Kansas – Audio-Visions – 1980

The last album to feature the original (at least recorded version) members of Kansas. It is also the first “post-conversion” Kansas album for band leader Kerry Livgren. Lead singer Steve Walsh would soon leave the band to pursue solo ventures. It was also considered that his departure was influenced by the increasing Christian content presented by Livgren and supported by two other recent Christian converts in the band. The album shows a disjointed vision with Livgren’s distinctly Christian content and Walsh’s decidedly worldly lyrical influence. But Walsh was a very special vocalist and hearing him sing Livgren’s work is compelling. He also stayed around long enough to work on the demos for the follow-up album (Vinyl Confessions) and I do have copies of those demos. AV has all the trademarks and trappings of Kansas with progressive, classically influenced rock epics filled with progressive time signature changes, creative arrangements, violin interludes and thought provoking lyrical images. It also contains what could be Livgren’s finest Christian song on a Kansas project, No One Together. Clocking in at nearly seven minutes this song should rank along with Portrait (He Knew), Song For America, Journey from Mariabronn and Magnum Opus in Kansas “epic” lore.

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

1 – Relentless – 4:55
2 – Anything For You – 3:56
3 – Hold On – 3:45
4 – Loner – 2:26
5 – Curtain Of Iron – 6:08
6 – Got To Rock On – 3:19
7 – Don’t Open Your Eyes – 4:03
8 – No One Together – 6:54
9 – No Room For A Stranger – 2:55
10 – Back Door – 4:20

A&R [Correspondence] – Brad Lentz
Bass, Vocals – Dave Hope
Co-producer, Engineer – Brad Aaron, Davy Moire
Crew – Clay Schell, Jerry Gilleland, Merle McLain, Steve “The Count” Venezia
Design [Album], Art Direction, Illustration [Additional] – Tom Drennon
Design Concept [Album] – Kansas
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Phil Ehart
Engineer [Assistant] – Greg Webster
Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals – Kerry Livgren
Guitar, Percussion, Vocals – Rich Williams
Illustration – Peter Lloyd
Keyboards, Vibraphone [Vibes], Percussion, Lead Vocals – Steve Walsh
Management – Budd Carr
Mastered By – George Marino
Photography By [Inner Sleeve] – Exley
Producer – Kansas
Technician [Studio Assistance] – Jerry Gilleland, Count Venezia
Violin, Viola, Lead Vocals – Robby Steinhardt
Voice [Additional], Sounds – Donna Williams, Joey Jelf, Lisa White, Terry Ehart, The Four Bassmen, Vicci Livgren
Written-By – Hope (tracks: B2), Livgren (tracks: A1, A3, A5, B2, B3), Ehart (tracks: B2), Williams (tracks: B2, B4), Walsh (tracks: A2, A4, B1, B2, B4, B5)

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Axis Sound Studio
Mixed At – Axis Sound Studio
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Pitman
Record Company – Don Kirshner Entertainment Corp.
Distributed By – CBS Records
Distributed By – CBS Inc.
Published By – Don Kirshner Music
Published By – Blackwood Music Publishing
Published By – CBS Music Publishing
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Copyright (c) – Corn & Blood, Inc.

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Vision – Vision – 1985

Though promoted heavily as a band featuring two members of the classic Southern Rock band, Lynard Skynard, Vision was really driven by the guitar and vocals of Rocco Marshall. Lynard Skynard pianist Billy Powell lends both credibility and chops as the piano is a central force and Powell delivers. The comparisons to Skynard are not quite as accurate as is something more akin to 38 Special and even Kansas as there are some very progressive moments included. More pop infused than Skynard Southern funk, Vision was unfortunately short lived. Heartland records did not survive very long and seemed unable to introduce the band to the CCM world at large. This should not keep the reader from doing whatever possible to track down a copy of the CD which has been recently released. This is another AYSO!

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

1 – Dynamos – 4:10
2 – Lord Is My Joy – 3:45
3 – Old Man – 3:19
4 – Dedicated – 3:40
5 – Soldiers Song – 3:40
6 – Standing On The Rock – 4:25
7 – Don’t Say It’s Over – 3:54
8 – Psalm 23 – 3:52
9 – You Are My Only Lord – 3:24
10 – You’re The One – 3:17

Bass – Greg McNeily (tracks: A5, B3), Martin Tomlinson
Design – Stephen Wells
Drums, Vocals – Mike Maple
Engineer [Assistant] – Andy Deganahl, Chuck Kjergaard, Shawn Hurley
Mastered By – Mike Fuller
Photography By – John Petrey
Piano – Billy Powell
Producer, Engineer – Greg McNeily
Saxophone – Keith Holmes
Synthesizer – David Jinright
Synthesizer [Additional] – George Atwell
Vocals, Guitar – Rocco Marshall
Vocals, Guitar, Violin – Leonard Jones

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Recorded At – New Covenant Ministries
Overdubbed At – Starke Lake Studios
Mastered At – Criteria Recording Studios
Mixed At – The Full Sail Dream Machine

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Farrell And Farrell – Choices – 1984

Bob and Jane Farrell, the married couple that make up Farrell & Farrell were responsible for some of the most memorable and successful pop music in CCM history. For two decades they toured the world and consistently released top selling albums, moving in many different musical direction while never leaving the safety net of worshipful tunes set to very accessible pop arrangements. Choices was the first of several very technologically driven pop albums where synthesizer and techno dance beat reigned supreme. Earlier works were more traditional 70’s and 80’s acoustic pop music with an occasional rock edge. After a live album the duo returned in 1984 with a new look and decidedly new sound. Influenced by the technology of the day and desire to reach a wider and younger audience, the couple embraced the new technology with abandon. The album starts off with what is probably the couple’s most recognizable song and biggest hit, Hosanna Gloria. An upbeat worship tune with electronic drums and keyboard string arrangement, the song became a long time favorite on Christian radio. “He Reigns” duplicates the success of the former. The song the best seems to use the technology is the hit, Get Right or Get Left. The popular jingoist bumber sticker chorus about the popular rapture view uses an electronic recorded vocals as well as instrumentation. The duo has re-released this album along with all of their earlier works on CD, which none of the early releases had seen before. Bob has proven to be a great songwriter over the years and for ten years or so they were amongst the best selling and most popular groups in CCM.

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

1 – Hosanna Gloria – 3:07
2 – He Will Always Make A Way – 3:55
3 – Get Right Or Get Left – 3:45
4 – Through Your Eyes – 3:46
5 – Ransome – 3:16
6 – He Reigns – 3:23
7 – The Greatest Of These – 3:08
8 – Choose To Love – 3:24
9 – Give Me The Words – 3:55
10 – He Is There – 3:24

Arranged By [Track Arrangements] – Carl Marsh (tracks: A1 to A4, B1 to B5)
Art Direction, Design – Joan Tankersley
Choir [Rock Choir] – Bob Farrell, Dana Key, David Mayo, Debbie Cathey, Jack Holder, Jayne Farrell, Jimi Jamison
Coordinator [Tour Coordination] – Pamela Muse
Drums [Acoustic And Simmons] – Chad Cromwell, John Hampton
Executive-Producer – Dan R. Brock
Keyboards – Carl Marsh, Ed DeGarmo, Keith Thomas
Layout – Lori Cooper
Lead Guitar [Electric], Rhythm Guitar [Electric] – Dana Key
Lead Vocals – Bob Farrell, Jayne Farrell
Management [Management / Direction] – Dan Brock Associates
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Mixed By – Ed DeGarmo (tracks: A1 to B2, B4, B5), Jonathan David Brown
Orchestrated By [Orchestration Conceived, Arranged And Performed By On The Fairlight CMI] – Carl Marsh
Photography By – Craig Stewart
Producer [Produced By] – Bob Farrell, Ed DeGarmo
Recorded By [Overdubs] – Brian Tankersley, Ed DeGarmo
Recorded By [Tracks] – John Hampton

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Star Song Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Records
Produced For – Mint Productions
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Recorded At – Rivendell Recorders
Mixed At – Rivendell Recorders
Mixed At – Weddington Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc
Published By – StraightWay Music
Published By – Warner Bros. Music
Published By – Bob Montgomery Music Inc.
Published By – Paragon Music Corp.
Published By – Yellow House Music
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – △26434

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David Mullen – Revival – 1989

In the summer of 1988, the year I was married and would also move to Maryland to begin working for the Benson Company I attended the Christian Artists event known as Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Somehow I ended up meeting and hanging out with a new artists who was in the midst of recording his debut project. He would perform during the week and I became an instant fan. Less than a year later David Mullen’s debut, “Revival” hit the stores and went beyond anything i had imagined from meeting and spending time with him. That amazing, razor edged and strained voice, the pounding rock and blues were only outdone by some amazing songwriting. Mullen would record only three albums but would win a shelf full of songwriting awards for his wife, Nicole C Mullen (aka Nicole on two Frontline released projects), as well as a who’s who list of CCM artists. When Nicole was an artist on Frontline David came with her to a Frontline sales conference and we played a game of softball. I played shortstop and robbed him of a sure double by stabbing a smoking line drive (that’s just a reminder to David in case he ever reads this). The title track rocks in a real Mellencamp, Americana fashion. His voice gravels through and killer hook in the chorus. “Sho’ Love You” keeps the same theme of true American rock with a phenomenal backing band. “Heaven’s to Betsy” takes the popular phrase and twists the meaning and turned it into a radio hit. The real centerpiece of the album is “Backstreet.” The Springsteenesque song builds from a quiet, nearly whispering introduction into a huge chorus that drives the point home both musically and lyrically. This is Mullen’s best vocal performance on this or any of his albums. the emotional ferocity that builds is the stuff spine tingling is made from. It is not just the voice but the attitude with which the voice derives. Empathetic and prophetic simultaneously where the words both exhort and condemn, mainly because they are to be believed. Later albums would no longer feature the same rock and passion, but for fans of Rick Elias, Carson Cole, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen this album was a sheer delight.

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

1 – Revival – 5:20
2 – Sho’ Love You – 3:56
3 – Heaven’s To Betsy – 4:34
4 – Backstreet – 4:56
5 – Somebody Say Amen – 3:29
6 – Fallen World – 4:48
7 – Still Here – 2:15
8 – Live So God Can Use You – 3:43
9 – The Blood – 4:46
10 – Hang My Head And Cry – 5:31

A&R [A&R Direction] – Danny Kee, Mark Maxwell
Art Direction, Design – Laura LiPuma
Backing Vocals – Ashley Cleveland, Kim Fleming, Vicki Hampton
Engineer [Assistant Engineers] – Barry Dixon, Carry Summers, Kevin Twit, Steve Bishir
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Mixed By [Assisted By] – Ken Allardyce
Musician [The Players], Bass – Tommy Sims (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 10)
Musician [The Players], Drums, Percussion – Chris McHugh (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 10)
Musician [The Players], Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Classical Guitar, Dobro – Gordon Kennedy (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 10)
Musician [The Players], Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Slide Guitar – Tom Hemby (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 10)
Overdubbed By [Overdubs Recorded By] – Bill Deaton, Brent King, Lee Groitzsch, Lynn Fuston, Ronnie Brookshire
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer [Produced By] – Chris McHugh, Mark Gersmehl
Recorded By [Additional Tracks Recorded By] – Ronnie Brookshire
Recorded By [Basic Tracks Recorded By] – Jeff Balding

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Warner Communications
Copyright (c) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Manufactured By – WEA Manufacturing
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Digital Recorders
Overdubbed At – Hummingbird Studio, Nashville, TN
Overdubbed At – OmniSound Studios
Mixed At – Bill Schnee Studios
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Published By – Word Music
Published By – Kutable Music

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Terry Scott Taylor – Knowledge & Innocence – 1986

One would never expect an album about death to be so beautiful and uplifting. Born out of the ashed of the death of his grandfather and miscarriage of his first child, Knowledge and Innocence is the prettiest and sweetest album in Terry Scott Taylor’s lengthy and fabled career. Delayed for what seems like an eternity, when the album finally came out in 1986, the album did what was probably expected; TST’s rabid fan base ate it up and the majority of CCM and Christian radio never noticed it’s passing. Oddly enough, it remains possibly the most commercial and accessible album in Taylor’s repertoire. Lush, beautiful, stunning, haunting and completely unforgettable. The only negative is the computerized and electronic instrumentation, especially the drums. This though possibly adds to the other-worldly feel of the project. That’s a plus since the album focuses so much on “the other world.” Dancing on Light and Song of Innocence should have been radio favorites. The latter features a duet with long time friend randy Stonehill. Oddly enough, considering the long term friendship and partnership between these two men over the years, this was the first time they sang a duet together. Taylor’s love for his grandfather is prevalent here and on other recording. But here we see a glimpse of the softer, loving father side of Taylor as he addresses the loss of a child before birth. Songs like Light Princess delve into the heart of an artist unlike others. There is a wonderful tension between loss and the future reunion awaiting those who are left that creates a beautiful and faithful listening experience.

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

1 – Dancing On Light – 4:54
2 – (Out Of) The Wild Wood – 5:43
3 – Here He Comes, Second Time – 3:06
4 – Waiting – 3:08
5 – Picture Of You – 3:56
6 – Song Of Innocence – 3:48
7 – The Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour – 0:37
8 – The Riders Of The Western Skies (Medley) – 3:15
9 – Picture Of “U” (Reprise) – 1:43
10 – Ever After – 3:32
11 – Home Movies – 1:17
12 – One More Time – 3:41
13 – Baby’s Heartbeat (6 Months) – 0:15
14 – Light Princess – 3:59
15 – (Inner Cut) Waiting (Reprise) – 1:14

Arranged By [All Arrangements] – Rob, Terry
Arranged By [Gospel Medley Adaption & Vocal Arrangements By] – Rob
Arranged By [String Arrangements] – Rob Watson (tracks: 11, 13)
Art Direction, Layout – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Beau MacDougal, Bob Bennett (3), Chuck Girard, Jay Truax, Jerry Chamberlain, Rob Watson, Terry Taylor, Tom Howard, Tom Coomes
Bass Guitar – Tim Chandler (tracks: 7)
Design Concept [Cover & Inner Sleeve Art Concepts] – Terry
Drums – Ed McTaggart (tracks: 2), Terl Bryant (tracks: 9)
Electric Guitar – Greg Flesch (tracks: 4, 7), Tim Chandler (tracks: 4)
Engineer [Engineered By] – Doug Doyle
Guitar – Lenny Wagonmaster (tracks: 1)
Guitar [Nylon String] – Greg Flesch (tracks: 5, 14)
Illustration – Jon Fraze
Illustration [Lyric Illustrations] – Connie Watson
Keyboards, Synthesizer [Synthesizers], Guitar [Guitars], Backing Vocals [B.G.V.’s], Bass, Percussion – Rob Watson
Lead Vocals [Duet], Acoustic Guitar – Randy Stonehill (tracks: 6)
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Arranged By [Reprise & Incidental Arrangements] – Terry Scott Taylor
Mastered By – John Matousek
Percussion – Alex MacDougal (tracks: 5), Terl Bryant (tracks: 1, 4, 7)
Photography By – Doug Doyle
Producer [Produced By] – Rob Watson, Terry Taylor
Remastered By [Digital Re-mastering By] – Doug Doyle
Written-By [All Songs Written By] – Terry Taylor (tracks: 3 to 14)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Refuge Records
Record Company – Alternative Music Group
Produced For – R.B. Productions
Recorded At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.
Mastered At – Motown Recording Studios
Remastered At – Digital Brothers
Designed At – Stunt Productions
Published By – Snellsongs
Pressed By – Disc Manufacturing, Inc., Huntsville – 30177

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Rick Elias – Ten Stories – 1991

With Ten Stories Rick Elias is “Confession-less” and he stands alone with 10 brilliantly conceived, performed and recorded songs that should have made Elias a major name in CCM. But alas, it would be a few years later as a member of Rich Mullins’ Ragamuffin Band that Rick would garner what celebrity he has. But it is his first two releases that will be noted on this list with the debut being presented MUCH later. Frontline Records held no expense in trying to break Rick Elias into the mainstream of CCM with a major marketing and promotional push. I remember selling the album to stores with a huge cardboard cutout display and securing end-caps for even more exposure. But Christian radio was not ready (ever ready?) for gritty, earthy, Americana rock and roll without the easy Christianeze answers to life’s bigger questions. Or maybe the fact that Elias would not limit his musical export to three minute ditties for CCM consumption also played a role. The fact the album was a brilliant was not lost, though, on fans and critics alike. Despite never achieving the retail success the album deserved the critical and fan base response was huge. And for good reason. the album is filled with brilliance from the first power chord of “I Wouldn’t Need You Like I Do” to the last fading strain of “Leave One Light On.” Elias continues many of the themes from the debut including some stunning and difficult stories of those struggling with their faith, lives and doubts. No easy believism allowed here. There are pictures of frustration, loss, anger and rejection painted here. John Doe discusses the struggles of a man beaten up by his father as a child and beaten up by life as an adult. “Don’t Rain On Me” explores the one who refuses the love and grace of God. Despite looking at the gift, the subject refuses the basic common graces of God and refuses outright, through a heart of selfishness and doubt, the unique grace that comes through faith. Elias makes his characters so believable that it is hard not to imagine you or someone you know as the subjects. “My Very Own Hero” would have been a mainstream radio success story if the name on the single was Springsteen, Petty or Mellencamp. Great groove, killer melody and impressively passionate performance. “When You Lose Someone You Love” has Elias accompanied by acoustic guitar and harmonica, possessing a melody from something akin to Springsteen’s “Nebraska.” Though beautiful and brilliant, the haunting lyrical content would never allow it to be heard on Christian radio. The list of brilliant description could go throughout the entire project. Maybe it should!

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

1 – I Wouldn’t Need You (Like I Do) – 5:18
2 – John Doe – 4:32
3 – Don’t Rain On Me – 5:19
4 – My Very Own Hero – 5:05
5 – When You Lose Someone You Love – 4:28
6 – Steps – 4:30
7 – Wondering Why – 4:10
8 – Pray For The Day – 5:15
9 – Only Your Love – 4:31
10 – Leave One Light On – 5:53

Acoustic Bass – Glen Holmen (tracks: 5)
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Dave Jahnsen (tracks: 2,6), Kenny Hicks (tracks: 7), Linda Elias, Pete Shambrook* (tracks: 7), Rick Elias
Bass – Kelly Burns
Design – Brian Godawa
Drums – Doug Mathews
Electric Guitar – Glenn Pearce (tracks: 8)
Engineer – Dave Jahnsen
Engineer [Additional] – Bill Baumgart, Rick Elias
Guitar – Rick Elias
Keyboards – Linda Elias, Rick Elias
Keyboards [Additional] – Jay York
Lead Vocals – Rick Elias
Mixed By – Dave Jahnsen, Rick Elias
Percussion – Linda Elias
Photography By – Wayne Armstrong
Producer – Rick Elias
Producer [Additional Production] – Dave Jahnsen, Linda Elias
Written-By – Rick Elias

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – FMG Distribution
Record Company – Frontline Music Group – FLD9246

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Adam Again – Homeboys – 1990

When a band with only five studio releases is able to have four placed on a list like this, it says something about the band that is beyond impressive. And the thing is, I am not a huge Adam Again fan stylistically, but utterly recognize the Gene Eugene Andrusco and crew created some of the most impressive music ever recorded over that very short five album career. And I don’t just mean the most impressive music ever recorded in CCM…but anywhere! The title track kicks off things with such an unforgettable groove and some impressive and memorable lyrics. Eugene’s is master storyteller here and anyone who remembers their youth and childhood will find something here to reflect upon. The loss of friendship and innocence is difficult and real. Obviously raised with a love for blues, R&B and cool funk/soul, Eugene was able to capture those grooves and place them firmly into the heart of alternative music. Often compared vocally to Michael Stipe and, in the early days, musically to The Talking Heads, on Homeboys there is more jazz, funk and heavier rock influences than either of those comparisons. Very few bands with the above comparisons and influences would be able to create a song like “Hide Away.” Mellow without ever being soft there is something more Van Morrison like here and it is utterly brilliant with a perfectly included violin accompaniment. The vocal passion in the album’s closer, No Regrets, again points to why this band was so amazing. Eugene and then wife, Riki Michelle, join forces here to bring the message home. The most auto-biographical record for Eugene, Homeboys is a classic along with two more that will follow.

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

1 – Homeboys – 3:41
2 – The Fine Line – 4:32
3 – Hide Away – 2:51
4 – Bad News On The Radio – 3:52
5 – Inner City Blues – 5:44
6 – Dance Around In Circles – 2:39
7 – This Band Is Our House – 5:56
8 – Save Me – 4:11
9 – Occam’s Razor – 3:35
10 – No Regrets – 5:24

Art Direction, Layout, Photography By – Bruce Heavin
Assemblage [Assembled By] – Dave Collins
Bass – Paul Valadex
Drums – Jon Knox
Engineer [Additional] – Greg Lawless, Ojo Taylor, Paul Valadez, Super C
Keyboards – James Werning
Lead Guitar – Greg Lawless
Mixed By – G. Eugene
Mixed By [With] – Greg Lawless (tracks: 1, 2, 5 to 10), Jeff Simmons (tracks: 3, 4), Paul Valadez (tracks: 1, 2, 5 to 10)
Producer [Produced By] – Gene Eugene
Recorded By – G. Eugene
Saxophone – Dan Michaels
Vocals – Riki Michele
Vocals, Guitar, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Organ [B-3] – G. Eugene
Voice [Preaching] – Rev. Howard Finster, Man Of Visions

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – The Mixing Lab
Recorded At – Neverland
Recorded At – Winetree Recording
Recorded At – Pakaderm West Studios
Mixed At – The Mixing Lab
Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios
Engineered At – Icehouse, Upland, CA
Engineered At – A&M Studios
Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering
Published By – Chenka, Chenka Music
Published By – Jobete Music
Manufactured By – JVC

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T-Bone Burnett – Proof Through The Night – 1983

T-Bone Burnett may appear more often than any artist outside of Terry Scott Taylor if one includes solo projects, band projects and musician and production duties. From Bob Dylan and Tonio K to Leslie Phillips and Mark Heard T-Bone Burnett never had his own albums released into the CCM market, yet his presence is undeniable and, for the listener and fan, greatly appreciated. While working at Maranatha Village I was doing an in-store appearance with Leslie Phillips for her CCM swan song, The Turning, and she entered the store with a very tall and lanky gentleman in tow. Now, realize I had met Amy Grant, Bob Dylan, Bono and Michael Been by this time in my life, but I can tell you that I have never been so in awe or so utterly tongue tied as when I met T-Bone Burnett for the first time. Proof Through the Night is a haunting, dark and impressive album. Guests include Pete Townsend and Ry Cooder along with Burnett’s normal group of stellar friends and bandmates like David Mansfield and David Miner. The album sort of lulls you into experiencing what it has to offer. Burnett’s acoustically driven stark production is so compelling it is no surprise he continues to be one of the most sought after producers, and here it shines in its simplicity and authenticity. There are several wonderful songs to highlight on this album. “Stunned” is the most accessible and should have been a single if Burnett could ever really have a “single.” The chorus is memorable and stays with the listener. The same for “Fatally Beautiful.” ”Pressure” is true highlight with a great guitar driven 1-3 beat and incredible hook. Burnett also has a long standing trademark of talking through songs. There are a few examples on this album that make for compelling listening. “The Sixties” is hysterical, especially its comments regarding the use of the word “freak.” “Hefner and Disney” also employs the storytelling motif and creates and troubling mood musically which compliments the content as he reverses the roles of the two famous gentlemen. A great album worth tracking down that a few years ago was finally released on CD.

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

1 – The Murder Weapon – 4:29
2 – Fatally Beautiful – 4:21
3 – After All These Years – 3:11
4 – Baby Fall Down – 3:00
5 – The Sixties – 5:30
6 – Stunned – 3:50
7 – Pressure – 3:30
8 – Hula Hoop – 3:13
9 – When The Night Falls – 3:54
10 – Hefner And Disney – 3:47
11 – Shut It Tight – 3:56

Art Direction – Jeri McManus
Composed By – John Fleming (tracks: B3), Roscoe West (tracks: B3), T-Bone Burnett
Engineer [Assistant] – Jules Bowen, Tony Chiappa
Management [Direction] – Al Schlesinger, Nancy Clarke
Mastered By [Originally] – Bernie Grundman
Mixed By – Mark Ettel
Musician – David Mansfield, David Miner, Jerry Marotta, Masakazu Yoshizawa, Mick Ronson, Pete Townshend, Richard Thompson, Ry Cooder, Stan Lynch, T-Bone Burnett
Photography By – Frank Gargani
Producer – Jeff Eyrich
Producer [Associate] – The Chelew Bros. (tracks: B6)
Recorded By – Dennis Kirk
Vocals – T-Bone Burnett, The Williams Brothers

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Warner Communications
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Copyright (c) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Pressed By – Allied Record Company – B-18376
Pressed By – Allied Record Company – B-18377
Published By – Arthur Buster Stahr Music
Published By – Black Tent Music
Published By – Bug
Recorded At – Eel Pie Studios
Recorded At – The Sound Factory
Recorded At – Ocean Way Recording
Mixed At – Ocean Way Recording
Mastered At – Sheffield Lab Matrix

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Stryper – Soldiers Under Command – 1985

With the strong success of the initial EP Stryper was poised to make a major impact on the music world with their first full length album, Soldiers Under command. It was also at this time that televangelist and youth speakers were voicing disapproval on the world of CCM with loud and venemous attacks against artists like Amy Grant, Petra and even Sandy Patti. The perfect storm of glam rock and God’s music critics created a furor not seen ever since. The more the TBN crowd railed against the “Devil’s Music” (Stryper) the larger the bands fan base grew. The growth of Stryper’s impact was directly related to an amazing full length debut. the album rocked from the very beginning and did not disappoint. The war-like image on the album cover was lived out in the militant, evangelistic approach lyrically on the album. The title track rocked with heavy, HEAVY DRUMS and a great dual guitar attack. It was also on this album that the world was introduced to the power ballad in a big way. Fearless radio programmers at KYMS (with some constant encouragement from a certain young wannabe deejay) added “Together As One” to the normal format of Amy Grant, Petra and Michael W. Smith. The phones lit up every time it was played with listeners asking who was performing this great new wedding song. The band did show great improvement and maturity, both in their musical skills and in their songwriting. There was still plenty of “Jesus is the rock that makes us roll” pablum the genre was noted for, but there was also a sense of a beginning community that Strpyer would be spearheading as their loyal fans would take the message behind the music to their friends. It is in this setting that a song like “Reach Out” becomes more a communal anthem rather than just an evangelistic propaganda slogan. There would also be social and personal issues dealt with on this album like personal piety (First Love) and sexual purity (A Love That’s Real). The title track deals with the reality of spiritual warfare. It was also on this album the use of keyboards were introduced. This accentuated the normal big hair, big guitar attack, and showed the heavy influence bands like Styx and REP Speedwagon actually had on the band. Critics, especially the self anointed protectors of definers of “Godly” music continued to miss the point. The Stryper phenomenon had much more to do with the sense of belonging and community fostered and promoted by the band. Kids wore Stryper paraphernalia not only because they were fans, but also because they were belonging to something bigger than themselves. It is also why even several years beyond the highest popularity and artistic zeniths their fan base remained loyal and supportive and there is a continuing respect for the band.

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

Track Listing:
1 – Soldiers Under Command – 5:03
2 – Makes Me Wanna Sing – 2:51
3 – Together Forever – 4:03
4 – First Love – 5:43
5 – The Rock That Makes Me Roll – 4:56
6 – Reach Out – 5:21
7 – (Waiting For) A Love That’s Real – 4:36
8 – Together As One – 5:01
9 – Surrender – 4:28
10 – Battle Hymn Of The Republic – 2:36

Bass, Piano, Keyboards – Tim Gaines
Drums – Robert Sweet “The Visual Timekeeper”
Other [Make Up] – Kyle Rae Tucy
Other [Stage Clothes] – Tina Henderson
Photography – Scarpati
Producer, Engineer – Michael Wagener
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Michael Sweet, Oz Fox
Written-By – Robert Sweet (tracks: A1, B1)
Written-By, Lead Vocals – Michael Sweet

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Double Trouble Productions, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Enigma Records
Copyright (c) – Enigma Records
Published By – Sweet Family Music

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Steve Taylor – On The Fritz – 1985

Steve Taylor followed up his masterpiece, Meltdown, with 1985’s “On the Fritz,” a substantially more refined and mature rock album that was great, but did not seem to match what came before or after. Produced by Ian McDonald of Foreigner and King Crimson fame, Fritz was wider and deeper musically then Meltdown, but seems to lack the more memorable touches and possessed a few too many novelties that don’t bear repeating nearly as often. The great offender on the album was Lifeboat, a song (or mini-musical sketch as it were) that must have sounded great on paper and worked well in video format, but simply is not musical enough to bear consistent repeat listening. “Drive, He Said” comes close, but is interesting enough and has enough of a Bowie type feel that it does not quite as much as the former. But when the album does take musical swings it hits way more often then misses and also contains some of Taylor’s finest and most personal songs. “This Disco (Used to be a Cute Cathedral)” is based on the true story of the Limelight Club in NY that was once an Episcopal Church. Musically more in line with Meltdowns manic, dance driven style, even stations adverse to playing more “upbeat” music added the song to their playlist. The Ian McDonald guitar influence can be heard on the wonder title track. The song looks at a pop star that once confessed Christ but has turned his back in the faith to maintain his stature in the mainstream world. “It’s a Personal Thing” actually sounds like something that would have worked well on the following “I Predict 1990” album with the bass and keyboard driven approach and the political commentary and pre-dated Bill Clinton by nearly a decade. “To Forgive” remains one of Taylor’s finest and most personal songs. The Big Country sounding E-Bow guitar creates a very Euro sounding power pop song. The story telling here is Taylor at his best.”I Manipulate” and “You Don’t Own Me Nothing” are great songs and show a progression of the artist as a songwriter out of the novelty realm. But Taylor’s very best may have been saved for the last song on the album. “I Just Wanna Know” remains Taylor’s most personal and confessional song in his tenure. The self-doubt and internal questioning of motives for his art are examined in full sight of the listener. It is also musically captivating and a perfect ending to a very strong album.

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

1 – This Disco (Used To Be A Cute Cathedral) – 4:06
2 – On The Fritz – 3:56
3 – It’s A Personal Thing – 2:58
4 – To Forgive – 3:54
5 – You’ve Been Bought – 2:45
6 – You Don’t Owe Me Nothing – 3:22
7 – I Manipulate – 5:07
8 – Lifeboat – 4:35
9 – Drive, He Said – 4:30
10 – I Just Wanna Know – 4:40

Backing Vocals – Beverly Slade, Kitty Markham, Mary Davis
Bass – Carmine Rojas
Cover [and Everything Artsy] – The Graphics Studio
Drums – Alan Childs
Drums [Simmons], Finger Snaps, Percussion – Cactus Moser
Engineer [Assistant] – Jay Healy, Joey Flamingo
Engineer, Mixed By – Alan Douches
Finger Snaps – Debbie Taylor
Guitar – Hugh McCracken, Tony Davilio
Guitar [Solo] – John McCurry
Keyboards, Synthesizer [Programming], Synthesizer – George Small
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Producer, Mixed By, Guitar, Alto Saxophone, Percussion – Ian McDonald
Synthesizer [Programming], Synthesizer – Larry Fast
Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Dave Thrush
Written-By, Producer, Vocals – Steve Taylor

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright (c) – C.A. Music
Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music
Recorded At – Grand Slam Studios
Mixed At – Grand Slam Studios
Mastered At – Sterling Sound

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