Lewis McVay – Coming Attraction – 1984

Nearly a decade after releasing one of the most classic, definitive Jesus Music albums, Sail on Sailor, with his band Mustard Seed Faith and some six year since releasing his first solo album “Spirit of St. Lewis” Lewis McVay released an amazing record that was only hampered by being part of a label that was about to fold. From the creative cover to the phenomenal musicianship on the album, every song works and works well. Combining many different genres all within the framework of pop/rock with touches of new wave and soulful jazz, there is also a hint of the sounds also explored by labelmates Prodigal. Christian radio was very responsive to the mid-tempo ballad “Someday” which sounds nothing like the rest of the album and is uncanny how much it sounds like a David and the Giants ballad. It is also the only over the top syrupy CCM song on the entire album and seems like it was written just for the radio. That is really the ONLY song not up to par with the rest of the album. The rest of the album is really that good. There is not a weak song to be found anywhere. Highlights include the title track, Moon Eyes and You Can’t Fool Me. This is a serious AYSO and one can only hope to find one to own. You don’t want to know what I paid for mine 20 years later!

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

1 – Moon Eyes – 4:03
2 – Coming Attraction – 2:25
3 – Can’t Fool Me – 3:43
4 – It’s Real – 3:52
5 – Someday – 3:39
6 – I Need You – 3:34
7 – Running – 3:00
8 – Is Everything Possible? – 3:46
9 – Can’t Live Without Your Love – 3:56
10 – Working Man – 3:06

Backing Vocals – Bill Batstone, Darrell Cook, Jon Phelps, Kay Roebuck, Keith Edwards, Lewis McVay, Ronda Taff, Ted French
Bass – Darrell Cook, Greg McNelly
Co-producer – Lewis McVay
Drums – Keith Edwards, Larrie Londin
Electric Guitar – Bill Batstone, Jon Goin
Engineer – Greg McNeily, Jonathan David Brown
Engineer, Mixed By – Gary Platt
Keyboards – Jeff Lamms, John Shriner
Lead Guitar – James Cloke, Jon Goin, Wayne Braust
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Lewis McVay
Mastered By – Mike Fuller
Mixed By – Greg McNeily
Photography – Dianne McVay
Producer – Jon Phelps, Ted French (tracks: B4)
Saxophone – Ronnie Eades
Synthesizer – Loyd Boldman, Rob Watson, Shane Keister

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – McVay Publishing
Copyright (c) – Between The Lines Music

Ben Antell Band – Waters – 1982

Ben Antell Put together this Finnish band in 1980 and they set to learning and rehearsing several songs Ben had written. In 1981 they went into Rexi studio where they recorded this album. As they were paying for the studio time they kept it to two days but this meant that many songs had to be completely recorded “Live”. The album “Waters” was subsequently released in Sweden, Finland, and Canada. Unfortunately the studio burnt down so the only remaining copy of the studio recording was on 1/4 inch tape. They were able to remix it as best they could do and it has been re-released on Spotify and other locations. I would describe it as having a late 70’s sound with very strong lead guitars. This was all we got from them apart from a 2006 release but it’s worth taking the time to listen to.

1 – You’re So Real – 3:50
2 – Au 24 – 3:18
3 – Nardus Op2 – 7:42
4 – Waters – 6:39
5 – Quo – 4:31
6 – Always One – 4:38
7 – The Calling Of The Night-Bird – 7:21
8 – Mountain “I Am” – 6:04

Mikko Rintanen – Keyboards
Sixten Sandvik – Drums / Percussion
Henrik Berg – Bass
Heikki Koivisto – Lead Guitar
Ben Antell – Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Crumbächer – Incandescent – 1985

Though often assumed to be a German band Crumbacher was actually a U.S. band whose lead singer’s name was Stephen Crumbächer. Incandescent was recorded as a short demo but when Broken Records heard it they requested the band cut a few more songs to make it a full length album. Crumbacher were probably the first synthpop band in the CCM genre. There’s really not much to say about this album, it had a German synthpop sound and was actually quite good for this style of music. Point of trivia is that the album was produced by Ojo Taylor from the band

1 – Understudy – 3:25
2 – Infrared/X-Ray Eyes – 4:16
3 – Glowing In The Dark – 5:12
4 – So Strange – 5:41
5 – It Don’t Matter – 4:45
6 – Jamie – 4:46
7 – Sweet By And By – 3:29
8 – Track You Down – 5:16

Backing Vocals – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Jimmy Wisner, Stephen Crumbächer
Design [Cover], Layout – Ed McTaggart
Drums – Jimmy Wisner
Effects [Sepecial Effects Compositing] – Ken Baley
Guitar – Dan Hohulin
Keyboards – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer
Lead Vocals – Stephen Crumbächer
Mixed By – Chris Taylor
Photography By [Back Cover] – Rich La Salle
Photography By [Front Cover] – Bill Valenzuela
Producer – O-Joe Taylor

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Broken Records – 1985
Copyright (c) – Broken Records – 1985
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Sound Affair
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios

Messiah – Final Warning – 1984

This 1984 album is another example of early Christian metal. At the time the genre was still being downplayed by record companies and distributors. Because of this the vinyl version of this album is highly sought after due to it’s very short run. It is rumoured that the vinyl run was limited to 1000 copies so they can command up to $1000 now. Luckily Retroactive Records re-released the album on CD in 2010 so you can get a copy more easily. This was Messiah’s first official studio release though there had been demo’s. This is a true metal album and in my opinion was ahead of its time. While not my style this is a great band that knew what they were doing. The production on the album was a little weak but in a way that makes it sound even better.

1 – Who’s To Blame – 3:02
2 – Outta Control – 4:25
3 – Where Are You – 4:03
4 – The Choice – 3:37
5 – Heavenly Metal – 5:42
6 – Mistaken Identity – 4:50
7 – Keep Searching – 4:17
8 – Lucifer – 6:04
9 – Final Warning – 5:46

Bass – Pete Smoltz
Cover, Artwork, Layout, Illustration – Mike Demske
Engineer – George Hellow
Engineer [Assistant] – Chuck Reynolds
Keyboards – Dan Knowles
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Scott Wood
Lead Vocals – Chuck Gugel
Management – Nutcracker Productions Co. Inc.
Percussion – Keith Behnke
Producer – Chuck Gugel, Scott Wood
Written-By – Chuck Gugel, Mike Lopez (tracks: B3, B4), Pete Smoltz (tracks: A2, A5), Scott Wood (tracks: A1 to B2)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Viniculum Music Publishing Inc.
Copyright (c) – Viniculum Music Publishing Inc.
Distributed By – Nutcracker Productions Co. Inc.
Produced For – IHM Records
Recorded At – Polaris Recording Studios

Amy Grant – In Concert Volume Two – 1981

This was the second of 2 albums featuring Amy Grant in concert released in 1981. It was recorded at Mabee Hall in Tulsa Oklahoma and Lloyd Noble Center in Norman Oklahoma. It featured four “new” songs: “I’m Gonna Fly”, “You Gave Me Love” which was a cover of a BJ Thomas song, “Fill Me With Your Love”, and “Nobody Loves Me Like You” which was a song by DeGarmo & Key and featured DeGarmo & Key. Wikipedia states “Although the two should have been issued as a double album, budget problems forced the two to be released separately.” This is absurd, there was no shortage of money at Myrrh and A&M for their gold mine performer so I’d love to hear the real reason.

1 – I’m Gonna Fly – 4:11
2 – Too Late – 4:41
3 – So Glad – 4:23
4 – You Gave Me Love – 3:17
5 – Fill Me With Your Love – 2:44
6 – What A Difference You’ve Made – 2:33
7 – If I Have To Die – 3:31
8 – That’s The Day – 3:29
9 – Look What Has Happened To Me – 3:12
10 – Keep It On Going – 1:03
11 – Nobody Loves Me Like You Do – 3:26

Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Billy Sprague
Backing Vocals – Dave Durham, Gary Pigg, Jan Harris, Teresa Ellis
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Gregg Morrow
Electric Guitar, Vocals – Dana Key
Engineer [Recording and Mix Engineer] – Jack Joseph Puig
Executive-Producer – Dan Harrell, Mike Blanton
Keyboards – Eddie DeGarmo
Photography By [Cover Photo] – Glen Wexler
Producer – Brown Bannister
Recorded By [Mobile Recording] – Malcolm Harper
Remastered By – Steve Hall
Synthesizer [Oberheim] – Gerry Peters

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Amy Grant Productions
Copyright (c) – Amy Grant Productions
Licensed To – Sparrow Records
Distributed By – EMI CMG Distribution
Recorded At – Mabee Center
Recorded At – Lloyd Noble Center, Norman
Remixed At – Mama Jo’s
Remastered At – Future Disc
Pressed By – Cinram, Richmond, IN

Justus – Someone’s Waiting – 1986

The Pahl brothers and Donny Hackett are back with Justus’s second album. For this album they switched over to Star Song records but it appears to me that the album suffered the same fate as their first album which was a lack of promotion. This album is fantastic and I just don’t understand how it wasn’t a big success. The first album being with Tunesmith I wasn’t surprised but this album was with a much larger label and should have been much better promoted. I still can’t find out too much about this Canadian band but I continue to love their work and fully recommend this album.

1 – Won’t Let You Go – 3:09
2 – To Find A Way – 3:09
3 – Rumours – 2:51
4 – That’s Not For Me – 3:07
5 – Give Us A Burden – 4:34
6 – Surrender – 3:05
7 – No One Cares – 4:08
8 – Someone’s Waiting – 2:32
9 – Take Me Home – 4:38

Drums, Vocals, Keyboards – Kevin Pahl
Engineer [Assistant] – Gary Tole
Executive-Producer – Darrell Harris
Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards – Rod Pahl
Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards – Donny Hackett
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Producer – Dave Slagter, Justus, Roy Salmond
Recorded By, Mixed By – Dave Slagter

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Records
Copyright (c) – Star Song Records
Copyright (c) – Ariose Music
Published By – Ariose Music
Recorded At – Inside Trak Studios
Mixed At – Inside Trak Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc

David Martin – Breath On The Windowpane – 1986

David Martin returns with his second album. It’s more uptempo than his first offering and much better in my opinion but unfortunately this is the last album we would get from Martin. I am surprised we didn’t get more albums from him as this album was another successful album. It had 3 singles, Eyes Of A Child which made it to #10, You’re To Blame to #5, and Rock Me made it to #27. The good news is that we enjoyed his music through the rest of the 80’s as he wrote songs for the Imperials, Margaret Becker, Geoff Moore and the Distance and Sandi Patty. So we heard as much by him as we did of him. I strongly suggest you give this album a listen, it’s not a heavy Rock & Roll album but it’s an upbeat easy listening album.

1 – Wilderness Part One – 1:10
2 – One Day – 4:12
3 – Jehovah’s Sky – 3:18
4 – Blind Love – 3:30
5 – Rock Me – 5:25
6 – Eyes Of A Child – 4:04
7 – You’re To Blame – 3:45
8 – Anywhere You Lead – 3:50
9 – It’s Impossible – 3:52
10 – Breath On The Windowpane – 3:58
11 – Wilderness Part Two (Reprise) – 0:59

Arranged By [Pre-Production Arrangements] – David Martin, Gary Lunn, Phil Naish
Art Direction, Design – Kent Hunter
Artwork By [Painting] – Dean T. Martin
Engineer, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – Wendy Odenbaugh
Mastered By – Henry Williams
Photography By – Ron Keith, Scott Bonner
Producer – David Martin
Vocals – David Martin

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Mastered At – Mastermix

Tommy Coomes – Love Is The Key – 1981

No matter what happened after 1975 or so Tommy Coomes place in Christian music would be forever cemented as a result of his inclusion as a founding member of Love Song, possibly the most important band in Jesus Music. Tommy spent some time in the Army during the late 1960’s and upon returning began hanging around with an old friend named Fred Field and a few other young “hippies” looking for a positive future named Jay Truax and Chuck Girard. But even after Love Song’s relatively short tenure ended Tommy did not leave ministry or music behind him. He worked as an executive with Maranatha Music and recorded occasionally. One such solo recording is the subject of this post. Love is the Key is smart and smooth pop/jazz influenced record focusing on Tommy’s sweet and unique voice. A renowned band of who’s who is Southern California musicians (many members that would later form the jazz band Koinonia) including Hadley Hockensmith, Harlan Rogers, Darrell Cook and others. Other friends like former Love Song bandmates Church Girard, John Mehler and Jay Truax also joined the likes of Bob Bennett, Alex MacDougall, Michelle Pillar and Kelly Willard in support of the project. The top notch musicianship shows.

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

1 – Love Is The Key – 4:04
2 – I Owe Everything To You – 3:37
3 – The Pleasure’s Mine – 4:08
4 – Hidden Treasure – 3:13
5 – Singing Our Praises To Jesus – 3:04
6 – Thinkin’ Of You – 4:07
7 – A Faithful Witness – 2:55
8 – He’s A Liar – 5:58
9 – Don’t Be Afraid (Just Walk With Him) – 4:57

Acoustic Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith (tracks: A4, B4), Tommy (tracks: A1, A5)
Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Gordon Goodwin (tracks: B2, B3)
Arranged By – Harlan Rogers (tracks: A4, B2-B4)
Arranged By [Strings], Conductor – Stan Endicott
Backing Vocals – Bili Thedford (tracks: A1, A3, B1-B3), Bob Bennett (3) (tracks: A2, B4), Chuck Girard (tracks: A5), Dona Thedford (tracks: A1), Harlan Rogers (tracks: A4, B4), Jay Truax (tracks: A5), Kelly Willard (tracks: A2, A4, B3, B4), Michele Pillar (tracks: A2, A4, B3, B4), Mortonette Jenkins (tracks: A3, B1-B3), Phyllis St. James (tracks: A3, B1-B3), Tommy (tracks: A2, A5), Vanetta Fields* (tracks: A1)
Baritone Saxophone – Gordon Goodwin (tracks: B2)
Bass – Darrell Cook (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B4), Jimmy Perez (tracks: A2, A3, B1-B3)
Design [Back Cover] – Milton Sue
Design [Front Cover] – Dennis Hill (6)
Drums – John Mehler (tracks: B1), Keith Edwards (tracks: A2, A3, B2, B3), Ron Tutt (tracks: A1, A4, A5, B4)
Electric Guitar – Tony Dean (tracks: A2, A3, B1-B3), Hadley Hockensmith (tracks: A1-A3, B1-B4)
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Harlan Rogers (tracks: A1-A3, B1, B3)
Electric Piano [Wurlitzer] – Harlan Rogers (tracks: B2)
Engineer – Chris Taylor (11), Jonathan Brown
Lead Vocals – Tommy
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Organ [“Soultown” B-3 Organ] – Harlan Rogers (tracks: B2)
Percussion – Alex MacDougall (tracks: A2, A3, B1-B3)
Photography By – Paul Ekon
Piano – Harlan Rogers (tracks: A4, B4)
Producer – Tommy Coomes
Producer, Arranged By [Horns] – Harlan Rogers
Saxophone – John Phillips (tracks: A3)
Synthesizer [Prophet 5 Synthesizer] – Harlan Rogers (tracks: B4), Rob Watson (tracks: A2, A3, B3)
Tenor Saxophone – John Phillips
Trombone – Val Johnson (tracks: B2, B3)
Trumpet – Darrell Gardner (tracks: B2, B3)
Written-By – Chuck Girard (tracks: A5), Tom Coomes

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Maranatha! Music
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios

Prism – Yellow – 1987

Chris Harris and Mark Heimermann are back with the kids of Prism. Their first album, “Blue”, was a great success so they returned to the studio to try the same formula again. This time the budget must have increased as we hear more musical backing and two known CCM stars, Marti McCall, and Gary Chapman join in. The album again features several traditional Sunday School/Campfire songs. There is also a version of Amy Grant’s & Michael W. Smith’s duet “Friends”. The strangest track is an instrumental from Heimermann that would have made Harold Faltemeyer proud. I say strange because I wouldn’t expect an original instrumental composition on a Kidz Bop kind of album. This was usually considered the best of the Prism projects and again was very well received by CCM radio stations. It had 3 singles, Pass It On made it to #12, Anywhere With Jesus to #14, and Sweet, Sweet Spirit made it to #25. So if you’re in the mood for some Kidz Bop, and a synth instrumental, give this album a listen.

1 – Pass It On – 3:51
2 – Have You Seen Jesus My Lord – 3:01
3 – Sweet, Sweet Spirit – 3:17
4 – A Common Love – 4:01
5 – Sing And Be Happy – 3:20
6 – Anywhere With Jesus – 3:24
7 – I’ve Got The Joy, Joy, Joy (Down In My Heart) – 3:03
8 – Gizmo – 2:14
9 – Friends ’88 – 2:27
10 – We Will Always Be With The Lord – 4:45

Doris Akers – Songwriter
Reed Arvin – Synclavier Assistance
Joe Baldridge – Synclavier Assistance
Brown Bannister – Songwriter
Lisa Bevill – Vocals
Michael Blanton – Executive Producer
Charles F. Brown – Songwriter
Gary Chapman – Vocals
George W. Cooke – Songwriter
Mark Douthit – Saxophone
John Fischer – Songwriter
Lynn Fuston – Engineer, Mixed
Randy Garmon – Assistant Engineer
Dan Harrell – Executive Producer
Chris Harris – Producer, Arrangements, Vocals
Mark Heimermann – Producer, Songwriter, Arrangements, Keyboards, Vocals
James Hollihan – Guitar
Gary Janney – Vocals
Kurt Kaiser – Songwriter
William J. Kirkpatrick – Songwriter
Gary Lunn – Drum Programming, Bass
Marty McCall – Vocals
Donna McElroy – Vocals
Terry McMillan – Harmonica
Jerry McPherson – Guitar
Jeff Moseley – Executive Producer
Jessie B. Pounds – Songwriter
Benny Quin – Mastered
Chris Rodriguez – Background Vocals
Ted Silva – Songwriter
Deborah D. Smith – Songwriter
Michael W. Smith – Songwriter
Chris Thomason – Assistant Engineer
Daniel B. Towner – Songwriter

Paradox – Power and Glory – 1988

Paradox were a relatively unknown Metal band out of San Antonio Texas. They released 2 demo’s in the 80’s and got a song released on the Underground Metal sampler in 1988. This is another band that I wonder why they didn’t get a full ride record deal. This band was performing right at the perfect time but for some reason were overlooked. I don’t think they were the best metal band of the era but they were good and there was some real talent here. They did finally get a “Record Deal” in 2011 with Demon Doll Records, a relatively small Indy metal label. The album was all old material as the band hadn’t recorded in years. I’m guessing if you’re not from Texas you are probably not familiar with their work but give it a listen so you are. If you’re still on the fence at least give their version of Amazing Grace, “God’s Amazing Grace” a listen. I kinda liked it.

1 – Power And Glory – 4:39
2 – I Just Want To Love You – 5:05
3 – Meet The King – 3:23
4 – Sweet Reunion – 5:22
5 – God’s Amazing Grace – 2:09

Bass, Keyboards, Vocals – Phil Garcia
Drums – Efrain Galicia
Guitar – Fernando Hernandez
Lead Vocals – Manuel Castillo