Surprise – Fish!!! – 1989

Australian band Surprise actually started out in the early 80’s as Surprise Surprise. They actually appeared on and won an episode of the Australian version of Star Search performing Walking with a Zombie. That win actually paid for some recording sessions. When 2 members left they changed the name to just a single Surprise. They did have a demo but we haven’t found it yet. So here is their first album on label Refuge. The album is just simply fantastic. It has more a mid 80’s sound than a late 80’s sound but never mind it’s fantastic. I was actually surprised to find out that this very well produced album was actually David Simpfendorfer first attempt at production. He produced both Surprise albums and very little else. Kind of surprising because I thought he did a great job. Anyway this is definitely a must listen if you liked mid 80’s new wave.

1 – Waits For Me – 3:44
2 – Captains Of Industry – 3:33
3 – Take This Hand – 2:53
4 – Wastin’ Time – 3:31
5 – Do You Believe? – 2:57
6 – Omo Bob – 3:07
7 – This Generation – 2:53
8 – Head In The Clouds – 2:09
9 – Better Days – 3:58
10 – Ignorance – 2:55
11 – Freedom – 2:10
12 – Think About That – 1:34

Backing Vocals – Allan Dowthwaite, David Welch, Malcolm Kiely
Bass – Malcolm Kiely
Drums – Allan Dowthwaite
Engineer – Dave Simpfendorfer
Guitar – Alexander MacDonald
Keyboards – David Welch
Mixed By – Jeff Todd
Photography By – Brad Sutcliffe
Producer – Dave Simpfendorfer, Surprise
Vocals – Alexander MacDonald, Catherine Ryan, Lisa Parsons

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Windwood Studios

Sardonyx – Rebel of Reason – 1990

Sardonyx was formed in 1988 with the coming together of two metal bands. The original members were Tom Denlinger on Vocals, Rod Feltman Lead Guitars, Michael Anthony Drums, Tim Swarthout Lead Guitar, and Chuck Turner on Bass. In 1990 the guys came together at the home studio of Dave Kurtz of Thresher and would record this simple 4 song Demo. Shortly after the demo was recorded Tim Swarthout left the band and isn’t credited on the demo. The demo was very popular and while it led to recording offers they went on to forge their own path and release future albums privately. This demo is presented in full on both sides of the cassette which I always thought was a nice touch. Given the destructive qualities of playing a cassette these two sided versions would let you enjoy the music twice as long.

1 – Scandal – 4:00
2 – Don’t Chase The Rainbow – 4:38
3 – Bloodshed – 5:21
4 – Rebel Of Reason – 5:44

Bass – Chuck Turner
Drums – Michael Anthony
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Rod Feltman
Vocals – Tom Denlinger

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Lifeline Studios
Mastered At – Lifeline Studios

Lasse Edin & The Outsiders – Unbounded Land – 1990

I’ll say honestly I’m a little confused how the Edin Adahl gang decided what albums were solo projects and what were group albums. This project includes Lars Edin obviously but also Frank Ådahl and Simon Ådahl and was produced by Bertil Edin. Anyway Lars was the lead on this project and wrote the music for seven of the tracks while Svenerid Dahl wrote the lyrics for those seven tracks. Simon Adahl wrote one track and strangely but pretty cool are two tracks written by Jeff Lynn as performed by ELO. I don’t really know too much about the project other than that but it’s a pretty good album. It has a bit of an early Edin-Ådahl feel and sound though it is produced better than those early projects.

1 – Summer and Lightning – 3:52
2 – Without Love – 2:54
3 – Right on Time – 3:44
4 – Cause I Need You – 3:46
5 – Unbounded Land – 4:02
6 – Bleeding Heart – 3:33
7 – Stepping Out – 3:27
8 – Confusion – 3:19
9 – I’m the One – 3:55
10 – Waste of Time – 2:58

Acoustic Guitar, Slide Guitar – Simon Ådahl
Arranged By – Lasse Edin, Tommy Kaså
Backing Vocals – Frank Ådahl, Lasse Edin, Simon Ådahl
Bass – Tomas Axelsson, Urban Hedin
Design – Carl Åkesson
Drum Programming – Frank Ådahl
Drums – Johan Franzon
Engineer – Bertil Edin
Guitar, Lead Guitar – Tommy Kaså
Keyboards – Frank Ådahl, Jörgen Ingeström
Photography By – Magnus Elgquist
Producer – Bertil Edin, Lasse Edin
Steel Guitar – Per-Olof Larsson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Cantio Records
Copyright © – Cantio Records
Published By – EMI Songs Scandinavia AB
Published By – Cantio Music
Recorded At – Edin Music Studio
Pressed By – CD Plant MFG
Glass Mastered At – CDM

Andy Piercy – Free Heat – 1983

After the official breakup of After The Fire Andy Piercy hit the studio for a solo album with Producer John Eden. They had some material left over from the final days of ATF so that’s where they started. The album was to be called Free Heat which was an anagram of After The Fire, with the missing letters creating the word “rift”. Musicians who worked on the album with Piercy and Mal Pope included Roger Taylor (Queen), Henry Spinetti & Bob Jenkins – drums, John Giblin & Andy – bass, Alan Murphy & John Russell – guitar, Adrian Lee – keys. Mal Pope and John Russell both did some backing vocals. CBS released “8 Ball in the Top Pocket” (b-side “Deep Waters Still Run”) as a single and it did not get any airplay. They also pressed an extended version of the single but they ditched it before the release though some copies did sneak out. Work on the album had begun to get difficult as the demos were not turning into the tracks Piercy wished for. Then towards the end of recording, the producer, John Eden, told Piercy that he “didn’t like” any of the styles, bands or writers he was aspiring to. The whole project was dropped by CBS and was never released. Piercy recalls “I think they could have been good but I now realize I didn’t get the production help and direction I needed at the time.” Okay that’s enough of the history lesson so now my opinion. The choice of “8 Ball In The Top Pocket” was absolutely the wrong choice. Then they put “Deep Waters Still Run” on the B side which was even a worse decision. Everyone involved in the project knew the single was “Stop Go” followed up by “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” but CBS didn’t care what all the talent thought. Now as for the album as a whole I actually think I agree with Andy that there were production problems. Normally this is where I would scream and yell about the mix but in this case it’s not the mix that is the problem. Actually I think the production is fantastic BUT the problem is that the tracks were mixed in different styles. I feel that there is 3 distinctly different sounds here. I think they’re all good but the album doesn’t have that continuity that great albums have. That said I believe producer John Eden did a good job but it just didn’t work out. One last gripe was the choice of the album name being a negative attitude towards After The Fire. In my opinion that just wasn’t called for or appropriate and knowing that Andy and Peter Banks were still trying to be friends it was in poor taste.

1 – Stop Go – 4:36
2 – We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – 4:44
3 – Terry – 6:20
4 – Young Love – 4:32
5 – Deep Waters Still Run – 4:13
6 – 8 Ball In The Top Pocket – 5:04
7 – Break Out – 4:53
8 – One Down For The Highway – 4:12
9 – Jewel In The Night – 4:52
10 – 4th Street Room 101 – 4:23

Artwork By [Design] – Roslav
Backing Vocals – Mal Pope, John Russell
Bass – John Giblin, Andy Piercy
Drums – Roger Taylor, Heny Spinetti, Bob Jenkins
Guitar – Alan Murphy, John Russell
Keyboards – Adrian Lee
Photography By – Eric Watson
Producer – Andy Piercy, John Eden
Vocals – Andy Piercy

Cliff Richard – Small Corners – 1977

Right off the bat I have to start out by apologizing because some of the videos in this playlist are blocked in some countries. This has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Cliff Richard. He has always had copyright issues and whatever management company he is using now doesn’t understand digital world copyright. I know Cliff has nothing actively to do with his copyright issues but if anyone reads this and talks with Cliff could you please tell him to fire his management company and get one that understands international copyright law in 2023 because it’s not 1980 anymore. Oh and he’s losing money because of them.

Okay and it’s on to the album. As you probably know Cliff put out a smattering of Christian albums in the 70’s and 80’s that sold poorly but were mostly loved in the CCM community. I believe this is probably the best known of those albums even though it was never released in North America. In reality there’s no original work here and the album is entirely covers of better known CCM tracks. Yes Cliff did change the arrangements but even that’s questioned as some history says that Terry Britten actually did the arrangements. To be clear I’m not picking on Cliff because I really like this album. The Larry covers are excellent I’m just telling the story. Actually my favourite cover on the album is I Love originally from Malcolm & Alwyn. Anyway if you missed this one back in the day it’s a must listen to if YouTube will allow you to.

1 – Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music – 4:05 (Written-By – Larry Norman)
2 – I Love – 3:15 (Written-By – Alwyn Wall, Malcolm Wild)
3 – Why Me – 2:40 (Written-By – Kris Kristofferson)
4 – I’ve Got News For You – 4:14 (Written-By – Randy Stonehill)
5 – Hey Watcha’ Say – 3:56 (Written-By – 2nd Chapter of Acts)
6 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready – 4:38 (Written-By – Larry Norman)
7 – Joseph – 3:22 (Written-By – Terry Britten)
8 – Good On The Sally Army – 3:04 (Written-By – Alan Shiers)
9 – Goin’ Home – 2:51 (Written-By – Annie Herring)
10 – Up In Canada – 2:44 (Written-By – Larry Norman)
11 – Yes He Lives – 3:28 (Written-By – Terry Britten)
12 – When I Survey The Wondrous Cross – 2:11 (Traditional)

Arranged By – Nick Ingman
Bass Guitar – Alan Tarney
Chorus [Vocal Group] – Cliff Richard, John Perry, Stewart Calver, Tony Rivers
Drums, Percussion – Brian Bennett
Engineer – Tony Clark
Engineer [Assistant] – Allan Rouse, Hayden Bendall*, John Barrett, Mike Jarrett
Guitar – Terry Britten
Keyboards – Graham Todd
Mastered By – Chris Blair, Nick Webb
Photography By – Gered Mankowitz
Producer – Cliff Richard

Companies, etc.
Licensed From – EMI Records Ltd.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – EMI Records Ltd.
Copyright © – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Made By – Shorewood Packaging Co. Ltd.
Printed By – Shorewood Packaging Co. Ltd.

First Love – Nothing Can Keep Me Away – 1981

OK so I did a bunch of looking and I can’t find anything about this band. Their proper name was First Love Band and the main members were John P. Volz & Joan C. Volz. I have no idea whether they were brother and sister or husband and wife. I also have no idea if they are related to Greg Volz. This is the second of three albums by them. Generally when a band has 3 albums I can find out a little more about them but this time I’m stumped. Anyway as for the album it has a seventies easy listening sound and is actually really well engineered and produced. Best track is probably “Child Of The King” which features some pretty good guitar work. If you like obscure 70’s CCM bands then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one.

1 – Closer To The Light – 4:06
2 – Fishes And Loaves – 4:01
3 – Paradox – 4:46
4 – Crockpot Christian – 5:09
5 – Nothing Can Keep Me Away – 3:11
6 – Hands Off The Altar – 3:36
7 – Give It All Up – 4:14
8 – Child Of The King – 2:26
9 – Raise A Praise – 5:32

Piano, Lead Vocals – Joan C. Volz
Lead Vocals, Latin Percussion – John P. Volz
Organ – John Drymon
Lead Guitar – Jim Scott
Classical Guitar – Steve Stoutenberg
Strings – Loretta Shotwell, Mary Burke
Sax – Richard Malfitano
Congos, Drums – John Allen
Bass, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Henry Triplett
Horns – Gary Laustsen
Woodwinds – Bill Davis
Trombone – Henry Pearlberg
Background Vocals – Joan C. Volz, John P. Volz, Joe Saint, Henry Triplett
Synth – Tom Cook
Engineer – Joe Saint
Producer – Joe Saint, First Love

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – John Volz Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – John Volz Music
Published By – John Volz Music
Recorded At – Emmaus Sound Studio

Steven Curtis Chapman – More To This Life – 1989

Well I’m definitely going to piss some people off with this review. This is Steven’s third album and it was wildly successful. It had four number one hits, “More To This Life”, “I Will Be Here”, “Love You With My Life”, “Treasure Island”, as well as a number 6 track, “Waiting For Lightning”. This is all according to CCM magazine. I think it was about this time in history that CCM magazine completely lost the plot. I was never particularly happy with their chart decisions but really this album was ridiculous. If you listen to all of the singles on this album they sound like they were written by AI. This is the same drivel that is coming out of the Christian music scene today. In fact you could release this album today and it would sound like everything else on Christian radio. I can imagine that Sparrow records is still rolling in the royalties from thousands of worship services that use these songs. I’m sorry Steven, you are a fantastic artist but this kind of music is what ruined CCM music for everyone. Now I know plenty of you love this album and there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean Steven is a great artist and in fact a couple tracks on this album that didn’t single are pretty good but they don’t follow the worship style that the industry was turning to. I quite liked his previous albums but this one just sounded too industry oriented for me.

1 – More To This Life – 5:11
2 – Love You With My Life – 3:23
3 – Waiting For Lightning – 3:40
4 – Living For The Moment – 4:47
5 – I Will Be Here – 4:24
6 – Who Makes The Rules – 3:33
7 – Treasure Island – 4:46
8 – Way Beyond The Blue – 5:43
9 – In This Little Room – 3:36
10 – More Than Words – 4:28
11 – Out In The Highways – 4:54

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Jon Goin
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Arranged By [Rhythm] – Steven Curtis Chapman
Arranged By [Strings], Conductor – Don Wyrtzen
Art Direction – Barbara Hearn
Backing Vocals – Chris Harris, Chris Rodriguez, Herb Chapman, Mark Heimermann
Bass – Jackie Street
Design – Brenda Whitehill
Drums – Mark Hammond
Engineer [Additional] – Ronnie Brookshire
Engineer [Assistant] – Barry Ray Dixon, Carry Summers, Howard Levy, Steve Bishir
Mandolin – Mark O’Connor
Mastered By – Denny Purcell
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Keyboards, Arranged By [Rhythm] – Phil Naish
Production Manager – Cindy Wilt
Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Slide Guitar [Acoustic] – Don Potter
Strings – Carl Gorodetzky, The Nashville String Machine
Violin – Mark O’Connor

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Nineteenth Street Productions
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Distributed By – Christian Marketing Canada, Ltd.
Pressed By – Capitol Jax
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Recorded At – The Pond
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Recorded At – Studio 55, Los Angeles
Mastered At – Georgetown Masters
Record Company – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Designed At – Hipke, Inc.

Nutshell – Begin Again – 1978

This is the third release from Nutshell though it was a shell of the previous band. See what I did there? Anyway after the Flyaway album Pam Thiele and Heather Barlowe left the group. They were replaced by Annie McCaig and Mo McCafferty and this lead to the name of the album. The album was of course punctuated by Paul Field’s excellent songwriting. This album continues with that seventies folky sound they had before and if you didn’t know about the change in lineup you would swear it’s the same band. This is not a genre I like very much but if you do like this sound this is a must listen album.

1 – Love With No Limit – 3:32
2 – Don’t Let Me Fall – 3:39
3 – Caroline – 4:38
4 – In The Father’s Hand – 3:31
5 – Starry Eyed & Laughing – 3:16
6 – First Snow – 2:41
7 – Take Me Down – 2:50
8 – Stay Close – 3:42
9 – The Dancer – 5:19
10 – Heaven In Your Heart – 3:14

Acoustic Guitar, Piano – Paul Field
Arranged By [Rhythm Charts And String Arrangements] – Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Bass – John G. Perry
Design, Photography By – Tony Neeves
Drums – Barry de Souza
Electric Guitar – Norman Barratt
Engineer – Roger Wake
Percussion – Tony Carr
Piano, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer [Roland Synthesizers] – Rod Edwards
Producer – Jon Miller (4), Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Vocals – Annie McCaig, Mo McCafferty, Paul Field

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word (UK) Ltd.
Copyright © – Word (UK) Ltd.
Copyright © – Word Music (UK)
Printed By – Errey’s Printers Ltd.
Printed By – James Upton Ltd.
Pressed By – CBS Pressing Plant, Aston Clinton
Recorded At – Redan Recorders

Steve Grace – One Night In A Million – 1991

Following up on the phenomenal success of his Children Of The Western World album Steve took his ministry on the road. At a 1991 concert in Mansfield Queensland Steve recorded this live release. It features some of the tracks from his previous album and a lot of new/other tracks. I know this might cause some controversy but personally I truly believe he is the Bruce Springsteen of Christian music. Again the album was only initially released in Australia so us in North America were robbed of getting to hear this great album. It did get a re-release in Europe but I don’t know when. Anyway I’m not going to bore you any further as your time should be spent listening to this fantastic album.

1 – Land Of The Rock – 5:31
2 – One Night In A Million – 3:55
3 – Stand Your Ground – 4:13
4 – Unknown Hero – 3:52
5 – Men Of God – 4:59
6 – Travelling Man – 3:12
7 – Kids On The Street – 5:05
8 – Lonely Feeling – 5:17
9 – World Turn Around – 3:34
10 – Reach Out – 3:04
11 – That’s Alright – 3:21
12 – I Live To Know You – 5:44

Acoustic Guitar, Blues Harp – Steve Grace
Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle, Blues Harp – Peter Shurley
Backing Vocals – Chris Butson, David Vine
Bass – Jason Chandler
Drums – Steve Francis
Electric Guitar – Phil Yates
Electric Guitar, 12-String Acoustic Guitar – Phil Butson
Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – David Richard, Greg Dore
Engineer [Live Engineer] – Steve Hartley, Wyn Wynard
Executive-Producer – Colin Dyer, Mike Jeffs
Keyboards, Piano, Backing Vocals – Karl Laurens
Producer, Engineer – Phil Butson

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Christian Outreach Center, Brisbane
Mixed At – Sing Sing Studios
Distributed By – Word Australia
Glass Mastered At – Disctronics USA – 114451

Jeff Fenholt – Live – 1989

If you know of Jeff you know of his claim to have sung with Black Sabbath. There is a lot of disagreement over this claim but quite frankly I’m not going to repeat the back and forth between Jeff and Joe Siegler (Black Sabbath Historian). After reading both sides of the story this is my take away. Yes Jeff did some studio work with Tony Iommi (BS guitarist). This is a fact as the tracks are out there floating around the internet. The Jeff version of these tracks were not released on any album. What really happened is lost in Rock & Roll history. I think both versions are somewhat correct and the absolute truth lays somewhere in the middle. Did Jeff embellish his role with Black Sabbath? Probably. Is Jeff one hell of a vocalist? Absolutely. I heard of Jeff’s ministry through the grapevine but quite frankly I never had any interest in it. I have listened to a few of his albums and I’m still not much interested except for this album. This is a very good album. Jeff’s vocals are spot on and the choice of tracks is excellent. I am a bit mystified as to why called a studio album “Live:” however. Anyway this album was released through his ministry and several pressings were done. Not all these pressings are the same. At some point the track order was changed and the track “I Exalt Thee” was added or removed. That track is a cover of Phil Driscoll so there may have been licensing issues. All in all I think this is a great album and regardless of your opinions of Jeff you can not deny that he is a fantastic vocalist.

1 – Living Sacrifice – 3:33
2 – He Will Carry You – 4:22
3 – Make Us One – 3:24
4 – Oh, Happy Day – 4:23
5 – The Anointing – 6:29
6 – Standing In the Shadow of The Almighty – 3:40
7 – I Need To Be Still – 2:41
8 – Hosanna – 4:35
9 – I Exalt Thee – 6:06