Ishmael – It’s Amazin’ What Praisin’ Can Do – 1978

This album has been floating around the internet claiming that this album was recorded with After The Fire (ATF). I decided I wanted to get to the bottom of the story and talked with Peter Banks about this album. Here is the true story. John Pantry was producing the album and had booked Peter Banks to do some keyboard work for the album. Ishmael consequently asked if ATF could come into the studio as session players. John Pantry asked Peter if this was possible and Peter and ATF agreed to step in to help with the album. The version of ATF at the time was Andy Piercy, Ian Adamson, Robin Childs, and Peter Banks. So the internet story is relatively correct. Okay now that we’ve set the record straight (see what I did there?) lets talk about the album. To be clear this album is the amalgamation of 2 of my top 5 favourite Christian artists and I was excited to give it a listen and I wasn’t disappointed. It is done in Ishmael’s style but you can get a feel of ATF in the background. Peter’s keyboards are very distinctive and you can tell a mile away it is him. Unfortunately in the 80’s we simply didn’t know anything about ATF except Der Kommissar or Ishmael other that Ishmael United due to where we lived. I simply wish I could go back and enjoy those days when their music was fresh but I’m delighted to hear it now.

1 – When Revival Hits Our Town – 3:57
2 – Praise Away – 4:10
3 – It’s Amazin’ What Praisin’ Can Do – 2:28
4 – Soul Man – 2:24
5 – I Will Sing A Song Unto The Lord – 1:07
6 – Martyr’s Praise Song – 2:26
7 – Who Is He In Yonder Stall – 8:30
8 – Benedictus – 4:33
9 – Lord Army/Prayer Force – 4:55
10 – Song Of Emmanuel – 3:09
11 – Jesus Christ Is Risen Today – 3:01
12 – Kiss The Hand Of Jesus – 7:10
13 – We Are Coming To His House – 3:51

Ishmael – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Andy Piercy – Acoustic Guitar
Ian Adamson – Drums
Robin Childs – Bass
Peter Banks – Keyboards, Electric Guitar
John Pantry – Producer

Companies, etc.
Published By – Thankyou Music
Published By – Word

Ezra – The Key – 1991

There is very little info out there on Ezra. In fact there’s none I can find other than the liner notes and none of the members went on to do any other projects that I can find. The album is on Asaph Records which is the music ministry label of Calvary Chapel, based in Santa Ana. So I guess we can guess that they were a southern California band but that’s just a guess. Anyway the album is fantastic. While described by some as metal it’s not. It leans more towards Arena Rock and some of the tracks are Hard Rock. I’m really surprised there isn’t more info on these guys out there given the quality of this album. Was the album a little late in 1991? I don’t think so, there was still lots of Arena Rock at the time. Anyway give it a listen and if you only have time for one track go with Frontline.

1 – Key To Heaven – 4:12
2 – Frontline – 4:30
3 – Listen To Your Heart – 3:56
4 – Shadow Of The Son – 3:05
5 – Carry Me Home – 4:23
6 – The Return – 5:21
7 – Here For You – 4:15
8 – That’s Right – 2:48
9 – Take Me – 5:16

Arranged By, Producer – Ezra
Art Direction, Illustration, Layout – John Shaffer
Backing Vocals [Additional Backing Vocals] – Andy Allen
Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Greg Lambas
Design [Cover Design And Concept By] – Greg Lambas
Drums – Jeff Chubb
Drums [Additional Drumming By] – Terry McNab
Executive-Producer – Brian Broderson
Guitar, Vocals – Howard Anderson
Lead Vocals, Keyboards – Thomas Potter
Mixed By [Assisted By] – Andy Allen
Photography By – Rick Gould
Producer, Mixed By – Chip Cimino
Recorded By, Mixed By – Alan DiCato

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Frontline Distribution
Distributed By – Christian Marketing Canada

Hoi Polloi – Satisfy – 1990

Hoi Polloi was formed in New Zealand by Jenny Gullen, her husband, Andrew Horst, David Ball and Jozsef Fityus. This is their first demo recording and it likely propelled their career in the CCM industry. The Demo is fantastic and very very well produced by Tim Foreman at Airforce Recording Studio in Auckland NZ. The demo led to the band getting an invitation to Cornerstone and a 2 record deal from Reunion Records. All but one of the tracks on this album were rerecorded and released on the bands first album and the one remaining track showed up on their second album. The album has a great alternative sound and one can’t help but make a comparison to Lone Justice but with much less cow influence. The vocals are strong and the instruments are tight. This is probably one of the best produced demo’s I’ve ever heard. Definitely top 10.

1 – Rest Tonite – 3:22
2 – Rain – 4:05
3 – Love Shine Down – 3:14
4 – Satisfy – 4:13
5 – The Other Name – 4:23
6 – Come To Me – 4:09

Jenny Gullen – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
David Ball – Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards
Andrew Horst – Bass, backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Jozsef Fityus – Drums
Jasmine Kemp – Background vocals on “Satisfy”
Dave Henderson – Background vocals on “Satisfy”
Youth Renewal Singers – Background vocals on “Rest Tonight”
Guy Wishart – Acoustic guitar on “Satisfy”
Jeff Tribe – Trumpet
Peter Slainey – Saxophone
Dave Parry – Keyboards on “Love Shine Down”

Ken Tamplin – Soul Survivor – 1991

You could never say that Ken Tamplin was lazy. Between Joshua, Magdallan, Shout, and his solo projects his fans were never left wanting for an album. This is his second (if you count Ken Tamplin & Friends) solo project though there were very few “friends” on this album as he played almost all of the instruments on all the track himself though he did have some help on a few tracks. For this album Ken turned it down a little bit from Ken Tamplin & Friends. This is a more straight up Rock & Roll album with very few hints of Metal. As I start listening to Ken’s 90’s stuff I get the feeling my favourite album by him is going to constantly evolve. But for now this is my favorite. So if you like straight up Rock & Roll, this album is a must listen.

1 – Media Mania – 4:17
2 – (I’m Gonna) Live Forever – 3:36
3 – Hard Times Comin’ – 3:37
4 – Stand Up – 4:29
5 – Midnight ‘N Peru – 3:15
6 – Take It Now (Or Nothing) – 3:09
7 – Love’s Eternal Road – 4:16
8 – Stay By My Side – 3:25
9 – Come And Save Me – 4:02
10 – Heart And Soul – 3:07

Acoustic Guitar – Ken Tamplin, Scott Van Zen
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Ken Tamplin, Vicki Lyn Reynolds
Bass – Ken Tamplin, Roger Mielke, Scott van Zen
Design – Joe Potter
Drums – Ken Tamplin
Harmonica – Jimmy Woods
Keyboards – Roger Mielke
Lead Guitar – Ken Tamplin, Scott Van Zen
Lead Vocals – Ken Tamplin
Mixed By – Ken Tamplin
Percussion – Ken Tamplin
Photography By – Nigel Skeet
Producer – Ken Tamplin
Rhythm Guitar – Ken Tamplin, Scott Van Zen
Saxophone – Jergen Swartz

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Intense Records
Copyright © – Intense Records

Martyn Joseph – An Aching And A Longing – 1989

This album was recorded on Martyn’s “Acoustic Tour” in May 1989 except for Contradictions, No Choices and An Aching And A Longing recorded at Blue Strike Studio, Harrogate. Apparently he paid for the entire album production himself but seeing as it was released on Myrrh with a one album deal surely he got some help. That aside this album sold fantastic and was his jump into a record deal with Epic records (Sony). This is another artist that was very well known and loved in Europe but was completely unknown in the west. Well maybe not completely unknown but we couldn’t buy his albums so he was only known by a select few. Anyway this is a great album and though it was recorded on his “Acoustic” tour that actually refers to his guitar not the entire album. He is backed up skilfully by a great travelling studio band.

1 – Nobody’s Fool – 4:17
2 – Contradictions – 5:08
3 – Treasure The Questions – 5:38
4 – Reminded Of Heaven – 4:33
5 – Vincent – 4:30
6 – Real World – 3:46
7 – Power Of Your Love – 4:34
8 – Candle In The Wind – 4:23
9 – Beautiful Woman – 4:05
10 – I Will Follow – 3:30
11 – Dolphin’s Make Me Cry – 6:32
12 – Sunday’s Coming – 2:15
13 – An Aching And A Longing – 4:47
14 – No Choices – 3:29

Backing Vocals – Mike Haughton
Design – James Kessell
Engineer – Will Jackson
Flute, Recorder, Backing Vocals – Mike Haughton
Guitar, Vocals – Martyn Joseph
Keyboards, Bass Guitar – Will Jackson
Lighting – Pete Allison
Photography By – Theresa Wassif
Recorded By – Frank Mizon
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Mike Haughton

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Shark Management
Copyright © – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Mixed At – Blue Strike Studios

Garth Hewitt – Scars – 1988

This is Garth’s offering for 1988 and this one like most of his albums in this period was only released in the U.K. I have heard that the few albums he did release in the U.S. just didn’t sell well but they sold well in the U.K. I don’t kind of understand why that would be but anyway lets get to the album. This album has several different styles. There’s some folk, some country, some pop, and even a Rock & Roll tune. This many different styles means the album doesn’t have a flow but they are well done and if you’re a fan of his I’m sure you don’t care about the flow of the album. This was the first album of his I listened too so the differing styles was a bit jarring.

1 – Namibia – 3:49
2 – Strange Weapons – 3:07
3 – Land Of Palestine – 3:11
4 – Johnny Cash – 2:55
5 – Our Silent Eyes – 3:22
6 – Tears Of God – 2:44
7 – Peace Like A Phoenix – 3:44
8 – Amusing Ourselves – 3:06
9 – 32 Years – 3:46
10 – The Sky That Wouldn’t Weep – 3:54
11 – Polish Winter – 4:30
12 – Get Up And Dance – 3:37
13 – Jesus Of The Scars – 2:54

Acoustic Guitar – Doyle Grisham, Tom Blades
Backing Vocals – Barb Smith, Billy Bob Shane, Craig Wiseman, Darryl Adams, Gilly Sue Blades, Jan Pulsford
Bass – Jimmy Carter
Design – James Kessell
Drums – Craig Wiseman
Electric Guitar – Tom ‘Razor’ Blades, Walt Houston
Engineer – Lori Larsen, Roger Holmes
Fiddle – Hank Singer
Harmonica – Garth Hewitt
Keyboards – Howard Duck
Keyboards [Additional] – Jan Pulsford
Lead Vocals – Garth Hewitt
Mandolin – Hank Singer
Photography – Michael Rock
Steel Guitar – Cal Freeman

Larry Norman – Only Visiting This Planet – 1972

OVTP is part 1 of Larry’s trilogy, which contains his iconic songs that lasted throughout his career. He never stopped performing “Reader’s Digest” and “The Outlaw” in concerts. Also included is the second studio release of “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” which is his most famous song for people who don’t know who Larry was. The first was on Upon This Rock, released through Capitol Records before he started releasing music through his own channels. In its original form, these are protest songs and relationship songs intertwined. The setting is 1972 and Larry went into the studio with the ideas that were floating in the air in California. Larry’s desire to be as counter-cultural as the hippy movement, but as a Christian drives the content. The songs are highly contemporary musically, ranging from folky in “The Outlaw” to rock in “I Am The Six O’Clock News.” The content gets deeply personal in songs like “I’ve Got To Learn To Live Without You,” and “Pardon Me.” These songs were confusing for Christian music fans because they did not talk about Jesus. The refreshing part here was that Larry was actually willing to talk about human problems. This extended into his political and social protests in the rest of the songs. Larry makes no attempt to hide the Gospel in his music, but also makes no attempt to pretend that human issues don’t need to be addressed, spoken about, preached about and sung about. This is truly what made Larry stand out as an artist.

1 – Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus – 4:03
2 – The Outlaw – 3:55
3 – I’ve Got To Learn To Live Without You – 3:36
4 – Without Love You Are Nothing – 3:33
5 – I Wish We’d All Been Ready – 5:21
6 – Six O’Clock News – 6:06
7 – Great American Novel – 4:31
8 – Pardon Me – 3:38
9 – Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music – 2:40
10 – Readers Digest – 2:42
11 – Oh, How I Love You –

Acoustic Guitar – Gordon Giltrap, Roger Hand
Arranged By [String Arrangements] – Chris Gunning
Backing Vocals – Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Bass – John Wetton
Drums – Keith Smart
Engineer – Bill Price
Lead Guitar – Mickey Keen
Photography By – Pam Norman
Piano – Bob Brady, Larry Norman, Rod Edwards
Producer – Jon Miller, Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Written-By – Larry Norman

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Triumvirate Productions
Produced For – Street Level Productions, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – MGM Records, Inc.
Pressed By – H.V. Waddell Co.
Manufactured By – MGM Records, Inc.
Published By – Strawbed Music
Published By – Jace Love Music Pub. Co.
Published By – Beechwood Music Corp.

Code Of Ethics – Code Of Ethics – 1993

This was the second studio album from Code of Ethics. For this album the lineup was Barry Blaze, Rick Brainer, Scot Kifer. Strangely Barry takes credit for every instrument on the album. I get the vibe he was difficult to work with but I don’t know that for sure. Anyway this is a very techno pop oriented album and is more in the style of an 80’s New Order. I actually really like this album but I absolutely love 80’s New Wave. Of course the problem is that they put this album out in 1993. But apparently it did very very well on Christian Radio even reportedly having a #1 hit with “Something Real” which has a bit of a Depeche Mode feel to me. It also probably helped that Ed DeGarmo was one of the Executive Producers. Anyway there is some real talent here and they were quite successful so my criticisms should probable be ignored.

1 – Eden – 0:23
2 – Freedom – 4:20
3 – True Love – 4:38
4 – Something Real – 4:30
5 – Without Reason – 3:36
6 – World Machine – 3:37
7 – Waiting – 4:19
8 – Satellite Babies – 4:35
9 – Follow On – 4:24
10 – Pain – 4:07
11 – Chasing The Dragon – 4:23
12 – Sands Of Time – 5:48

Artwork – The Riordon Design Group Inc.
Booking – Vision Artist
Engineer [Assistant] – Darrin Smith, David Hall
Executive-Producer – Dan R. Brock, Eddie DeGarmo
Management, Booking – Artist Aid Management
Mastered By – Ken Love
Mixed By [Mix Engineer] – John Hiler, John Jaszcz
Performer [Code Of Ethics] – Barry Blaze, Rick Brainer, Scot Kifer
Photography By – Norma Jean Roy
Producer – Barry Blaze
Recorded By [Recording Engineer] – Ed Simmonton, Eugene Baker, Jeff Alford, Max Hsu, Steve Bisher
Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming, Programmed By [Synth Programming], Percussion [Live] – Barry Blaze

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright © – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Distributed By – Star Song Communications
Distributed By – Christian Marketing International
Published By – Starstruck Music
Published By – Up In The Mix Music
Recorded At – 16th Avenue Sound
Recorded At – Horizon Studios, Jacksonville, FL
Recorded At – The Sonic Temple
Recorded At – M.A.R.S., Jacksonville, FL
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – 16th Avenue Sound
Mastered At – Mastermix
Glass Mastered at – Nimbus

Bruce Cockburn – Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws – 1979

Bruce Cockburn is the greatest songwriter of all time! OK…that may be an exaggeration…but not by much. Along with being intensely prolific, Cockburn is also incredibly intelligent, diverse, creative, original, stark, honest, transparent, intriguing… When I was first hired as a 16 year old at a local Christian Bookstore I was already a “music expert” of sorts. I had begun collecting Christian music much earlier, first as “hand me down” albums from my parents and older brother and sister, and then using my allowance or money from odd jobs to buy my own. Then as I could save money I would ask my parents to drive me to Maranatha Village or other Christian bookstores in town to pick up the most recent releases from Sweet Comfort, Daniel Amos and Darrell Mansfield. My Youth Pastor subscribed to CCM Magazine and I subscribed to Camus Life, both of which had a heavy impact on my growing love and appreciation for the genre. My first few days at my new job was primarily an education in how the store worked, my responsibilities and dealing with customers. But the owner’s daughter was a music fan, especially of more cutting edge and controversial artists. On one of those first few days she took an LP of “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws” and placed on the in-store play system. As a fan of Bob Dylan I was immediately drawn to Cockburn’s nasally, borderline off-key vocals and compelling lyrical content. This birthed my fascination with Bruce Cockburn, an artist I have had the privilege of seeing in concert over 10 times and one of the few artists that I own every album he has released. My favorites remain those released between the mid-70′s and the mid-80′s. Cockburn had become a Christian at just about the time his solo career began despite being born and raised in an agnostic family setting. Cockburn’s Christianity would impact and influence his content from the earliest days. His brand of Christianity also informed his view of environmental and human rights issues. These two subjects, especially the latter, would be an integral part of his work. Like the previously discussed songwriter, Bill Mallonee, Cockburn has drawn criticism from evangelical circles for his subject matter and for his use of provocative language. But also like Mallonee there never appears to be an illicit purpose for the use of language, but rather an understandable inclusion of such language to express or prove a point. The subject matter, though, is quite often more provocative than certain linguistic choices. Leaning toward the political left, Cockburn has rubbed American evangelicalism the wrong way on more than one occasion. It should also be noted that Cockburn is quite the impressive musician. He is easily one of the finest acoustic guitar players around. His early work especially proved this point. One concert I attended was a solo concert in which 20 separate instruments were place behind him on the stage. That night he performed 20 songs using a different instrument for each song. I was later told be a friend that the following evening that the order of the songs remained the same but the placement and instrument choices on stage changed!

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Creation Dream – 4:00
2 – Hills Of Morning – 4:25
3 – Badlands Flashback – 6:12
4 – Northern Lights – 4:06
5 – After The Rain – 3:59
6 – Wondering Where The Lions Are – 3:42
7 – Incandescent Blue – 4:35
8 – No Footprints – 5:38

Art Direction – Bart Schoales
Bass – Robert Boucher
Drums – Bob DiSalle
Engineer – Gary Gray
Engineer [Assisted By] – Frank Kitson
Guitar, Voice, Chimes, Synthesizer, Dulcimer – Bruce Cockburn
Lacquer Cut By – Cub
Management [Direction] – The Finkelstein Fiedler Co.
Painting [Cover] – Norval Morrisseau
Photography By [Inside Photograph] – Christopher Dew
Piano, Marimba – Pat Godfrey
Producer – Eugene Martynec
Translated By [Traduction Par] – Marcel Mousette
Words By, Music By – Bruce Cockburn

Companies, etc.
Produced For – True North Productions
Manufactured By – CBS Records Canada Ltd.
Distributed By – CBS Records Canada Ltd.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – High Romance Music Ltd.
Copyright © – High Romance Music Ltd.
Copyright © – Golden Mountain Music Corp.
Published By – Golden Mountain Music Corp.
Recorded At – Manta Sound
Lacquer Cut At – J.A.M.F.
Mastered At – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Don Mills, ON
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Don Mills, ON

The Mighty Flyers – What Kind Of King – 1976

Not much information out there on The Mighty Flyers. It looks like it was a David Rees project as he did vocals and produced the album. I stumbled on this one because it features Nick Brotherwood of The Alwyn Wall Band and After The Fire and also Norman Barratt of the Barratt Band and The Alwyn Wall Band. These were some of the top Christian artists of the period. The album is pretty good as it has a seventies folk sound and feel. I can’t find that David Rees did any other projects but there are 2 more albums from The Mighty Flyers which I’m looking forward to listening to soon.

1 – Egypt – 3:09
2 – Thinking of Mary Tonight – 3:16
3 – I Saw Heaven Open – 3:39
4 – Eyes Like Jewels – 2:51
5 – Love Like An Ocean – 4:22
6 – Let Me Die An Easy Death – 4:25
7 – The Thief’s Song – 4:33
8 – Four Score Years – 4:00
9 – Fair Weather Friends – 4:25
10 – Celebrate The Feast/Salute The King – 4:18
11 – I Looked Down – 1:02

Bass – Martin Bunyar
Drums – Nick Brotherwood
Guitar – Norman Barratt
Lead Guitar – Nick Stone
Vocals, Producer, Written-By – David Rees