Dion – Only Jesus – 1981

This was Dion’s 3rd Christian album. It followed pretty closely in the path of the first two but did concentrate more on the teachings of Christ rather than the misgivings of his own personal life. There really isn’t much more to say about the album. I do not mean this to be disrespectful but let’s face it, most Dion albums sound similar and are rinse and repeat. Now I’m not saying it’s a dull album, in fact it’s a good album as were all of Dion’s albums in my opinion.

1 – Hearts Made Of Stone – 3:58
2 – The Best – 3:29
3 – Sweet Love Of Jesus – 4:18
4 – It’s Gonna Rain – 3:35
5 – Only Jesus – 4:30
6 – Train For Glory – 3:32
7 – Thank You Lord – 3:07
8 – Sailing Ahead Of The Wind – 4:51
9 – Puttin’ On My Crown – 3:29
10 – Greater Is He – 4:12

Alto Saxophone – Jeff Kirk
Arranged By – Dion DiMucci (tracks: A4)
Artwork By – Rick Garcia
Backing Vocals – John Sambataro, Kitty Woodson
Bass – Jeff Caswell
Co-producer, Keyboards, Harp – Paul Harris
Co-producer, Recorded By, Engineer – Eric Schilling
Congas – Santos
Design – Jim Osborn
Drums, Percussion – Joe Galdo
Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals – Tony Battaglia
Engineer – George Gomez
Lead Guitar – George Gomez (tracks: A1)
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Photography By – Alan Messer
Producer, Arranged By, Acoustic Guitar – Dion DiMucci
Synthesizer – Reed Arvin, Ron Taylor
Tenor Saxophone – Charles Chalmers
Written-By – Bill Tuohy (tracks: A1), Dan Beck (tracks: B5), Dion DiMucci (tracks: A1, B2, B3, B5), John Fowler (tracks: A2), John Hanley (tracks: A5), Bob Smith (tracks: A3, B1, B4)

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Bayshore Recording Studios
Mixed At – Bayshore Recording Studios

Mike Warnke – Higher Education – 1982

The humour continues as Mike is joined by his wife, at the time, for his 6th album.

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.

Art Direction – McConnell Graphics
Engineer – Carl Frost
Engineer [Second] – Eric Tarleton
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer – Neal Joseph

Companies, etc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Mastered At – Masterfonics

Ariel – Ariel – 1986

This is going to be a very brief description as there is very little known about this band. They were from Victoria Canada and they self released this album in 1986. That’s all I can find. It’s a Metal album which in places actually leans Hard Rock. It’s quite good and I’m a bit surprised it wasn’t picked up by one of the local area labels as there were a couple in that area of Canada. If you’re a Metal head you’ll probably like this one so take the time to give it a listen.

1 – Take Hold – 4:54
2 – Draw Close – 2:59
3 – Set Me On Fire – 3:10
4 – Psalm 139 – 3:18
5 – Prince Of Life – 3:07
6 – Fight For Your Life – 4:51
7 – Love Not The World – 4:43
8 – The Gathering – 4:19
9 – The Second Coming – 3:57

Bass Guitar – Bruce Davies
Drums – Steve Sawatsky
Engineer – Tony Moskal
Lead Vocals – Steve Satkowski
Producer – Tony Moskal
Vocals – Lisa Sawatsky
Vocals, Guitar – Ron Willies

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Victoria’s Legacy Sound Studios, Victoria B.C.

Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart – Brand New Start – 1982

While Mylon grew up playing Gospel music in his family band he decided to go the secular music route. He had some success in the 70’s and became well known in the industry. With that success came a somewhat rougher lifestyle than Mylon was familiar with. In 1980 Mylon came back into the fold after attending a Second Chapter of Acts concert. He actually became a janitor at his church in Atlanta, Mt. Paran Church of God. Nothing like a bit of humbling to move you to a stronger relationship with God. Mylon contacted Degarmo & Key as he wanted to enter the CCM industry and subsequently did some writing and sang backup on their “This Ain’t Hollywood” album. In turn Degarmo & Key stepped up to help Mylon with this album. Interestingly the band was assembled from his bible study group at his church and in 1982 this album appeared on the market. Now I do have to make bit of a disclaimer. If you are familiar with MYlon’s work later in the 80’s this album is going to be a little different. While it is well written and played it leans far more Easy Listening than his later work. So if you don’t care about that sit down and give the album a listen and hear where it all started over for Mylon.

1 – Stranger To Danger – 4:46
2 – Child Of The Father – 3:33
3 – You Comfort Me – 2:47
4 – Waitin’ On Heaven – 3:25
5 – Broken Heart – 4:30
6 – The Light – 3:58
7 – Our Desire – 3:35
8 – To Be Real – 3:03
9 – Inner Mission/A Brand New Start – 5:03

Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Jack Holder
Backing Vocals – Debbie Cathey, Jimi Jamison
Drums – John Hampton
Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion – Joe Hardy
Engineer – Joe Hardy
Guitar – Mike Adams
Lead Guitar, Classical Guitar, Resonator Guitar [Dobro], Congas – Dean Harrington
Mastered By – Larry Nix
Organ, Synthesizer – Ed DeGarmo
Piano, Keyboards [Rhodes], Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Stan Coates
Producer – Dean Harrington, Joe Hardy, Mylon LeFevre
Saxophone – Andrew Love
Trombone – Ben Cauley
Trumpet – Jack Hale
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Phil Driscoll (tracks: B2)
Vocals – Mylon LeFevre

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Recorded At – Axis Sound Studio
Recorded At – Mastersound Studios, Atlanta
Mastered At – Ardent Mastering

Farrell & Farrell – Jump To Conclusions – 1985

Farrell & Farrell fans often consider this to be their best album. By the measure of fun this is definitely their best album. By the measure of CCM chart hits it was not strong. The lack of CCM magazine hits is a testament to it being a good album in my opinion. It is a fun pop oriented album and the track “People in a Box” received very heavy airplay. Personally I don’t think the track aged very good and I find it a tad annoying but then again it’s not in the 80’s anymore. The track was pretty good in the proper era. Degarmo and Key step in again to give this album their signature guitar and keyboards and adding the Farrell’s vocals is a very good combo. As I said the album only had the one CCM magazine hit. “Heart In The Right Place” only made it to #21 on the charts.

1 – Jump Up – 4:04
2 – People In A Box – 3:31
3 – Split Second – 3:33
4 – American Man – 3:51
5 – The Sting – 3:52
6 – Heart In The Right Place – 3:15
7 – Hungry Eyes, Thirsty Hearts – 4:06
8 – Shakedown – 4:27
9 – The Meek And The Mighty – 3:03
10 – I Belong To Him – 3:18

Arranged By [Arrangements By] – Carl Marsh
Art Direction – Dave Rogers
Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Farrell, Dana, Farrell
Drums, Percussion – Cromwell
Engineer [Engineered By], Mixed By – John Hampton
Executive-Producer – Dan R. Brock, Darrell A. Harris
Guitar [Additional Guitars] – Dana Key
Guitar [Guitars], Keyboards – Demus
Illustration – Jeff Sanson
Keyboards – Robins
Keyboards [Additional] – Carl, Ed
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Photography By – Dean Dixon
Producer [Produced By] – Bob Farrell, Ed DeGarmo
Vocals – Farrell, Farrell

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Star Song Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Records
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Mint Productions
Engineered At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Pressed By – Electrosound Los Angeles
Published By – StraightWay Music
Published By – Elenbee Music
Published By – Mint To Be Music
Published By – Paragon Music
Published By – Warner Bros. Music
Published By – Bob Montgomery Music Inc.

Kenny Marks – Right Where You Are – 1984

In the world of Christian pop music more than a handful of artists bounded on the scene without the songwriting credentials, artistic acumen and lyrical insight…and they sold a ton of records. Other like Kenny Marks made a name for themselves and sold a decent amount, but never attained the popularity their quality work deserved. Often favorably compared to Bryan Adam and Richard Marx, Kenny Marks was a singer-songwriter that plied his trade in the CCM world and should have done much better. His songs combined the popular and common themes of mainstream CCM with a twist or difference that set him apart. he would also deal with subjects either taboo or poorly communicated in other settings. He may be most noted for his trilogy of songs that surrounded the relationship between a Johnny and a Jeannie. Two High School sweethearts that date, marry, have a child and divorce. Though a later album would bring Johnny back as a character, it is the three songs on three records in a row that are of most note. That trilogy started here with “Growing Up Too Fast.” The albums biggest hit was the title track, a stirring ballad about God’s undying love and forgiveness. “One Small Voice” reminds the listener of God’s attempt to speak to us in the small things in a busy and loud world. “Single-Minded Love” addresses the loneliness and difficulty of being a single adult within the walls of the Church. Marks had a decent little career, but it should have been stronger and lasted longer. There were three of four fantastic albums released throughout the mid-80’s that still deserve repeated listening.

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

1 – Right Where You Are – 4:11
2 – One Small Voice – 3:17
3 – Prisoner – 4:57
4 – It’s Incredible – 3:21
5 – Gift From God – 4:10
6 – Growing Up Too Fast – 4:00
7 – Single-Minded Love – 3:45
8 – Still Be Believing – 3:20
9 – You’re The Best – 3:40
10 – Sing For Joy – 3:11

Art Direction – Bill Brunt
Backing Vocals – Denny Henson, Kenny Marks, Pamela Marks, Patti Leatherwood, Randy Guidry
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Dennis Holt
Engineer – Kyle Lehning
Engineer [Assistant] – Doug Sarrett
Engineer, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Guitar – Jon Goin
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Terry McMillan
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Keyboards [Mini Moog Bass], Backing Vocals – Keith Thomas
Saxophone – Mark Douthit

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Mixed At – Gold Mine Studio
Mastered At – Mastermix
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

Robert Vaughn And The Shadows – Love And War – 1987

One of the great crimes in the history of CCM was the sudden disappearance of Robert Vaughn and the fact that this amazing record was all but ignored. It may be the most significant AYSO on this entire list! There have been a few different incarnations of Robert Vaughn with different backing band names, but the husky, edgy and utterly unforgettable voice is pure Vaughn. Labeled initially as Americana rock and roll and compared to Springsteen, Mellencamp and Petty, there is much more originality here and a totally different musical landscape. Musically the most immediate comparison I ever mention is Hothouse Flowers with the soulful, expressive music and vocal stylings. This album was part of the short-lived Exit Records/IRS experiment that saw only The 77’s receive any deep distribution. This album and the self-titled Charlie Peacock never really saw the light of day, let a lone placement in Tower Records. That is a shame as RVaTS could have been a great success given any support for radio and touring. I saw them once at a showcase with Charlie Peacock and The 77’s and, if not for Mark Tootle’s guitar smashing antics, RV may have stolen the show. He was great live and much more passionate musically then even what appears on this great project. Everyone I know that owns this album has asked not “if” this album will make the list, but rather “where” as for those who own it know it is a total no-brainer for the album to be included. The rest should find a way to track it down!

1 – Spanish Rebels – 3:03
2 – Justice – 5:24
3 – Palace Of Tears – 4:22
4 – Dreaming Fields – 1:38
5 – Love And War – 4:37
6 – Love Came Falling – 3:00
7 – Nights On Fire (Bye Bye Moon) – 4:41
8 – December – 3:50
9 – Bordertown – 2:05

Acoustic Guitar – Anthony Daluz, Robert Vaughn
Backing Vocals – Anthony Daluz, Leo Corriea, T.J. Tindall
Bass – Doug Boone
Coordinator – Jan Volz
Drums – Greg LaRocco
Electric Guitar – Anthony Daluz, Robert Vaughn
Engineer [Additional] – Daryl Zachman, T.J. Tindall
Engineer [Assistant] – Rick Slater
Executive-Producer – Mary Neely
Flute – Steve Kocherhans
Guitar – T.J. Tindall
Keyboards – Steve Kocherhans
Mixed By – Eric Calm
Organ [Hammond] – John Nau
Percussion – Bongo Bob Smith
Piano – John Nau
Producer – T.J. Tindall
Programmed By – Bill Coe
Recorded By – Michael W. Harris
Sampler – Bill Coe
Sampler [E-mu Ii] – John Nau, Robert Vaughn
Saxophone – Steve Kocherhans
Violin – Linda Cummiskey
Vocals – Robert Vaughn

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Island Records
Distributed By – MCA Records
Published By – Sangre Productions
Mixed At – Quad Recording Studios
Recorded At – Western Audio
Recorded At – Mix Masters
Recorded At – Sacred Tone

Ron Moore – Dauntless – 1983

Ron Moore is not an artist I was familiar with in the 80’s which is a bit surprising as he has 8 albums in the 70’s to early 90’s time period. Now after listening to the album it is unlikely I would have purchased the album as it was not my style of music but I still should have been aware of him. Even though it’s not my style it’s very well done which is all the more reason I should have heard of him. It is a mix of AOR and Easy Listening and Ron’s guitar work and vocals are excellent. It almost has a folk sound in places and his style could have compared to Cat Stevens (your mileage may vary). One final reason I should have heard of this album/artist is that it was released on blue vinyl. While this was a gimmick in the 80’s, it’s a gimmick that drew me like a moth to a light. All in all it’s a great album from a great artist and I look forward to listening to some of his other work. By the way if you’re interested in getting a copy of his music most of it is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

1 – Sarasota – 4:18
2 – Master Plan – 2:23
3 – Deep Magic – 2:34
4 – Givers And Takers – 3:57
5 – Forgiving – 2:22
6 – The Road Forever – 3:53
7 – Waiting – 4:04
8 – Faith In Action – 2:23
9 – Stand Your Ground – 2:57
10 – Star Chasers All – 4:51
11 – Don’t Take Long – 2:34
12 – Champion – 3:27

Vocals – Ron Moore
Acoustic Guitar – Ron Moore
Electric Guitar – Ron Moore, Jim Thomas, Charlie Swanogon
Bass – Ron Moore
Synthesizer – Ron Moore, Kerry Moore, John Lawry, Dennis Ikler, Howard Eddy
Percussion – Ron Moore, Michael Addison
Drums – Walter Martin, Dennis Holt
Background Vocals – Albrecht, Roley & Moore, Ron & Kerry Moore, Scott Roley, Pat Quinn, Michael and Audrey Henderson, Sandy Wynn, Jim Thomas, Kerri Evans
Graphics – Kerry Moore
Back cover photo – Kerry Moore
Cover concept – Ron Moore, Dennis Preston, Kerry Moore
Cover illustration – Dennis Preston
Mastered by – George Graves
Producer – Ron Moore
Engineer – Bill Deaton, Bob Dennis, Ron Moore
Horse Rider – Pauly Hubbard

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 evolving 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

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

Deliverance – Deliverance – 1989/2008

Deliverance was another band coming out of the California metal scene in the mid 80’s. They had a demo in 1987 that was very well received and then got two tracks on the first California Metal compilation. Then they got a deal in 1988 with Intense Records for this 1989 release. Though they are usually better known for their second album this album was well received but there was only a short pressing so there wasn’t as much promotion. The album ranked at No. 3 on Heaven’s Metal fanzine Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time. The album was also well received in the secular metal community though I think it could be better referenced as having a secret secular fan club. The album was produced by Bill Metoyer who was working with top secular metal bands of the period. The album was re-issued by Retroactive Records in November of 2008 with new album artwork and “Attack” and “A Space Called Your” as bonus tracks. This playlist includes those two tracks. It was again re-issued in 2017 by Roxx Records & No Life ’til Metal Records with the same two bonus tracks.

1 – Victory – 3:44
2 – No Time – 4:28
3 – Deliverance – 3:03
4 – If You Will – 3:03
5 – The Call – 3:40
6 – No Love – 3:30
7 – Blood of the Covenant – 4:50
8 – Jehovah Jireh – 3:35
9 – Temporary Insanity – 5:25
10 – Awake – 6:03

2008 Bonus Tracks
11 – Attack – 3:54
12 – Space Called You – 3:45

Art Direction – Ed Taggart
Bass – Brian Khairullah
Cover [Cover Concept By] – Deliverance
Drums – Chris Hyde
Executive-Producer – Caesar Kalinowski
Guitar – Glenn Rogers
Music By [All Songs By], Vocals, Guitar – Jimmy P. Brown II
Producer – Bill Metoyer
Remastered By – Rob Colwell

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Intense Records
Copyright (c) – Intense Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group
Recorded At – Mixing Lab A
Recorded At – Mixing Lab B
Published By – Broken Songs
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia