David Meece – Are You Ready? – 1980

The term “classic” gets thrown around a lot, both here and elsewhere, when trying to discuss the world of music. Often it’s a term meant to designate a song that’s just really good, but it should be used to describe something with true lasting value. A song the remains viable and important decades later. When one uses the latter, more significant definition, the number of truly “classic” songs becomes much more limited. Very few artists have ever truly written a “classic” song. But in 1980 one young singer-songwriter did just that. David Meece was a popular late comer to the Jesus Music movement and is more closely associated with the burgeoning CCM world. His high pitched voice (think a Gibb brother) and stylized pop (think ABBA) made him a safe and family friendly CCM music star. Sometime after 1980’s “Are You Ready” the term would be superstar. After 9 very strong pop (disco even) songs and great and memorable ballads came the albums finale, “We Are The Reason.” The song would become on of the most popular songs in CCM history and would easily rank in the Top 5 of all time classic songs. There has yet to be a Christmas or Easter when the song is not reprised somewhere and some way. It really is a beautiful and well written song. Feeling a little like a Barry Manilow ballad with the key change and all, the song is dynamic and emotional. Starting slow and building into a great crescendo, it has struck a musical and emotional core for over three decades now. Great song and closes a great album, the best in Meece’s career.

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

1 – Follow You – 2:55
2 – Peace In My Heart – 2:50
3 – Comin’ Back – 3:02
4 – Gospel Train – 2:48
5 – Love One Another – 5:18
6 – Are You Ready? – 3:59
7 – Just A Little More Time – 4:07
8 – Have A Little Talk – 3:39
9 – Satan, Just Leave Me Alone – 2:48
10 – We Are The Reason – 4:43

Brown Bannister – Producer
Kathleen E. Berk – Bagpipe
Michael Blanton – Executive Producer
Mike Brignardello – Bass
Clay Caire – Drum Overdubs
Eddie DeGarmo – Piano, Rhodes, Synthesizers
Diana DeWitt Hanna – Background Vocals
Becky Foster – Background Vocals
Leon Gaer – Bass
Bob Gelotte – Drums
Jon Goin – Electric Guitar
John Hampton – Drums
Ron Huff – String Arranger
Greg Huffman – Drum Corp
Shane Keister – Piano, Organ, Rhodes, Special Effects
Dana Key – Guitars
Patti Leatherwood – Background Vocals
Paul Leim – Drums
Terry McMillan – Percussion
David Meece – Songwriter, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
Gary Pigg – Background Vocals
Harlan Rogers – Piano, Synthesizers
Buddy Skipper – Horn Arranger
Denis Solee – Saxophone, Lyricon, Flute
Keith Thomas – Background Vocals
Billy Walker – Electric Guitar
Jack Williams – Bass

Companies, etc.
Published By – Word Music (2)
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

Darrell Mansfield – Live At Flevo – 1991

This Live Darrell Mansfield album was recorded live at the 1990 Flevo Totaal Music Festival. Darrell really should be listened to live to appreciate. I enjoy all his studio work don’t get me wrong but really his work is best live. Most these tracks will come up again and again on Darrell’s many live albums but these are earlier versions so some of them are done differently than he would do later.

1 – You Got To Move – 2:00
2 – No More Blues – 3:25
3 – Million Dollar Feelin’ – 7:40
4 – I Was Running – 2:43
5 – Thunder & Lightning – 4:57
6 – Jesus Coming Soon – 6:31
7 – Stand By Me – 5:30
8 – Biblestudy – 8:07

Bass, Vocals – Eric Turner
Design – Gransch Bakker Design
Drums, Vocals – Greg Eckler
Engineer – Roel Toering
Guitar [Lead], Vocals – Bob Anglin
Harmonica, Lead Vocals – Darrell Mansfield
Mixed By – Charles Everaars, Gerrit aan ‘t Goor
Photography By – Datafoto

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Asaph Records
Copyright (c) – Asaph Records

Crossection – What About Forever – 1987

I was quite surprised when I came across this demo from Crossection. Their first album was actually a demo that got picked up by a label but I did not know there was a previous demo. I am assuming this was actually available for sale at their concerts through western Canada. This albums has a good raw feel and is not overproduced so it’s Rock & Roll sound and feel works. The band could have been a little tighter but it’s a light criticism of the album as I love the unpolished sound. If you enjoyed their 2 albums you should love this demo as it’s always nice to hear where a band came from. Only 2 tracks on this demo were released on their fist album so the other 8 are completely new tracks. I actually would have liked to have heard some of the new tracks in a fully polished and produced form because some of them are really good songs.

1 – Inside Out – 3:38
2 – Hard and Hungry World – 3:03
3 – Prodigal – 3:54
4 – Love Is Who You Are – 4:46
5 – Mercy – 3:57
6 – Things Aren’t The Same – 3:32
7 – Solid Rock – 3:14
8 – Child Of The King – 2:56
9 – Do Life Once – 2:36
10 – Forever Is Tonight – 3:36

Arranged By, Keyboards, Vocals – Dale Johnson
Bass, Vocals – Bruce Rawling
Drums – Martin Zinger
Lead Guitar, Vocals – Nevin Eggum
Producer – Crossection, Carson Cole
Vocals, Guitar – Doug Rawling

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Soundboard Studio, Sedgewick AB

Halo – Halo – 1990

Halo, which apparently stands for “Heavenly Angelic Light Orchestra”, were a great hard rock/metal band out of Alabama. They formed in 1980 and strangely had a non Christian drummer, Mike Graham, who was also only 14 years old while the rest of the band was in the area of 21 years old. He did come to Christ in a couple years but I find it odd someone would ask a 14 year old non Christian drummer to join their adult Christian band. But whatever, it all seemed to work out. The band played for the next 9 years without a record deal. A demo tape got to Bob Hartman (Petra) and he started to mentor the band. Bob finally got them a record deal in 1989 with the Elefante brothers over at Pakaderm Records. This album was then recorded with much involvement of the Elefante’s and released in 1990. Best description of the sound would be a power Rock & Roll band which some (including me) might consider to be light metal. This is one that definitely deserves a listen.

1 – Jesus Music – 4:20
2 – Lord Of All – 4:39
3 – Good Feeling – 4:13
4 – Soul Searcher – 4:35
5 – Skyrocket – 3:45
6 – Lose To Live – 4:33
7 – Sing (Of His Glory) – 4:21
8 – Language Barrier – 5:09
9 – Time To Run – 4:01
10 – Timeless – 1:07

Arranged By [Additional] – Bob Hartman (tracks: 3, 4, 8)
Backing Vocals – John Elefante
Band [Halo], Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Mike Graham
Band [Halo], Guitar, Backing Vocals – Keith Mims
Band [Halo], Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar – Scott Springer
Cover, Illustration, Layout – Robert Fischer
Drums – David Raven (tracks: 5)
Engineer, Mixed By – Dino Elefante, John Elefante, Mike Mierau
Guitar – Dino Elefante, Glen Pierce, Tony Palacios (tracks: 5)
Keyboards – John Elefante
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Piano – John Schreiner (tracks: 4, 8)
Producer – Dino Elefante, John Elefante
Vocals [Duet] – John Elefante (tracks: 5), Scott Springer (tracks: 5)

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Pakaderm Records
Copyright (c) – Pakaderm Records
Published By – Benefante Music
Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Michael And Stormie Omartian – The Builder – 1980

Husband and Wife team Michael And Stormie Omartian bring us their second album together. I have to admit that I listened to this album very heavily back in the early 80’s (Don’t judge me). When I was reading up on this album I was very surprised that it wasn’t more popular. It didn’t seem to make anyone’s best albums list and there is almost no mention of it on most CCM album sites. I was further surprised that there was no charting single on this album. This really surprised me as there are several tracks on this album that should have charted. Maybe I’m just over evaluating the album but really I thought it was much better than all this. I remember that “Big Time” was on a lot of our mixed tapes from the period and I have fond memories of it. Did you miss this album back in 1980? If you did and you like AOR you really should give it a listen.

1 – Charlie’s Dream – 3:53
2 – The Only Thing Missing Is You – 3:58
3 – The Builder – 3:53
4 – Mr. Trash Man – 3:40
5 – Anything You Ask Of Me – 3:50
6 – Dr. Jesus – 4:20
7 – Big Time – 5:02
8 – Half Past Three – 3:20
9 – End Times – 5:53

Art Direction – Dennis Hill
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Concept By [Album] – Stormie Omartian
Concertmaster – Assa Drori
Congas – Alex Acuna
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer – John Guess
Guitar – Marty Walsh
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Percussion – Michael Omartian
Lead Guitar, Soloist – Jay Graydon, Phil Keaggy
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Michael And Stormie Omartian
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Photography By [Back Cover] – Harry Langdon
Photography By, Layout – Bob Anderson
Producer, Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Stephen Hague
Saxophone – Jackie Kelso
Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Soloist – Kim Hutchcroft
Trombone – Lou McCreary
Trumpet – Chuck Finley, Steve Madeao
Written-By – Stormie And Michael Omartian

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Jennifudy Studios
Recorded At – Hollywood Central Recorders
Mixed At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Produced For – Rhema Productions

DeGarmo & Key – D & K – 1987

D & K continues their yearly offering in 1987 with this one. Let’s talk album titles. I previously bashed the album name “Commander Sozo And The Charge Of The Light Brigade” which I still think is the dumbest name for an album in the 80’s. So in turn they title this one “D & K”? That’s quite the path correction. Regardless titles don’t have anything to do with album quality so I should get over it. The vinyl for this album was offered in a serialized limited edition of 10,000 and apparently the first 100,000 copies of either the Cassette or CD came with a free copy for the purchaser to give away in hopes it will be given to a non Christian. Interesting marketing for this album and I generally applaud them thinking outside the box. The album had 2 singles with “When The Son Begins To Reign” doing very well and making it to #4. “Stand” also singled but only made it to #38. As for the album I feel it’s fairly guitar heavy with more great song writing which is really what we came to expect of D & K. Another good album that if you missed in 1987 is a must listen to now.

1 – Out Of The Danger Zone – 2:50
2 – Under The Son – 3:47
3 – Rock Solid – 4:20
4 – Teenage Suicide – 3:52
5 – Strength Of Love – 6:00
6 – Brother Against Brother (It’s Not Right) – 5:05
7 – War With The World – 3:06
8 – Stand – 3:40
9 – Radical – 3:26
10 – When The Son Begins To Reign – 2:45

Bass, Vocals – Tommy Cathey
Design [Album] – Mark Neubauer
Drums, Percussion – Greg Morrow
Executive-Producer – Dan R. Brock
Keyboards, Vocals – Eddie DeGarmo
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar – Dana Key
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Photography By – Paul Wharton
Producer – DeGarmo & Key
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – John Hampton

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright © – The Benson Company, Inc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Produced For – Mint Productions (2)
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mastered At – Masterdisk

Larry Norman – Christmastime, The Day That A Child Appeared – 2003

In 2003 Larry’s brother put out a posthumous Larry Christmas album. It includes two tracks Larry had previously released, “Christmastime” and “The Day That A Child Appeared”. The rest of the tracks are “new” with Charles and his band Softcore providing backing on the long lost tracks. The guitars are strong on this bluesy collection of classic Christmas songs. The CD was re-released in 2015 so those who missed it the first time around. I would also credit Charles with a great album cover that resembles a well worn record sleeve, nice touch.

1 – Christmastime – 4:07
2 – The First Noel – 3:31
3 – Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem – 4:10
4 – Do You See What I See – 3:22
5 – O Holy Night – 4:05
6 – Jingle Bell Rock – 2:08
7 – Medley – Carol Of The Bells – Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies – 3:10
8 – Let There Be Peace On Earth – 3:59
9 – Angels We Have Heard On High – 3:02
10 – Christmastime Is Here – 2:44
11 – The Day That A Child Appeared – 2:34
12 – Auld Lang Syne – 4:06

Backing Vocals – Kristin Blix
Bass – Silver Sorensen
Chorus – Charles Normal (tracks: 12), Karson Swedberg (tracks: 12), Kristin Blix (tracks: 12), Kristy Beth* (tracks: 12), Larry Norman (tracks: 12), Margaret Norman (tracks: 12), Michael Norman (tracks: 12)
Drums – Jason Carter
Engineer – Charles Normal
Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Backing Vocals – Charles Normal
Mixed By – Charles Normal, Jason Carter, Larry Norman
Producer – Charles Normal
Saw [Musical Saw] – Michael Manning
Slide Guitar – Mark Lemhouse
Vocals – Larry Norman

Companies, etc.
Licensed Through – Harry Fox
Copyright (c) – Solid Rock
Published By – Copyright Control

Jon Gibson – Body & Soul – 1989

Jon Gibson would score higher sales (Jesus Loves Ya) and radio success (Forever Friends) elsewhere, but his true artistic triumph came on this sweet little record, Body & Soul. Combining an obvious Beatles influence with his Stevie Wonder grooves helped Gibson create an utterly unique and never duplicated release. The album would also feature Gibsonsd most transparent, thoughtful and poignant songwriting. The soulful crooning and Gospel infused Church Anthems still remain, but there is a distinct musical quality, a fresher, more earthy appeal, that sets the record apart. It also remains the finest production work in Bill Baumgart’s career. The sub-three minute Beatle’s directed “Heart of Gold” kicks off the album with a great Abbey Road era sound to the opening strings followed by Bill Baumgart’s great piano that would prove to be the central instrumentation for the whole project. “In the Name of the Lord” follows and remains one of Gibson’s biggest radio hits despite many stations rejecting the song based on the term “good God” used in the chorus. But it is with the ballads that Gibson becomes most personal and intimate. Whether biographical or not, many of the slower songs capture a hurting and striving artist. Most notably is “Merry-Go-‘Round.” The sense of loss and repentance found in the words of a father seeking redemption are at times chilling. “God Will Find Ya” has Gibson with a psuedo-falsetto vocal that whines through a hypnotic melody that never pushes the groove. Possibly the strongest ballad is “Father, Father.” Another song of repentance builds and builds as it moves to a great vocal climax, more emotional than many other Gibson ballads. Two last songs of note are the great cover of Stevie Wonders “Have a Talk With God,” that features a cameo by Wonder on harmonica and the killer closer, Everyone Needs the Lord.” The later is Black Gospel masterpiece that Smokie Norful really needs to cover. Starting slow and building up both the passion and pace as it moves, the song would become a moderate hit and great live experience. With it Gibson continued to prove he was easily the most soulful artist in CCM at the time, and maybe ever. the only criticism is that it is clearly 3 minutes too short!

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

1 – Heart Of Gold – 3:02
2 – In The Name Of The Lord – 4:38
3 – Merry-Go-Round – 4:46
4 – God Will Find Ya – 4:36
5 – Father, Father – 3:52
6 – Have A Talk With God – 3:28
7 – Long Ago – 4:32
8 – Us Now – 3:07
9 – Everyone Needs The Lord – 3:56

Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Belinda Stewart (tracks: 2,6), Beverly Williams (tracks: 2,6), Crystal Blake (tracks: 3), Francine Williams (tracks: 2,6), Jon Gibson, Lisa Russo Judd (tracks: 2,6)
Choir – The Friendship Baptist Choir
Co-producer – Jon Gibson
Engineer – Bill Wolfer
Engineer [Assistant] – Eric Kibbe, Jon Gibson
Executive Producer – Brian K. Tong
Guitar – Jon Gibson, Kit Charlton
Harmonica – Stevie Wonder (tracks: 6)
Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer [Bass Synth] – Bill Wolfer
Keyboards, Guitar, Lead Vocals – Jon Gibson
Keyboards, Programmed By – Paul Gottschalk
Lead Vocals – Cubby Ingram (tracks: 8), Jon Gibson
Mixed By – Bill Wolfer
Percussion [African Drums], Cuica, Djembe – Vinx
Photography By – Ken Kloster
Producer – Bill Wolfer

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Mixing Lab B
Mixed At – 7th Street Sound

Gary S. Paxton – Terminally Weird But Godly Right – 1978

This was Gary’s 3rd solo album. It continues his somewhat bizarre style with varying styles and strange theme’s. The album has a five song series subtitled “Prelude To Destruction”. None of these songs seem to follow theme and I’m really not too sure what he was trying to do here. I really enjoyed the first and second listen to the album but grew a little tired of it after that and I doubt it will get a third listen. The humour on some tracks is fun and perhaps his trademark but I find the more serious tracks to be lacking. That said I would definitely give it a listen as it’s well worth listening to at least once.

1 – (I’m) Anchored In The Rock Of Ages – 2:53
2 – Lord How’d I Get So Old So Fast – 4:23
3 – Mental Pollution (Prelude To Destruction Part 1) – 3:52
4 – Ode To The Outlaw (That Prison Called Freedom – Prelude To Destruction Part 2) – 4:47
5 – I Can’t See Me Servin’ Nobody But Jesus – 2:30
6 – Will There Be Hippies In Heaven? (Prelude To Destruction Part 3) – 3:13
7 – Blessed Assurance – 5:28
8 – Images (Prelude To Destruction Part 4) – 4:00
9 – Progress (Prelude To Destruction Part 5) – 4:01
10 – Fat, Fat Christians – 3:01
11 – The Clone Affair – 4:28
12 – The Big A = The Big M – 3:44
13 – Anchored In The Rock Of Ages (Reprise) – 0:19

Isaac Air Freight – The Freight’s Designer Album – 1984

Presented without any theological commentary, as usual. These albums were a lot of fun to listen to, and hearing the jokes again, and the great comedic performances is a great trip down memory lane. Still fun to listen to now.

1 – Comedy Odyssey – 1:49
2 – Are You A Fool? – 6:50
3 – Generic Phone Company – 1:32
4 – Montague – 6:54
5 – KBAM – 1:56
6 – Spouse’s Super Bout – 6:40
7 – Ed Herman’s Talk Radio – 3:50
8 – Fadscene – 1:28
9 – What’s Gospel To You? – 2:54
10 – Leave It To Squirrellie (Stuck With Eddie) – 6:45

Arranged By [Music], Music By [Additional], Musician – Peter Jacobs
Engineer – Chris Taylor
Executive-Producer, Producer, Performer – Dan Rupple
Musician – Bud Nuanez, Ed McTaggart, Pokin’ Fun Polka Band
Musician, Music By [Additional], Vocals – Bob Bennett
Performer – Dan Ferraro, Jim Coye, Louise Duart, Mike Obbema, Patrick Egan, Peggy Rupple, Randy Anderson (3), Robin Severn, Sharon Riley, Vikki James, Vince Brocato
Photography – Scott Ely
Producer, Performer, Vocals – Dave Toole

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Maranatha! Music
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word Records Limited