African Sonrise – Children of Africa – 1986

In 1986 Apartheid was popular news in Canada and other Western countries. It wasn’t a new thing, but it was being talked about openly for the first time. African Sonrise is a group that was formed as a result of the opening up of South Africa. Here’s the explanation from the back of the album:

Rising out of the depression and sorrow of Africa comes a crisp, dynamic sound…

AFRICAN SONRISE

Diverse yet sharing common roots, the men of African Sonrise bring to you a special fusion of unique ethnic rhythms and Hot, contemporary instrumentation. You’ll sense many musical styles from pop to reggae, but find none that clearly defines the vibrant harmonies recorded here. Founder Henry Louw, son of a Capetown minister, first visited the U.S. in 1980. At the end of his singing tour he was encouraged to return with other performers. After achieving much success in South Africa where their ministry was greatly annointed and used of God, he and three other men are now based in Canada to share their special blend of music with the world.

The current team includes Peter Ecksteen, Daniel Visagie, and Christian Absolom. Each member has suffered under the apartheid system, yet together they sing of an answer above political struggles and military force.

This is fresh, Dynamic music. There’s incredible variety in the tunes. Both American and Canadian musicians sense the power and light that flows from the group.

The title cut, Children of Africa will move you deeply. The peaceful sounds of the jungle clash with souns of war. But shining through the strife of Africa is power and hope in following Jesus Christ. In “Tswana,” a native African language, the group sings…

Dumela, dumela, Fela (you have only to believe)

He (Jesus) will make ALL things right!

Here is power mightier than any weapon, a force above political struggle. It is the power of the Lord Jesus. These songs are the heartcry and the heartsong of Africa. May these songs encourage every listener to stand strong in Christ.

Tracklist
1 – More Like You – 3:44
2 – This Time – 4:35
3 – Just One Touch – 3:40
4 – So Much More In Jesus – 4:25
5 – Children Of Africa – 4:36
6 – Dumela Fela – 4:35
7 – Commitment – 4:04
8 – Too Good Not To Be True – 3:41
9 – So Tired And True – 3:45
10 – Together As One – 4:47

Credits
Drums – Daryl Bennet
Bass – Brian Newcombe, Rob Bailey
Guitars – Dane DeViller
Keyboards – Duncan Meiklejohn, Morry Stearns
Percussion – Daryl Bennet, Darren McGrath
Trumpet – Paul Baron
Sax – Bill Runge
Producer – Duncan Meiklejohn

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Dennis Agajanian – Where Are The Heroes – 1984

Produced by Terry Talbot, this 1984 outing from Dennis is a different sort of foray into Country music. It includes two songs written by Steve Camp, and one co-written by Dennis and Terry Talbot. There is also a pseudo-country version of Bach’s Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring. Dennis has been referred to as a “guitar virtuoso” and this is a demonstration of why. In general, this album has a lot more prominent guitar work than earlier releases like Rebel To The Wrong. Backing vocalists on this album include Dennis Agajanian, Julie Miller, Matthew Ward, and Terry Talbot. Over a career spanning around 30 years, Dennis released over a dozen albums and spent some significant time contributing to Billy Graham crusades. This record has all the polish you would expect from a Terry Talbot project, and a smooth sounding Nashville country sound.

Tracklist
1 – If You Say – 2:37
2 – Via Dolorosa – 4:36
3 – Where Are The Heroes – 4:20
4 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 4:32
5 – Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring – 2:54
6 – She’s A Servant (Single And Living Alone) – 2:55
7 – Goodbye Old Man – 3:32
8 – Colleen’s Pirouette – 2:48
9 – I Will Never Leave You – 3:36
10 – All That I Am – 2:52

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Dennis Agajanian
Backing Vocals – Julie Miller, Matthew Ward
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Scott Parish (tracks: A5)
Drums – Bill Maxwell
Electric Guitar – Michael Thompson
Keyboards – Dennis Bouchard*
Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall
Mixed By – Ron Capone
Producer, Backing Vocals, Mixed By, Acoustic Guitar – Terry Talbot
Recorded By [@ Poiema] – Bill Cobb
Recorded By [@ Westwind] – Ron Capone

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music
Copyright (c) – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Copyright (c) – Paragon Music Corp.
Recorded At – Poiema Studios
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Mastered At – Future Disc

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Messiah Prophet Band – Rock The Flock – 1984

Metal done just right. The album starts out with a perfect 1984 hard rock anthem, “Rock The Flock.” Along with some melodic metal tunes like “Labor of Love” this album keeps the pace up all the way through. The band’s strong vocals, bold drumming and continuous guitar flourishes make a nice blend. This was the first of only two albums the band put out in the 80s. Although there was room for more, we got all there was of MPB.

Tracklist
1 – Rock the Flock – 3:36
2 – Labor of Love – 3:46
3 – Try to Understand – 4:44
4 – Travel the Rough Road – 4:08
5 – Why Must You Run – 5:34
6 – To the Rock – 3:55
7 – Answer Our Call – 5:21
8 – Riding Out the Storm – 4:50
9 – Sing – 7:09

Credits
Charlie Clark – Songwriter, Lead Vocals
Rob Clark – Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Vocals
Dave Daubert – Drums, Vocals
Dean Pellman – Songwriter, Bass, Vocals
Andy Strauss – Songwriter, Lead Guitar, Vocals
Cedric Winters – Engineer
Jim Zimmerman – Producer

 

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Kerry Livgren – Seeds of Change – 1980

Kerry Livgren made the big announcement in 1980 that he had become a born-again Christian. That caused a bit of friction with some of his bandmates in Kansas, although they continued making albums together after that. The album cover features a baby in the womb of a diamond. Kansas albums were always big on imagery, and I think this could be discussed at length (by someone), but the baby seems to be a pretty clear reference to being born again. Notably though, Kerry did the majority of his Christian themed writing for his solo projects and with his new band, A. D. This record includes vocals from Christian rock artist Mylon Lefevre on a few tracks, as well as lead vocals by famed metal guitarist Ronnie James Dio on “Mask Of The Great Deceiver” and “To Live For The King.” This is a 7 song affair, with some marathon song lengths reaching over 8 minutes long. There is only 1 song under 5 minutes on the album. The musical offering here continues on from a consistent arc where Kerry left off with Kansas at the time. It’s a record that would not isolate any fans, and the high level of talent he had to make this album certainly shows. It’s a great transition album for him, aptly named “Seeds of Change.”

Tracklist
1 – Just One Way – 5:46
2 – Mask Of The Great Deceiver – 7:36
3 – How Can You Live – 4:13
4 – Whiskey Seed – 5:33
5 – To Live For The King – 4:55
6 – Down To The Core – 5:18
7 – Ground Zero – 8:36

Credits
Kerry Livgren – Producer, Songwriter, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Percussion, Vocals
Brad Aaron – Producer, Background Vocals
Barriemore Barlow – Drums
Bobby Campo – Trumpet
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Phil Ehart – Drums
John Fristoe – Background Vocals
Gary Gilbert – Bass
Paul Goddard – Bass
Joey Jelf – Background Vocals
Darryl Kutz – Harmonica
Mylon LeFevre – Vocals
Victoria Livgren – Background Vocals
Davey Moire – Vocals
David Pack – Vocals
Jeff Pollard – Vocals
Robby Steinhardt – Violin
John Thompson – Drums
Steve Venezia – Background Vocals
Steve Walsh – Vocals
Donna Williams – Background Vocals

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – CBS Records
Manufactured By – CBS Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Copyright (c) – Corn & Blood, Inc.
Recorded At – Axis Sound Studio
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Published By – Don Kirshner Music
Published By – Blackwood Music Publishing

Altar Boys – Altar Boys – 1984

Altar Boys’ self titled debut album came out in 1984. This California style punk was typical of what punk was at the time, although now we seem to have a lot of splinters of types of punk – melodic, thrash, pop, hardcore, metalcore, screamo, and more. A lot of punk was poppy at the time, modelled after The Ramones, and sounding like a precursor to MXPX or Green Day. Starting to play together around 1978, musicians that would later form the bands Undercover, Lifesavors, and Altar Boys (in that order) all came out of the same scene. Mike Stand and Ric Alba ended up in Altar Boys along with Jeff Crandall and Steve Pannier, while Mike’s brother was in Undercover, and Ric had previously done some playing with Lifesavors. Ric also played with Undercover before Altar Boys. In the spirit of punk rock, these songs are all high energy and a lot of fun, a hallmark of Altar Boys from start to end.

Track Listing:
1 – Alright! – 2:24
2 – I’m Into God – 2:52
3 – Have A Clue – 2:36
4 – Where’s It Gonna Lead You – 2:24
5 – You Found Me – 3:46
6 – Take In The Son – 2:44
7 – Well O.K. – 2:36
8 – Good Life – 3:31
9 – Oh, Oh Nancy – 1:33
10 – We Love Jesus – 2:40
11 – It’s Up To You – 3:07

Credits
Art Direction – Alex McDougal
Backing Vocals – Ojo
Backing Vocals, Drums, Vocals – Jeff Crandall
Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals, Guitar – Mike Stand
Bass, Keyboards – Rick Alba
Cover, Design – Debby Edwards
Engineer – Derald Daugherty
Engineer, Producer – Joey Taylor
Executive Producer – Bradley S. Hamilton
Guitar – Steve Pannier
Photography By – Oh Oh Nancy
Saxophone [Sax] – Bill Walden
Written-By – Annis

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center
Recorded At – Sound Affair
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mixed At – Sound Affair
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios
Published By – Oh Oh Nancy Music
Published By – Maranatha! Music

Larry Norman – Stop This Flight – 1986/1997

This version is the Phydeaux CD from 1997, which includes several radio spot interviews and a bonus track of “What’s Wrong With This Body” with extra verses. Stop This Flight was around as early as 1984 with all the songs intact, however the major release of it was in 1986. The songs here are all new, except for “I Hope I’ll See You In Heaven.” That song has appeared as a live cut in several different versions, and a highly polished studio version is on “Down Under But Not Out.” Several tracks are recorded live rather than studio, so clearly they were floating around for a while before this release. This album contributed some classics to Larry’s repertoire. Woman of God and What’s Wrong With This Body stayed in his concert sets for a long time. “Messiah” is an epic piece, and was a show-ending, church-shaking finale for as long as Larry still performed with the band. Larry did a North American tour to support this album, with a full band, including Charly on bass. The 1997 version has a completely different album cover from the originals. The 1986 Phydeaux version had a few snapshots on the cover, later to be replaced by Larry posing with the spaceman on the moon. It seems likely that the change was due to his divorce from Sarah in 1995, since her picture was on the previous album cover. The radio spots here are another creative example by Larry to get his version of the story out. People always wanted to write stories about him, so he simply recorded one side of an interview, leaving the gaps for someone else to put questions in. Radio stations would have the ability to use these clips to make a faux interview, or just play some of the clips on their own.

Tracklist
1 – Finchian Etude / Stop This Flight
2 – A Woman Of God
3 – What’s Wrong With This Body
4 – Don’t You Wanna Talk About It
5 – And We Sing “The Tune”
6 – Out Of My System #1
7 – I Hope I’ll See You In Heaven
8 – Messiah
9 – Radio Interview
10 – What’s Wrong With This Body

Credits
Arranged By – Larry Norman
Performer – Charly, Sarah
Producer – Larry Norman
Written By – Larry Norman

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Phydeaux Inc.
Mastered At – Sheffield Lab Matrix – △ 10439
Copyright (c) – Six Blue Lions

The Imperials – Heed The Call – 1979

Heed The Call is perhaps the Imperials most iconic album. You can see them decked out in suits that would make the Oak Ridge Boys envious on the back cover. Some memorable songs here like “Oh Buddha” and “Old Man’s Rubble” make this album the one that really represents their body of work well. The Imperials started out in 1964 and their lineup changed many times over the years, but this version of them in 1979 was when they were in their stride. These songs were a slightly modern take on some traditional styles and were very popular as contemporary music in churches in the 80s.

Tracklist
1 – Overcomer – 3:37
2 – Praise The Lord – 3:35
3 – Oh Buddha – 3:28
4 – Old Man’s Rubble – 3:15
5 – Heed The Call – 3:01
6 – Let Jesus Do It – 3:27
7 – Growing Stronger – 3:29
8 – First Morning In Heaven – 2:41
9 – Whenever I Speak His Name – 4:33
10 – My Mind Forgets A Million Things – 3:48
11 – He Didn’t Lift Us Up To Let Us Down – 3:21

Credits
Cover, Illustration – Dave Gaadt
Engineer – Brown Bannister
Executive-Producer – Buddy Huey
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Photography By [Back Cover] – Goss Photography
Producer – Chris Christian

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Remixed At – Gold Mine Studio
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Designed At – The Graphic Truth
Manufactured By – Prim
Distributed By – Prim

Barnabas – Approaching Light Speed – 2000 Remaster

The metal decade gave us a lot of gems and Barnabas is one of them. This is the band’s second album, much more refined than their first. From day one the band showed potential, and with this release the production quality shot up dramatically. Nancy Jo Mann’s solid vocals shout out over some hard marching guitar riffs and a tight band. Even on “If Love Brings Love” with a piano part that would be Layla’s little cousin, the driving guitars won’t let you forget where you are and what decade this is.

This is the 2000 remaster by Rev Hillstrom at Creation Station Studios, Robinsdale, Minnesota. It includes a bonus track “All Alone” which was originally recorded for this album but record company politics kept it off the album at the time.

Tracklist
1 – No Freedom – 4:37
2 – Stormclouds – 4:43
3 – If Love Brings Love – 4:12
4 – Waiting For The Aliens – 6:21
5 – Warrior – 4:01
6 – Never Felt Better – 3:26
7 – Subterfuge – 5:59
8 – Crucifixion – 5:52
9 – All Alone – 5:45

Credits
Bass, Keyboards – Gary Mann
Cover [Cover Art] – Kernie Erickson
Drums, Percussion – Kris Klingensmith
Engineer – Tom Tucker
Engineer [Additional Technical Assistance] – John Hurst
Guitar – Brian Belew
Photography By – Dennis Mabie
Producer – Barnabas, Tom Tucker
Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann
Remaster- Rev Hillstrom

Companies, etc.
Millenium Eight Records

Kansas – Drastic Measures – 1983

When it became public that Kerry Livgren of Kansas had been “born again” nobody knew what was next for the iconic 70s band. Drastic Measures is their first recording after that and it is a stellar album by any measure. The sound on Drastic Measures is harder than the sound that Kansas was known for due to songs like Dust in the Wind. The 80s demanded a little more modern and hard rock sound, and they delivered, but not without bringing in the softer sounds needed to bring the lyrics home, or the mood of a song like “Andi.” The opening track “Fire With Fire” lets you know they mean business right away. Even though it’s at a slower pace, “Going Through The Motions” still carries a strong rock vibe with a strong rhythm in it. After this album, Kerry put his efforts into his new band “AD” which was mostly new members, other than Dave Hope.

Tracklist
1 – Fight Fire With Fire – 3:40
2 – Everybody’s My Friend – 4:09
3 – Mainstream – 6:36
4 – Andi – 4:15
5 – Going Through The Motions – 5:43
6 – Get Rich – 3:43
7 – Don’t Take Your Love Away – 3:44
8 – End Of The Age – 4:33
9 – Incident On A Bridge – 5:37

Credits
Art Direction – Drennon Studio
Backing Vocals – David Pack, Kyle Henderson, Terry Brock
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Boxcar PeeWee And The Megapeople (tracks: A3), The Gang Of Men (tracks: B1, B2), Women At Work (tracks: B1)
Bass – Dave Hope
Crew [Kansas Crew] – Buren Fowler, Clay Schell, Davy Moire*, Jerry Gilleland, John Thompson (15), Merle McLain
Drums – Phil Ehart
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Bullet Recording] – Danny Mundhenk
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Le Mobile] – Cliff Bonnell, Guy Charbonneau
Guitar – Rich Williams
Keyboards [Additional] – Neil Kernon (tracks: A2)
Keyboards, Guitar – Kerry Livgren
Keyboards, Vocals – John Elefante
Lacquer Cut By – HW*
Management – Budd Carr, The Carr Company
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Photography By – Glen Wexler
Producer – Kansas (2), Neil Kernon
Recorded By, Mixed By – Neil Kernon
Steel Guitar – Jim Vest (tracks: A4, B3)
Words By, Music By – Dino Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3), John Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B3), Kerry Livgren (tracks: A3, B4, B5)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Corn & Blood, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Manufactured By – CBS Records
Distributed By – CBS Records
Recorded At – Lakewood Fairgrounds
Recorded By – Le Mobile
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Mixed At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – Son Of Other Room
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
Published By – Full Grown Man Music
Published By – Mastodon Music
Published By – Don Kirshner Music
Published By – Blackwood Music Publishing

The Lifters – The Lifters – 1983

This EP came out in 1983 from another great group of guys from the MRC group over at the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. Their Rockabilly style was like nothing else in CCM at the time. In an era where the Stray Cats were popular this album filled a gap in Christian music. These 6 short fun tracks will leave you tapping your foot and even singing along. I have a love of the rockabilly style so I have to admit I was pretty excited when I saw this album. I knew from the cover it was something I was gonna like. The EP must have been popular as the Band came out with a full album (also great) in 1985. Point of trivia is that Darrell Mansfield supplied the harmonica track for “Bucket of Blues”. Also trivia worthy is Ojo Taylor also played some piano and assisted with song writing.

Tracklist
1 – Living Water – 1:51
2 – Baby Left Me – 2:20
3 – Bucket of Blues – 3:10
4 – Eternity Bop – 1:41
5 – I’m Yours – 2:52
6 – He’s My Lord – 2:07

Credits
Antwan Adams – Horns
Chris Brigandi – Songwriter, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Eddie Espinosa – Songwriter, Guitars
Dave Hackbarth – Horns
Kass – Bass Fiddle, Electric Bass, Background Vocals
Mark Kirschak – Songwriter
Michael Knott – Songwriter
Darrell Mansfield – Harmonica
Brian Ray – Songwriter, Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Ojo Taylor – Songwriter, Piano
Bill Walden – Horns
Dan Willard – Producer