Keith Hutchinson – Alpha – Omega – 1984

Keith is an artist from South Africa and while this is his only solo album it dies not represent his contribution to the music industry. In 1993 he received a Grammy Nomination for the album “Heat, Dust and Dreams” while he was in the group Johnny Clegg and Savuka. He has also been responsible for a plethora of film scores throughout the 2000’s. As for this album it is a conceptual jazz album with only 4 tracks. I’m not really too sure this is a CCM album as it’s instrumental but it was released on Refuge records and that’s how I found it. The album isn’t my style but it is very well done and if you like Jazz fusion conceptual music this is the one for you.

1 – Alpha I – 3:32
2 – Alpha II – 7:42
3 – Alpha III – 12:06
4 – Omega – 18:48

Bass – Denny Lalouette
Drums – Kendall Kay
Guitar – Joe Willis
Percussion – Romeo Avelino
Piano, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Synthesizer [Oberheim Obxa], Flute, Composed By, Orchestrated By, Conductor, Producer – Keith Hutchinson
Soprano Saxophone – Chris Vernon
Strings [Lead] – Jurgen Schwietering
Trombone – John Davis, Mark Seldon, Pat Bertram, René Laanen, Steve Hurlin Trumpet – Billy Kerker, Hansel Von Brüggen, Robin Finley

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Universal Studios, Johannesburg

Bride – Show No Mercy – 1986

Bride were originally known as Matrix and actually recorded 4 demos using that name. They got their break when they were booked to open for Daniel Band in Pottstown, PA. Apparently there were executives from Refuge records at the show and they subsequently signed the band to their new metal sub label, Pure Metal records. The band went into the studio with a budget of $2500 and it shows. The album has a very thin production but fans if Bride cite this as one of the reasons they love this album. I’m actually a little surprised that Refuge didn’t throw some money at them and give them a producer. While I love Refuge they made some very questionable business decisions during their existence. The album is a little darker than their subsequent work that they were better known for. The real star of the album is Dale Thompson’s guitar work which is some of the best in the industry and we also got a little introduction to Dale’s excellent vocal abilities coming on subsequent albums.

1 – Evil That Men Do – 3:38
2 – Now He Is Gone – 3:50
3 – Fly Away – 4:12
4 – Forever In Darkness – 3:44
5 – Follow Your Heart – 4:29
6 – Show No Mercy – 3:37
7 – I Will Be With You – 4:29
8 – Thunder In The City – 5:53
9 – No Matter The Price – 4:19
10 – The First Will Be Last – 4:07

Bride – Producer, Arranger
Gary Barnes – Background Vocals
Howell Gano – Background Vocals
Scott Hall – Songwriter, Bass
Steve Osborne – Lead Guitar
David Pitt – Background Vocals
Stephan Rolland – Drums
Billy Sutherland – Guitar Special Effects, Voice Box
Dale Thompson – Vocals
Michelle Thompson – Background Vocals
Sharon Thompson – Background Vocals
Troy Thompson – Songwriter, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Violin
Eric Tripton – Lead Guitar

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Pure Metal
Copyright © – Pure Metal

Don Francisco – The Live Concert – 1982

I guess it’s rather silly to point out that this is a live album from Don Francisco but I have to open the paragraph some way. It was recorded at the Huffman Assembly of God in Birmingham, AL on September 20, 1982 and released later that year. At this point in his career Don was established as THE folk artist of CCM music. At the time this album came out I was not a big fan of folk music but I liked this album. Let that be a testament to how good it is. In fact I would say it is probably one of the best live albums of the 80’s regardless of style. I can honestly say that I would have loved to have seen him live as it sounds like it was a really good show. Years later I have listened to most of his albums now and most of the versions he did live are the best versions of these songs.

1 – Since I Met Him I Can See – 3:24
2 – Got To Tell Somebody – 5:11
3 – Jesus Is The Lord Of The Way I Feel – 2:34
4 – Steeple Song – 3:01
5 – I’ll Never Let Go Of Your Hand – 3:28
6 – Adam – 4:30
7 – I Don’t Care Where You’ve Been Sleeping – 3:12
8 – Give Your Heart A Home – 3:52
9 – Too Small A Price – 5:52
10 – Christmas Song – 2:44
11 – Come And Follow Me – 4:10
12 – I Could Never Promise You – 3:03
13 – Love Is Not A Feeling – 1:57
14 – Beautiful To Me – 4:22
15 – The Package – 3:08
16 – Jehoshaphat – 3:01
17 – Closer To Jesus – 3:22
18 – He’s Alive – 4:50

Art Direction, Design – Bill Barnes, Randy Martin
Backing Vocals – Duann Hall, Gary Dunham
Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Louie Hall
Engineer – Noah White
Executive-Producer – Michael B. Suttle
Keyboards – Gary Dunham
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Don Francisco
Mastered By – Ken Perry
Mixed By [Remixed By] – Louie Hall
Photography By – Dean Dixon
Producer – Don Francisco, Louie Hall

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Mixed At – Spectrum Recording Studios, Birmingham, AL
Mastered At – Masterfonics

Larry Howard – Sanctified Blues – 1986

Larry was a member of Grinderswitch through the 70’s and early 80s. They were a southern rock band and toured with all the big names of the style and time. Larry left the band in the mid 80’s and started his solo career. This is his first solo album. Larry brought a sound to CCM music that was needed in the period. Yes their were some blues bands but not of this caliber. Quite frankly this album is as good as anything in the secular market at the time. Playing harmonica on the album is Buddy Greene who is probably second only to Darrell Mansfield as a harmonica player. The rest of the band is a who’s who of some of the best studio musicians in the CCM genre of the time. I am really surprised at how good they were at the blues as none of them had actually recorded in that style that I can find any way. This album does a rather odd track though. The intro end exit track “Sanctified Blues” is exactly the same song but with the stereo tracks reversed. Have to admit that’s a first.

1 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30
2 – Lost Ship – 3:21
3 – Love Ain’t What You Say – 2:56
4 – Cool Rain – 3:34
5 – I Gave Jesus My Blues – 4:20
6 – Shuffle On Home – 2:49
7 – One Night – 3:31
8 – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven – 3:38
9 – Friend In Jesus – 4:34
10 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30

Art Direction – Michael Pierce
Artwork [Handwriting] – Michael Pierce
Backing Vocals – Ava Aldridge, D. Bergen White, Cindy Richardson, Dorothy Moore, Lisa Silver, Wendy Suits
Bass – David Hood, Ed Cain, Michael Joyce, Michael Rhodes
Design Concept [Album Cover Concept] – Gary F. Montgomery, Michael Pierce
Drums – Eddie Bayers, James Stroud, Roger Hawkins, Willie Smith
Engineer – Pat McMakin, Paul Hornsby, Steve Melton
Executive-Producer – Gary F. Montgomery
Guitar – Larry Byrom, Steve Gibson
Harmonica – Buddy Greene
Horns – Charles Rose, Don Sheffield, Harvey Thompson, Jim Horn
Keyboards – Kenny Smith, Mitch Humphries, Randy McCormick
Lead Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Lead Vocals – Larry Howard
Piano – Randy McCormick
Producer – Bucky Jones, Gary F. Montgomery, Larry Howard, Pat McMakin
Rhythm Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Saxophone – Elbert Durham, Jim Horn, Ronnie Eades
Slide Guitar – Jimmy Nalls
Synthesizer – Randy McCormick
Vocals – Bob Bailey, John Whittaker, Larry Howard, Robin Johnson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Refuge Records
Copyright © – Refuge Records
Distributed By – Refuge Music Group
Recorded At – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Recorded At – The Sound Shop
Recorded At – Muscadine Studio
Produced For – New Street Productions

Jan Groth – Roots – 1984

Roots is Jan’s 3rd solo album and was released in the U.S. by Refuge Records. Jan was far better known in Scandinavia than in North America but he deserved to be better known in North America. This album is a straight up Rock & Roll album and Hard Rock albums were what I was listening to at the time. Unfortunately I grew up in Canada where we struggled to hear the complete catalogue of U.S. artists never mind foreign acts. Anyway, I this this is Jan’s best album and I wish so much I had heard it back in the 80’s. At least I have the opportunity to enjoy it now.

1 – I Can’t Fly – 3:11
2 – How Do You Know – 3:21
3 – That’s Why I Long For Tomorrow – 3:49
4 – So Good To Be Me – 3:32
5 – And The Show Goes On – 4:37
6 – Lie Is Not Truth – 4:02
7 – Looking For You – 3:10
8 – For Real – 4:11
9 – Lighthouse – 3:40
10 – I’m Going Home – 3:27

Bass – Dave Markee , Rick Cua
Drums – David Dix, Henry Spinetti
Executive-Producer – John Pac
Guitar – Freddie Salem, Norman Barratt
Photography By – Jan Pethrus
Producer – Jan Groth, Ray Nenow
Written-By – Jan Groth

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.

Steven Curtis Chapman – The Great Adventure – 1992

This album is very tough for me. As readers of the original blog can attest, the Nashville music machine that put out very similar sounding, country infused, safe pop music was never in my wheelhouse. For decades the same singers, songwriters, record companies would put out similar sounding albums and then take home armfuls of Dove Awards. It was an industry that gave the “Rap Dove Award” to Carman! So, as a result, I came to this album very , very late. The first few Steven Curtis Chapman albums were so wrapped up in that world, that when “The Great Adventure” was released I just ignored it. I knew that hits that were incessantly on Christian radio and as a record representative that sold accompaniment cassettes, I knew virtually every song. But they meant very little to me. It wasn’t until I began the painstaking process of creating the original “Top 500” blog that I decided to familiarize myself with the album and tried to listen with new ears. It still did not make the original blog, but I did gain a higher level of respect for the singer/songwriter himself. I then saw Chapman in a solo acoustic concert several years ago where he performed several of the songs from this album with just his guitar, and even acapella. I started to discover the songs behind the processed production and my appreciation grew even more. But albums have to be judged according to their time and the way they were produced. And so the album is included here. But let’s be honest upfront…”Got to Be True” is just an awful, awful song! Most are very, very familiar with the bigger hits from the album like the title track, “Where We Belong,” and “Go There With You.” All are deserving of their success and I struggle to really be too critical here. For me the John Mellencamp ( or was he Cougar then?) inspired “That’s Paradise” is the stand out cut on the album. If Chapman only didn’t have such a pleasant voice, it could have been a mainstream radio single. Chapman also really shines here and throughout his career when accompanied by a more simple, sparse production as heard on “Don’t Let the Fire Die.” Chapman excels on simple ballads, especially when they are more focused on relational issues. “Maria” falls into the same category. Even this song has just too much going on musically. A stripped down acoustic guitar and nothing else would have been plenty. “Hearts Cry” is the very best example of what I am referring. No strings needed! With “The Great Adventure” Chapman truly broke as an artist. He had quite a bit of previous success, but this album was certified gold pretty quickly and brought previous albums along with it. It was from this point that the Gospel Music Association just backed up the Dove Award delivery truck to the Chapman estate annually. This isn’t the last album to be discussed here, but it is the one that fit the most securely in the Nashville Music Machine category, but worthy or more.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Prologue – 2:37
2 – The Great Adventure – 4:35
3 – Where We Belong – 4:19
4 – Go There With You – 5:21
5 – That’s Paradise – 4:59
6 – Don’t Let The Fire Die – 4:48
7 – Got To B Tru – 4:18
8 – Walk With The Wise – 4:34
9 – Maria – 5:01
10 – Still Called Today – 6:00
11 – Heart’s Cry – 5:10

Accordion – Jo-El Sonnier
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Steven Curtis Chapman
Arranged By [Strings, Brass], Conductor – Don Wyrtzen, J.A.C. Redford
Backing Vocals – Brent Lamb, Chris Rodriguez, Herb Chapman, Kip Raines, Lionel Cartwright, Mark Heimermann, Ricky Skaggs, Steven Curtis Chapman, Trace Balin
Backing Vocals [Yells] – Chad Ballantyne, Chris Moore, Herb Chapman, James Isaac Elliott, Jason Cole, Marty Funderburk, Phil Naish, Steve Charles, Steven Curtis Chapman, Todd Robbins
Bass – Jackie Street
Contractor [Orchestra] – Carl Gorodetzky
Design – Carol Bobolts, Red Herring Design
Dobro – Scott Sanders
Drum Programming – Mark Hammond
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer – Ronnie Brookshire
Engineer [Additional] – Carry Summers, Patrick Kelly, Steve Bishir
Engineer [Assistant] – Carry Summers, John Kunz, Patrick Kelly, Todd Robbins
Executive-Producer – Peter York
Guitar – Dann Huff, Jerry McPherson
Keyboards – Phil Naish
Lap Steel Guitar, Dobro [Additional] – Rusty Young
Mixed By – Bill Deaton, Ronnie Brookshire
Orchestra – The Nashville String Machine
Photography By – Frank W. Ockenfels
Piano – Cheryl Rogers
Producer – Phil Naish
Rap, Guest – Toby McKeehan
Soprano Saxophone – Mark Douthit
Vocals [Duet] – BeBe Winans

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Made By – EMI Jax
Produced For – NT Productions
Recorded At – Studio At Mole End
Recorded At – Nightingale Studio
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Skylab Recording Studio
Recorded At – Great Circle Sound
Mixed At – Studio At Mole End

Ken Medema – Kingdom In The Streets – 1980

To say Ken was a music generator in the CCM industry is an understatement. He had 7 albums in the 70’s and 5 albums in the 80’s. This album came out in 1980. The problem with a performer putting out this many albums is that they get lost due to volume. This however was one of Ken’s best 80’s albums. Strangely over a career of more than 20 albums Ken never had a CCM charting single. Now this is silly as his style is exactly what CCM was looking for on their charts. How he never had a charting single is completely beyond me but I think we can rest assured there was more to the story. CCM was well known to have manipulate their charts and if you need any proof, Ken is the proof. Anyway this is a great upbeat worship album so if that is your style and no one ever suggested you listen to this album be sure to give a listen now.

1 – Don’t Tell Me – 4:26
2 – Is There A Place For Dreaming? – 5:58
3 – Those Love Songs – 3:21
4 – I Saw You – 4:29
5 – Kingdom In The Streets – 6:59
6 – Barn Builder – 3:20
7 – By The Waters Of Luxury – 4:39
8 – Corner Drugstore Jesus – 6:04

Arranged By – Bill Pursell,
Engineer – Brian Tankersley, Paul Mills, Phil York
Mastered By – Eric Tomlinson, John Mayfield
Producer – Kurt Kaiser
Words By, Music By – Jane Medema
Words By, Music By, Sleeve Notes – Ken Medema

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Rivendell Sound Recorders
Recorded At – Sumet Sound Studios
Recorded At – Autumn Sound Studios
Mastered At – Sumet Sound Studios
Mastered At – Abbey Road Studios
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Made By – Garrod & Lofthouse

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Demo – 1999

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is probably best known to us as the band of Robert Turner/Been the son of Michael Been. Interestingly in the early years of BRMC Robert used the pseudonym of Turner so he was not connected to his rather famous father. That said the band deserves to be enjoyed for who they are regardless of relations. This was their first release and it was self released with only 500 CD’s printed. Yes ownership of an original copy of this is something to be proud of. For the main part the album is made up of tracks that would appear in subsequent studio albums with only small changes. An example of one of those changes that was rather significant is the track “Suddenly” is sung by Peter Hayes instead of the later version sung by Robert. The 13th track has a bonus song if you sit through 2 minutes of silence (we’ve deleted that silence) you are treated to the “I’m Gonna Take My Time” part of “Rifles”. This is the first thing I listened to by BRMC and it won’t be the last as I really like what I’m hearing here.

1 – Love Burns – 3:40
2 – Too Real – 4:56
3 – Red Eyes And Tears – 4:03
4 – U.S. Government – 3:58
5 – Evol – 5:54
6 – Suddenly – 5:12
7 – Screaming Gun – 4:45
8 – At My Door – 3:35
9 – White Palms – 4:55
10 – Rifles – 5:30
11 – Down Here – 3:16
12 – Fail-Safe – 4:19
13 – Salvation – 13:48

Artwork By [Painting] – Nick Jago
Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Written-By – Robert Turner
Drums, Percussion – Nick Jago
Engineer – Peter Hayes
Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Written-By – Peter Hayes
Mixed By [Additional] – Masaki
Photography – Lindsay Ljungkull
Producer, Performer, Mixed By – B.R.M.C.

Companies, etc.
Pressed By – MG/CA

Holy Saint – Holy Saint – 1990

This is the second Demo from Holy Saint. The first was in 1988 entitled “Babylon”. Both were well received and the band developed a strong cult following. Strangely a couple of the band name used monikers and I can’t actually find any information on who they really were. Sadly information on them is lost to time as is so much info on these little known 80’s CCM bands. The album was finally reissued on CD in 2005 by Retrospect Records however they didn’t include the final track which is the band testifying to their listeners. Personally I think it should have been included as it’s a really well done testimony. That said this is a demo and the quality lacks a little bit but the quality of the band shines through and this is a much listen if you were a metal head in the day.

1 – Crying Out – 4:17
2 – Love Never Fails – 4:54
3 – Walking A Fine Line – 4:20
4 – 777 – 3:58
5 – Christ Is The Answer – 4:06
6 – Come Unto Me – 5:18
7 – Call On Your Name – 6:29
8 – Give Your Life Away – 4:45
9 – Message From The Band – 8:56

Chris Brooks – Lead Vocals
Radical Rad – Guitars
Pat Tharp – Bass
Bruce Atomic – Drums

Various – Maranatha! Six A Family Portrait – 1977

This is the sixth in the series of well known easy listening Maranatha! Music samplers. Seems strange now to see Daniel Amos and Sweet Comfort (Band) on a sampler like this. Below are the original albums with the tracks.

1 – Karen Lafferty – Beautiful Day – Sweet Communion
2 – Bruce Herring – Perfect Will – Unreleased
3 – Sweet Comfort – Somebody Loves You – Sweet Comfort
4 – Aslan – Who Loves The Lonely – Unreleased
5 – Erick Nelson – He Gave Me Love – The Misfit
6 – Parable – The Plain Truth – Illustrations
7 – Bethlehem – Desert Songs – Bethlehem
8 – Becky Ugartechea – Nightengale – Unreleased
9 – Daniel Amos – Father’s Arms – Shotgun Angel
10 – Bob & Joy Cull – Sail Away – Windborne

1 – Karen Lafferty – Beautiful Day – 4:21
2 – Bruce Herring – Perfect Will – 3:51
3 – Sweet Comfort – Somebody Loves You – 3:01
4 – Aslan – Who Loves The Lonely – 3:54
5 – Erick Nelson – He Gave Me Love – 3:55
6 – Parable – The Plain Truth – 3:33
7 – Bethlehem – Desert Songs – 3:40
8 – Becky Ugartechea – Nightengale – 3:53
9 – Daniel Amos – Father’s Arms – 4:23
10 – Bob & Joy Cull – Sail Away – 4:15

Companies, etc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Copyright © – Maranatha! Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Maranatha! Music