One of the great crimes in the history of CCM was the sudden disappearance of Robert Vaughn and the fact that this amazing record was all but ignored. It may be the most significant AYSO on this entire list! There have been a few different incarnations of Robert Vaughn with different backing band names, but the husky, edgy and utterly unforgettable voice is pure Vaughn. Labeled initially as Americana rock and roll and compared to Springsteen, Mellencamp and Petty, there is much more originality here and a totally different musical landscape. Musically the most immediate comparison I ever mention is Hothouse Flowers with the soulful, expressive music and vocal stylings. This album was part of the short-lived Exit Records/IRS experiment that saw only The 77’s receive any deep distribution. This album and the self-titled Charlie Peacock never really saw the light of day, let a lone placement in Tower Records. That is a shame as RVaTS could have been a great success given any support for radio and touring. I saw them once at a showcase with Charlie Peacock and The 77’s and, if not for Mark Tootle’s guitar smashing antics, RV may have stolen the show. He was great live and much more passionate musically then even what appears on this great project. Everyone I know that owns this album has asked not “if” this album will make the list, but rather “where” as for those who own it know it is a total no-brainer for the album to be included. The rest should find a way to track it down!
Tracklist 1 – Spanish Rebels – 3:03 2 – Justice – 5:24 3 – Palace Of Tears – 4:22 4 – Dreaming Fields – 1:38 5 – Love And War – 4:37 6 – Love Came Falling – 3:00 7 – Nights On Fire (Bye Bye Moon) – 4:41 8 – December – 3:50 9 – Bordertown – 2:05
Credits Acoustic Guitar – Anthony Daluz, Robert Vaughn Backing Vocals – Anthony Daluz, Leo Corriea, T.J. Tindall Bass – Doug Boone Coordinator – Jan Volz Drums – Greg LaRocco Electric Guitar – Anthony Daluz, Robert Vaughn Engineer [Additional] – Daryl Zachman, T.J. Tindall Engineer [Assistant] – Rick Slater Executive-Producer – Mary Neely Flute – Steve Kocherhans Guitar – T.J. Tindall Keyboards – Steve Kocherhans Mixed By – Eric Calm Organ [Hammond] – John Nau Percussion – Bongo Bob Smith Piano – John Nau Producer – T.J. Tindall Programmed By – Bill Coe Recorded By – Michael W. Harris Sampler – Bill Coe Sampler [E-mu Ii] – John Nau, Robert Vaughn Saxophone – Steve Kocherhans Violin – Linda Cummiskey Vocals – Robert Vaughn
Companies, etc. Manufactured By – Island Records Distributed By – MCA Records Published By – Sangre Productions Mixed At – Quad Recording Studios Recorded At – Western Audio Recorded At – Mix Masters Recorded At – Sacred Tone
Ron Moore is not an artist I was familiar with in the 80’s which is a bit surprising as he has 8 albums in the 70’s to early 90’s time period. Now after listening to the album it is unlikely I would have purchased the album as it was not my style of music but I still should have been aware of him. Even though it’s not my style it’s very well done which is all the more reason I should have heard of him. It is a mix of AOR and Easy Listening and Ron’s guitar work and vocals are excellent. It almost has a folk sound in places and his style could have compared to Cat Stevens (your mileage may vary). One final reason I should have heard of this album/artist is that it was released on blue vinyl. While this was a gimmick in the 80’s, it’s a gimmick that drew me like a moth to a light. All in all it’s a great album from a great artist and I look forward to listening to some of his other work. By the way if you’re interested in getting a copy of his music most of it is available for purchase on Bandcamp.
Tracklist 1 – Sarasota – 4:18 2 – Master Plan – 2:23 3 – Deep Magic – 2:34 4 – Givers And Takers – 3:57 5 – Forgiving – 2:22 6 – The Road Forever – 3:53 7 – Waiting – 4:04 8 – Faith In Action – 2:23 9 – Stand Your Ground – 2:57 10 – Star Chasers All – 4:51 11 – Don’t Take Long – 2:34 12 – Champion – 3:27
Credits Vocals – Ron Moore Acoustic Guitar – Ron Moore Electric Guitar – Ron Moore, Jim Thomas, Charlie Swanogon Bass – Ron Moore Synthesizer – Ron Moore, Kerry Moore, John Lawry, Dennis Ikler, Howard Eddy Percussion – Ron Moore, Michael Addison Drums – Walter Martin, Dennis Holt Background Vocals – Albrecht, Roley & Moore, Ron & Kerry Moore, Scott Roley, Pat Quinn, Michael and Audrey Henderson, Sandy Wynn, Jim Thomas, Kerri Evans Graphics – Kerry Moore Back cover photo – Kerry Moore Cover concept – Ron Moore, Dennis Preston, Kerry Moore Cover illustration – Dennis Preston Mastered by – George Graves Producer – Ron Moore Engineer – Bill Deaton, Bob Dennis, Ron Moore Horse Rider – Pauly Hubbard
This 1981 offering from Randy showcases his ability to stay relevant in the 80’s. Randy was an artist throughout the 70’s releasing 8 albums. This is his second album in the 80’s and his style was evolving without doing anything that would qualify him as a sellout. I compared his previous album as having a Joe Cocker sound and Scott commented that it also had a Bob Seger feel. This album has a strong Seger sound with a lot less of a Cocker sound. All in all an excellent album and if you can only listen to one song on the album I suggest the title track Plugged In. Point of trivia, Steve Scruggs engineered this album and his brother Randy played guitar on the album. They were the sons of the legendary Earl Scruggs.
1 – Plugged In – 3:42
2 – Ball & Chain – 3:50
3 – Can’t They See – 3:51
4 – Sooner Or Later – 3:21
5 – Hold Fast, Hold Tight – 4:04
6 – Over & Over – 2:43
7 – Prodigal Son – 3:13
8 – Loud Shroud – 3:44
9 – White Boat – 4:10
10 – Praise These Days – 3:41
Acoustic Guitar – Randy Matthews
Backing Vocals – Bonnie D. Hatcher, Francine Belcher, Gary Scruggs, Kimberly D. Fleming
Bass, Backing Vocals – David McCaskell
Drums, Backing Vocals – Louie Weaver
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Randy Scruggs
Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals – Allen Holmes
Engineer – Steve Scruggs
Engineer, Mixed By – Tom Semmes
Executive Producer – Kent Washburn
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Gene Sisk
Producer – John Thompson
Deliverance was another band coming out of the California metal scene in the mid 80’s. They had a demo in 1987 that was very well received and then got two tracks on the first California Metal compilation. Then they got a deal in 1988 with Intense Records for this 1989 release. Though they are usually better known for their second album this album was well received but there was only a short pressing so there wasn’t as much promotion. The album ranked at No. 3 on Heaven’s Metal fanzine Top 100 Christian metal albums of all-time. The album was also well received in the secular metal community though I think it could be better referenced as having a secret secular fan club. The album was produced by Bill Metoyer who was working with top secular metal bands of the period. The album was re-issued by Retroactive Records in November of 2008 with new album artwork and “Attack” and “A Space Called Your” as bonus tracks. This playlist includes those two tracks. It was again re-issued in 2017 by Roxx Records & No Life ’til Metal Records with the same two bonus tracks.
Tracklist 1 – Victory – 3:44 2 – No Time – 4:28 3 – Deliverance – 3:03 4 – If You Will – 3:03 5 – The Call – 3:40 6 – No Love – 3:30 7 – Blood of the Covenant – 4:50 8 – Jehovah Jireh – 3:35 9 – Temporary Insanity – 5:25 10 – Awake – 6:03
2008 Bonus Tracks 11 – Attack – 3:54 12 – Space Called You – 3:45
Credits Art Direction – Ed Taggart Bass – Brian Khairullah Cover [Cover Concept By] – Deliverance Drums – Chris Hyde Executive-Producer – Caesar Kalinowski Guitar – Glenn Rogers Music By [All Songs By], Vocals, Guitar – Jimmy P. Brown II Producer – Bill Metoyer Remastered By – Rob Colwell
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Intense Records Copyright (c) – Intense Records Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc. Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group Recorded At – Mixing Lab A Recorded At – Mixing Lab B Published By – Broken Songs Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia
There are a handful of families who could possibly lay claim to being the “First Family of CCM” including the Wards, Rambos, Winans, Cruze’s and the Archers. There was a time from the late 1970’s until the mid-80’s that the Archers were the biggest thing in CCM. Not too many CCM artists can claim to be invited to the Grammy Awards during that time, let along being asked to perform on the program…twice! The siblings of Steve, older brother Gary and little sister Janice recorded several albums, hit the top of the charts regularly, toured extensively and were the face of CCM for many years. One of their albums will also appear later on this last. In the early 80’s Steve was wanting to broach a solo career while maintaining a schedule with the family’s music plans. His first release “Solo” was warmly received and caused enough reaction to call for a follow-up. That follow-up was “Through His Eyes,” an album that, for the time, would be considered a “mega-hit” record with strong sales, topping the CCM sales chart and unbelievable radio support. It also featured what many people consider the first legitimate music video in CCM. Most albums start with an upbeat tune to grab the listener’s attention. Archer went against the norm and started with the title track, one of the few songs in CCM to deserve the “classic” title. The ballad was huge…I mean HUGE! Despite its sugary string arrangement (I want to blame Chris Christian) the song actually has an emotional center where concern for the lost and hurting around us is authentic. The song is call for those disenfranchised to see themselves as Christ sees them. This was not the normal “Jesus makes me happy” lyric that dominated (still?) Christian radio. Archer’s “blue-eyed soul (is that term overused enough?) is reminiscent to Hall and Oates (I’ll Do My Best) or a softer Bryan Duncan (Believe It). The album is filled primarily upbeat pop numbers and strong, radio friendly ballads. Archer bridge a generational gap and was a safe artists within Church circles, which allowed him to benefit from programs like “Hour of Power” and other national programs. This only increased his fan base. This fan base carried him for several more years both as a solo artist and with his family. I understand that music critic elitist simply do not understand the world of pop music and shutter when certain genres receive recognition. But within every genre are artists who are clearly superior in their craft. In the world of family and Church safe CCM no artists in his generation matched what Archer was able to accomplish.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Through His Eyes Of Love – 4:20 2 – Safe – 4:08 3 – I’ll Do My Best – 3:48 4 – Holy, Holy – 4:11 5 – Believe It – 3:52 6 – Renew Me Lord – 3:30 7 – Teach Me To Be Like You – 4:19 8 – New Heart – 4:10 9 – Must Be You – 4:47 10 – Unless God Builds Your House – 3:21 11 – Eye Of The Storm – 4:01 12 – Blood Of Jesus – 3:26
Credits Bass – Nathan East Drums – John Robinson Executive-Producer, Producer – Chris Christian Guitar – Dann Huff, Michael Landau Keyboards – Robbie Buchanan
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Copyright (c) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Manufactured By – LCS Music Group, Inc. Distributed By – LCS Music Group, Inc.
This was the first of 3 albums from Love Chapter Band. Again I am having a difficult time finding out anything about the band. I do know they were from British Columbia Canada and the album was released on New Born Records, a sister label to Tunesmith. Of note on the album is the title track which is a cover of 1976 Gentle Faith (Darrell Mansfield) song “Livin in the Sonshine”. Other than that I have nothing I can tell you about them or the album.
Tracklist 1 – Where Will You Go – 4:48 2 – The Sacrificed Lamb – 4:56 3 – Joy Comes – 3:34 4 – No More Reasons – 5:01 5 – Jump In – 1:53 6 – Just A Prayer Away – 3:00 7 – God’s Will – 3:21 8 – Make Me An Instrument – 4:11 9 – Livin’ In The Sonshine – 2:39
This was Larry’s second and last album. He turned it way up for this album from his previous AOR release. This is a solid Pop/Rock album and is very well done. It was produced by Joe Huffman and this may be the most Rock & Roll album he ever produced as he regularly produced Jimmy Swaggart albums. The memorable track on this album is “Frog In A Box” and while a very quirky name it’s actually a pretty good song. I kind of wonder why I hadn’t heard it before listening to this album just recently. This is another one I missed in the 80’s but I’m very happy I discovered it now.
Tracklist 1 – Frog In A Box – 5:42 2 – Once You Give Your Heart Away – 4:11 3 – Mighty Love – 4:09 4 – Silent Movies – 5:22 5 – Life Goes On – 3:55 6 – Won By One – 3:14 7 – Let The Praise Begin – 3:10 8 – Sometimes I’m Samson – 3:40 9 – East and West – 3:53 10 – My Soul Waits In Silence – 5:05
Credits Reed Arvin – Synclavier/Extra Keyboards, String and Horn Arrangements Larry Bryant – Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Background Vocals John Bryant – Background Vocals Kimber D. Cherry – Songwriter Jon Goin – Guitars Mark Hammond – Drums Joe Huffman – Producer Gary Lunn – Bass Marty McCall – Background Vocals Niki Mikals – Engineer Phil Naish – Keyboards Mike Psanos – Re-mix Engineer Lisa Whitford – Songwriter
I will admit very limited knowledge of Carson Cole either before or after the release of this legitimate Americana rocker record on Frontline Records back in 1987. I remember that he was from Canada and that Mike MacLane of Frontline was a huge John Mellencamp fan and kept telling me about Carson long before the album came out. Painted with the same striped as Mellencamp, Springsteen, Mark Farner, Robert Vauhgan and even 38 Special, Carson Cole and RU4 delivered a driving and rocking American heartland project. The title track has a killer rock groove and Cole’s slightly rough edged vocals combining to create a decent Christian rock radio hit. Themes on the album are common Christian fair for the time but without the common vernacular that caused mainstream listeners to miss the point. But there are also theme of guilt, depression, infidelity, forgiveness and the all too common apocalyptic elements. A personal favorite is Kingdom Come, and fun rocker with Dylanesque vocals and an E Street vibe complete with sax solo.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Credits Keyboards – Carson Cole, John Garau, Doug Doyle Guitars – Cole Carson, Mike Stand Lead Guitars – Greg Flesch, Doug Doyle, Mike Stand, Carson Cole Bass – Tim Chandler Drums – Martin Zinger Sax – Alan Palmer Background Vocals – Walter S. Harrah, Bobbi White, Maxayne Moriguchi Producer – Carson Cole, Doug Doyle, Terry Taylor
This was the first studio album from The Newsboys. They had got a deal from Refuge records but it would end up being a one album deal as this album was not well received. Lucky for the band Star Song picked them up so their career could continue. I’m actually quite surprised this album didn’t do better. It’s a pretty good pop album and certainly as good as most of the CCM stuff at the time. I suspect this may have been more of a problem with distribution and/or promotion. Like I say the talent was there and these guys went on to be one of the top CCM bands of all times as far as sold albums is concerned and they are still going strong today. This album included 4 tracks from their demo so if you had their demo this album wasn’t really a good deal but the songs were reworked.
Tracklist 1 – I Got Your Number – 4:45 2 – Listen For The Shout – 3:20 3 – Lighthouse – 3:16 4 – It’s Joy – 3:48 5 – You’re Still There – 3:06 6 – Read All About It – 4:46 7 – Hold On Tight – 3:57 8 – Never Surrender – 4:09 9 – The Big Time – 3:56 10 – He’s Coming Back – 3:48
Credits Bass Guitar – Sean Taylor Drums – Peter Furler Guitar – Phil Yates Lead Vocals – John James Producer – Tommy Sims
After two releases on Canada’s Tunesmith label that featured a very eclectic combination of punk, funk, metal and blues, Barnabas signed to Light Records (home of Sweet Comfort and Resurrection Band) and unleashed a fury of heavy metal onto the CCM world that was light years ahead of the industry. Young guitar virtuoso Brian Belew plays with a Van Halen flair and the music is pure heavy metal for fans of Triumph and Van Halen. Production was also superior for the time with real guitar mixes and a wall of sound type vocal production. This was very big sounding, especially for the day. Nancy Jo Mann’s vocal can be an acquired taste for some with a little Grace Slick with more passion and power, but on this album it works quite well. There are some very interesting musical interludes such in the case of “If Love Brings Love” that starts with just an acoustic piano and slowly builds into a huge wall of guitars and becomes a rock anthem in the truest sense of the term. The call of the Gosepl is proclaimed with brilliant clarity. Waiting for the Aliens is a 6-plus minute epic that, like many artists lyrics during the time, deals with a particular view of end times replete with Marks, Antichrists and a deception of the world that will cause everyone to believe aliens have taken over the world. This is borrowed from many popular prophecy prognosticators and was not a rare hypothesis. the song rocks though! The album ends with another epic that is more progressive rock in nature than the rest of the album with several musical and time signature changes. “Crucifixion” also features a bass solo, which is so “old school” that it’s almost shocking to hear now even though it was not the peculiar for the time. The songs is a wonderful, well arranged and powerful depiction of the passion in a borderline rock opera type setting. By the way…the album cover rocked!
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
1 – No Freedom – 4:30
2 – Stormclouds – 4:39
3 – If Love Brings Love – 4:03
4 – Waiting For The Aliens – 6:10
5 – Warrior – 3:55
6 – Never Felt Better – 3:20
7 – Subterfuge – 5:47
8 – Crucifixion – 5:59
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
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
Published By – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Recorded At – Triad Studios, Des Moines
Mastered At – Future Disc