Parable – Illustrations – 1977

One of the often overlooked “Maranatha Bands” of the 1970’s was Parable. They recorded two albums before disbanding. Parable was lead by Chuck Butler, who had previously been a part of the band Country Faith, one of the great Jesus Music bands to never have recorded a full album despite great responses for the songs they had recorded on many different samplers. The first album, More Than Words, was more folk-rock with a country feel. Imagine The Eagles with a male and female lead vocals. the album was very well received. After The Way disbanded guitar virtuoso John Wickham joined the band for this second album and added a significantly more rock sound with some amazing guitar work. Stylistically the band went more pop with a rock emphasis and may remind some readers of early Servant and Petra. But it was really the guitar work that set the album apart along with very strong writing with very memorable hooks. There’s a reason and Come Untangled kick the album off with a strong rock emphasis and straight ahead evangelical messages before “The City” slows things down, at least initially. Sounding similar to a The Eagles or Chicago ballad before kicking into gear and finishing with one of the best guitar solos in Christian Music to that point. The only other albums at that time with such great guitar work were those by Phil Keaggy and Paul Clark. Female vocalist Lisa Faye Irwin takes the reins on several songs including “A Friend,” a song very reminiscent of Servant from the same era. The album is very consistent and memorable throughout, though side 2 is noticeably mellower than side 1, with very impressive production for the time, and far superior to most of the music coming out of Maranatha Music at that time. Both albums have been re-released on CD be the group and is still available as best as I can tell.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – There’s A Reason – 4:30
2 – Come Untangled – 3:24
3 – The City – 5:27
4 – A Friend – 3:23
5 – The Plain Truth – 3:34
6 – Act 3 – 3:55
7 – The Promise – 3:20
8 – Ladder Song – 4:24
9 – Got To Decide – 3:54
10 – A Prayer – 4:08

Credits
Arranged By [Horns] – Kim Hutchcroft
Arranged By [Strings] – Jim Stipec
Art Direction – Neal Buchanan
Bass Guitar – Gary Arthur
Drums – Don Kobayashi
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig, Jonathan David Brown
Guest [Vocals] – Becky Ugartechea, Virgil Beckham
Handclaps – Malcolm & The Honeys
Horns – Allen Gregory, Glen Myerscough, Kim Hutchcroft
Illustration – Larry McAdams
Keyboards – Alan DiCato
Layout – Neal Buchanan
Lead Guitar – John Wickham
Lead Vocals – Chuck Butler, Lisa Faye Irwin
Mixed By – Jonathan David Brown
Organ [B3] – Mike Escalante
Percussion – Alex MacDougall, Donnie K.
Producer – Tommy Coomes
Rhythm Guitar – Chuck Butler
Vocals – Alan DiCato, Gary Arthur, John Wickham
Written By – C. Butler

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Martinsound
Mixed At – Martinsound
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Maranatha! Music
Copyright © – Maranatha! Music
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – Δ22675

Michael Omartian – White Horse – 1974

A good friend, Micheal Anderson, whose album will appear later on this list was having a birthday party for his wife at a wonderful gourmet Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills. I was seated at a table with my wife and the wonderful Hal Fishman, the late famed local news anchor in Southern California. Seated to my right, though, was a man I had admired my entire music listening life. I have met countless “famous” people over the years and seldom found my self starstruck. That night I was as I was seated next to Michael Omartian. Michael Omartian is easily the most renowned, decorated and successful individual in Christian music. Most of that as a producer in mainstream music for everyone from Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross to Donna Summer and Rod Stewart. Grammys, Doves and Billboard awards cover the portions of the wall not occupied Gold and Platinum albums. He, along with Quincy Jones, produced the most successful single in history, We are the World. In 1974 Omartian released his first solo album on ABC/Dunhill and later that year on Word’s Myrrh label. I was easily the finest produced album the Christian music world had seen at the time. Leaps and bounds above its contemporaries, White Horse is a majestic and stellar album that easily has earned its “classic” status. The album was also one of the most progressive musically any artist had released. Fusing jazz, funk gospel and progressive rock sounds very “current” for the time with some of the finest musicians in the world, White Horse was a revelation and a game changer like nothing the industry had ever seen. Am added plus is that the album is also filled with wonderful songs, both lyrically creative and musically stunning. Omartian collected a line-up of supporting musicians second to none. Larry Carlton, David Hungate, David Kemper, Dean Parks and a host of others lent their talents to this amazing project, Omartian’s voice has touches of Peter Gabriel and Neil Young and he weaves through musical genres as diverse as those he has produced. Touched of Genesis, Yes, Kansas combine with pop, gospel and jazz fusion. Lyrically the album did not reflect the simplistic evangelical approach which was the norm for the time. perhaps the mainstream release did not limit Omartian’s content and his wife, Stormie, provided the bulk of the lyrics. The lead track, Jeremiah, walks through the themes of the minor prophets and relates them both to the historical setting and modern application. The Steely Dan like groove of “Fat City” shows off Omartians stellar keyboard work and an amazing brass section. The title track is a seven minute epic masterpiece. Starting slow and building into an amazing instrumental section driven by Omartian’s keyboard work and Larry Carlton and Dean Park guitar work. The industry had never seen anything like it and it would be quite some time for the rest of the industry to catch up.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Jeremiah – 4:37
2 – Fat City – 3:09
3 – The Orphan – 2:01
4 – Silver Fish – 2:34
5 – Add Up The Wonders – 5:19
6 – Take Me Down – 3:39
7 – Right From The Start – 2:30
8 – The Rest Is Up To You – 2:47
9 – White Horse – 7:06

Credits
Backing Vocals – Ann White, Carolyn Willis, Patti Henderson, Stormie Omartian
Cover [Album Cover Artwork By], Artwork [Album Cover Artwork By] – Dave Jarvis
Cover [Album Cover Concept By] – James Fitzgerald
Guitar – Dean Parks, Larry Carlton
Lyrics By – Stormie Omartian
Management [Personal Management] – James Fitzgerald Enterprises, Inc.
Music By – Michael Omartian
Photography By – Harry Langdon
Producer, Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Tenor Saxophone – Don Menza, Jackie Kelso
Trumpet, French Horn – Paul Hubinon
Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion – Michael Omartian

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright © – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright © – American Broadcasting Music, Inc.
Copyright © – Holicanthus Music
Lacquer Cut At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Pitman
Published By – American Broadcasting Music, Inc.
Published By – Holicanthus Music
Recorded At – Sound Labs, Hollywood
Recorded At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

David Edwards – Get The Picture – 1983

There are only two artists in the history of CCM that I wish would come out from hiding and release a new album. The first is Steve Taylor and i understand the whole “trying to make a movie” clap trap, but enough already! The second is David Edwards and I would prefer the latter to the former if I had to choose just one to release an album. Two rock efforts, a lullaby album and a collection of Christmas carols is simply not enough; especially when the artists is simply this amazing. The debut album will be discussed later. Here we will look at the sophomore release that suffered from no sophomore jinx. A little darker, more musically refined and chock full of pop music goodness, this album will go down as the greatest crime in CCM history. He should have been a rock star and this album should have made him a household name. Hell, there’s even a great wedding song and that always meant success in the early 80’s in CCM! Musically that album is a bit the Knack and a bit Billy Joel. More rock than new wave and more smart than quirky. Perhaps it was all those songs about “love” on the album that caused it’s doom; just like one sweet little lady told me when she wanted to return the album to the store I was working at by asking “what does love have to do with Jesus anyway?” Edwards walks the listener through the many feelings, struggles and circumstances that come about when love is either absent or twisted. “Anything But Love” describes how lust clouds the heart from seeing reality, while “Someone to Trust” pictured the opposite reality. It’s a great wedding and I should know, it was in mine! “The Feeling Part” addresses the mistake Christians make by not addressing the reality of romance and feelings in relationships, both with God and with one another. “How Could You Throw It All away?” should have made Edwards a star. sadly it just kicks off side 2 with a great reminder that love is worth holding on to. “Break the Big One” deals with the scar of abortion when sexual love is removed from its Biblical context of marriage. The album closes with two songs that, though not connected on the recording, are completely inseparable. “Girls Like You” expresses the anger of a broken heart and the vindictive feelings associated with being the “dumped.” Kind of like the losers version of Ben Fold’s “Song for the Dumped.” “Girls” is followed by possibly Edwards’ finest composition, “A Fools Condition.” The song recounts the story of a young (naive?) and sexually tempted boy who falls for and is captured by a dead and decaying woman who only possesses a beautiful outer appearance. Borrowing from the writings of George MacDonald (this wouldn’t be the last time), Edwards’ protagonist is consumed by the appearance and loses his soul as a result. Brilliantly conceived, wonderfully presented and utterly unforgettable. I went nearly two decades unable to listen to it until Edwards released the album himself on CD, and was singing along by the first line. This album is the definition of an AYSO!

Contributor – David Lowman https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Anything But Love – 3:43
2 – Someone To Trust – 3:09
3 – The Feeling Part – 4:55
4 – Watch Over Your Heart – 3:19
5 – How Could You Throw It All Away – 4:37
6 – Break The Big One – 3:38
7 – Put Me Down – 3:06
8 – All I Want – 3:10
9 – True Confession – 2:50
10 – Girls Like You – 2:18
11 – A Fool’s Condition – 5:17

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – David Edwards
Alto Saxophone – Irv Cox
Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer], Backing Vocals, Written By, Composed By – David Edwards
Art Direction – Barbara LeVan
Backing Vocals – Randy Stonehill, Suzan Curly
Bass, Backing Vocals – John Trujillo
Cello – John Walz
Drums, Percussion – Rick Geragi
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Dan Jacob
Marimba – Guy Shiffman
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Piano – David Edwards
Producer, Keyboards, Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Barry M. Kaye
Recorded By, Mixed By – Britt Bacon
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Jay Leslie

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright – Word, Inc.
Copyright – Word, Inc.
Published By – Mountain Park Music
Published By – Dayspring Music
Recorded At – Skyline Recording
Mixed At – Skyline Recording
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. 25877

David Edwards – David Edwards – 1981

From the outset it should be duly noted that this is my all time favorite album…ever! And now that the disclaimer has been provided let’s get on with the review. Before DA sounded the Alarma. Before Taylor built a Clone. Before the Choir, Lifesavers, Altar Boys or Undercover. There always has to be a first. And most often, the first is either soon forgotten or remains unknown for decades. This happens more often in Christian music because an artist is not only breaking down musical barriers, but spiritual and self-righteous one as well. If there was a Top 50 “Albums You Should Own, But Probably Don’t” this one would top the list. David Edwards’ self-title debut topped Campus Life Magazine as one of the best releases of the year at a time when Christian music was dominated by Amy Grant, Evie and the Sweet Comfort Band. Then along comes this little album on Myrrh Records with a pink rising sun backdrop and a guy wearing a loosened thin tie, looking either quite tired or possibly stoned. I was a Freshman in High school when the album came out and it was life changing. I wasn’t familiar with David Edwards’ history in Christian music at the time as I later discovered he played bass for J.C. Power Outlet and was friends with Keith Green, Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill. All i knew was that he looked pretty cool on the cover and Campus Life Magazine compared him to Elvis Costello. I bought the album as soon as I found a Christian Bookstore that was willing to carry it. I ended working at that same store a couple of years later. After listening to the first song I lifted the needle of the record and put in a tape to record it as I knew right away I would want to listen to this album everywhere I went. Three years later after the release of his follow-up album, “Get the Picture” I wrote a letter to him and told what an impact his first album had on me and that his lyrics had encouraged me to start publishing my poems and I sent a few of them along in the letter. Not only did he respond but began an occasional correspondence that continued for some time. Later that same year he performed at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa during one of their famous Saturday Night Concerts. I went up afterward and introduced myself and he in turned introduced me to the rest of his band who he had mentioned my letters to. I was overwhelmed. My wife and I even went to visit him in upper state New York several years ago on his farm and introduced me to a great recipe for scrambled eggs that remains a favorite in our household.

Contributor – David Lowman https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Best Friend – 2:13
2 – Rather Be Wrong – 2:26
3 – Commercial Suicide – 4:26
4 – Nagging Optimism – 2:39
5 – Hollywood High – 2:54
6 – The Getaway – 3:36
7 – Kicks – 2:44
8 – Disposable Love – 2:25
9 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 3:25
10 – Don’t Ever Say – 3:18
11 – Not Going To Fall Away – 3:11
12 – Song Of Wholeness – 3:24

Credits
Art Direction – Art Hotel, Leo McIntire
Drums – Craig Krampf
Electric Bass – Eric Nelson
Electric Guitar – Dan Jacob
Electric Guitar, Sitar [Electric] – Ira Ingber
Layout [Inner Sleeve], Design – Dennis Hill
Organ [Hammond & Vox] – Dave Garland
Piano, Synthesizer, Arranged By – Barry Kaye
Producer – Buddy King
Recorded By, Mixed By – Bill Bottrell, David Marquette, Mitch Gibson
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Arranged By – David Edwards

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Pure Joy Productions
Recorded At – Soundcastle
Mixed At – Soundcastle

Good News – Good News – 1975

Good News was a band, an album and a song. They were also one of the most talented bands of the Jesus Music era with a line-up that included David Diggs, Bill Batstone, Erick Nelson and a 16 year Bob Carlisle. Though released through Maranatha Music the album was actually recorded independently and there seems to be a sense of freedom in the recording that shows.They would do a follow up “studio band” album in that they never intended to tour to support the second album and recorded just for the purpose of releasing new material. the second album featured Keith Green on piano. The title track was written by Beau MacDougall is a great 70’s pop number with more guitars than the church was accustomed to at the time. But being a band led by Erick Nelson, piano was to be a prominent instrument and the whole album is very piano based and reminds many of Keith Green musically. Lead vocals are shared between Nelson and Yvonne Lewis. Her pretty alto voice is reminiscent of Karen Carpenter and Michelle Pillar which is significant given Nelson’s later project with Pillar that is a true classic in the industry called The Misfit. Most of the songs are common Jesus Music themes of unity, social responsibility of the Church, evangelism and the rapture. The latter seemed to be an official prerequisite for any official Jesus Music release. “Tear Down the Walls” is a great, blues influenced straight ahead rock song common for the time and fit in with what was happening in pop music for the time. “Never Knew” follows the same footsteps as the title track while the album closer, “Why,” is the perfect “altar call” finisher in the vein of Keith Green. The album follows a back and forth rotation of upbeat songs followed by a ballad. Most of the rockier songs’ vocals are handled by Nelson while the ballads are divided up between Lewis and Nelson. Nelson would go on to be an important figure in the birthing of CCM with the aforementioned “The Misfit” album. Batstone would remain a prominent figure in CCM until today as a leading voice in the world of worship music. Diggs has been a major producer, songwriter and jazz musician with a longlist of credits. Carlisle went on the record the biggest song in CCM history with Butterfly Kisses as well as being the lead singer Christian “supergroup” Allies.

Contributor – David Lowman https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Good News – 4:20
2 – Carry Me Along – 3:25
3 – Going Home – 3:20
4 – Tear Down The Walls – 4:18
5 – Picking Up The Pieces – 3:55
6 – Never Knew – 4:00
7 – Follow You – 3:25
8 – Rock Of Ages – 3:52
9 – Why Must You Go – 3:10
10 – Jimmy – 3:20

Credits
Arranged By, Conductor [Conducted By] – David Diggs
Artwork [Art] – Neal Buchanan
Composed By – Erick Nelson, Joy Strange
Electric Guitar – Anthony Dean
Engineer [Engineered By] – Billy Taylor
Handclaps – Eddie Espinosa
Performer – Bill Batstone, David Diggs, Erick Nelson, Yvonne Lewis
Photography By – Scot Lockwood
Photography By [Photo Tinting] – John Carreon
Vocals – Bob Carlisle, Chuck Girard, Eddie Espinosa

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Maranatha! Music
Copyright © – Maranatha! Music
Copyright © – Erick Martin Nelson
Copyright © – Joy Strange
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s

The Call – Let The Day Begin – 1989

I have written this elsewhere on several occasions and will repeat it again here: Michael Been was the single most impressive and passionate lead vocalist to ever grace a rock and roll stage. Others may bellow, scream and prance about, but Been could stand perfectly still and show little or no emotion and still drive me to tears with the sheer passion and believability of his voice. The rich baritone that could elevate to staggering heights of emotion has simply not been matched. I miss him… Let the Day Begin was the 6th album from The Call and carried the band into the 1990’s with what should have been the coming out party. Rock radio loved the title track, making it the bands only number one single, but it just wasn’t to be. It is one of the great mysteries of rock and roll music that a band like The Call could never break into the mainstream music fans consciousness despite a consistently impressive output of amazing music. This album was that one shot. It was filled with radio friendly rock music with a slight alternative twist that seemed reared and ready for success. The first four songs (Let the Day Begin, Run, Surrender and When) should have been runaway hits and appeared on several movie soundtracks. Been’s history in Christian music is actually relatively unknown. His first known appearance (that I am familiar with) is playing bass on the first two Barry McGuire albums as well as being a musician for 2nd Chapter of Acts. He regularly appeared on Jesus Music/CCM albums before creating The Call and heading into a more mainstream world. But his Biblical worldview is present here and on every able he was connected with. It should not difficult to see the hope, grace and mercy that poured from his been and voice. Yes, he will be missed. Greatly!

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Let The Day Begin – 3:50
2 – You Run – 5:34
3 – Surrender – 4:07
4 – When – 5:18
5 – Jealousy – 5:38
6 – Same Ol’ Story – 3:36
7 – For Love – 6:13
8 – Closer – 5:00
9 – Communication – 5:38
10 – Watch – 4:16
11 – Uncovered – 2:24

Credits
Art Direction – J.A.
Design – Jeanne Bradshaw
Drums, Vocals – Scott Musick
Engineer [Assistant] – Matthew “Boomer” LaMonica, Paul Dieter
Engineer [Studio Monitor] – Gary Sanguinet
Guitar, Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals – Michael Been
Guitar, Vocals – Tom Ferrier
Keyboards, Vocals – Jim Goodwin
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Photography By – Richard Corman
Producer – Jim Goodwin, Michael Been
Recorded By [Additional Recording] – Ed Cherney
Recorded By, Mixed By – Rob Eaton
Supervised By [Equipment Supervision] – Mike Smith
Technician [Guitar Techs] – Edd Kolakowski, Rich Modica

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – MCA Records, Inc.
Copyright © – MCA Records, Inc.
Manufactured By – Cinram
Manufactured For – MCA Records Canada
Distributed By – MCA Records Canada

Split Level – glo.bal – 1997

Originating from the fruitful music motherland of Ireland in the mid-1980’s, Split Level with a pop riven alternative band that fit right into the mold of British music of the day. For fans of The Baby’s, The Tubes, The Imitators et al, the band garnered a decent following in Europe, though struggled to really breakthrough in the states. After moving to England the band found itself releasing an independent project that sounded more like demos before releasing the highly coveted, “Sons of Liberty” on the British imprint of What? Records. The band would exist for nearly two decades, but only release albums occasionally. The album spotlighted here is their final studio project, “glo.bal.” Released through Pamplin Music (where artists went to die), the album was only a blip on the rock/alternative scene even in the US. Limited marketing and a sound that didn’t fit the accepted sound of Christian music at the time (acoustic folk or hardcore), this was the least “European” sounding album of their career. It is also ranks among their best. “Everything” kicks off the record with what should have been the biggest rock radio hit. Easily palatable to fans of The Elms, Smalltown Poets and Seven Day Jesus, the song has a monster hook chorus and radio friendly vibe. Occasionally the melody got lost in questionable production, where the distortion of the guitar overplays its hand and distracts from the melody. Such is the case with “Twister,” which could have been a mainstream radio single in the early 90’s. The best chance for mainstream Christian radio airplay is the mid-tempo ballad, “Emily.” Touches of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Blind Melon, Dinosaur Jr. and other similar bands with a hooky chorus driven be bass and acoustic guitar. The order of songs is really interesting. Starting with more melodic pop rock, the album becomes much more experimental and introspective as it closes. And much mellower. The second half of the album could easily been released under the moniker, Smalltown Poets. Great acoustic rock with smart melodies. In a way, the band seemed to hit its stride in finding an identity that could have proven successful in the states, but it would unfortunately serve as the last studio project as only a live album would be released a few years later.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPcTOx34g9XTnA74LwitjIv4HYPs0coXE

Tracklist
1 – Everything – 3:58
2 – Twister – 3:58
3 – Emily – 3:54
4 – Healed – 4:40
5 – The Things I Do – 3:54
6 – Shrinking Brain – 3:38
7 – Circles – 5:45
8 – If I Should Leave – 4:46
9 – Fly – 2:53
10 – Pinlight – 4:25
11 – Got Your Number – 3:09

Credits
$B Dash 3 – Musician
David Bach – Art Direction
Rob Craner – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Dan Donovan – Art Direction
Rick Elias – Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Producer, Vocals (Background)
Chris Grainger – Mixing Assistant
Russ Long – Engineer, Mixing, Percussion, Theremin
Phil Madeira – Musician
Trevor Michael – Studio Assistant
Ben Pearson – Photography
Gary Randall – Executive Producer
Mark Roth – Cover Design, Photography
Split Level – Primary Artist
Hank Williams – Mastering

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Pila Music
Manufactured By – Pila Music
Record Company – Organic Records
Distributed By – Pamplin Music

Steve Arrington – Dancin’ In The Key Of Life – 1985

After spending several years as vocalist and drummer with the popular funk/soul act, Slave, Steve Arrington left for a solo career. His debut is filled with infectious, danceable and gospel centric songs. The first time I heard this album was at a Christian nightclub that was popular in orange Country, CA during the mid-80’s called The Lighthouse. They played the first cut, “Feel So Real” with its infectious Latin rhythms and non-stop groove. I bought it the next day at Maranatha village, the only bookstore in the country that was carrying it at the time. This is by no means an asterisk (*) release as it pure Gospel throughout. The title track continues the driving rhythm and dance beats. This love song is as infectious as they come. Here Arrington compares the loving human relationship to the never-ending dance and worship before the Lord. He is blatant about his love for God and the need to worship. The music is non-stop and completely authentic to the era. In all honesty, this is the album I wish Phillip Bailey would have recorded. Of all of the musical genres, legitimate dance/funk/soul was sorely lacking in Christian music then and now. Only Jon Gibson came KYMS radio jumped all over this album at the time and played several cuts. Not only the two previously mentioned hits, but also the Holy Ghost driven, “Turn Up the Love.” Arrington would later go on to become a Pastor. He still dabbles occasionally in funk and soul music, doing occasional shows with friends and former music associates.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Feel So Real – 5:08
2 – Dancin’ In The Key Of Life – 4:55
3 – She Just Don’t Know – 5:16
4 – Willie Mae – 6:00
5 – Gasoline – 6:09
6 – Stand With Me – 4:43
7 – Brown Baby Boy – 4:50
8 – Turn Up The Love – 4:34

Credits
Steve Arrington – Main Vocal, Vocal Backing, Keyboards
India Arrington, Dani Johnson, Marti McCall, Pattie Brooks, Michael Terry, Wilmer Raglin – Vocal Backing
George Johnson – Guitars and Electric Bass
Eric Williams – Guitars
Anthony Johnson, Carlos Murguia, William F. Zimmerman, Joey Gallo, Ramsey Embick – Keyboards
Paulinho Da Costa – Percussion
Freddie Hubbard – Trumpet
Stella Castellucci – Harp

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Atlantic Recording Corporation
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Atlantic Records
Published By – Konglather Publishing
Published By – Motor Music Co.
Published By – Cheyenne Publishing
Published By – Secret Agent Man Music
Published By – JRG Music
Published By – Aurora Borealis Music
Published By – Polyglot Music
Published By – Aris Music
Recorded At – Devonshire Studios
Recorded At – Dawnbreakers Recording Studios
Mixed At – Dawnbreakers Recording Studios
Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering
Produced For – Producers Alliance

The Predators – The Predators – 1982

Throughout the 80’s The Predators released three albums of authentic, frantic and believable new wave/pop punk rock geared directly at the lost but from a distinctly Christian worldview. Two of the albums will make this list, including this, the debut from 1982. I did not have a chance to hear them for several years after this released because of the limited distribution in the US and even more limited Christian Bookstores willing to carry the album. Though not as strong as the follow up, Social Decay, this release does have more energy and a distinctive garage appeal. Borrowing liberally from the post punk and new wave of England at the time, the band forged a trail few would follow. Not only high energy and driving rhythms, but a social awareness of topics that ranged from racism to personal vanity to emotional and mental struggles. The album kicks off with “Sunday Boy,” a fun punk rocker dealing with maintaining faith amidst the insanity that surrounds us in the culture. It also serves as a stark warning to the lost. “You Better Run” is more reminiscent of the pop side of Undercover’s first two albums. In fact, the lead vocals are eerily similar to Bill Walden. Again, the theme that runs throughout the album of warning of a short life and need for Christ, is present here. “Don’t Burn That Cross” deal openly and obviously with racism. It is couched in a world music rhythm similar to The Police. It is a tough and unflinching song, especially for the time it was released. “Maybe Tomorrow” remains a favorite some 40 years later. It is the most commercially accessible song on the album and Christian radio most likely would have embraced it in some areas if it was available.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Sunday Boy – 2:42
2 – Man Of The War – 3:12
3 – Don’t Burn That Cross – 4:43
4 – Don’t Mess Around – 3:41
5 – Maybe Tomorrow – 3:50
6 – Never Said A Word – 2:50
7 – Plastic Surgeon – 3:11
8 – Emotional Upset – 4:17
9 – Where You’re Going – 4:42
10 – You Better Run – 2:52
11 – Drift Away – 6:06

Credits
Bass, Vocals – Chris Thompson
Drums – Francis Johnson
Guitar – Kelvin Allwood
Keyboards – Christopher Norton
Lacquer Cut By – BilBo
Plated By – PAG
Producer – John Pantry
Vocals – Kevin Smith

Companies, etc.
Lacquer Cut at – Tape One

Hokus Pick – Snappy – 1997

Hokus Pick is apparently a Canadian expression of surprise. And this record continues to surprise. The court jesters of CCM, the Canadian rock band Hokus Pick had a ten year career that, given the quality of their output, should have garnered the band a longer tenure. It is with “Snappy” that the band it its full stride with a complete album of memorable, funny, serious and, well…weird…songs. The track that informed the albums title also sports one of the greatest videos ever. After the more U2 influenced “Faith, Hope and Love” starts the album, it is “I’m So Happy” that steals the show. As mentioned the video is simply hysterical, but deep within the ska grooves is a positive message of hope. This theme will permeate the album. It was really a shame when I was working for Diamante Distribution that we could never really garner the sales and the radio response necessary and that the band deserved. Even touring with Steve Taylor (a perfect fit) could not break the band nationally, another in the long line of disappointments in this industry. “We Are the People” drives a 60’s influenced rock that would later prove successful for the previously reviewed “Rock n Roll Worship Circus.” “The ska influenced “Our God” should have been a late 90’s youth anthem…should have been! A personal favorite is “True Believer,” a song reminiscent of then labelmates, The Kry. A great, straight ahead and emotional song about the struggles of faith and the desire to be a competent follower of Christ. The CD did also contain a hidden bonus track, if you want to call it that. It is more of a radio play called “An Appointment with Stupidity.” Hysterical, but not necessarily meant for repeated listening.

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Faith, Hope And Love – 3:59
2 – I’m So Happy – 2:51
3 – Naturally – 2:52
4 – Nothing More – 4:58
5 – We Are The People – 3:15
6 – This Time – 4:16
7 – Our God – 3:18
8 – True Believer – 4:18
9 – God For One Day – 3:27
10 – Silver – 2:44
11 – Let Go, Let God – 4:20
12 – Comfort Song – 1:01
13 – (Hidden Track) – 29:49

Credits
Art Direction – Keith Hamilton
Bass Guitar – Dave Strilchuk
Drums [Ayotte] – Rick Colhoun
Engineer – Rick Colhoun
Engineer [Second] – Riley Armstrong
Lead Guitar – Matt Pierrot
Photography By – James Copp
Producer – Hokus Pick
Vocals, Guitar – Russ Smith
Written By – David Strilchuk, Matthew Pierrot, Richard Colhoun, Russell W. Smith

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Soundcastle
Manufactured By – Malaco Music Group
Distributed By – Malaco Music Group