several bands through the 70’s but the most prominent was Santana where he was the lead singer for 2 albums.

Track Listing:
1 – I’ve Heard The Thunder – 4:04
2 – Security – 4:04
3 – Life Is What You Make It – 3:57
4 – Come To Receive – 3:28
5 – J.E.S.U.S. – 3:58
6 – Love Calling – 4:30
7 – Fear Not – 4:07
8 – Sing Unto The Lord – 4:25
9 – The Sky’s The Limit – 3:43
10 – Small Still Voice – 4:27

Art Direction – Dennis Hill
Backing Vocals – Donn Thomas, Elisecia Wright, LaVoughn Thomas, Linda Evans
Concept By [Album Cover] – Jackie Patillo
Engineer [Assistant] – Biff Vincent
Photography By, Concept By [Album Cover] – Alan Bergman
Producer, Composed By, Drums, Bass, Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizer, Lead Vocals – Leon Patillo
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Skip Konte

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100% Proof – New Way of Livin’ – 1980

This is the introductory EP of 100% Proof.

It’s actually a 7 inch recorded at 33 1/3 which is relatively rare. This EP has a slightly more punk sound than there future releases.

Quality of the EP was an issue but I have cleaned it up as best as I could. There is relatively little information about this EP so I will just have to leave to listen and enjoy.

Track Listing:
A1 New Way Of Living’
A2 Looking In
B1 What’s The Cost
B2 Resurrection

Bass – Steve Harrison
Drums, Vocals – Phil Wright
Guitar, Vocals – Charlie Wilson
Guitar, Vocals – Steve Wright

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Rick Cua – Koo-Ah – 1982

Rick Cua is one of 49 members of The Outlaws over the past 6 decades or so. The “Southern rock” sound of The Outlaws translated somewhat into his solo career, but Rick has his own sound.

Rick left The Outlaws after turning to Christ and wanted to start making music with a message. He made several Christian albums, but never quite made it to household name status.

This debut from 1982 is a classic to me nonetheless. It reminds me of those teenage years spent listening to music in the basement, and all the time spent with friends back then.

Listening to it now, I think this was a greatly underrated record.

Track Listing:
1 – Fly Me To Heaven – 3:38
2 – Spirit – 3:53
3 – The Rock Was Rolled Away – 3:14
4 – Eternity – 4:07
5 – Heaven Was Made For Everybody – 3:34
6 – You Can Still Rock ‘N Roll – 3:01
7 – Crossfire – 3:19
8 – Just A Little Bit More – 3:56
9 – I Wanna Be Like You – 4:46
10 – Melt My Heart – 2:53

Backing Vocals – Diane Tidwell, Donna McElroy, Lisa Silver
Design [Album Design] – Bill Brunt
Drums – David Dix, Joe English
Engineer – Jeff Levine
Engineer [Assistant] – Haran Hunter, Jim Baird
Executive-Producer – Ray Nenow
Guitar – Freddie Salem, Will McFarlane
Lacquer Cut By – HW
Lead Vocals, Bass – Rick Cua
Percussion – Matt Greeley
Photography By – Larry Dixon
Piano – Mike Duke
Producer, Arranged By – John Rosasco, Rick Cua
Synthesizer – Alan Steinberger
Written-By – Greg Nelson, Rick Cua, Scott Roley

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Larry Norman – Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: Anthology – 2008

This double album was released on vinyl shortly after Larry’s death in 2008. I have a lot of different anthologies that he released over the years. White Blossoms from Black Roots being one of the ones that was meant to be career-spanning at the time. This one includes his real mainstays, the songs he became known for, and probably the ones that were his favourites.

It’s pressed on heavy vinyl and I’ve only played my copy a few times. I remember discovering each one of these songs decades ago, and I think that’s the point of the collection.

This would have been the last thing Larry worked on before he died. Larry wrote short descriptions for each song on this record in September of 2007. They are included in the liner notes pictured, check out the photo.

The opening track is the version of I Love You from his time with the band People!. The recording sounds a little 1969 because it is. This was a radio single at the time and would have been released under Columbia Records. After that, Larry struggled with releasing his music on his own with complete control, and there is probably a lot that we will never hear.

True to LN fashion, the back of the jacket lists 5 tracks on each side of disc 1, but there are 4 on side A and 6 on side B. The same thing happened on disc 2. Ha Ha World is listed as the last song on side A but it is actually the first song on side B. At least the record labels are correct. Not a big deal, but the details always seemed to be a killer at SR Studio.

The lead-out etching on side 1 of disc 1 says “Death is conquered while you slumber.” This is an obvious homage to Larry’s passing. He used that phrase many years earlier in liner notes and it seemed to come up here and there. The other half of the rhyme is “Seven is the perfect number,” which is etched in side 2 of disc 1.

The 20 songs in this collection come from only 6 different albums, and 6 tracks are from Only Visiting This Planet, and 5 are from In Another Land. Larry obviously considered this to be his core work.

The etching on side 3 says “quasioxymoron: numbers don’t count.” This is a riddle we saw in the liner notes of Something New Under the Son. We have our guesses about it but no official sources ever answered any questions about Larry’s most cryptic notes.

Side 4’s etching says “Only Visiting This Planet Larry Norman (1947-2008)” Fitting. And the 7 is backwards.

Track Listing:
1 – I Love You
2 – I’ve Got To Learn To Live Without You
3 – I Am The Six O’Clock News
4 – The Great American Novel
5 – Moses: A Blues Recital And Meditation Of 40 Years On The Road
6 – Peacepollutionrevolution
7 – Pardon Me
8 – Reader’s Digest
9 – Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?
10 – Baroquen Spirits
11 – Nightmare #71
12 – Watch What You’re Doing
13 – Without Love, You Ain’t Nothing (Righteous Rocker)
14 – The Outlaw
15 – Ha Ha World
16 – U.F.O.
17 – I’ve Searched All Around The World
18 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready
19 – Rosemary’s Baby (The Omen-666)
20 – The Sun Began To Rain

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