DeGarmo & Key – Go To The Top – 1991

This 1991 offering from D&K pretty well followed along form their previous studio album. I have a strange opinion of this album. I think It’s a really good album but I think it was hurt with poor production. Ron W. Griffin mixed and produced the album. He is a very good producer and has produced several excellent D&K albums but I think I actually dislike his mix. Several tracks fade in which is rather odd. I don’t think I know of ay other album that has this many tracks that fade in. All that aside the album was nominated for a Grammy but lost to Russ Taff. Like I said I think this is a great album but not Grammy nomination good. Perhaps if the production had been better I would think different. That said I rarely agree with Grammy decisions so my opinion is tainted. All that aside the best track on the album is no doubt “Ultimate Ruler”. The ZZTopish intro and great riffs make it a favorite rock tune that is on my regular rotation.

1 – I Believe – 1:20
2 – Go To The Top (At The Top Reprise) – 4:09
3 – Against The Night – 5:12
4 – Ultimate Ruler – 5:00
5 – Soul Mender – 4:06
6 – Family Reunion – 4:06
7 – Still At Work – 3:12
8 – Stand, Fight, Win – 3:51
9 – Victory – 4:16
10 – March On – 5:11
11 – The Rest Of My Life – 4:00

Tommy Cathey – Bass, Bass Arranger, Background Vocals
Eddie DeGarmo – Songwriter, Keyboards, Organ, Lead and Background Vocals
Ron W. Griffin – Producer, Engineer, Mixed
Howard Irving – Assistant Engineer
Dana Key – Songwriter, Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Carl Marsh – Orchestral Arranger, Keyboards, Programming
Roscoe Meek – Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Acoustic Guitar
Doug Nightwine – Assistant Engineer
Ken Pennell – Executive Producer
Mark Pogue – Background Vocals
Kevin Rodell – Drum Arranger

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Benson Music Group
Produced For – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright © – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright © – DKB Music
Published By – DKB Music
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Recorded At – Three Alarm Studios
Mastered At – Mastermix

Real World – When God Spoke – 1990

Real World is Chris Butson, Vicki Powers, Nicole Barlow and Julie Thorpe. Contemporary music specialist/promoter Vic Campbell states: ‘Real World initially involved Chris Butson and her husband Phil writing and recording in their home studio at The Basin, on the outskirts of Melbourne (Australia).’ (On Being, October 1990, page 39) He describes the album as ‘1990’s music with intelligent lyrics.’ Chris’ husband Phil is a producer/engineer who has produced albums for Steve Grace, Rosanna’s Raiders and Shane Howard of mainstream band Goanna to name a few. The song lyrics are far from superficial and have a poetic feel to them. “It’s almost like when Jesus told His parables,” says Chris, “alluding to something where people had to think a bit further. We’re trying to say things in a pictorial sort of way.” Campbell states: “Several songs such as the title track and ‘Idolizing Lies’ were inspired by early chapters of Genesis. …Other tracks deal with tension in relationships between people and the Creator.” Chris says: “’Africa-Cruel Wall’ was written after seeing the film ‘Cry Freedom’.” This is the only track to feature real drums. The drummer on this track is none other than Peter Luscombe of mainstream Australian band The Black Sorrows. Campbell says: “The album sounds are so good that I can almost ignore the fact that only one song features real drums.”

1 – When God Spoke – 4:34
2 – Heart Beat – 4:46
3 – See You Everywhere – 3:42
4 – New Day – 3:33
5 – Angels Sing – 4:12
6 – Idolizing Lies – 4:01
7 – Blood In The Garden – 3:12
8 – White Fields – 4:28
9 – Some Girls – 3:37
10 – Africa – Cruel Walls – 4:43

Backing Vocals – Phil Butson
Design – Sudden Images
Drums – Peter Luscombe (tracks: 10)
Guitar – Phil Butson, Trevor Reading (tracks: 4)
Illustration – Jeff Spencer
Keyboards – Les Price (tracks: 2, 5), Phil Butson, Rohan Anderson (tracks: 4)
Lead Vocals – Chris Butson
Producer – Phil Butson

Companies, etc.
Produced At – The Basin (2) – none
Produced At – Sing Sing Studios – none
Distributed By – Spectra Distribution, Inc. – none
Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group – none
Distributed By – DTS Records

Terry Talbot – Terry Talbot Sings Stories Of Jesus – 1984

It it’s very difficult for me to talk about Terry’s albums. It’s not because they are bad, it’s because they all sound the same to me. Let there be no doubt that Terry is a great songwriter and musician but if you’re not a fan it all sounds the same from album to album. But that’s my problem and not his problem. Terry was a prolific songwriter and put out albums almost every single year. That is a lot of work and should be respected. Anyway here’s Terry’s offering for 1984.

1 – I Am He – 5:02
2 – I Saw Him – 5:34
3 – The Boat – 3:20
4 – Rose Of Sharon – 3:51
5 – Heights Of A Bended Knee – 3:43
6 – The Way The Truth The Life – 2:50
7 – Come Forth – 3:20
8 – Star Of David – 2:57
9 – Heal Me – 3:51

Acoustic Guitar – Terry Talbot
Arranged By [Additional] – Terry Talbot
Arranged By [Synthesized Parts] – Denny Bouchard
Art Direction – Stan Evenson Design*
Backing Vocals – Matthew Ward (2), Nelly Greisen, Terry Talbot, Wendy Hofheimer
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Cover, Coordinator – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Design [Lyric Sheet Design] – John Taylor (62), Marlene Bergman
Drums – Bill Maxwell
Engineer [Additional] – Terry Talbot
Engineer, Recorded By – Joe Bellamy, Ron Capone
Liner Notes – Terry Talbot
Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall
Mixed By – Ron Capone
Photography By – Phil Fewsmith
Producer – Terry Talbot
Programmed By [Fairlight / Rhodes Chroma] – Rhett Lawrence
Programmed By [Roland Jupiter 8 / Roland MCH] – Denny Bouchard
Synthesizer – Denny Bouchard
Written-By – Terry Talbot

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Published By – Birdwing Music
Published By – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Recorded At – Easter Song Studios
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Mixed At – Westwind Studio
Mastered At – Future Disc

Amy Grant – Home For Christmas – 1992

This is Amy’s second Christmas album. In fact I believe it’s the most successful CCM Christmas album of all time. According to Nielsen SoundScan it is actually the eighteenth best-selling Christmas album in the U.S. since 1991. It reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Christian album chart. The album is a combo of traditional Christmas songs along with some originals just for this album.

1 – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – 2:36
2 – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – 2:26
3 – Joy To The World / For Unto Us A Child Is Born – 2:33
4 – Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song) – 5:29
5 – O’ Come All Ye Faithful – 3:01
6 – Grown Up Christmas List – 5:00
7 – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – 2:07
8 – Winter Wonderland – 2:17
9 – I’ll Be Home For Christmas – 3:27
10 – The Night Before Christmas – 3:52
11 – Emmanuel, God With Us – 4:56
12 – Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring – 4:47

Amy Grant – lead vocals
Shane Keister – acoustic piano (4, 10), keyboards (8, 10, 11), string arrangements (10)
Carl Marsh – synthesizer (4), keyboards (11, 12), orchestration (12)
Robbie Buchanan – keyboards (6)
Clare Fischer – acoustic piano (9)
Blair Masters – keyboards (10, 11)
Phil Keaggy – guitars (5)
Tom Hemby – guitar (6, 12), acoustic guitar (10)
Jerry McPherson – guitar (7), acoustic guitar (10)
Dann Huff – guitar (10)
Craig Nelson – bass (7, 9)
David Hungate – bass (8, 10)
Chris McHugh – drums (7)
Steve Forman – percussion (7)
Paul Leim – drums (8, 10), percussion (10)
Harold Jones – drums (9)
Mark O’Connor – violin (12)
Ronn Huff – orchestration (1, 2, 3, 9), choral arrangements (3, 5, 11), conductor
Alan Moore – orchestration (6)
The London Studio Orchestra – strings (1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 12)
Nat Peck – contractor
The American Boychoir (3, 5, 10), directed by James Litton
Chris Eaton – background vocals (2, 7, 11), acoustic piano (11)
Marty McCall – background vocals (2, 7, 10)
Marabeth Jordan – background vocals (2, 7, 10)
Bonnie Keen – background vocals (2, 7, 10)
John Darnall – children’s choir director (10)
Children’s choir (10) – Jessica Owen, Kristina Owen, Carrie Gardner, Lisa Pardin, Asher Larrison, Emily Estes, Bethany Wright, Skyla Carnahan, Katy Dunham and Ellie Bannister
Brown Bannister – producer
Ronn Huff – producer (2, 3)
Amy Grant – executive producer

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – A&M Records, Inc.
Copyright © – A&M Records, Inc.

Wendell Burton – Closer – 1983

This is Wendell’s 4th album. This is another album that doesn’t fall in the style I usually listen to BUT I do listen to this one. This is a great Easy Listening album and Wendell was a great song writer. Now this album came out in 1983 and I should have heard of it but somehow I don’t remember anything about it. I’m pretty sure the album cover turned me off if I did see it. This is another example of a horrible album cover that I have complained about before from several labels. Strangely a track from this album ended up on a Sparrow records sampler but the album was on Lamb & Lion Records and Word Canada. I’m just guessing that Sparrow was doing the U.S. distribution but like I said that’s just a guess. Anyway there is one stand out track to me on the album. “America” just begs to have been covered by Springsteen. But I don’t want to say the original isn’t good, it’s very good and is gong into my regular rotation.

1 – Spreading All Over the World – 3:52
2 – Just Like You – 3:04
3 – Who He Is – 3:24
4 – The Battle Is Already Won – 3:50
5 – Come To Me – 3:27
6 – America – 5:17
7 – Today’s The Day – 3:34
8 – Only Be Strong – 4:11
9 – Greatly Rejoice – 4:04
10 – To Be Like Jesus – 2:46

Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Wendell Burton
Arranged By [Strings] – Allen Moore, Kristen Wilkinson
Backing Vocals – Christie Houser, Donna McElroy, Lynn Kellogg, Patti Burton*, Randy Thompson, Vicki Wilson
Bass – Larry Paxton, Tim Smith
Drums – Buster Phillips, Joe English
Keyboards – Bobby Wood
Keyboards, Synthesizer – John Lawry, Roger Morris, Shane Keister
Mixed By – Joe Wilson
Mixed By [Assistant] – Bill Cobb
Mixed By, Backing Vocals – Dan Collins
Percussion [Synthesized] – Dan Collins
Producer, Recorded By, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Joe Wilson
Saxophone – Donnie Sanders
Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Tom Howard

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Lamb & Lion Records
Recorded At – Master’s Touch
Mixed At – Poiema Studios
Mixed At – Martinsound
Mixed At – Glaser Sound Studios, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee

Debby Boone – Surrender – 1983

This was Debby’s seventh album and considering we’re talking about Debby Boone here it didn’t do all that well. I’ve listened to it a few times and to be honest it’s just kind of boring. I know I’m not her target audience but the album just didn’t have any punch to it. It was produced by Brown Bannister so I don’t know why it has this feel. I’ve kind of decided it was due to song selection. I think they just got unlucky and didn’t have a great track that stuck. Now lets be clear the album was popular and did sell well. I’m just saying it didn’t sell well for a Debby Boone album.

1 – O Come All Ye Faithful – 4:05
2 – Keep The Flame Burning – 4:42
3 – Can You Reach My Friend – 4:09
4 – Lift Him Up – 4:23
5 – Wounded Soldier – 4:59
6 – Surrender – 3:35
7 – Keep Rollin’ On – 4:05
8 – Find A Hurt And Heal It – 2:38
9 – O Holy One – 4:12
10 – Blessing – 3:05

Debby Boone – Vocals
Jim Baird – Engineer
Brown Bannister – Producer, Handclaps
Debbie Bannister – Handclaps
David Baroni – Songwriter
Laury Boone Browning – Background Vocals
Niles Borop – Songwriter
Harry Browning – Songwriter
Robbie Buchanan – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Background Vocals
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Bill Champlin – Background Vocals
Tamara Champlin – Background Vocals
Gary Chapman – Background Vocals
Claire Cloninger – Songwriter
Diana DeWitt Hanna – Background Vocals
Phil Driscoll – Duet Vocal
Nathan East – Bass
Gene Eichelberger – Engineer
Victor Feldman – Percussion
Marty Goetz – Songwriter, Piano
Richard Green – Handclaps
Debbie Hall – Background Vocals
Sandy Hall – Background Vocals
Russ Hollingsworth – Songwriter
John Houghton – Handclaps
Dann Huff – Guitars
Shane Keister – Keyboards, Synthesizers
Jim Keltner – Drums
Brent King – Engineer
Greg Laughery – Songwriter
Pam Mark Hall – Songwriter
Martyn Ford – Orchestra Strings
Dony McGuire – Songwriter, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Alan Moore – String Arranger
Farrell Morris – Percussion
Rich Mullins – Songwriter
Connie Nelson – Songwriter
Dean Parks – Guitars
Jack Joseph Puig – Engineer
Bill Purse – Songwriter
Reba Rambo – Songwriter, Background Vocals
John Rosasco – Songwriter
Rick Shlosser – Drums
Leland Sklar – Bass
Billy Sprague – Songwriter
Fred Tackett – Guitars
Carmen Twillie – Background Vocals
Jim Weber – Songwriter

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Sparrow Records
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Tourniquet – Psycho Surgery – 1991

This is the second album from Tourniquet. Now everyone should know by now I don’t care for Metal and or Thrash and I often get bashed for saying I don’t like a metal album. Now that said even though I don’t like the style I can still tell if an album is good or not. This album is good, not just a little good either, it is probably one of the best Thrash albums I have ever heard. It was produced by Bill Metoyer who has been producing some of the best secular music bands as well as the metal version of Deliverance. Anyway the album was very well received including two GMA Dove Award nominations for Metal Album of the Year and Metal Recorded Song of the Year. HM Magazine ranked Psycho Surgery #18 on its list of Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time and the #2 album on its list of Top 100 Christian Metal Albums of All Time. I might agree with the Metal album spot but I think their being a little over the top on the #18 ranking on its list of Top 100 Christian Rock Albums of All Time. Anyway this is a great album and even if you’re not a big fan of Metal you should probably give it a listen at least once.

1 – Psycho Surgery – 4:14
2 – A Dog’s Breakfast – 4:27
3 – Viento Borrascoso (Devastating Wind) – 3:06
4 – Vitals Fading – 2:46
5 – Spineless – 5:12
6 – Dysfunctional Domicile – 5:01
7 – Broken Chromosomes – 5:21
8 – Stereotaxic Atrocities – 4:21
9 – Officium Defunctorum – 6:26

Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Bass, Vocals – Victor Macias
Concept By [Illustration Concept] – Jim Martin
Design – Joe Potter
Drums, Lead Guitar [Additional], Rhythm Guitar [Additional] – Ted Kirkpatrick
Engineer, Mixed By – Bill (G. Shumway) Metoyer
Illustration [Cover Illustration] – Ken Taufer
Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Effects, Engineer – Guy Ritter
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Erik Mendez
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals – Gary Lenaire
Lead Vocals [On Verse One Of Vitals Fading And All Verses Of “Psycho”] – Gary Lenaire
Musical Assistance [Theological Review] – George Bryson
Photography By – Jim Muth
Producer – Bill Metoyer
Producer, Concept By [Illustration Concept] – Tourniquet
Vocals [Spanish Vocals on Vitals Fading] – Victor Macias

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Broken Songs
Mixed At – Mixing Lab A
Recorded At – Mixing Lab B
Recorded At – Hammersound, Chatsworth
Recorded At – Asaph
Produced At – Downtown Rehearsal
Produced At – Eagle Rock Studios
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Intense Records
Copyright © – Intense Records
Distributed By – FMG Distribution
Glass Mastered at – Nimbus, Virginia

Phil Driscoll – I Exalt Thee – 1983

I’m pretty sure we will agree that this was Phil’s most successful album. The album got a Grammy nomination for Best Male Gospel Performance and also received the 1984 GMA Dove Award for Instrumentalist of the Year. It was also nominated for the GMA Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year. That’s pretty impressive. Now one of the stranger things about this album is that Phil went back into the studio are rerecorded the entire album so he could release it on his own label. He also added a track. I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty sure this was a big screw you to Sparrow records. Anyway if you only have time to listen to one track make it his version of “Amazing Grace”. It’s actually my favorite version of this classic hymn, Phil’s voice just makes it sound so great.

1 – I Exalt Thee – 7:23
2 – Wings As Eagles – 5:30
3 – Let The Whole World Know – 4:05
4 – Our God Reigns – 4:36
5 – Amazing Grace – 4:10
6 – Hosanna – 4:33
7 – El Shaddai – 3:55
8 – Everlasting Life – 4:18
9 – The Lord’s Prayer – 4:49

Backing Vocals – Beverly Baxter, Donna McElroy, Lari Goss, Melodie Tunney*, Roni Goss, Sharon Scott (3), Terry Blackwood
Bass – Ricky Keller
Congas, Timbales, Percussion – Alex Acuña, Laran Philpott
Drums – Buster Phillips, Jim Keltner
Guitar – Dann Huff, Mike Deasy
Keyboards – Jerry Cleveland, Lari Goss
Producer – Lari Goss, Phil Driscoll

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Sparrow Records

Steve Green – Steve Green – 1984

This is Steve Green’s introductory album and this album was an example of everything that was wrong with Christian music at this time. Steve did not write a single song on this album though he was given cowriting credits for one track. The songs were written by great writers employed by Sparrow Records. In fact “Wounded Soldier” was also released on Debby Boone’s album the previous year. What? You couldn’t find another song Sparrow? So it leaves me to wonder, why Steve Green? Sure he’s a good singer but there were 100’s probably 1000’s of singers as good as him. He didn’t even play an instrument on his own album. Sure he had been a minor member of Truth but what was it that had Sparrow say “This is our guy”. Now Steve did go on to be a great success though he never really did much writing. Sparrow knew what they were doing when they picked artists like this. As for the album it’s good. Steve’s a good singer and the tracks were written by the cream of the crop over at Sparrow. I just sometimes wonder how these albums came to exist.

1 – Lift Up A Song
2 – Looking For The City
3 – Bring Back The Glory
4 – Proclaim The Glory Of The Lord
5 – Wounded Soldier
6 – Lamb Of Glory
7 – Other Side Of The Grave
8 – Broken And Spilled Out
9 – You Can Be (As Full As You Want To Be)
10 – People Need The Lord

Engineer [Additional Engineer] – Bill Deaton, Billy Sherill, James Baird
Engineer [Chief Engineer], Mixed By [Remixed By] – Bob Clark
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Mastered By [With] – Ken Pennell
Orchestrated By – David T. Clydesdale
Producer [Produced By] – Greg Nelson
Strings [Strings By] – Nashville String Machine
Vocals [Choral Group] – Beverly Darnall, Dave Duram, Gary Music, Jon Mohr, Karla Worley, Kevin Hoffer, Kristi Cleary, Larry Brooks, Luanne Mohr, Melody Tunney*, Rick Gibson, Scott Douglas, Steve Green

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Hearn Records Fund II, Ltd.
Recorded At – Great Circle Sound
Recorded At – Center Stage Studio
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – Sound Emporium
Remixed At – Great Circle Sound
Mastered At – Future Disc

Rob Castles – Straight Shot – 1988/2019

Full disclosure up front Rob is a friend of mine and I am a huge fan of his music so don’t expect a very objective review of this album. Rob turned up the Rock a few notches for this album. It was released on micro label Dark Records who apparently came to an agreement with Rob to use the performer name Rob Castles because everyone was pronouncing it that way anyway. The album itself is excellent though lyrically the JPM count is relatively low for a Christian album. This in my opinion is a good thing. I always wanted Christian artists to write songs that were relevant to youth and Rob did exactly that with this album. He even did a song on the evils of crack cocaine. Imagine that, a song that would be relevant to Christian youth without just saying “trust God”. Youth had to make real life decisions in the 80’s and it would have been nice if more artists had written songs that helped youth beyond the standard “oh just pray”. In my opinion there are several tracks on this album that were radio ready but needless to say secular radio never had any idea who Rob was. In 2019 the album was re-issued by Girder Records and 2 bonus tracks recorded in 86/87 were added and we have included those 2 tracks in our playlist.

1 – Shoot It Straight – 2:49
2 – Safety Zone – 3:17
3 – What’s That Voice – 3:28
4 – Overkill – 2:46
5 – Next Time – 2:40
6 – Living On The Edge – 4:08
7 – Save Yourself For Love – 3:32
8 – Only Lovers – 4:25
9 – Can’t Turn Down – 3:49
10 – Crack – 3:02
Bonus Tracks
11 – Epidemic Of Love – 4:22
12 – Voyagers – 4:49

Rob Cassels – Keyboards, Harmonica, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Sam Eakins – Guitars, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Mark Ediger – Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
David Lee – Guitar, Background Vocals
Steve Morse – Producer
Kent Reed – Bass, Background Vocals
Rick Sandidge – Background Vocals
Matt Schwartz – Background Vocals
Steve Hill – Background Vocals
Andy Childress – Background Vocals (“Only Lovers”)