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

Credits:
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

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

Credits:
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

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

Credits:
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

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

Credits:
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

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

Matthew Ward – Toward Eternity – 1979

Toward Eternity is Matthew Ward’s debut album. It has a decidedly 70’s sound but the guitar work of Phil Keaggy (yes that Phil Keaggy) gave the album some appeal to those of us more interested in an 80’s sound.

This album is a who’s who of CCM music. Appearing on this album were, Phil Keaggy, Michael Omartian, as well as Keith Green.

A rather stange appearance on the album was Ray Parker, Jr. of Ghostbusters fame. Writing credits went to several people in addition to Matthew.

Point of trivia on this album is that 5 of the songs were written by Matthews sister, Anne (Ward) Herring and the album was produced and engineered by Buck Herring, Anne’s husband, Matthews brother in law.

Track Listing:
1 – It’s All Right – 2:34
2 – Soft Spot – 3:42
3 – Noah’s Song – 3:56
4 – Till The Walls Fall Down – 2:29
5 – Gotta Do Better Than This – 3:23
6 – Your Love Came Over Me – 4:07
7 – Hold On – 3:10
8 – Angels Unaware – 2:26
9 – Summer Snow – 3:36
10 – The Vineyard – 2:18

Credits:
Vocals – Matthew Ward
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums – David Kemper
Guitar – Phil Keaggy
Percussion – Michael Omartian
Piano – Tom Keene
Design, Illustration – Larry McAdams
Lacquer Cut By – KPG
Photography By – David Pavol
Producer, Engineer – Buck Herring

Larry Norman – Barking At The Ants – 1981

This rather odd release from Larry Norman features 4 tracks of his own work on side 1 including a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman”.

Side 2 is a sampler of British acts signed to Solid Rock records. This album was not licensed so it received no airplay and I’m mystified about the legalities of covering a Bob Dylan song.

If you only have time for one song I would suggest Alwyn Wall’s “Doctor Doctor”.

Track Listing:
1 – Larry Norman – The Tune (Almost)
2 – Larry Norman – Why Can’t You Be Good
3 – Larry Norman – Just Like A Woman
4 – Larry Norman – Deep Blue
5 – Various – The British Invasion (Medley With Cliff Richard, Lyrix, Sheila Walsh, Bryn Haworth, Steve Scott, Alwyn Wall, Barratt Band)
6 – Lyrix – Don’t Turn Your Back On Jesus
7 – Alwyn Wall – Doctor Doctor
8 – Sheila Walsh – Love In My Life

Ever Call Ready – (self titled) – 1985

Ever Call Ready were a one album Gospel Bluegrass band.

The band was better known as the Flying Burrito Brothers and it appears they used this new name to put out a entirely gospel album. The album consists of several gospel covers as well as some original material.

All in all this is an excellent bluegrass album but doesn’t really leave us with a lasting reason to remember it. Trivia point for this album is that the lead singer of the band, Chris Hillman, is actually one of the original members of The Byrds.

Track Listing:
1 – River Of Jordan
2 – I’ll Be No Stranger There
3 – Don’t Let Them Take The Bible Out Of Our School Rooms
4 – God Loves His Children
5 – It’s Beginning To Rain
6 – Livin’ In The Name Of Love
7 – Boat Of Love
8 – Men Are So Busy
9 – I’m Using My Bible For A Road Map
10 – Panhandle Rag

Credits:
Bass – Jerry Scheff
Fiddle, Electric Guitar – David Mansfield
Lead Vocals, Mandolin – Chris Hillman
Resonator, Guitar, Tenor Vocals – Al Perkins
Tenor Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Bernie Leadon
Art Direction – Alex MacDougall
Design – Cluny Rakestraw
Executive Producer – Mary Neely
Illustration – Dave Swaney
Photography – Kent Lacin
Producer – Al Perkins
Recorded By – Daryl Zachman, Joe Bellamy

Larry Norman with Q-Stone – Live at Flevo – 1989

This album was recorded live during the Flevo Festival in the Netherlands in August 1989.

If you find Larry’s music to be a little too 70’s, here’s a much much more Rock & Roll sound.

The backup band is Q-Stone who are/were a Finnish blues rock band and surprisingly their sound goes well with Larry’s songs. Point of trivia on this album is that Larry’s brother, Charles provided guitar licks.

Track Listing:
1 – My Feet Are On The Rock – 4:10
2 – Nightmare #49 (Part One) – 3:00
3 – He Really Loves You – 4:33
4 – Letters To The Church – 4:00
5 – Medley (Everybody Work/Twist And Shout/Shout) – 6:30
6 – Twelve Good Men – 4:34
7 – Be Careful What You Sign – 4:58
8 – Why Should The Devil – 3:18
9 – Medley (Soon I Will Be Home/It’s Only Today That Counts/I Am A Servant) – 11:00
10 – The Outlaw – 3:50
11 – Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus – 3:58
12 – Rock That Doesn’t Roll – 5:24
13 – Medley (I Wish We’d All Be Ready/UFO) – 7:00
14 – Messiah – 5:25

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Elisabeth Ødegård, Maria van der Pol, Marian Lisland
Guitar – Charles Norman
Keyboards – Dan Cutrona
Saxophone – Dan Michaels
Vocals, Producer, Arranged By – Larry Norman

Jerusalem – Can’t Stop Us Now – 1983

Jerusalem’s 4th album “Can’t Stop Us Now” was a departure from their previous style.

Up until this album they had been a 70’s style rock band. Surviving in the 80’s required an updated sound and they easily achieved it. The new pop rock sound was poorly received by their regular listeners but gained new fans like myself.

The album sold much better than their previous offerings proving their direction change to be a good idea. My personal favourite was the heavily popped song “Let’s Go (Dancing)”.

Track Listing:
1 – Can’t Stop Us Now 4:02
2 – Loves You More 3:58
3 – The Wind Is Blowing 4:24
4 – Tomorrow’s World 5:34
5 – The Waiting – 4:33
6 – Let’s Go (Dancing) – 3:41
7 – Mourner’s Parade – 4:35
8 – Read Between The Lines – 4:08
9 – The Missing Piece – 3:43
10 – Heartbeat – 3:15

Credits:
Bass – Peter Carlsohn
Drums – Mikael Ulvsgärd*
Keyboards – Dan Tibell
Vocals, Guitar – Ulf Christiansson
Composed By – Ulf Christiansson
Layout, Design – Scott Waters
Producer [Produced By] – Andy Kidd
Remastered By – Rob Colwell