Bethlehem – Bethlehem – 1978

I am full convinced that more than even the Beatles, the most influential band on Jesus Music was The Eagles. The Way, Parable, Daniel Amos and countless others always seem to be compared to The Eagles. My thesis is that they country/folk/rock was considered “safer” within Church walls than the Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones. That being said the band that pulled off the comparison best was easily Bethlehem. The songwriting seems legitimate and band leader, Danny Daniels, had the perfect voice for the job. The band released one album on Maranatha Music in 1978 and disbanded shortly after. One reviewer noted that “Desert Song” was a dead ringer for “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” and he was right on. The band separated itself during its short tenure by incredible musicianship, wonderful harmonies and very memorable songs. The album also sported some of the finest production for the time with Jonathan Brown, Tom Stipe and Al Perkins. Side One is more melodic and pop/country influenced while side two demonstrates a bit more rock and creative influence. This is most notable on the album closer, Pilgrim, which features lengthy instrumental breaks, a wall of backing vocals and a more progressive arrangement. Side two also contain a personal and fan favorite, Night Rider, which has more in common with The Outlaws than the Eagles with a great story telling vocal and big chorus. Themes on the album are very consistent with music from the era with songs of repentance, community and more than a few obligatory “end times” songs. Of all of the bands from that era, Bethlehem was a notch above most on nearly all fronts from songwriting and production to musicianship and performance. Daniels went on to a great solo career as many of his solo albums are worth owning.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Think It Over – 3:50
2 – Lover – 4:02
3 – Desert Song – 3:41
4 – Holy Ghost Blues – 2:39
5 – Dead Reckoning – 3:47
6 – Night Rider – 3:04
7 – This Road – 3:16
8 – No Good Excuses – 4:02
9 – Just A Prayer Away – 3:57
10 – Pilgrims – 4:43

Acoustic Guitar – Danny Daniels
Artwork [Leather Tooling] – Al Dugas
Backing Vocals – Bethlehem, Bob Bennett, Cindy Simmons, Dan McCleery, Danny Daniels, Dom Franco, Gary Arthur, Jerry Chamberlain, John Falcone, John Wickham, Julie Paulsen, Kelly Willard, Lewis McVay, Lisa Irwin, Perry Hildebrant, Richie Furay, Sharon McLaughlin, Tom Coomes
Banjo – Don Gerber
Bass – John Falcone
Clavinet – Randy Rigby
Cowbell – Dan McCleery
Design [Album], Art Direction, Layout – Neal Buchanan
Dobro – Dom Franco
Drums – Dan McCleery
Electric Guitar – Danny Daniels, Randy Rigby
Electric Piano – Randy Rigby
Engineer – Al Perkins, Jonathan Brown, Peter Gregg
Guitar [Pull-String Guitar] – Al Perkins
Harmonica – Frank Loomis
Keyboards – Randy Rigby
Lead Guitar – Randy Rigby, Randy Rigby
Lead Vocals – Danny Daniel, Dom Franco
Mastered By – Bob Carbone
Mixed By – Al Perkins, Jonathan Brown
Percussion – Dan McCleery
Photography By – Sam Emerson
Photography By [Insert] – Mike Shoup
Photography By [Tinting] – Neal*
Piano [Acoustic Piano] – Randy Rigby
Producer – Al Perkins, Tom Stipe
Steel Guitar – Dom Franco
Vocals – Dan McCleery, Danny Daniels, Dom Franco, John Falcone, Randy Rigby

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – North Star Studios
Recorded At – Buddy King Studios, Huntington Beach, CA
Recorded At – Sound Castle Recorders, Los Angeles
Recorded At – Maranatha! Studio
Mixed At – Maranatha! Studio
Mastered At – A&M Records
Copyright © – Maranatha Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Maranatha Music
Published By – Maranatha Music

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Author: David Lowman

Owner and writer at CCM's 500 Best Albums Of All Time.

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