John Schlitt – Unfit For Swine – 1996

This is the second solo album from John Schlitt who was the Lead singer of Petra from 1986 forward. John really turned it up for this one and it is a great Rock & Roll album. It was partly produced by the Huff brothers (Giant/Whiteheart) and partly by Mark Heimermann. You can really hear the Huff influence with some tracks having killer guitar riffs and those guitar riffs were supplied by George Cocchini from the Joe English Band. This album was certain to be a success with this killer lineup. While it can certainly be said That John did some great work with Petra in my opinion he really shines with his solo work. John summed up this album by saying “This is not a safe record for me, but I like it”

Tracklist
1 – Save Me – 3:37
2 – God Is Too Big – 3:42
3 – Can’t Get Away – 4:18
4 – We Worship You – 4:12
5 – Need I Remind You – 4:15
6 – Take You On – 3:53
7 – Helping Hand – 4:49
8 – There Is Someone – 3:45
9 – I Killed A Man – 3:57
10 – Don’t Have To Take It – 3:48

Credits
A&R – Bubba Smith, Lynn Keesecker
Art Direction – Christy Coxe
Bass Guitar – Jackie Street
Design – Astrid Herbold
Drums, Percussion, Overdubbed By – David Huff
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – George Cocchini
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Overdubbed By – Dann Huff
Engineer [Assistant] – Mike Wrucke
Engineer [Assistant], Overdubbed By – Eric Elwell
Engineer, Mixed By – Joe Baldridge
Keyboards – Mark Heimermann
Management – Mike Keil And Associates
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Overdubbed By – The Dobbs, Todd Robbins
Photography By – Matthew Barnes
Producer – Dann Huff, David Huff (tracks: 1, 7, 8, 10), Mark Heimermann (tracks: 2 to 6, 9)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Epic
Distributed By – Epic
Recorded At – Dark Horse Recording
Overdubbed At – Fun Attic Studio
Overdubbed At – Dobb’s Palace
Mixed At – Sixteenth Avenue Sound
Mastered At – Mastermix

Kreyson – Angel On The Run – 1990

Kreyson is a Czechoslovakia metal band started 1989 by Ladislav Křížek after he left Citron. The album was not released in North America so I have no idea how it became so popular here. Kreyson was popular in the Nordic countries as well as Czechoslovakia and actually went on to record 3 more albums in the 90’s They also reformed in the mid 2000’s and released 3 more albums. It is obvious they were very popular in their home country and I admit I had no idea there even was Christian music in Czechoslovakia. The album itself is a great metal album and I was really impressed with the quality of their work. The album has very good production but that’s not surprising as the producer is probably the top producer there was in Czechoslovakia. Eventually this album was released in more markets and today is available digitally. Thank goodness for that as this album deserves to be heard by everyone that likes this style of music.

Tracklist
1 – Kreyson – 4:05
2 – Skalp – 3:11
3 – Deep In The Night – 4:29
4 – No Blue Skies – 4:15
5 – Faraway – 4:22
6 – Angel On The Run – 3:07
7 – Dreamin’ – 3:59
8 – Golden Ark – 3:34
9 – Need You – 5:48
10 – Fade Out – 3:14

Credits
Arranged By – Jan Němec, Kreyson
Bass Guitar – Karel Adam
Co-producer – Rolf “Rock ‘N’ Rolf”
Drums – Robert Vondrovic
Engineer – Jan Němec
Guitar – Daniel Krob, Jaroslav Bartoň
Lead Vocals – Ladislav Křížek
Lyrics By – A. Winter
Lyrics By [Original Czech Lyrics] – J. Krůta (tracks: A5), L. Křížek
Music By – J. Bartoň (tracks: A5, B8, B10), L. Křížek
Performer – Kreyson
Producer – Jan Němec

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Tommü Records
Recorded At – Studio M
Mixed At – Studio M

Love Song – Feel The Love – 1976

This album was actually recorded in 1976 after the band split up but I am going to guess that the split was amicable. I say this because this concert was very tight. The band worked together well and didn’t miss a beat the whole concert. This indicates to me that they were well rehearsed. Bands that get back together for a concert that have hard feelings generally don’t rehearse much and often this is reflected in the concert. Generally I categorize Love Song as a worship band but this album does have a few pretty good 70’s rock tunes. Considering several members of the band went on to do Rock & Roll this shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as I found it to be. The album also included several Devotional moments which are all relevant to this day. I have chopped up this album a little different than the record company. I think it flows a little better my way.

Tracklist
1 – Intro/Front Seat, Back Seat 4:08
2 – Little Country Church 2:58
3 – The Cossack Song 4:14
4 – Manila Story (Devotional) 1:58
5 – A Love Song 2:49
6 – Two Hands 3:54
7 – Feel The Love 5:49
8 – So Thankful 3:28
9 – Since I Opened Up The Door 3:59
10 – Our Journey (Devotional) 5:00
11 – Freedom 4:15
12 – Let Us Be One 5:12
13 – Psalm 150 (Devotional) 1:19
14 – Drum Solo 8:46
15 – Jesus Puts The Song In Our Hearts 4:20
16 – Little Pilgrim 5:29
17 – The Path and the Prayer (Devotional)4:45
18 – Sometimes Alleluia 6:57
19 – Psalm 5 3:37

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Chuck Girard
Bass – Jay Truax
Drums – John Mehler
Electric Guitar – Bob Wall, Tom Coomes
Engineer – Bill Schnee
Keyboards – Chuck Girard
Lead Vocals – Chuck Girard, Tom Coomes
Mixed By – Joe Bellamy
Producer – Chuck Girard, Freddie Piro, Love Song
Vocals – Bob Wall, Jay Truax, John Mehler

Companies, etc.
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Recorded At – Paramount Northwest Theatre
Recorded At – San Jose Civic Auditorium
Recorded At – Warnors Theatre
Mixed At – Mama Jo’s
Distributed By – Word
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Good News Records
Copyright (c) – Good News Records

Lone Justice – BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert – 1993

Though this album wasn’t released until 1993 it was recorded in 1986 shortly after the release of their album “Shelter”. I’m a little mystified as to why it took so long to release but perhaps it was just originally for airing on radio. But really that’s just a guess as I don’t know the history of these BBC radio concerts. I also found it odd the release was in 93 after the band had already slipped from the public eye. That said they had dedicated fans who must have been thrilled to see this album released. The album has live versions of 5 tracks from their first album, 2 tracks from Shelter, and most excitingly 4 previously unreleased tracks. Lone Justice were an excellent live band and I’m sure most of their dedicated fans hold this album as one of their favorites.

Tracklist
1 – Wait – 4:37
2 – Sweet, Sweet Baby – 5:24
3 – I Ain’t Got No Home In This World – 2:32
4 – The Gift – 4:19
5 – Wheels – 6:28
6 – Shelter – 5:07
7 – Belfry – 6:04
8 – I Found Love – 4:19
9 – Heaven – 6:28
10 – Inspiration – 3:52
11 – Sweet Jane – 9:03

Credits
Bass, Vocals – Gregg Sutton
Compiled By, Coordinator – Jo Bourhill
Drums – Rudy Richman
Guitar – Shane Fontaine
Keyboards – Bruce Brody
Liner Notes – Alan Gardiner
Producer – Pete Dauncey
Sleeve – Coles McConnell Design
Vocals, Guitar – Maria McKee

Companies, etc.
Record Company – BBC Enterprises Ltd.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – BBC
Copyright (c) – Windsong International
Published By – Warner/Chappell
Published By – MCA
Published By – BMG
Published By – Tro Essex Music Ltd.
Published By – Copyright Control
Published By – Screen Gems-EMI
Recorded At – The Town And Country Club, London
Glass Mastered At – Mayking Records

The Hope – Which Side Are You On – 1980

I read that “The Hope” were a new and improved version of “Hope Of Glory” who had recorded throughout the 70’s. The problem is that none of the band members are the same and it’s even on a new label. It is reasonable to assume a new label might have wanted a new more hip name but I’m a bit confused by a completely new lineup. Because of this I feel this might be an entirely different band but feel free to correct me. The band is/was made up of some great studio musicians who had many appearances throughout the 70’s & 80’s. The quality of their work makes this an excellent album. The sound is heavily 70’s and as such may have been a little late to the market. It’s not a heavy rock album but does have a few 70’s rock tracks. I am guessing many people missed this one in 1980 so give it a listen now if you like your music with a 70’s vibe.

Tracklist
1 – Tender Love – 4:38
2 – Standing On The Rock – 3:27
3 – Sunshine In My Life – 2:45
4 – Stand On What You Believe – 3:09
5 – Hills Of Morning – 4:33
6 – Which Side? – 4:28
7 – What Have You Got To Lose? – 4:12
8 – Anticipation – 3:18
9 – You Got Love – 3:43
10 – Walk In The Light – 3:11

Credits
Backing Vocals – Bubba Chambers
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Thigpen
Drums – Gary Ingram
Electric Guitar – Rick Crawford
Electric Guitar – Melvin Mar
Keyboards – Paul Mills
Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Mike Barnes
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Brian Tankersley
Saxophone – Kenny Dimick

Prodigal – Electric Eye – 1984

In 1982 I was a Junior in High School and had a subscription to Campus Life Magazine. One day I saw an ad for a brand new band called Prodigal that sported a very cool cover, which was a take off on Escher’s famous painting. But what was even better was that there was a pull out single for the band attached to the center of the magazine. These were all the rage during the 1970’s and often found included inside cereal boxes or even attached to the cardboard of those same cereal boxes. You had to take the very flimsy plastic disc, place it on top of a solid LP and then you could play the single. That was the first of three Prodigal releases, and all three made this list. That band was that damned good. probably better than we even realize. Prodigal is easily the most overlooked and unsung band in CCM history…PERIOD! The type of innovation already noted was what fans could expect from the band Prodigal during their short-lived three record existence. Their innovations also included being the first recipient of the Dove Award for “Video of the Year.” They were one of the few bands that continued to invest in the fledgling video marketing promotional support creating several videos per release. And even for the album in question there was what is called a “stop groove” at the end of the side 2 and a “hidden bonus track” of sorts which contained a computer code for the old Commodore 64 computer. Using a cassette drive a person could get bonus information about the album along with photos and lyrics. This may have become common with the invent of compact discs, but this was totally revolutionary in 1984. All three of their album covers were spectacular. But it was the content, both musically and lyrically, that set Prodigal above their peers for the time. Where other artist bemoaned the struggles, pain and realities of life on this spinning globe, Prodigal placed themselves within that reality and expressed those struggles from one who is intimately aware and experienced with those struggles. Where the first album stayed along the musical lines of Steely Dan and the Eagles, it was with “Electric Eye” the band became very current, and dare I say, cutting edge. Guitar driven rock and new wave synth pop merged to create a sound that was uniquely Prodigal while immediately familiar and memorable. Driving keyboard and bass that for some reason reminds me of the music from the “St. Elmo’s Fire” soundtrack. Also another unique feature is the use of three different lead singers with duties distributed according to musical style. The content on “Electric Eye” is beautifully portrayed on the album cover shown above. We have surrounded ourselves with so much to entertain us and consume our time that the difference between reality and artificial are not just blurred but rather the artificial begins to be more “real.” Note how the actual lightning through the window is faded and bland while the same lightning shown on the television set is vibrant and exiting. This is expressed in different ways on the album along with a host of other topics that are both poignant and eternal. Even the recording process was experimental. The album was recorded in an abandoned Catholic Girls school in Cincinnati using a mobile recording system built into a motor home. Band members would move from room to room to create a different acoustic sound to discover the best fit for a particular song. Lead vocalist and band leader Loyd Boldman told me that at the time the band (especially himself) was listening a lot to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and “The River” as well as Daniel Amos and Michael Omartian. These influences shade and nuance much of what makes this record so amazing. With the knowledge guitar parts, vocal styles and overall production results make sense. The goal was to create a larger, less polished and precise studio album that the debut was. In that area the band succeeded with flying colors.

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

Tracklist
1 – Scene Of The Crime – 4:44
2 – Fast Forward – 4:43
3 – Masks – 4:05
4 – Just What I Need – 3:08
5 – Emerald City – 3:23
6 – Electric Eye – 5:00
7 – Bobby – 3:18
8 – Shout It Out – 3:25
9 – Neon – 5:15
10 – Boxes – 3:35

Credits
Arranged By – Prodigal
Artwork [Additional] – A.I.R. Studio
Bass – Mike Wilson
Design [Cover] – Dave Workman, Loyd Boldman
Design Concept [Cover] – Loyd Boldman
Drums, Vocals – Dave Workman
Effects [Special Sound FX] – Gary (Platinum) Platt
Engineer [Assistants] – Brad Kuenning, Paul Thompson, Rytt Hershberg
Graphics [Additional] – The Malone Group
Guitar, Vocals – Rick Fields
Keyboards, Vocals – Loyd Boldman
Mastered By – Mike Fuller
Mixed By [Additional Overdubs, Final Mixdown] – Gary Platt
Photography By [Back Cover] – Luther Blue
Photography By [Cover] – Gary Kessler
Producer – Jon Phelps
Recorded By – Greg McNeily
Sounds, Engineer [Concert Sound] – Paul Thompson
Written-By – Workman (tracks: A4, B5), Boldman (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B4)

Companies, etc.
Recorded By – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Mixed At – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Engineered At – Moonlight Sound
Mastered At – Criteria Recording Studios
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Published By – Between The Lines Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Heartland Records Company
Copyright (c) – Heartland Records Company

Larry Norman & People! – The Israel Tapes – 1980

This album is generally known as Larry Norman – The Israel Tapes, but it is really Larry Norman and People!, and the record calls itself “The Israel Tapes 1974 AD.” Not much difference really, but the labelling and the timing are both important. The release came out from Phydeaux Records in 1980, after Larry had established his own distribution company, which was primarily a mail order business run out of San Jose. Larry added some of the People! recordings to his catalog and so this is the first time some of these recordings were made public. The musicianship of this group is excellent, and has distinctly different characteristics than the group of studio musicians he worked with in the 1970s and 80s. This concert was done at UCLA for the benefit of The Israeli Fund. The Recording quality is not great, but for a 1974 live record it’s passable. What’s noteworthy here is that this 1974 live performance included a lot of songs that eventually became part of Larry’s core material. The album consists of songs from Upon This Rock as well as the Trilogy, along with a couple of others. This seems to be a reunion concert of sorts. Larry left People! several years prior, and here they are performing with him on subsequent songs. There are 2 different versions of “I Love You,” neither of which is quite the one that appeared on the In Another Land album in 1974, although you can hear the progression that got it there. “I Am The Six O’Clock News” was an anchor song on 1972’s Only Visiting This Planet, and here we get a slower, grittier version of it. “Sweet Song of Salvation” and “Forget Your Hexagram” get some updated arrangements from their original Upon This Rock versions, with great contributions from this band. All in all, a good spin on some classic Larry songs.

Tracklist
1 – Fly, Fly, Fly – 4:47
2 – I Love You (1967) – 4:36
3 – I Love You (1974) – 3:43
3 – I Am The Six O’Clock News – 5:59
4 – Lonely By Myself – 4:08
6 – Baroquen Spirits – 5:32
7 – You Knew What You Were Doing – 4:57
8 – Forget Your Hexagram – 3:49
9 – I’ve Searched All Around The World – 3:05
10 – Sweet Song Of Salvation – 5:21

Randy Matthews – Randy Matthews – 1980

Strangely whenever I read an article about Matthews no one ever discusses this album. Strange because I believe it to be his best album and “Out On A Limb” is one of my top 100 songs. It appears however that others don’t really view this as a good album. Randy really lets his inner Joe Cocker flow on this album but seeing as both of them were recording at the same time I don’t really think he was trying to imitate Cocker. For all we know Cocker was imitating Randy, no disrespect to Cocker as I love his work also. I was researching Randy a bit for this review and I was really surprised that he only ever had one CCM charting single and that wasn’t until 1991. Maybe I’m biased but Randy was a far greater performer than history has categorized him. If you ever read this Randy, thanks fort all the great music, you were an important part of my youth.

Tracklist
1 – Which Side Are You On? – 4:07
2 – Jesus Revive Me – 5:09
3 – Out On A Limb – 3:28
4 – Small Circle Of Friends – 3:27
5 – Miracle Man – 4:15
6 – I Had A Dream – 3:28
7 – I Think He’s Proud – 4:02
8 – Sweet Relief – 4:03
9 – Thin Line – 3:23
10 – Lonely Stranger – 4:45

Credits
Booking – 4-R Ranch
Design Concept [Album Cover Concept], Design – Stan Evenson Design, Inc.
Engineer – Joe Wilson
Executive-Producer – Ray Nenow
Mastered By [Mastering Engr.] – Jim Loyd
Musician, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – David McCaskel, Donna McElroy, Janna Hershberger, Jonathan McCaskel, Monty Matthews, Vicki Hampton, Yvonne Hodges
Musician, Bass – Paul Brannon
Musician, Drums – Louie Weaver
Musician, Guitar – Allen Holmes, David McCaskel, Joe Wilson, Paul Brannon
Musician, Guitar [Guitar Solos] – Joe Wilson
Musician, Keyboards – Bobby Edmonds, Dean Pastin, Shane Keister
Musician, Percussion – Terry McMillan
Musician, Saxophone – Donnie “Sax” Sanders
Musician, Synthesizer – Shane Keister
Photography By – Dominic Marsden, Sharon Inahara
Producer – Joe Wilson

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Spirit Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Spirit Records
Manufactured By – Hartsong Corporation
Distributed By – Hartsong Corporation
Produced For – Primacy Productions
Published By – Arloco Music
Published By – Angelstream Music
Published By – Group Seven
Published By – Windy Music
Recorded At – Glaser Sound Studios, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee
Mastered At – Masterfonics

Believer – Extraction From Mortality – 1989

This was the first studio album from Believer but they had released an impossible to find demo in 1987. In 1988 they had a track on the East Coast Metal sampler and though that sampler was released by Regency it was actually R.E.X. Music that stepped up to release this album. So here we have a rather good thrash album. The album utilizes sound sampling on several tracks which to the best of my knowledge was a first in Christian Metal. That said I’m not really an expert in the genre. I think I will actually have to make up a new classification for the album, Commercial Thrash. I think there might be some appeal here even if you don’t care for thrash. Personally I don’t care for thrash but there are a few tracks here that I found myself listening to. It didn’t leave me wanting to hear more thrash but it did leave me wanting to hear more from Believer.

Tracklist
1 – Unite – 6:42
2 – Vile Hypocrisy – 5:36
3 – D.O.S. (Desolation Of Sodom) – 4:22
4 – Tormented – 3:52
5 – Shadow Of Death – 4:21
6 – Blemished Sacrifices – 3:58
7 – Not Even One – 3:38
8 – Extraction From Mortality – 6:07
9 – Stress – 3:03

Credits
Bass, Written-By – Howe Kraft
Drums, Mixed By, Written-By – Joey Daub
Engineer, Mixed By – Paul Krueger
Guitar, Vocals, Mixed By, Written-By – Kurt Bachman
Guitar, Written-By – Dave Baddorf
Illustration, Layout, Design – Jeff Spencer
Producer, Mixed By – Doug Mann
Violin, Viola – Scott Laird

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Morningstar Studios
Distributed By – Word (U.K.) Ltd
Made By – Music Manufacturers

Michele Pillar – Reign On Me – 1983

This was Michele’s second solo album and I noticed something rather odd about her album covers while researching this album. She had 3 albums with Sparrow Records and for some reason Sparrow chose to use a portrait picture of her for all 3 albums. I am assuming this was a strategy for the worship album sector as quite frankly it’s a little weird to me. Often an artists first or second album will have a good picture of the artist which helps people “identify” with the artist but to do it on 3 straight releases is just weird. Anyway on to the album itself. It was quite successful with the title track making it to # 9 and the follow up single “He Rolled Away The Stone” making it to #4. At the same time she had a #4 duet single with Steve Camp, “Love’s Not A Feeling” off of his 1984 album, Fire And Ice. As for the album itself it is your usual female vocalist worship album. I’m not trying to downplay the album but really there were so many of these cookie cutter albums at the time it is very difficult to get excited about them.

Tracklist
1 – Shout It From The Rooftop – 3:41
2 – He Rolled Away The Stone – 4:32
3 – Reign On Me – 3:21
4 – Look Up – 3:04
5 – There He Was – 5:00
6 – My Heart Is A Stone – 4:19
7 – Don’t Wait Too Late – 3:39
8 – When Love Draws Near – 4:04
9 – One Move Of Your Spirit – 4:12
10 – Song Of Praise – 2:43

Credits
Arranged By [Strings] – J.L. Wallace
Art Direction – Stan Evenson
Backing Vocals – Cindy Richardson, Gary Baker, J.L. Wallace, Lenny LeBlanc, Mac McAnally, Michele Pillar
Bass – Butch Ledford
Concertmaster – Earl Spielman
Cover [Coordination] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Design [Lyric Sheet] – Marlene Bergman
Drums – Owen Hale
Engineer – Jerry Masters, Steve Moore
Engineer [Additional] – Dan Garcia
Engineer, Remix – Ron Capone
Executive-Producer – Billy Ray Hearn
Guitar – Will McFarlane
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Photography – Mark Hanauer
Piano, Keyboards – Larry Muhoberac, Steve Nathan
Piano, Keyboards, Guitar – J.L. Wallace
Producer – J.L. Wallace
Producer [Additional], Remix, Mastered By – Ken Pennell
Saxophone – Ronnie Eades
Vocals – Michele Pillar

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records
Recorded At – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Remixed At – Westwind Studio
Mastered At – Future Disc