There are a handful of families who could possibly lay claim to being the “First Family of CCM” including the Wards, Rambos, Winans, Cruze’s and the Archers. There was a time from the late 1970’s until the mid-80’s that the Archers were the biggest thing in CCM. Not too many CCM artists can claim to be invited to the Grammy Awards during that time, let along being asked to perform on the program…twice! The siblings of Steve, older brother Gary and little sister Janice recorded several albums, hit the top of the charts regularly, toured extensively and were the face of CCM for many years. One of their albums will also appear later on this last. In the early 80’s Steve was wanting to broach a solo career while maintaining a schedule with the family’s music plans. His first release “Solo” was warmly received and caused enough reaction to call for a follow-up. That follow-up was “Through His Eyes,” an album that, for the time, would be considered a “mega-hit” record with strong sales, topping the CCM sales chart and unbelievable radio support. It also featured what many people consider the first legitimate music video in CCM. Most albums start with an upbeat tune to grab the listener’s attention. Archer went against the norm and started with the title track, one of the few songs in CCM to deserve the “classic” title. The ballad was huge…I mean HUGE! Despite its sugary string arrangement (I want to blame Chris Christian) the song actually has an emotional center where concern for the lost and hurting around us is authentic. The song is call for those disenfranchised to see themselves as Christ sees them. This was not the normal “Jesus makes me happy” lyric that dominated (still?) Christian radio. Archer’s “blue-eyed soul (is that term overused enough?) is reminiscent to Hall and Oates (I’ll Do My Best) or a softer Bryan Duncan (Believe It). The album is filled primarily upbeat pop numbers and strong, radio friendly ballads. Archer bridge a generational gap and was a safe artists within Church circles, which allowed him to benefit from programs like “Hour of Power” and other national programs. This only increased his fan base. This fan base carried him for several more years both as a solo artist and with his family. I understand that music critic elitist simply do not understand the world of pop music and shutter when certain genres receive recognition. But within every genre are artists who are clearly superior in their craft. In the world of family and Church safe CCM no artists in his generation matched what Archer was able to accomplish.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Through His Eyes Of Love – 4:20 2 – Safe – 4:08 3 – I’ll Do My Best – 3:48 4 – Holy, Holy – 4:11 5 – Believe It – 3:52 6 – Renew Me Lord – 3:30 7 – Teach Me To Be Like You – 4:19 8 – New Heart – 4:10 9 – Must Be You – 4:47 10 – Unless God Builds Your House – 3:21 11 – Eye Of The Storm – 4:01 12 – Blood Of Jesus – 3:26
Credits Bass – Nathan East Drums – John Robinson Executive-Producer, Producer – Chris Christian Guitar – Dann Huff, Michael Landau Keyboards – Robbie Buchanan
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Copyright (c) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Manufactured By – LCS Music Group, Inc. Distributed By – LCS Music Group, Inc.
This was the first of 3 albums from Love Chapter Band. Again I am having a difficult time finding out anything about the band. I do know they were from British Columbia Canada and the album was released on New Born Records, a sister label to Tunesmith. Of note on the album is the title track which is a cover of 1976 Gentle Faith (Darrell Mansfield) song “Livin in the Sonshine”. Other than that I have nothing I can tell you about them or the album.
Tracklist 1 – Where Will You Go – 4:48 2 – The Sacrificed Lamb – 4:56 3 – Joy Comes – 3:34 4 – No More Reasons – 5:01 5 – Jump In – 1:53 6 – Just A Prayer Away – 3:00 7 – God’s Will – 3:21 8 – Make Me An Instrument – 4:11 9 – Livin’ In The Sonshine – 2:39
This was Larry’s second and last album. He turned it way up for this album from his previous AOR release. This is a solid Pop/Rock album and is very well done. It was produced by Joe Huffman and this may be the most Rock & Roll album he ever produced as he regularly produced Jimmy Swaggart albums. The memorable track on this album is “Frog In A Box” and while a very quirky name it’s actually a pretty good song. I kind of wonder why I hadn’t heard it before listening to this album just recently. This is another one I missed in the 80’s but I’m very happy I discovered it now.
Tracklist 1 – Frog In A Box – 5:42 2 – Once You Give Your Heart Away – 4:11 3 – Mighty Love – 4:09 4 – Silent Movies – 5:22 5 – Life Goes On – 3:55 6 – Won By One – 3:14 7 – Let The Praise Begin – 3:10 8 – Sometimes I’m Samson – 3:40 9 – East and West – 3:53 10 – My Soul Waits In Silence – 5:05
Credits Reed Arvin – Synclavier/Extra Keyboards, String and Horn Arrangements Larry Bryant – Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Background Vocals John Bryant – Background Vocals Kimber D. Cherry – Songwriter Jon Goin – Guitars Mark Hammond – Drums Joe Huffman – Producer Gary Lunn – Bass Marty McCall – Background Vocals Niki Mikals – Engineer Phil Naish – Keyboards Mike Psanos – Re-mix Engineer Lisa Whitford – Songwriter
I will admit very limited knowledge of Carson Cole either before or after the release of this legitimate Americana rocker record on Frontline Records back in 1987. I remember that he was from Canada and that Mike MacLane of Frontline was a huge John Mellencamp fan and kept telling me about Carson long before the album came out. Painted with the same striped as Mellencamp, Springsteen, Mark Farner, Robert Vauhgan and even 38 Special, Carson Cole and RU4 delivered a driving and rocking American heartland project. The title track has a killer rock groove and Cole’s slightly rough edged vocals combining to create a decent Christian rock radio hit. Themes on the album are common Christian fair for the time but without the common vernacular that caused mainstream listeners to miss the point. But there are also theme of guilt, depression, infidelity, forgiveness and the all too common apocalyptic elements. A personal favorite is Kingdom Come, and fun rocker with Dylanesque vocals and an E Street vibe complete with sax solo.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Credits Keyboards – Carson Cole, John Garau, Doug Doyle Guitars – Cole Carson, Mike Stand Lead Guitars – Greg Flesch, Doug Doyle, Mike Stand, Carson Cole Bass – Tim Chandler Drums – Martin Zinger Sax – Alan Palmer Background Vocals – Walter S. Harrah, Bobbi White, Maxayne Moriguchi Producer – Carson Cole, Doug Doyle, Terry Taylor
This was the first studio album from The Newsboys. They had got a deal from Refuge records but it would end up being a one album deal as this album was not well received. Lucky for the band Star Song picked them up so their career could continue. I’m actually quite surprised this album didn’t do better. It’s a pretty good pop album and certainly as good as most of the CCM stuff at the time. I suspect this may have been more of a problem with distribution and/or promotion. Like I say the talent was there and these guys went on to be one of the top CCM bands of all times as far as sold albums is concerned and they are still going strong today. This album included 4 tracks from their demo so if you had their demo this album wasn’t really a good deal but the songs were reworked.
Tracklist 1 – I Got Your Number – 4:45 2 – Listen For The Shout – 3:20 3 – Lighthouse – 3:16 4 – It’s Joy – 3:48 5 – You’re Still There – 3:06 6 – Read All About It – 4:46 7 – Hold On Tight – 3:57 8 – Never Surrender – 4:09 9 – The Big Time – 3:56 10 – He’s Coming Back – 3:48
Credits Bass Guitar – Sean Taylor Drums – Peter Furler Guitar – Phil Yates Lead Vocals – John James Producer – Tommy Sims
After two releases on Canada’s Tunesmith label that featured a very eclectic combination of punk, funk, metal and blues, Barnabas signed to Light Records (home of Sweet Comfort and Resurrection Band) and unleashed a fury of heavy metal onto the CCM world that was light years ahead of the industry. Young guitar virtuoso Brian Belew plays with a Van Halen flair and the music is pure heavy metal for fans of Triumph and Van Halen. Production was also superior for the time with real guitar mixes and a wall of sound type vocal production. This was very big sounding, especially for the day. Nancy Jo Mann’s vocal can be an acquired taste for some with a little Grace Slick with more passion and power, but on this album it works quite well. There are some very interesting musical interludes such in the case of “If Love Brings Love” that starts with just an acoustic piano and slowly builds into a huge wall of guitars and becomes a rock anthem in the truest sense of the term. The call of the Gosepl is proclaimed with brilliant clarity. Waiting for the Aliens is a 6-plus minute epic that, like many artists lyrics during the time, deals with a particular view of end times replete with Marks, Antichrists and a deception of the world that will cause everyone to believe aliens have taken over the world. This is borrowed from many popular prophecy prognosticators and was not a rare hypothesis. the song rocks though! The album ends with another epic that is more progressive rock in nature than the rest of the album with several musical and time signature changes. “Crucifixion” also features a bass solo, which is so “old school” that it’s almost shocking to hear now even though it was not the peculiar for the time. The songs is a wonderful, well arranged and powerful depiction of the passion in a borderline rock opera type setting. By the way…the album cover rocked!
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
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
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
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
Published By – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Recorded At – Triad Studios, Des Moines
Mastered At – Future Disc
Philadelphia were one of the early Christian metal acts starting out in 1982 though they had been together previously as a secular band called Survivor. This is their second album and was about as poorly as their first which wasn’t good. That reception was not due to the quality of the music, it was due to the early fear of heavy metal music in the Christian genre. Personally I think the album was perfect for the era and I’m surprised it wasn’t better accepted. The original vinyl and cassette are very rare but no numbers were published. Lucky for Philadelphia fans the album was re-released for the first time in 2000 by Millenium Eight Records. This release was limited to only 1500 copies and included 5 new tracks. “Please My Love” and “Kids in America” were recorded during a reunion in 1999, while the 3 live songs, “Warlord”, “Razor’s Edge”, and “One Way Out” were recorded at the Cornerstone Christian music festival in 1986. This playlist includes those tracks. The album was again re-released in 2019 on Roxx Records. This release had reworked album art which is a huge improvement over the original poor art.
Tracklist 1 – Search And Destroy – 6:02 2 – Bobby’s Song – 3:51 3 – Oh My Boy – 5:10 4 – Judgement Day – 3:51 5 – Mirror Man – 3:08 6 – Fastrack – 4:32 7 – Showdown – 4:27 8 – Decision Time – 5:56
2000 CD Release Bonus Tracks 9 – Please My Love – 5:22 10 – Kids In America – 3:55 11 – Warlord – 7:26 12 – Razor’s Edge – 5:57 13 – One Way Out – 5:06
Credits Bass, Vocals – Brian Clark Drums – Brian Martini Executive Producer – Bill Bafford Guitar – Paul Scholling, Ronn Flowers Layout, Design – Scott Waters Mastered By – Rob Colwell
At this point in time the Imperials had the whole hit album thing down to a fine art and Dayspring/Word Records was in full profit mode even getting 2 albums out in 1979. The Russ Taff legacy was taking a strong foothold and they were churning out the radio hits. This album had 3 singles. The big one was “I’m Forgiven” which got stuck at #1 for an amazing 13 weeks. “What I Can Do For You” and “One More Song For You” peaked at #12 and #10 respectively. Of real note on this album is Michael Omartian coming on as producer and song writer. Personally this album just wasn’t that impressive to me. I really shouldn’t argue with radio success but at this point the guys could have put out an album of them all snoring and it would have been a #1 hit. CCM radio was only interested in playing tried and true performers and no one was more tried and true than the Imperials. That said I admit there was some good stuff coming on future albums when luckily they had to compete with up and coming acts that turned the electric guitar up past 3. That said to the normal Imperials fan this is a good album and I am sure they quite enjoyed it.
Tracklist 1 – What I Can Do For You – 2:59 2 – I’m Forgiven – 3:54 3 – All My Life – 3:24 4 – Living Without Your Love – 3:27 5 – Eagle Song – 3:14 6 – Closer Than Ever – 4:23 7 – One More Song For You – 4:38 8 – Higher Power – 4:20 9 – More Like You – 3:30
Credits Backing Vocals [Additional] – Marti McCall, Myrna Matthews, Stormie Omartian Bass – Abraham Laboriel Concertmaster – Assa Drori Congas – Victor Feldman Design [Album Design], Photography By – Bob Anderson Drums – Paul Leim Engineer [Additional] – Jack Lees, John Banuelos Engineer, Remix – John Guess Guitar – Marty Walsh Horns – Chuck Findley, Dick Hyde, Jackie Kelso, Steve Madaio Horns, Soloist [Saxophone] – Kim Hutchcroft Mastered By – Bernie Grundman Performer – Armond Morales, David Will, Jim Murray, Russell Taff Producer, Arranged By, Keyboards, Percussion – Michael Omartian
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc. Copyright (c) – Word, Inc. Published By – See This House Music Published By – Word Music, Inc. Published By – Norman Clayton Publishing Published By – I.A.M. Music Recorded At – Jennifudy Studios Recorded At – Hollywood Central Recorders Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
This was Bryan’s last album on Modern Art Records which I think was his own label as he is pretty well the only artist on it. This is another strong pop album from him and falls in line with this album’s predecessors. I liked most the tracks but was a bit taken aback by “Don’t Ya Wanna Rap”. It reminded me of a Jazzy Jeff Rap song but after listening to it a few times I came to think it’s just a fun silly song and now I kind of like it. The album did very well on the charts with 4 singles. Strong Medicine made it to #2, Let Me Be Broken to #3, Stand In My Place to #5, and Wonderful barely edged on at #30. Pretty successful album which probably helped lead Bryan to a record deal with Word/Myrrh Records.
Tracklist 1 – Let Me Be Broken – 4:13 2 – Recognize A Lover From A Thief – 4:20 3 – Stand In My Place – 4:19 4 – Strong Medicine – 5:07 5 – Don’t Ya Wanna Rap – 3:55 6 – Inside Out – 4:25 7 – Lies Upon Lies – 3:00 8 – Hand It Over – 4:14 9 – Wonderful – 3:52
Credits Backing Vocals [Obvious Female Vocals With Phyllis] – Edna Wright Backing Vocals [Obvious Female Vocals] – Phyllis St. James Co-producer, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Songwriter [Songwriting], Arranged By [Arrangements], Engineer [Additional Engineering “the Executioner”] – Chuck Barth Creative Director [Creative Direction] – Jim Fitzgerald Creative Director [Creative Direction], Art Direction – Gary Whitlock Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Jeff Park Graphics – Gina Phelps Management [Personal Management] – Ray Ware Artists Mastered By – Bernie Grundman Other [Stunt Double For Bryan] – Brad Duncan Percussion – Dave Romero Photography By – Stew Ivester Producer, Engineer, Arranged By [Arrangements], Recorded By, Mixed By – Larry Brown Programmed By [Additional Programming] – John Stenstrom Songwriter [Songwriting], Arranged By [Arrangements], Other [Direction], Concept By [Album Concept], Keyboards – Bryan Duncan
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Modern Art Records, Inc. Copyright (c) – Modern Art Records, Inc. Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Distributed By – Word, Inc. Recorded At – 440 Sound Recorders Mixed At – 440 Sound Recorders
I really can’t find much on Hope but I will summarize what I did find but with no claim of it’s accuracy. Hope was a Canadian artist who went into the studio in 1987 or 1988 to record this excellent album. It has a great female pop sound and quite frankly I am surprised I can’t find out more about it. The album was produced by Roy Salmond who produced some of the best Canadian artists at the time and had some good albums of his own. Apparently Hope toured with Sheila Walsh in on Walsh’s Canadian tour as well as African Sonrise and Connie Scott on various dates. That’s about all I can find but this is an excellent album so give it the love it deserved in 1988 when it came out.
Tracklist 1 – Love Comes Along – 3:52 2 – Can’t Give It (If You Don’t Have It) – 3:59 3 – Standing In The Shadows – 3:59 4 – You Will Not Leave Me – 3:08 5 – I Remember – 6:37 6 – Oh The Distance – 3:10 7 – The Way Things Are – 4:12 8 – Arms Up – 5:17 9 – Don’t Keep On Running – 4:37 10 – Never Let Us Go – 4:28
Credits Backing Vocals – Hope, Roy Backing Vocals [Additional] – Donny Hackett (tracks: 6), Gayle Salmond (tracks: 6) Bass – Miles Hill (tracks: 7) Design, Layout – Nancy Yeasting Drums, Percussion – Daryl Bennett Engineer – Gary Tole Engineer, Mixed By – Dave Slagter Executive-Producer – Bill Sterling, Mark Sterling Guitar – Dane DeViller Keyboards, Bass, Drum Programming [Drum And Percussion Programming], Guitar – Roy Salmond Mastered By – Bernie Grundman Photography By – Francis Cheng Producer, Arranged By – Roy Salmond
Companies, etc. Recorded At – Inside Trak Studios Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering