Avion – Live – 1987

Avion Live is Sydney band Avion’s swansong independent release. The album was dedicated to the memory of the late Evan Murray, the band’s previous keyboard player who died in a motor vehicle accident. This album captures what they did best – performing their own particular brand of AOR live. The band’s last studio album, White Noise, features very strongly, as 7 of its tracks are performed live. Only 3 tracks from the band’s self-titled album are featured, which leaves the following 4 songs that, to my knowledge, have never been recorded – Long Night, Ransom, Money Or Love, and The Bigger You Are. On Being’s music editor, Vic Campbell, wrote: ‘These 14 tracks – five recorded in September ’86 at Sydney Entertainment Centre, the others at Selina’s in June ’87 – serve as a powerful reminder of this now-defunct Aussie band of talented rock ‘n’ roll Christians. Avion came so close to achieving widespread commercial success. This cassette-only release is a genuine collector’s item.’ (On Being, May 1989)

1 – Long Night – 3:34
2 – Where Do We Go From Here – 3:17
3 – In My Mind – 3:38
4 – Ships – 5:14
5 – Secrets – 4:06
6 – Warrior – 5:00
7 – Ransom – 4:09
8 – On And On – 5:06
9 – Money Or Love – 3:37
10 – Berlin Wall – 3:56
11 – Celebration – 4:17
12 – I Need You – 4:46
13 – The Bigger You Are – 4:15
14 – Never Too Late – 4:29

Bass, Vocals – Kendall Waller
Drums, Vocals – John Waller
Guitar, Vocals – Paul Gannell
Keyboards – Evan Murray
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Randall Waller
Producer, Engineer – John McConnell
Recorded By – Wyn Wynyard
Remix – John McConnell

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Selina’s Nightclub
Recorded At – Sydney Entertainment Centre

Surprise – Reformation – 1990

Reformation is the excellent sophomore studio album by Sydney band Surprise (previously known as Surprise Surprise), released by American record label, Refuge Records. The band was locally managed by David Smallbone who is the father of renowned CCM artist, Rebecca St. James. Out of all the 80s Australian bands I have reviewed so far, this is one of my favourite music finds. In preparing for this review I’ve listened to this album several times, and I still love it. The band’s music style is best described as ‘eclectic’ – ranging from rockabilly (‘Into The Light’), pop, rock, shock rock (‘Jack The Ripper?’), alternative, and even some hard rock/metal. What keeps things interesting is that the band has a male (Alexander MacDonald) and female vocalist (Lisa Parsons). The band are not as direct or in your face when it comes to sharing their Christian faith & worldview as other bands, and yet they share it in creative and sometimes witty/humorous ways. For example, in one of my favourite songs, ‘The Sixty-Six’, when referring to the canon of the Bible, the lyrics are:
I know 66 reasons for all these feelings inside my head.
I’ve seen 39 old ones full of bold ones and what You said.
Be still and know I am God…
I know that 27 speak of heaven, and that You bled.

Another great lyric is: No condemnation in the Him of Hymns, when life ends is when it all begins.

Another highlight are the guest vocals provided by In The Silence’s John Dickson on the track ‘Destroy all Monsters/Carnival Freakout/Onward’ (the ‘Onward’ part of the song is the band’s great remake of the classic hymn ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’).

The 13th track which is a bonus song contains the lyric:
I believe in the canon.
I believe in three-in-one.
I believe in the sixty-six, and the Virgin’s holy Son.

I’m looking forward to giving the band’s debut album, Fish!!!, on Refuge Records another listen.

Contributor – Frank Axel Rasenberger

1 – A-Z – 2:31
2 – Living Is Easy – 3:23
3 – Madder Than Me – 3:58
4 – Destroy All Monsters/Carnival Freakout/Onward – 3:35
5 – Into the Light – 2:32
6 – Jack the Ripper? – 2:29
7 – Slash’n’Burn – 2:41
8 – Voice Inside – 3:15
9 – Victim of Love – 1:50
10 – Look Inside Your Heart – 3:15
11 – The Sixty-Six – 2:15
12 – Come Back Today – 2:58
13 – I Believe (Bonus Track) – 3:03

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

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Windwood Studios

Rosanna’s Raiders – Clothed In Fire – 1989

Australia’s Rosanna Palmer is on a par with other great female hard rock vocalists such Nancy Jo Mann (Barnabas), Wendy Kaiser (Resurrection Band), Sandie Brock (Servant), and Lisa Faxon (Ransom). Add to this her proficient guitar skills which are showcased on various tracks, especially ‘Crying in the Night’. Her husband, David Palmer, is a great bassist. Dave & Rosanna continue ministering through music and spoken word to this very day. They have performed as a duo at several of our Live at the Chapel live music events.
Clothed In Fire is the band’s second album released on an American record label. Here’s a review of this particular album by Steve Rowe (Lightforce & Mortification): – ‘When Rosanna’s Raiders release an album, you can expect a message straight from the heart of God. This is definitely the case with their latest effort Clothed In Fire. The production is world-class thanks to US producer Joey Powers who worked with the band at Grand Slam Studios in New York. The additional keyboards and back-up harmonies enhance Rosanna’s already catchy songs, making the album very memorable even after only a few listens. The highlight track is Crying In The Night – a song addressing the helplessness of children who are abused by adults. The passion of the chorus in this song is strong enough to move the hardest heart. All the songs, especially the final five, display the Raisers’ punchy Aussie hard rock at its best ever.’ (p. 32, On Being, April 1990)

Contributor – Frank Axel Rasenberger

1 – He Is The King – 3:54
2 – Blind Eyes – 4:26
3 – You Are Special – 4:11
4 – Crying In The Night – 4:05
5 – Hell On Earth – 4:28
6 – I’m Ready – 3:17
7 – Crazy World – 3:45
8 – Do It Right – 4:04
9 – The Loser – 3:32
10 – Love The Lord Your God – 3:56

Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals – Dave Palmer
Booking – Vic Campbell
Drums – Johno Zaffarese
Engineer – Doug Oberkircher
Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Dan Rudin
Featuring, Backing Vocals – Carolyn Nieto, Gary Roz, Jo Clayton, Jonathan Pagano
Featuring, Guitar [Additional Guitars] – Gary Roz
Keyboards, Featuring – George Small
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Rosanna Palmer
Producer [Produced By] – Joey Powers

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Refuge Records
Copyright © – Refuge Records
Record Company – Refuge Music Group
Distributed By – Spectra Distribution, Inc.
Published By – Place Of Refuge
Recorded At – Grand Slam Studios

In The Silence – Things To Come – 1988

Things To Come is the debut album from Sydney band In The Silence. It was the first Australian album in a long time to be released by Word Australia. When asked what the band name means, John Dickson replied: ‘In The Silence was a little phrase we worked out because we’re really into the Second Coming….It’s a theme we’re really excited about. A lot of our songs are about the times we are in. While we never get up on stage and say He will be coming back on the third of March, we do believe it is biblical to preach Christ in the light of His return. We see the times we are in as the calm before the storm. We are in the silence.’ (p. 36, On Being, July 1988)
The band got their break at Australian Christian music festival JAM ’88. Winners of the JAM ’88 talent quest, the band were recipients of the first prize – recording time at Melbourne’s Timbertop Studio. Things To Come was the result of this recording time. The band’s musical style has been described as ‘guitar-based urban rock, a la U2’. Music reviewer Kirsten Hill states: ‘There is a passionate intensity to all their music. John’s vocals are emotional, breathy pleas, vaguely reminiscent of Bono. In fact, the band at times can sound like a very young U2…But they refuse to join the ranks of the U2 clones – they do cite other influences and do have a sound uniquely their own.’ (p. 36, On Being, July 1988) Music reviewer, promoter and musician Martin Fawkes mentions these ‘other influences’ as ‘bands like Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure and other ‘alternative’ musics.’ (p.37, On being, April 1988) The album opens with the explosive ‘City Walk’. The band even dabbles in some blues on the track ‘Steamboat’. The album’s final track ‘Why’d You Never Tell Me?’ appeared on the band’s previous 7-track cassette-only release ‘It’s Only Time’. (Does anyone have this? Would LOVE to hear it!) Kirsten Hill says the song ‘echoes the thoughts of non-Christians as they meet up with their Christian friends on Judgment Day. It is a sober reminder of responsibility.’ (p. 36, On Being, July 1988)

Contributor – Frank Axel Rasenberger

1 – City Walk – 3:55
2 – Waiting Here – 4:17
3 – If Only You – 3:34
4 – Like I’m Home – 4:45
5 – Easter Song – 5:27
6 – In The Silence – 2:22
7 – Storm Inside – 3:09
8 – Steam Boat – 3:35
9 – Help Help – 3:39
10 – Very Long Time – 2:47
11 – Why’d You Never Tell Me – 5:31

Bass – Angus McLeay
Drums – Jacques Zeelie
Engineer – Peter Maclean
Engineer, Mixed By – Jeff Todd
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Ben Shaw
Lead Vocals – John Dickson
Mixed By – In The Silence, Phil Lake
Producer – David Gilmour, In The Silence

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Word Australia
Distributed By – Word Australia
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – June Corp. Pty. Ltd.
Copyright © – June Corp. Pty. Ltd.
Recorded At – Timbertop Studios
Mixed At – Rich Studios

Glass Canoe – Glass Canoe – 1991

Australian band, Glass Canoe’s one & only self-titled album was released by 2 different record labels – Australian label Nightlight Records in 1991 and South African label Transistor Music in 1992. The song order varies considerably, with the South African release (which we have uploaded) having 2 extra tracks – The Tempest and She Heals Me. Peter Beveridge, who is an artist in his own right, was at the production helm and it shows. Lead vocalist, Tony Williams, released his own self-titled EP back in 1987. Acoustic and electric guitarist, David Holmes, released his debut solo album, Taking Ground, in 1991. Bass guitarist, Andrew James, was one of the original members of Australian mainstream band Midnight Oil. Other band members were Phil Saddleton on drums, and Colin Webber on keyboard. Give this album a listen if you like the pub/club rock of bands like Priority Paid and Surprise. The album has some great rock anthems (Kingdom of Nothing) and rock ballads (She Heals Me). Recommended tracks: Violence of Love and Days of our Youth.

1 – Fierce – 4:03
2 – Violence Of Love – 3:40
3 – Days Of Our Youth – 3:44
4 – The Tempest – 3:21
5 – Fire – 4:18
6 – Dancing In The Teeth Of Catastrophe – 4:05
7 – Kingdom Of Nothing – 3:38
8 – Still The Night – 3:43
9 – World Gone Crazy – 3:36
10 – She Heals Me – 4:10
11 – Umbrella – 3:36
12 – Wayfarers – 4:38

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – David Holmes
Arranged By [Brass], Keyboards, Sequenced By – Colin Webber
Bass Guitar – Andrew James
Blues Harp – Jim Conway
Co-producer – Glass Canoe
Drums, Drum Programming – Phil Saddleton
Engineer – Colin Webber
Engineer, Mixed By – Guy Gray
Harmony Vocals – Shauna Jensen
Harmony Vocals, Saxophone, Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Sequenced By, Arranged By – David Butts
Keyboards, Sequenced By, Arranged By – Peter Beveridge
Mandolin, Violin – Wayne Goodwin
Mastered By – Don Bartley
Producer – Peter Beveridge
Written-By, Lead Vocals, Piano, Keyboards – Tony Williams

Companies, etc.
Marketed By – Transistor Music
Distributed By – Tusk Music
Licensed From – Jewel Music (Australia) Pty. Limited
Printed By – Interpak
Recorded At – Nightlight Studios
Recorded At – EMI Studios 301
Recorded At – Rich Studios
Mastered At – EMI Studios 301

Avion – White Noise – 1986

Apart from his excellent vocal contribution (as well as some guitaring) on David Zaffiro’s Surrender Absolute (1992) album, from Randall Waller’s second solo album, Midnight Fire, onwards his focus changed from the Christian music market to the mainstream music world. This is clearly evident on Avion’s well-produced second and last studio album, White Noise, released on the mainstream EMI label. Forming in 1981, Avion was an Australian band that was beset with hardship and tragedy of one kind and another. Even though they had a few appearances on Australia’s national music show Countdown, Australian rock historian Ian MacFarlane states that they were ‘met with virtual indifference at home’ (Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop). The great singles the band released suffered from a lack of airplay. Apart from a loyal Sydney fan base, the band’s biggest supporters came from North America who appreciated the band’s melodic, American-influenced AOR. Band member and keyboardist, Evan Murray, died in a car accident in late ’87. The band called it a day soon after. The album contained the following 3 singles – We’ve Got Secrets (1985), Celebration (1986), and Berlin Wall (1987). Berlin Wall addresses the detrimental effect of the wall on the city’s residents that divided Berlin into East and West Berlin. The album has two relationship songs – Elle and Ships. Elle is about a couple where one member is pushing the relationship to the next level before the other member is ready for that level of commitment. Ships is about a song of unrequited love, using the saying ‘Ships passing in the night’ to great effect. One of my favourite tracks, Calm Before The Storm, has the strongest Christian connotations about heaven coming down to earth. The only change in personnel for this album was Paul Gannell who replaced Martyn Toole on guitar.

Contributor – Frank Axel Rasenberger

1 – Celebration – 4:05
2 – Berlin Wall – 3:35
3 – Elle – 3:56
4 – In My Mind – 3:33
5 – Ships – 4:45
6 – We’ve Got Secrets – 3:58
7 – Calm Before The Storm – 4:41
8 – The Next Big Thing – 3:24
9 – On & On – 4:50
10 – Never Too Late – 3:55

Bass, Backing Vocals – Kendall Waller
Drums, Backing Vocals – John Waller
Engineer – Peter Cobbin, Richard Lush
Engineer [Assisted By] – Tony Espie
Engineer [Assisted By], Mixed By [Assisted By] – Greg Henderson
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Paul Gannell
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Randall Waller
Mixed By – Clive Shakespeare, John Bee, Randall Waller, Spencer Lee
Piano, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Evan Murray
Producer – Clive Shakespeare), Peter Dawkins, Randall Waller
Producer, Engineer – Ross Cockle
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Peter Blyton
Producer, Mixed By – Avion

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – EMI Studios 301
Produced At – AAV
Engineered At – AAV
Mixed At – Albert Studios

Randall Waller – Oasis – 1978

Oasis is Randall Waller’s solo debut. It’s the first of two solo albums, released before the formation of Lionheart in 1981, the precursor band to Avion. Being an Australia-only release, the first Randall Waller album most people are familiar with is the outstanding ‘Midnight Fire’ album which was recorded in the US, and produced by the late Jon Linn (guitarist on albums by Larry Norman, Chuck Girard, Randy Stonehill, and Mark Heard). There’s a world of difference between the two. Oasis is mainly aimed for those who are already believers. It contains a numbers of Randall’s original worship songs – You Are The One, Just Can’t Explain, and Praise Song, to name a few. Oasis is a more laid-back, predominantly acoustic/soft rock project. The opening track, Friends In High Places, Storm In The Sky, and I Want You really appeal to the rocker in me, but they are the exception to the overall rule. Randall’s excellent guitaring in Friends In High Places reminds me of guitar greats, the late Gary Moore and Carlos Santana. Other album highlights are Randall’s good remakes of John Michael Talbot’s Would You Crucify Him and Phil Keaggy’s Things I Will Do. Well worth giving this a listen.

1 – Friends In High Places – 7:19
2 – You Are The One – 3:25
3 – Things I Will Do – 3:26
4 – Just Can’t Explain It – 2:15
5 – Would You Crucify Him – 4:48
6 – Foot Of The Mountain/Lord You’re Blowin’ My Mind – 6:01
7 – Storm In The Sky – 5:23
8 – What Must I Do – 2:33
9 – I Want You – 4:41
10 – Praise Song – 1:46

Alto Saxophone – Michael Houghton
Arranged By – Randall Waller
Bass – Roger Hanlon
Design – Ngaire Waller
Directed By – Steve Wyatt
Drums – Rob McMurry
Engineer – Chris Neal
Flute – Michael Houghton
Guitar – Randall Waller
Lead Vocals – Randall Waller
Piano – Steve Wyatt
Producer – Bob Goodfellow
Synthesizer – Chris Neal

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Airborne Studios

Real World – When God Spoke – 1990

Real World is Chris Butson, Vicki Powers, Nicole Barlow and Julie Thorpe. Contemporary music specialist/promoter Vic Campbell states: ‘Real World initially involved Chris Butson and her husband Phil writing and recording in their home studio at The Basin, on the outskirts of Melbourne (Australia).’ (On Being, October 1990, page 39) He describes the album as ‘1990’s music with intelligent lyrics.’ Chris’ husband Phil is a producer/engineer who has produced albums for Steve Grace, Rosanna’s Raiders and Shane Howard of mainstream band Goanna to name a few. The song lyrics are far from superficial and have a poetic feel to them. “It’s almost like when Jesus told His parables,” says Chris, “alluding to something where people had to think a bit further. We’re trying to say things in a pictorial sort of way.” Campbell states: “Several songs such as the title track and ‘Idolizing Lies’ were inspired by early chapters of Genesis. …Other tracks deal with tension in relationships between people and the Creator.” Chris says: “’Africa-Cruel Wall’ was written after seeing the film ‘Cry Freedom’.” This is the only track to feature real drums. The drummer on this track is none other than Peter Luscombe of mainstream Australian band The Black Sorrows. Campbell says: “The album sounds are so good that I can almost ignore the fact that only one song features real drums.”


1 – When God Spoke – 4:34
2 – Heart Beat – 4:46
3 – See You Everywhere – 3:42
4 – New Day – 3:33
5 – Angels Sing – 4:12
6 – Idolizing Lies – 4:01
7 – Blood In The Garden – 3:12
8 – White Fields – 4:28
9 – Some Girls – 3:37
10 – Africa – Cruel Walls – 4:43

Backing Vocals – Phil Butson
Design – Sudden Images
Drums – Peter Luscombe (tracks: 10)
Guitar – Phil Butson, Trevor Reading (tracks: 4)
Illustration – Jeff Spencer
Keyboards – Les Price (tracks: 2, 5), Phil Butson, Rohan Anderson (tracks: 4)
Lead Vocals – Chris Butson
Producer – Phil Butson

Companies, etc.
Produced At – The Basin (2) – none
Produced At – Sing Sing Studios – none
Distributed By – Spectra Distribution, Inc. – none
Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group – none
Distributed By – DTS Records