The Archers – Spreadin’ Like Wildfire – 1981

This album continued the transition of The Archers from the 70’s to the 80’s. They transitioned very easily and as CCM music grew in the 80’s so did the reach of The Archers. This album was released on MCA records and it was stacked with some very talented session musicians. The album did very very well and got a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary. The Archers also performed at The Grammy Awards that year performing George Ratzlaff’s “Everyday I’ve Got To Sing Some”. This was really the peak of their career. They continued on very strong but successfully releasing on a secular record label with a Grammy nomination was kind of hard to top.

1 – Spreadin’ Like Wildfire – 4:01
2 – I Never Knew Love – 4:02
3 – Sooner Or Later – 4:22
4 – Back In Your Arms – 4:45
5 – Everyday – 4:11
6 – Runnin’ Too Long – 4:13
7 – Care – 4:33
8 – Nothing Can Separate Us – 4:15
9 – Merry-Go-Round – 5:19
10 – Never Say Goodbye – 3:53

Arranged By [Strings And Horns] – Buddy Skipper
Art Direction – George Osaki
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Design – Randy Moses
Drums, Percussion – Alex Acuna, Larry London
Electric Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Engineer [Recording], Mixed By [Mixing Engineer] – George Michael Psanos, Warren Peterson
Horns – Buddy Skipper, Dennis Solee, George Tidwell, Roger Bissell
Keyboards – Dan Cutrona, Dony McGuire
Mandolin – Bill Kenner
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Photography By – Bob Duffy
Producer – Dony McGuire
Recorded By [Vocal Overdubs] – Willie Harlan
Saxophone [Solos] – Dennis Solee
Strings – Carl J. Gorodetzky, Conni L. Ellisor, Dennis W. Molchan, Gary Vanasdale, George Binkley, III, James R. Skipper, John David Boyle, Lenni Haight, Marvin D. Chantry, Roy Christiansen, Samuel Terranova, Sheldon Kurland, The Shelly Kurland Strings
Synthesizer – Dony McGuire, Shane Keister

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Sparrow Records
Pressed By – MCA Pressing Plant, Pinckneyville
Recorded At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Overdubbed At – International Automated Media
Remixed At – Sound Stage Studios
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios

Larry Norman – (almost) So Long Ago The Garden (but not quite) and the MGM Singles – 1980

So Long Ago The garden was part 2 of Larry’s famous trilogy, set between Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land.

In 1980, Phydeaux released something called “(almost) So Long Ago The Garden and the MGM singles”

This pressing has most of the same tracks as the original 1973 album, but there are a few differences:
1. “Up In Canada” is included, which was a radio single, but not part of the original album
2. “Christmastime” incldues a short intro by some sort of circus entertainer from the sound of it
3. The order of various tracks is changed. “Christmastime” leads of the album instead of “Fly Fly Fly”
3. “Peacepollutionrevolution” is included, which was not on the original album
4. “It’s The Same Old Story” is called “The Same Old Story” on this version
5. “The Same Old Story” is on both records, but with different lyrics
6. “Meet Me At The Airport (Fly Fly Fly)” is just called “Fly Fly Fly” on this version


1 – Christmastime
2 – Fly Fly Fly
3 – She’s A Dancer
4 – The Same Old Story
5 – Baroquen Spirits
6 – Up In Canada
7 – Be Careful What You Sign
8 – Lonely By Myself
9 – Peacepollutionrevolution
10 – Nightmare

Larry Norman – So Long Ago The Garden – 1973

This is the 20th anniversary edition of the CD, released in 1993. Being one of Larry’s seminal works, there were many versions of this album released, including at least two other CD releases with different bonus tracks. There were several vinyl versions released as well, including “Almost So Long Ago The Garden” which had only the highlights from this album, plus some other tracks added.

So Long Ago The Garden is part 2 of Larry’s trilogy, between Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land. These three albums contain a big part of his life’s work, and we find that compilations and live albums tend to draw on these three heavily.

It opens with “Fly Fly Fly” which is a song about the jet-set lifestyle of a rock star, in which he talks about having to leave his wife while away on trips. “Fly Fly Fly / My baby gets me high / I spend too much time in taxicabs / Please don’t ask me why”

Truthfully, Larry didn’t like to be asked “why” on certain things, so this song is probably more honest than it seems in a few places.

It opens with “I took a plane to Minnesota / To see my lady love” but in a live recording, it was captured as “To see my Pamela,” which is a reference to his wife at the time. Perhaps this song was meant to be a reassurance to her.

Same Old Story has a few different versions floating around. There are different studio recordings of it with different lyrics, all released in the 1970s. The differences are from things like “You hope she doesn’t break your heart” changed to “You know she’s gonna break your heart.”

Lonely By Myself became a classic for a lot of fans. As the title suggests, it’s one that is easier to listen to alone.

Notably, Soul Survivor was one track that isn’t included on all versions of the vinyl pressing, but it is on the original and on the CD re-releases.

The cover of this album went through some revisions. It’s a cut-out of Larry, essentially a silhouette, but filled in with a lion lying down, and the colour of the lion scene was close enough to a skin tone that people decided this might be a nude picture. It’s not really a picture at all, it’s an outline, and anyway it’s only from the waist up. The cover was changed for the benefit of sales in Bible bookstores, and then eventually the re-issues used the original cover again.

This one is Larry in his prime, and should not be missed.

1 – Fly Fly Fly
2 – It’s The Same Old Story
3 – Lonely By Myself
4 – Be Careful What You Sign
5 – Baroquen Spirits
6 – Christmastime
7 – She’s A Dancer
8 – Soul Survivor
9 – Nightmare #71
CD Bonus Tracks
10 – If God Is My Father (Rough Mix)
11 – Up In Canada (1973 Single)
12 – Dear Malcolm, Dear Alwyn (Demo)

Acoustic Guitar – Randy*
Acoustic Guitar [12 String Epiphone], Classical Guitar [Segovia], Piano [Steinway Piano], Electric Piano – Larry Norman
Backing Vocals – The Hollywood Street Choir
Bass – Dave*
Drums – Mike*
Guitar [Lead Guitar] – Mick*
Harmonica – Graham*
Percussion – Roger, Tony
Piano – Bob*
Piano [Steinway Piano], Organ [C3 Hammond Organ], Electric Piano [Wurlitzer Electric Piano], Clavinet [Hohner Clavinet], Synthesizer [Mini-moog Synthesizer] – Rod*
Producer – Jon Miller (4), Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Saxophone – Malcolm, Roger
Violin – Graham*
Written-By – Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill (tracks: B1)

Randy Stonehill – Return To Paradise – 1989

Randy broke out the acoustic guitar for this release but It’s not an acoustic album it just appears he stuck to the acoustic guitar for most tracks. The title “Return To Paradise” is a reference to his 1979 album “Welcome To Paradise” . This album is full of great performers. Phil Keaggy plays guitar on a few tracks, Mark Heard not only produced the album but played tambourine on a track. Derri Daugherty was involved with the engineering and David Edwards even wrote one of the songs. The lead track “Starlings” was only on the CD and not the cassette or vinyl. If you like Randy you’ll love this album. Realistically Randy never did a bad album.

1 – Starlings – 5:00
2 – Stand Like Steel – 4:55
3 – I Don’t Ever Want To Live Without You – 4:10
4 – This Friend Of Old – 4:00
5 – You Can Still Walk Tall – 5:00
6 – True Blood – 5:02
7 – Strong Hand Of Love – 2:54
8 – Christmas At Denny’s – 5:53
9 – Love Tells No Lies – 4:20
10 – Weight Of The Sky – 3:28
11 – Ready To Go – 4:44

Acoustic Bass – David Miner
Acoustic Guitar – Randy Stonehill
Backing Vocals – Pam Dwinell, Randy Stonehill (tracks: 3)
Bass – Mark Heard (tracks: 2, 9), Tom Willett (tracks: 7)
Bass [Fretless] – Bill Batstone
Drums – Doug Mathews
Engineer [Second Engineers] – Dan Reed, Dave Hackbarth, Derri Daugherty, Gary Gerhart, Stephen Padgett
Executive-Producer – Tom Willett
Fiddle, Viola – Joe Weed
Guitar [Classical] – Phil Keaggy (tracks: 3)
Mandolin, Accordion, Electric Guitar – Mark Heard
Pedal Steel Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar – Greg Leisz
Percussion – David Baker
Photography – Linda Krikorian
Producer – Mark Heard, Randy Stonehill
Recorded By, Mixed By – Mark Heard
Tambourine – Mark Heard (tracks: 7)
Twelve-String Guitar – Phil Keaggy (tracks: 9)
Vocals – Randy Stonehill
Written-By – David Edwards (tracks: 4), Mark Heard (tracks: 7), Pierce Pettis (tracks: 3), Randy Stonehill (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 to 11)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Fingerprint Recorders
Mixed At – Fingerprint Recorders
Recorded At – Neverland
Published By – Stonehillian Music
Published By – Word Music
Published By – Ideola Music
Published By – Let’s Have Lunch Music
Published By – Pease Farm Produce

Higher Power – Cast A Light – 1989

This is the second album from Higher Power who were an obscure band out of Canada. Their sound is more mid 80’s with a strong emphasis on keyboards though guitar rifts are still present. None of the band members seem to have worked anywhere but Higher Power. If you know anything more about this band please let us know.

1 – Man Of Sorrow
2 – Love You Forever
3 – Now I Believe
4 – Cast A Light
5 – Jesus Make Me Whole
6 – Rock On Which I Stand
7 – Give It All
8 – Could It Be Love
9 – His Name
10 – I Know
11 – One Day

Rick Carlson – Keyboards
Dave Dutka – Vocals
Mark Anderson – Vocals
Gord Boyce – Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Vocals
Bryan Boyce – Drums, Percussion
Randy Ritz – Bass

Dwayne Omarr – Holy Rock – 1985

Often it is said “I wish a secular label would have picked up a Christian artist. Well here is a time that did happen. This album is on a secular label. Critique wasn’t the largest label but it was an established secular label. Now if the cover isn’t a tell to the style of this album it’s best described as Rick James meets Prince. Now this is not a style of music I know a lot about but I thought this album was actually OK. It actually caught my attention. The single from the album was “Save The Children” which received some airplay but was really more of a cult favourite. This was the only album from Dwayne until 2011. Anyway I think it’s a pretty good album in a style that was rare in the Christian music scene.

1 – Holy Rock – 3:58
2 – Rockin’ For J.C. – 3:15
3 – Annointed One – 4:00
4 – Devastating Revelation – 3:00
5 – Would You Marry Me – 3:56
6 – Save The Children – 4:20
7 – God Bless America – 4:30
8 – Latter Days – 3:20
9 – Baby, Baby, Baby – 4:27
10 – New Superstar – 4:44

Arranged By, Producer, Written-By, Instruments, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Dwayne Omarr
Engineer – Jack Pinard, Pat Costa
Executive-Producer – Carl Strube
Producer [Production Assistant] – Richie Kraby

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Critique Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Critique Records, Inc.
Published By – Solid Smash Music
Recorded At – Eastern Sound Studios
Mixed At – Eastern Sound Studios
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Pressed By – Hub-Servall Record Mfg. Corp.

Stonewood Cross – Magic Man/Brand New Love 7″ Single – 1975

This single is all we got from Stonewood Cross which is a pity because these two songs rock. While there’s tons of Jesus Music there isn’t as much of the Southern Rock from the 70’s. This is a straight out Southern Rock effort and it is very very good. This single was self released but I am very surprised a label didn’t pick it up. I guess that’s the mystery of Jesus Music. Sometimes labels jumped other times they passed and with no discernible reasoning. At least we have these two tracks to enjoy.

A – Magic Man – 5:58
B – Brand New Love – 6:00

Larry Walters – guitar & lead vocal
Kurt Schrotenboer – guitar & vocals
Bruce Bos – bass guitar & vocals
Jack Meyer – drums & vocals

Charizma – Rock The World – 1985

Charizma originally started out as a punk band named “High Voltage”. With the change to hard rock/metal the name changed. In 1985 they were lent $15,000 to cut their first album. This is that album. The studio production was not the best which is a pity because these guys are pretty good. The album leans more hard rock than metal on most tracks and I took a liking to “God Bless Rock’N’Roll” but it is a little repetitive. It’s a song that was begging for a good cover version. This album has some interesting history. It was released in Poland immediately and that version of the album has a different cover. The original Swedish pressing was on white vinyl which is a little odd for a first release. The CD version of the album wasn’t released until 1990 by Magdalene Records who specialized in re-releasing previous hard rock/metal vinyl albums on CD. The CD featured two bonus tracks and they are included in this playlist.

1 – The Knights – 4:44
2 – Free From The World – 4:54
3 – Make Up Your Mind – 5:04
4 – Rock The World – 4:45
5 – God Bless Rock’N’Roll – 3:07
6 – Try It (Feel The Love) – 4:20
7 – On Your Own – 4:25
8 – Won’t Let Me Down – 4:12
9 – Where Do You Stand – 5:02
CD Bonus Tracks
10 – Turn Me On – 4:15
11 – Guardian Angels – 5:36

Artwork [Cover Painting] – Micke Arwidson
Bass, Lead Vocals – Bosse Nikolausson
Design [Cover Design] – Hakan Isefjord, Janne Nikolausson, Micke Arwidson
Drums, Vocals – Janne Nikolausson
Engineer – Janne Apelholm
Guitar, Vocals – Göran Nikolausson
Keyboards [Special Guest] – Hasse Engström
Photography By – Gunnar Swärd
Producer – Hasse Engström

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – OAL Studio
Distributed By – EMI
Lacquer Cut At – Cutting Room
Pressed By – Audiodisc AB

Graham Kendrick – Fighter – 1978

When I picked up this album to listen to I was somewhat optimistic based on the album cover. Wow was I wrong. This is a very easy listening album. Now lets be clear, It’s a good album but not an album I would normally listen to. I was unfamiliar with Kendrick’s work but I think I have a good understanding of it now. This album has a “fight” theme. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an album as heavily themed as this one. The songs are good and apparently several of Kendrick’s song have made their way into hymnals. Sheila Walsh also recorded the title track and had some success with it. Apparently some of the releases of this album were produced on a translucent vinyl which when held to light looked deep red. I am assuming this was supposed to represent blood.

1 – On The Frontline
2 – Sleeping In Gethsemane
3 – The Reluctant Disciple
4 – Night Comes
5 – Make It Soon
6 – Victory Is The Only Song I Know
7 – Often When The World Crowds
8 – The Story’s Just Begun
9 – God Put A Fighter In Me
10 – Battle Hymn

David and the Giants – Step In My Shoes – 1979

This was the third album from David and the Giants after their conversion to Christian music in 1977. They departed from their previous sound to a more subdued Jesus Music style for this album. This style did not sell well and this album was considered to be a bit of a failure. I will admit that it is not my favourite album by them but I really don’t consider it a failure. It’s just a bit of a different attempt by them. I think it’s well done and the songs are well written but I guess it just wasn’t quite the right time for this sound.

1 – I Love Him More Today (Than I Did Yesterday) – 4:16
2 – San Francisco – Help Is On His Way – 3:50
3 – Gonna Take A Ride – 4:25
4 – Israel – 5:15
5 – I’m In Love With Love – 4:02
6 – If You Ain’t Living For Jesus (You’re Just Dying) – 3:31
7 – He’s Got The World In His Hands – 4:22
8 – It’s Not A Dream – 0:45
9 – Lift Up Your Eyes – 4:27
10 – Step In My Shoes – 4:04
11 – The End Of Time – 5:14

Bass Guitar, Vocals – Clayborn Huff
Drums – Owen Hale
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Cymbal [High Sounding Cymbal], Piano, Synthesizer [Arp], Vocals – David Huff
Engineer – David Huff, Rayborn Huff
Keyboards [Fender Rhodes], Synthesizer [Arp, Korg, Polykorg], Organ, Vocals – Rayborn Huff
Mixed By [Re-Mixed By] – David Huff
Piano, Synthesizer [Arp], Vocals – Gerald Hagan
Producer – David And The Giants

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Huff Recording Studios, Laurel, MS
Pressed By – Houston Records – LH-18463
Pressed By – Houston Records – LH-18464