Lone Justice – Shelter – 1986

Damn that Maria McKee can really sing. That may be the single greatest understatement in the first 370 post on this list. But really, if anyone can find a better way to express the sheer power, passion and presence of McKee’s vocal virtuosity, have at it. It was said co-Producer Little Steve (E Street Band) remarked that McKees vocal performance on “Inspiration” was the most powerful and passionate vocal he had heard since Bruce Springsteens “Adam Raised a Cain.” Mighty high praise indeed. And well deserved. More commercially appealing than the debut, Shelter infused a little more country rock and significantly less cow punk. It is better produced (in some spots a bit over-produced) and the songwriting is more accessible with superior ballads and a more consistent sound. It should have been the record to make Lone Justice rock stars. Rather, it became their swan song. I Found Love and Shelter were both that singles that just never broke through, though they ended being covered by a few CCM artists including Geoff Moore. But the real strength on this album is on the deeper cuts and ballads. Beacon, Belfry and Dreams Come True all rock with great guitar work and McKe’s emotive presence. And as mentioned earlier, Inspiration is just an emotional vocal tour de force with a once in a lifetime performance. The two side-ending ballads should also be noted. Wheels is a beautiful country song that should be covered by a more modern country female vocalist. The album closer, Dixie Storms, is just haunting and would point to the direction McKee would follow in her solo career.

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

Tracklist
1 – I Found Love – 4:15
2 – Shelter – 4:37
3 – Reflected (On My Side) – 4:57
4 – Beacon – 4:18
5 – Wheels – 5:05
6 – Belfry – 5:03
7 – Dreams Come True (Stand Up And Take It) – 4:06
8 – The Gift – 4:16
9 – Inspiration – 3:49
10 – Dixie Storms – 3:37

Credits
Acoustic Guitar [Additional], Rhythm Guitar [Additional] – Little Steven
Bass, Vocals – Gregg Sutton
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Janet Weber
Cover – Cooper Edens
Design – Kim Champagne
Drums – Rudy Richman
Engineer [Additional] – Bruce Lampcov, Don Smith, Greg Edward, Joe Borja, Nikko Bolas, Scott Litt, Shelly Yakus, Steven Rinkoff
Engineer [Assistant] – Craig Engel, Marc De Sisto, Michael Bowman, Rob Jacobs, Ross Stein
Guitar – Ryan Hedgecock, Shane Fontayne
Keyboards – Bruce Brody
Keyboards [Additional] – Benmont Tench, Charles Judge, Tommy Mandel
Lacquer Cut By – J. Webster
Management – Ice Cream Management
Management [Associate] – Tony Ferguson
Mastered By – Stephen Marcussen
Mixed By – Greg Edward (tracks: A4, A5, B1, B3, B4), Humberto Gatica (tracks: B2), Joe Chiccarelli (tracks: A2), Mike Shipley (tracks: A1, A3), Shelly Yakus (tracks: B5)
Photography By – Melanie Nissen
Producer – Jimmy Iovine, Little Steven, Lone Justice
Production Manager – Chuck Reed
Recorded By – Joe Chiccarelli, Robert de la Garza
Vocals, Guitar, Piano – Maria McKee

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – WEA Music Of Canada, Ltd.
Pressed By – Cinram
Recorded At – A&M Studios
Recorded At – Atlantic Studios
Recorded At – The Village Recorder
Mastered At – Precision Lacquer
Lacquer Cut at – McClear Place
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The David Geffen Company
Copyright © – The David Geffen Company
Printed By – Ever Reddy
Published By – Little Diva Music
Published By – Little Steven Music
Published By – Looking-Glass Feet Music
Published By – Black Platinum Music
Published By – Agreeable Music

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back
Side 1
Side 2

Cruse – Cruse – 1982

This was the first album after the Cruse Family renamed themselves “Cruse” to sound more hip and young. There really isn’t much info out there on the family and really the only member to go on to success was Cindy Cruse. The album has a pop feel on several tracks but others are very easy listening oriented. The interesting track is the lead track “First Love” which was written by producer John Rosasco. It’s interesting in that it is also done by Joe English on his Held Accountable album. John played keyboards on that album and also played keyboards on this album. Both versions came out in the same year but I’ll be honest I think I prefer this version. Anyway we have a pretty good album here and it’s definitely worth a listen.

Tracklist
1 – First Love – 4:26
2 – How Did God Know? – 4:10
3 – Everyday Life – 3:50
4 – I Am, The Mighty One – 3:35
5 – Sing – 4:07
6 – You Are That Man – 4:51
7 – Understanding Heart – 3:30
8 – Bless Your Name – 2:57
9 – One Day Closer Home – 3:02
10 – Me And My House – 3:11

Credits
Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [String], Keyboards – Larry Muhoberac
Arranged By [Track], Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Arranged By [Track], Keyboards – Smitty Price
Art Direction – Bob McConnell
Baritone Saxophone – Dennis Solee
Bass – Abe Laboriel
Drum Programming [Linn Drum Machine] – Robbie Buchanan
Drums – Ed Greene, Ron Krasinski, Steve Turner
Engineer – Bob Cotton
Engineer [Assistant] – Jim Baird, Wally Grant
Guitar – Jon Goin
Illustration – Mike Drake
Keyboards – Allen Steinberger
Percussion – Paulinho daCosta
Photography By – Larry Dixon
Producer, Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [Vocal], Keyboards – John Rosasco
Saxophone – Dennis Solee
Strings – Sid Sharp Strings

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – CBS Inc.
Published By – Priority Music
Published By – John T. Benson Publishing
Recorded At – Weddington Studios
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – United Western Studios
Mixed At – Weddington Studios
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back
Side 1
Side 2

African Sonrise – Children of Africa – 1986

In 1986 Apartheid was popular news in Canada and other Western countries. It wasn’t a new thing, but it was being talked about openly for the first time. African Sonrise is a group that was formed as a result of the opening up of South Africa. Here’s the explanation from the back of the album:

Rising out of the depression and sorrow of Africa comes a crisp, dynamic sound…

AFRICAN SONRISE

Diverse yet sharing common roots, the men of African Sonrise bring to you a special fusion of unique ethnic rhythms and Hot, contemporary instrumentation. You’ll sense many musical styles from pop to reggae, but find none that clearly defines the vibrant harmonies recorded here. Founder Henry Louw, son of a Capetown minister, first visited the U.S. in 1980. At the end of his singing tour he was encouraged to return with other performers. After achieving much success in South Africa where their ministry was greatly annointed and used of God, he and three other men are now based in Canada to share their special blend of music with the world.

The current team includes Peter Ecksteen, Daniel Visagie, and Christian Absolom. Each member has suffered under the apartheid system, yet together they sing of an answer above political struggles and military force.

This is fresh, Dynamic music. There’s incredible variety in the tunes. Both American and Canadian musicians sense the power and light that flows from the group.

The title cut, Children of Africa will move you deeply. The peaceful sounds of the jungle clash with souns of war. But shining through the strife of Africa is power and hope in following Jesus Christ. In “Tswana,” a native African language, the group sings…

Dumela, dumela, Fela (you have only to believe)

He (Jesus) will make ALL things right!

Here is power mightier than any weapon, a force above political struggle. It is the power of the Lord Jesus. These songs are the heartcry and the heartsong of Africa. May these songs encourage every listener to stand strong in Christ.

Tracklist
1 – More Like You – 3:44
2 – This Time – 4:35
3 – Just One Touch – 3:40
4 – So Much More In Jesus – 4:25
5 – Children Of Africa – 4:36
6 – Dumela Fela – 4:35
7 – Commitment – 4:04
8 – Too Good Not To Be True – 3:41
9 – So Tired And True – 3:45
10 – Together As One – 4:47

Credits
Drums – Daryl Bennet
Bass – Brian Newcombe, Rob Bailey
Guitars – Dane DeViller
Keyboards – Duncan Meiklejohn, Morry Stearns
Percussion – Daryl Bennet, Darren McGrath
Trumpet – Paul Baron
Sax – Bill Runge
Producer – Duncan Meiklejohn

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back
Side 1
Side 2

Love Life – Goodbye Lady Jane – 1991

You might know this band by the name “Fear Not” or “Reaction” as apparently they had difficulty with names. I will admit again that I don’t look forward to Metal albums and it was the same for this one. However for some reason I really enjoyed this one. Most likely this is due to it’s very heavy commercial feel and sound. This is an album that would have done well in the secular market and quite frankly I could hear “Girl Gone Bad” on any 80’s station to this day. Signed by tiny label Blonde Vinyl Records I doubt they got much promotion which is a pity because I believe they found a real diamond here. Even if you don’t care for metal albums I would urge you to give this one a listen, I suspect you might like it. At the very least give their cover of The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night”, it’s a pretty good cover.

Tracklist
1 – Real Love – 2:52
2 – Do You Love Me – 3:37
3 – Hearts On Fire – 4:05
4 – When Loneliness Comes Knockin’ – 4:27
5 – Girl Gone Bad – 3:32
6 – Fill ‘er Up – 0:13
7 – Goodbye Lady Jane – 3:48
8 – In Blue Again – 5:01
9 – 1000 Reasons – 4:56
10 – A Hard Day’s Night (Beatles Cover) – 2:33
11 – Do You Believe In Love – 3:22

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Brian Ray
Bass, Backing Vocals – Rod Romero
Drums, Backing Vocals – Gary Hanson
Engineer – Doug Beiden
Engineer, Mixed By, Backing Vocals [Additional] – Brian Davis
Executive-Producer – Michael G. Knott
Guitar – Darin Eby
Mastered By – Doug Doyle
Photography By [Cover] – Nigel Skeet
Producer, Mixed By – Christopher Colbert, Larry Worley
Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals [Additional] – Larry Worley

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Blonde Vinyl Records
Copyright © – Blonde Vinyl Records
Recorded At – Pakaderm West Studios
Mastered At – Digital Brothers
Glass Mastered at – Nimbus, Virginia

CD Case Front
CD Case Back

Inside 1
Inside 2
Disc

Priscilla Engle – Ageless Love – 1989

This is Priscilla’s second album. Her first album was on Frontline Records but this one was on tiny label Diadem Music. It appears she didn’t get a second album deal with Frontline. Now I have not listened to her first album yet but after listening to this one I am kind of surprised she couldn’t get a larger record deal. This album is very good. The jacket cover had me worried I was about to listen to a worship album but not so. This is a fun 80’s Pop album. I can’t find much out there on this album but I’m not overly surprised due to the label it was on. Diadem was owned by Benson (a much larger label) but I don’t know if they did much promotion of their Diadem label. Anyway this is a great fun pop album and is definitely a fun listen.

Tracklist
1 – Ageless Love – 3:04
2 – Nothing But Jesus – 3:34
3 – He Is Still A Father – 5:02
4 – Just Believe – 3:56
5 – No Need (Bow Down) – 4:27
6 – He’s Leading The Way – 3:55
7 – There You Are – 3:25
8 – River To The Throne – 5:00
9 – Follow You – 3:39
10 – Fire Of The Holy Spirit – 3:47
11 – To Live Is Christ – 3:28
12 – Don’t Dance – 3:11
13 – Kingdom Love – 5:00

Credits
Backing Vocals – Beverly Darnall, Guy Penrod, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Kip Raines, Mark Ivey, Paul Marino, Ray Boltz, Steve Millikan
Bass – Gary Lunn, Randy Melson
Drums – Dane Clark, Mark Hammond
Guitar – George Cocchini, Sandy Williams
Keyboards – Joe Hogue, Steve Millikan
Producer – Steve Millikan
Saxophone – Mark Douthit

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Disc

Mad At The World – Seasons Of Love – 1990

This was probably one of the most surprising albums of 1990. MATW did a complete change of direction going from a new wave pop sound to a more hard rock sound. I can honestly say that this new “The Cult” sound was quite a surprise to me and honestly I was not a fan. I didn’t mind the sound, I had The Cult in my collection at the time but when a band does a switcharoo like this it is just too startling to me. Now that aside the album is very well done and these guys nailed a sound that was not well represented in CCM music at the time. The album sold very well as I think the new style was a welcome change to a lot of fans. I think it can be said that this album was a rather historic CCM music moment so if for no other reason than that you should give it a listen.

Tracklist
1 – The Narrow Road – 3:39
2 – Seasons Of Love – 4:51
3 – City Of Anger – 5:34
4 – When The Wind Blows – 5:38
5 – Marshmallow Land – 2:58
6 – Summer’s Gone – 3:06
7 – Promised Land (The Deception Of Drugs) – 5:24
8 – So Insane – 3:22
9 – It’s Not A Joke – 3:27
10 – The Love That Never Fades – 4:05
11 – Seasons Of Love (Reprise) – 5:04

Credits
Arranged By, Engineer [Engineered By] – Roger Rose
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Band [Mad At The World Is] – Brent Gordon, Mike Pendleton, Randy Rose, Roger Rose
Illustration [MATW Logo Illustration Re-worked By] – David Jackson
Layout – Joe Potter
Mastered By – John Matousek
Photography By – David Dobson
Producer [Produced By] – Roger Rose
Songwriter [Songs Written By] – Randy Rose, Roger Rose

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Alarma Records
Copyright (c) – Alarma Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Recorded At – MATW Studios
Mastered At – Soundworks West
Published By – Broken Songs
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Disc

Glen Allen Green – A Living Fire – 1985

This was the first of 2 albums from Glen Allen Green. I can’t really find much information on Glen but I do know that this album was pretty popular. The album was released on Chris Christian’s Home Sweet Home Records and Chris took the title of executive producer though the album was produced by Keith Thomas. The album is your typical 80’s pop album but it is well done and I’m sure it was one of those albums that could bridge the gap between teens and middle aged music lovers. Give it a listen, it deserves it.

Tracklist
1 – A Living Fire – 4:17
2 – The Dance – 4:00
3 – Mirror Of My Heart – 4:24
4 – Forevermore – 4:19
5 – Beyond The Door – 4:48
6 – Run – 3:59
7 – Blessed Be The Lord – 4:32
8 – Jezebel – 3:58
9 – The Beauty Of His Love – 4:07
10 – Jesus Shall Reign – 3:20

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Kent Hunter
Backing Vocals – Denny Henson, Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Bass [Moog Bass] – Keith Thomas
Choir – Bonnie Keen, Brett Perry, Celeste Hammond, David Martin, David Pierce, David Ramsey, Dawn Rogers, Jim Foster, Keith Thomas, Lee Ann Ramsey, Lori Lee Loving, McLauren Pearman, Mel Tunney, Pam Mark Hall, Pete Calson, Richard Headen, Rick Cua, Teri Headen
Directed By – Bruce Koblish
Drums – Dennis Holt
Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Glen Allen Green
Engineer [Assistant] – Brett Perry
Executive-Producer – Chris Christian
Guitar – Gregg Jennings
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Lisa Crates
Photography By – Ron Keith, Scott Bonner
Piano – Keith Thomas
Producer, Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Keith Thomas
Programmed By [DMX Programming] – Keith Thomas
Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Synthesizer – Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas
Synthesizer [Synclavier] – Keith Thomas

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Published By – Bug & Bear Music
Recorded At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN
Recorded At – Master’s Touch
Mixed At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN
Mastered At – Mastermix

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Side 1
Side 2

Tonio K. – Notes From The Lost Civilization – 1988

Tonio K released two albums for the Christian market in the mid 80’s on What? Records. Both of them reach the Top 100 on this list. Both a must own album and truly brilliant works. Both are completely different musically and differ greatly in topic and theme. More will be said about Tonio K in a future post, but it should be noted here that for nearly three decades he released some of the most important releases that no one knows about. Before embracing the Christian faith Tonio K released several critically lauded and publicly ignored masterpieces. The same rang true in Christian music circles. I believe “Notes” was the last release for What? Records, a brilliant label whose imprint was the kiss of death in the CCM world. I cannot confirm this right now, but I believe every What? Records release appears on this countdown. The label was a joint effort between Word Records and A&M with the intent to bring Christian music to the masses with artists that had the chops and integrity to pull off the crossover. Where Tonio’s CCM debut (Romeo Unchained) was driven by technology and “new wave” rhythms and production, “Notes” was organic, blues and country influenced Americana rock and roll set in the heart of city life and suburban nightmares. There are two versions of the album with the Word released version not containing a song that will be discussed later. No one should own the Word version and I refused to carry that version in my store at the time.

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

Tracklist
1 – Without Love – 3:33
2 – Children’s Crusade – 4:56
3 – Stay – 4:14
4 – City Life – 4:07
5 – You Were There – 4:46
6 – The Executioner’s Song – 6:27
7 – I Can’t Stand It – 4:08
8 – What Women Want – 4:27
9 – I Can’t Stop – 3:19
10 – Where Is That Place? – 3:59

Credits
A&R [Productive A&R] – Aaron Jacoves, Tom Willett
Arranged By – David Miner, T Bone Burnett, Tonio K.
Art Direction, Photography By, Design – Linda Myers-Krikorian
Bass – James Jamerson, Jr. (tracks: 7 to 10)
Bass, Double Bass [String Bass], Harmonium, Marimba – David Miner
Drum Programming – Ralph Forbes
Drums – Raymond Pounds (tracks: 7 to 10)
Drums, Synthesizer [Dynacord] – Jim Keltner
Electric Guitar – Jack Sherman
Electric Guitar [12-string, Gut String, National], Acoustic Guitar – T Bone Burnett
Engineer [Assistant Engineering] – Barry Conley, Bob Loftus, Brian Soucy, Dave “The Blade” Knight, Duncan Aldrich, Ira Rubnitz, Tom Banghart
Executive-Producer – T Bone Burnett
Graphic Design, Layout – Karl Shields, Susan Shields
Mastered By – Tony Dawsey
Mixed By – Tchad Blake
Organ [Farfisa] – Rick Neigher
Organ [Hammond] – Booker T. Jones
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Piano – John Keller
Producer [Produced By] – David Miner, Tonio K.
Recorded By – Larry Hirsch
Recorded By [Additional Recording By] – Larold Rebhun (tracks: 8)
Rhythm Guitar [Occasional], Vocals – Tonio K.

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – What? Records
Copyright (c) – What? Records
Manufactured By – A&M Records, Inc.
Distributed By – A&M Records, Inc.
Recorded At – The Sound Factory
Recorded At – American Recorders
Recorded At – Ocean Way Recording
Recorded At – Mad Hatter Studios
Recorded At – A&M Studios
Mixed At – The Sound Factory
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Published By – Bibo Music Publishers
Published By – N.Y.M.
Published By – Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Published By – Safespace Music
Published By – Unicity Music
Published By – Tea Time Tunes
Published By – Yellow Brick Road Music
Published By – VALEVISTA Music

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Inside 1
Inside 2
Disc

Dennis Agajanian – Where Are The Heroes – 1984

Produced by Terry Talbot, this 1984 outing from Dennis is a different sort of foray into Country music. It includes two songs written by Steve Camp, and one co-written by Dennis and Terry Talbot. There is also a pseudo-country version of Bach’s Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring. Dennis has been referred to as a “guitar virtuoso” and this is a demonstration of why. In general, this album has a lot more prominent guitar work than earlier releases like Rebel To The Wrong. Backing vocalists on this album include Dennis Agajanian, Julie Miller, Matthew Ward, and Terry Talbot. Over a career spanning around 30 years, Dennis released over a dozen albums and spent some significant time contributing to Billy Graham crusades. This record has all the polish you would expect from a Terry Talbot project, and a smooth sounding Nashville country sound.

Tracklist
1 – If You Say – 2:37
2 – Via Dolorosa – 4:36
3 – Where Are The Heroes – 4:20
4 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 4:32
5 – Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring – 2:54
6 – She’s A Servant (Single And Living Alone) – 2:55
7 – Goodbye Old Man – 3:32
8 – Colleen’s Pirouette – 2:48
9 – I Will Never Leave You – 3:36
10 – All That I Am – 2:52

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Dennis Agajanian
Backing Vocals – Julie Miller, Matthew Ward
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Scott Parish (tracks: A5)
Drums – Bill Maxwell
Electric Guitar – Michael Thompson
Keyboards – Dennis Bouchard*
Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall
Mixed By – Ron Capone
Producer, Backing Vocals, Mixed By, Acoustic Guitar – Terry Talbot
Recorded By [@ Poiema] – Bill Cobb
Recorded By [@ Westwind] – Ron Capone

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music
Copyright (c) – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Copyright (c) – Paragon Music Corp.
Recorded At – Poiema Studios
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Mastered At – Future Disc

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back

Various – East Coast Metal – 1988

This 1988 Regency Records sampler featured some of the best East Coast Metal bands of the time and some very exclusive tunes. There are a few unreleased tracks and other than that I have listed below where you can find the albums with the songs.

Tracklist
1 – Apostle – The Sword – On the 1988 Demo “Hymns”
2 – Rage Of Angels – Reason To Rock – On the 1989 Album “Rage Of Angels”
3 – Arsenal – Message Of Love – Unreleased
4 – The Lead – Tunnel Vision – On the 1987 Album “The Past Behind”
5 – Taker – Yesterday, Today & Forever – On the 1987 Demo “Mat. 11:12”
6 – Second Chance – The Blazing Wasteland – On the 1988 Demo “The Blazing Wasteland”
7 – Arsenal – Stand Strong – Unreleased
8 – Believer – The Chosen – Unreleased until “Extraction From Mortality” in 2001
9 – Taker – Living By Faith – On the 1987 Demo “Mat. 11:12”

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back
Side 1
Side 2