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

Mike Warnke – Jester In The King’s Court – 1977

Mike Warnke is a great preacher and a funny guy. This is his early stuff, from 1977, before his wife Rose joined him in the performance. He had a serious knack for using funny messages to make strong spiritual truths. Speaking of truth, it is well known that Mike recanted much of his testimony about witchcraft. Despite that, these records are packed with truths. Communicating truth is the main point of fiction, after all. One thing that is noteworthy listening to his body of work is that even when he comes up to the edge of socially acceptable comedy, he knew how to stay within boundaries. Just like George Carlin and others of his era, Mike could tell jokes that made fun of situations without making fun of people. In doing so, the message is never lost.

It should be noted that Warnke was revealed as a liar and fraudster in 1991 by Cornerstone magazine. This recording is offered as a historic record of what was being listened to in the Christian community in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Credits
Design [Cover] – Charles Wallis Inc., Roger Sanders
Narrator – Mike Warnke
Other [Make-up] – Joyce Ward
Photography By – John Guider Studios
Producer – Mike Blanton*, Wes Yoder

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Warbird Publishing Company
Copyright (c) – Warbird Publishing Company
Mixed At – Sumet-Bernet Sound Studios, Inc.
Remixed At – Sumet-Bernet Sound Studios, Inc.

Resurrection Band – DMZ – 1982

All of the early Rez ablums were groundbreaking.

This was their fifth release, and their third and final for Light Records. D.M.Z. was the hardest rock that they had given us yet, and it fit the early 80s metal age perfectly.

Opening with a high energy track, Military Man, and pulling out a relentless guitar solo intro on White Noise, they sounded exactly like rock was supposed to in 1982.

The CCM industry at the time couldn’t figure this out but Resurrection band could.

 

== 1 ==
Military Man
Military Man was the opening track and it became a signature piece for their live shows and a central part of their ceatalogue. The era was still post-Viet Nam. The movie First Blood came out in 1982, Missing in Action in 1984, and Rambo in 1985. Sympathy for soldiers was strong and Glenn’s writing reflected that. A call for pacifism was not the mainstream, but that’s what was different about the CCM world.

== 2 ==
Reluctance
Wendi takes the lead on this song, as she does with three of the ten tracks on this album. She brought energy to the band that Glenn’s vocals, for all their intensity, could not. There were a few critics of Wendi’s vocal style, but there is no doubt she was an integral part of Rez.

== 3 ==
Babylon
Typical Rez fashion was a hard sound like this paired with Glenn’s lyrics about human suffering. In Bablyon his desire to reach lost souls comes through again. The band had a ministry that always returned to the needs of the people, and the desire to share the gospel. At the same time, this is another great rock song from the earliest, hardest Christian rock band of substance.

== 4 ==
I Need Your Love
A rough voice streaming out smooth vocals over a guitar ringing with a mean-streets tone is exactly what we expect from Rez Band. There is energy in the playing, the singing and the writing. This didn’t become one of their most popular tracks but it is just as strong, and a great part of the structure of this album.

== 5 ==
Area 312
Area 312 is the area code for Chicago’s core, in case you didn’t know. Kids that are born there, grow up there, and need to find hope there are what Rez was about. JPUSA was the birthplace of Rez, and JPUSA was essentially a commune in a needy part of Chicago.

== 6 ==
No Alibi
Almost a hymn of confession, this connects with yet another part of the faith they professed. The process of confession is central to the Christian faith, and whether it is a formal part of your church service or not, here it is, right on your record player ready to bring you into it. Every Rez concert had an altar call where people came forward and members of the band would preach and pray with the people in small groups. This fits perfectly with their message.

== 7 ==
White Noise is a CCM guitar classic. I remember I was listenting to it and someone asked me, “Is this AC/DC?” I answered that no, it was Rez. “Reall? This isn’t Rez. This is For Those About To Rock.”

It wasn’t AC/DC, and I don’t think a music fan should be able to mix the two songs up, but you get the idea of what kind of music this is. It’s hard rock. It’s what the kids were doing in the 80s. Rez gave us an alternative to following the weird path of Ozzy Osborne, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, all the way to Twisted Sister. We were proud of the music we listened to because it was different, it was ours, and it was better.

== 8 ==
Lonely Hearts
Loneliness is part of living in a city of 2 million people. It’s a different kind of loneliness, where people are surrounded and alone. Once again bringing the inner city message, this song connects.

Looking back at it from 2018, we look at this as a Tinder attempt to connect with people and finding everything hollow. Emotions stay relevant forever regardless of technology.

== 9 ==
The Prisoner
Rez did a lot of “cause” songs. This one is written from the perspective of a wheelchair bound human being, struggling to be seen as such. I don’t know the back story but it seems clear there is one, and Glenn connected with it. Rez made a big effort to humanize marginalized people, whether it was the poor, the Black South Africans, or the wheelchair-bound.

== 10 ==
So In Love With You
In with everything else, Resurrection Band also wrote praise songs. The Psalms are more blues (lament) than praise, but the praise is there and they never forgot to incldue some of that on their albums. This is a joyful sound, created in the style of Rez.

Tracklist
1 – Military Man – 3:39
2 – Reluctance – 2:14
3 – Babylon – 2:36
4 – I Need Your Love – 3:24
5 – Area 312 – 3:56
6 – No Alibi – 4:39
7 – White Noise – 3:41
8 – Lonely Hearts – 3:00
9 – The Prisoner – 2:54
10 – So In Love With You – 3:38

Credits
Artwork By [Other Art & Layout] – JPUSA Graphics
Artwork, Cover – Dick Randall
Bass [Fretless Bass], Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Jim Denton
Drums – John Herrin
Engineer – Roger Heiss
Guitar, Keyboards – Stu Heiss
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Photography By – Denise Omernick, Linda Dillon (2), Pat Peterson (2)
Producer – Resurrection Band
Saxophone – Steve Eisen
Vocals – Wendi Kaiser
Vocals, Guitar – Glenn Kaiser

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Word Records Limited

Mike Warnke – Coming Home – 1981

This is classic Mike Warnke, from what I would consider to be his peak era. His material from around this time was perfectly placed and timed, hilarious and poignant. His Gospel message was perfectly intertwined with his brand of comedy and fun at the expense of himself and his fellow Christians. Despite his later recanting of involvement in occultism, Mike gave us some great stuff. This album includes the classic “Saga of Dougie and Will” which provided no end of entertainment through all my junior high years. Every story has those memorable moments, quotable quips that you can say to your best friend to make them laugh with just a word or two.

It should be noted that Warnke was revealed as a liar and fraudster in 1991 by Cornerstone magazine. This recording is offered as a historic record of what was being listened to in the Christian community in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Credits
Edited By – Brown Bannister
Liner Notes – Rose Warnke
Photography By – John Miller
Producer – Wes Yoder
Remix – Brown Bannister

Companies, etc.
Mastered At – Masterfonics