Here’s the second album from Barnabas. It follows in the path of their first release but the production is much better. There was also considerable changes in the band lineup so that may have contributed to the improved sound. The album was initially released by Tunesmith Records in 1982 but Light Records worked out some kind of deal to re-release it in 1984. Barnabas had signed with Light in 1983 and released “Approaching Light Speed” so for some Barnabas fans they were getting the albums out of order. The album has been re-released twice since then. In 2000 it was packaged with “Hear The Light” and the 2 album on one CD was released by Millenium Eight Records. It was again re-released by Retroactive Records in 2017. It is a testament of this bands popularity that their albums keep getting re-released.
Tracklist 1 – Find Your Heart A Home – 4:44 2 – The Conflict Of Desire – 4:49 3 – Way To Destruction – 4:38 4 – Boogie Tyme – 4:26 5 – Swordsman – 3:47 6 – Southern Woman – 5:28 7 – Star – 7:50
Credits Bass – Gary Mann Cover Layout – Tim Varro Drums – Kris Klingensmith Engineer – Rick Hope Lead Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner Organ – Kris Brauminger Piano – Kris Brauminger Producer – Barnabas Rhythm Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner Synthesizer – Nancy Jo Mann Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann
Damn that Maria McKee can really sing. That may be the single greatest understatement in the first 370 post on this list. But really, if anyone can find a better way to express the sheer power, passion and presence of McKee’s vocal virtuosity, have at it. It was said co-Producer Little Steve (E Street Band) remarked that McKees vocal performance on “Inspiration” was the most powerful and passionate vocal he had heard since Bruce Springsteens “Adam Raised a Cain.” Mighty high praise indeed. And well deserved. More commercially appealing than the debut, Shelter infused a little more country rock and significantly less cow punk. It is better produced (in some spots a bit over-produced) and the songwriting is more accessible with superior ballads and a more consistent sound. It should have been the record to make Lone Justice rock stars. Rather, it became their swan song. I Found Love and Shelter were both that singles that just never broke through, though they ended being covered by a few CCM artists including Geoff Moore. But the real strength on this album is on the deeper cuts and ballads. Beacon, Belfry and Dreams Come True all rock with great guitar work and McKe’s emotive presence. And as mentioned earlier, Inspiration is just an emotional vocal tour de force with a once in a lifetime performance. The two side-ending ballads should also be noted. Wheels is a beautiful country song that should be covered by a more modern country female vocalist. The album closer, Dixie Storms, is just haunting and would point to the direction McKee would follow in her solo career.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – I Found Love – 4:15 2 – Shelter – 4:37 3 – Reflected (On My Side) – 4:57 4 – Beacon – 4:18 5 – Wheels – 5:05 6 – Belfry – 5:03 7 – Dreams Come True (Stand Up And Take It) – 4:06 8 – The Gift – 4:16 9 – Inspiration – 3:49 10 – Dixie Storms – 3:37
Credits Acoustic Guitar [Additional], Rhythm Guitar [Additional] – Little Steven Bass, Vocals – Gregg Sutton Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Janet Weber Cover – Cooper Edens Design – Kim Champagne Drums – Rudy Richman Engineer [Additional] – Bruce Lampcov, Don Smith, Greg Edward, Joe Borja, Nikko Bolas, Scott Litt, Shelly Yakus, Steven Rinkoff Engineer [Assistant] – Craig Engel, Marc De Sisto, Michael Bowman, Rob Jacobs, Ross Stein Guitar – Ryan Hedgecock, Shane Fontayne Keyboards – Bruce Brody Keyboards [Additional] – Benmont Tench, Charles Judge, Tommy Mandel Lacquer Cut By – J. Webster Management – Ice Cream Management Management [Associate] – Tony Ferguson Mastered By – Stephen Marcussen Mixed By – Greg Edward (tracks: A4, A5, B1, B3, B4), Humberto Gatica (tracks: B2), Joe Chiccarelli (tracks: A2), Mike Shipley (tracks: A1, A3), Shelly Yakus (tracks: B5) Photography By – Melanie Nissen Producer – Jimmy Iovine, Little Steven, Lone Justice Production Manager – Chuck Reed Recorded By – Joe Chiccarelli, Robert de la Garza Vocals, Guitar, Piano – Maria McKee
This was the first album after the Cruse Family renamed themselves “Cruse” to sound more hip and young. There really isn’t much info out there on the family and really the only member to go on to success was Cindy Cruse. The album has a pop feel on several tracks but others are very easy listening oriented. The interesting track is the lead track “First Love” which was written by producer John Rosasco. It’s interesting in that it is also done by Joe English on his Held Accountable album. John played keyboards on that album and also played keyboards on this album. Both versions came out in the same year but I’ll be honest I think I prefer this version. Anyway we have a pretty good album here and it’s definitely worth a listen.
Tracklist 1 – First Love – 4:26 2 – How Did God Know? – 4:10 3 – Everyday Life – 3:50 4 – I Am, The Mighty One – 3:35 5 – Sing – 4:07 6 – You Are That Man – 4:51 7 – Understanding Heart – 3:30 8 – Bless Your Name – 2:57 9 – One Day Closer Home – 3:02 10 – Me And My House – 3:11
Credits Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [String], Keyboards – Larry Muhoberac Arranged By [Track], Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith Arranged By [Track], Keyboards – Smitty Price Art Direction – Bob McConnell Baritone Saxophone – Dennis Solee Bass – Abe Laboriel Drum Programming [Linn Drum Machine] – Robbie Buchanan Drums – Ed Greene, Ron Krasinski, Steve Turner Engineer – Bob Cotton Engineer [Assistant] – Jim Baird, Wally Grant Guitar – Jon Goin Illustration – Mike Drake Keyboards – Allen Steinberger Percussion – Paulinho daCosta Photography By – Larry Dixon Producer, Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [Vocal], Keyboards – John Rosasco Saxophone – Dennis Solee Strings – Sid Sharp Strings
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright ℗ – CBS Inc. Published By – Priority Music Published By – John T. Benson Publishing Recorded At – Weddington Studios Recorded At – Bullet Recording Recorded At – United Western Studios Mixed At – Weddington Studios Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios Mastered At – Future Disc
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…
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
You might know this band by the name “Fear Not” or “Reaction” as apparently they had difficulty with names. I will admit again that I don’t look forward to Metal albums and it was the same for this one. However for some reason I really enjoyed this one. Most likely this is due to it’s very heavy commercial feel and sound. This is an album that would have done well in the secular market and quite frankly I could hear “Girl Gone Bad” on any 80’s station to this day. Signed by tiny label Blonde Vinyl Records I doubt they got much promotion which is a pity because I believe they found a real diamond here. Even if you don’t care for metal albums I would urge you to give this one a listen, I suspect you might like it. At the very least give their cover of The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night”, it’s a pretty good cover.
Tracklist 1 – Real Love – 2:52 2 – Do You Love Me – 3:37 3 – Hearts On Fire – 4:05 4 – When Loneliness Comes Knockin’ – 4:27 5 – Girl Gone Bad – 3:32 6 – Fill ‘er Up – 0:13 7 – Goodbye Lady Jane – 3:48 8 – In Blue Again – 5:01 9 – 1000 Reasons – 4:56 10 – A Hard Day’s Night (Beatles Cover) – 2:33 11 – Do You Believe In Love – 3:22
Credits Art Direction, Design – Brian Ray Bass, Backing Vocals – Rod Romero Drums, Backing Vocals – Gary Hanson Engineer – Doug Beiden Engineer, Mixed By, Backing Vocals [Additional] – Brian Davis Executive-Producer – Michael G. Knott Guitar – Darin Eby Mastered By – Doug Doyle Photography By [Cover] – Nigel Skeet Producer, Mixed By – Christopher Colbert, Larry Worley Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals [Additional] – Larry Worley
This is Priscilla’s second album. Her first album was on Frontline Records but this one was on tiny label Diadem Music. It appears she didn’t get a second album deal with Frontline. Now I have not listened to her first album yet but after listening to this one I am kind of surprised she couldn’t get a larger record deal. This album is very good. The jacket cover had me worried I was about to listen to a worship album but not so. This is a fun 80’s Pop album. I can’t find much out there on this album but I’m not overly surprised due to the label it was on. Diadem was owned by Benson (a much larger label) but I don’t know if they did much promotion of their Diadem label. Anyway this is a great fun pop album and is definitely a fun listen.
Tracklist 1 – Ageless Love – 3:04 2 – Nothing But Jesus – 3:34 3 – He Is Still A Father – 5:02 4 – Just Believe – 3:56 5 – No Need (Bow Down) – 4:27 6 – He’s Leading The Way – 3:55 7 – There You Are – 3:25 8 – River To The Throne – 5:00 9 – Follow You – 3:39 10 – Fire Of The Holy Spirit – 3:47 11 – To Live Is Christ – 3:28 12 – Don’t Dance – 3:11 13 – Kingdom Love – 5:00
Credits Backing Vocals – Beverly Darnall, Guy Penrod, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Kip Raines, Mark Ivey, Paul Marino, Ray Boltz, Steve Millikan Bass – Gary Lunn, Randy Melson Drums – Dane Clark, Mark Hammond Guitar – George Cocchini, Sandy Williams Keyboards – Joe Hogue, Steve Millikan Producer – Steve Millikan Saxophone – Mark Douthit
This was probably one of the most surprising albums of 1990. MATW did a complete change of direction going from a new wave pop sound to a more hard rock sound. I can honestly say that this new “The Cult” sound was quite a surprise to me and honestly I was not a fan. I didn’t mind the sound, I had The Cult in my collection at the time but when a band does a switcharoo like this it is just too startling to me. Now that aside the album is very well done and these guys nailed a sound that was not well represented in CCM music at the time. The album sold very well as I think the new style was a welcome change to a lot of fans. I think it can be said that this album was a rather historic CCM music moment so if for no other reason than that you should give it a listen.
Tracklist 1 – The Narrow Road – 3:39 2 – Seasons Of Love – 4:51 3 – City Of Anger – 5:34 4 – When The Wind Blows – 5:38 5 – Marshmallow Land – 2:58 6 – Summer’s Gone – 3:06 7 – Promised Land (The Deception Of Drugs) – 5:24 8 – So Insane – 3:22 9 – It’s Not A Joke – 3:27 10 – The Love That Never Fades – 4:05 11 – Seasons Of Love (Reprise) – 5:04
Credits Arranged By, Engineer [Engineered By] – Roger Rose Art Direction – Ed McTaggart Band [Mad At The World Is] – Brent Gordon, Mike Pendleton, Randy Rose, Roger Rose Illustration [MATW Logo Illustration Re-worked By] – David Jackson Layout – Joe Potter Mastered By – John Matousek Photography By – David Dobson Producer [Produced By] – Roger Rose Songwriter [Songs Written By] – Randy Rose, Roger Rose
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Alarma Records Copyright (c) – Alarma Records Distributed By – The Benson Company Recorded At – MATW Studios Mastered At – Soundworks West Published By – Broken Songs Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia
This was the first of 2 albums from Glen Allen Green. I can’t really find much information on Glen but I do know that this album was pretty popular. The album was released on Chris Christian’s Home Sweet Home Records and Chris took the title of executive producer though the album was produced by Keith Thomas. The album is your typical 80’s pop album but it is well done and I’m sure it was one of those albums that could bridge the gap between teens and middle aged music lovers. Give it a listen, it deserves it.
Tracklist 1 – A Living Fire – 4:17 2 – The Dance – 4:00 3 – Mirror Of My Heart – 4:24 4 – Forevermore – 4:19 5 – Beyond The Door – 4:48 6 – Run – 3:59 7 – Blessed Be The Lord – 4:32 8 – Jezebel – 3:58 9 – The Beauty Of His Love – 4:07 10 – Jesus Shall Reign – 3:20
Credits Art Direction, Design – Kent Hunter Backing Vocals – Denny Henson, Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas Bass – Mike Brignardello Bass [Moog Bass] – Keith Thomas Choir – Bonnie Keen, Brett Perry, Celeste Hammond, David Martin, David Pierce, David Ramsey, Dawn Rogers, Jim Foster, Keith Thomas, Lee Ann Ramsey, Lori Lee Loving, McLauren Pearman, Mel Tunney, Pam Mark Hall, Pete Calson, Richard Headen, Rick Cua, Teri Headen Directed By – Bruce Koblish Drums – Dennis Holt Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Glen Allen Green Engineer [Assistant] – Brett Perry Executive-Producer – Chris Christian Guitar – Gregg Jennings Mastered By – Hank Williams Percussion – Lisa Crates Photography By – Ron Keith, Scott Bonner Piano – Keith Thomas Producer, Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Keith Thomas Programmed By [DMX Programming] – Keith Thomas Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding Synthesizer – Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas Synthesizer [Synclavier] – Keith Thomas
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Copyright (c) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc. Distributed By – Word, Inc. Published By – Bug & Bear Music Recorded At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN Recorded At – Master’s Touch Mixed At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN Mastered At – Mastermix
Tonio K released two albums for the Christian market in the mid 80’s on What? Records. Both of them reach the Top 100 on this list. Both a must own album and truly brilliant works. Both are completely different musically and differ greatly in topic and theme. More will be said about Tonio K in a future post, but it should be noted here that for nearly three decades he released some of the most important releases that no one knows about. Before embracing the Christian faith Tonio K released several critically lauded and publicly ignored masterpieces. The same rang true in Christian music circles. I believe “Notes” was the last release for What? Records, a brilliant label whose imprint was the kiss of death in the CCM world. I cannot confirm this right now, but I believe every What? Records release appears on this countdown. The label was a joint effort between Word Records and A&M with the intent to bring Christian music to the masses with artists that had the chops and integrity to pull off the crossover. Where Tonio’s CCM debut (Romeo Unchained) was driven by technology and “new wave” rhythms and production, “Notes” was organic, blues and country influenced Americana rock and roll set in the heart of city life and suburban nightmares. There are two versions of the album with the Word released version not containing a song that will be discussed later. No one should own the Word version and I refused to carry that version in my store at the time.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Without Love – 3:33 2 – Children’s Crusade – 4:56 3 – Stay – 4:14 4 – City Life – 4:07 5 – You Were There – 4:46 6 – The Executioner’s Song – 6:27 7 – I Can’t Stand It – 4:08 8 – What Women Want – 4:27 9 – I Can’t Stop – 3:19 10 – Where Is That Place? – 3:59
Credits A&R [Productive A&R] – Aaron Jacoves, Tom Willett Arranged By – David Miner, T Bone Burnett, Tonio K. Art Direction, Photography By, Design – Linda Myers-Krikorian Bass – James Jamerson, Jr. (tracks: 7 to 10) Bass, Double Bass [String Bass], Harmonium, Marimba – David Miner Drum Programming – Ralph Forbes Drums – Raymond Pounds (tracks: 7 to 10) Drums, Synthesizer [Dynacord] – Jim Keltner Electric Guitar – Jack Sherman Electric Guitar [12-string, Gut String, National], Acoustic Guitar – T Bone Burnett Engineer [Assistant Engineering] – Barry Conley, Bob Loftus, Brian Soucy, Dave “The Blade” Knight, Duncan Aldrich, Ira Rubnitz, Tom Banghart Executive-Producer – T Bone Burnett Graphic Design, Layout – Karl Shields, Susan Shields Mastered By – Tony Dawsey Mixed By – Tchad Blake Organ [Farfisa] – Rick Neigher Organ [Hammond] – Booker T. Jones Percussion – Alex Acuña Piano – John Keller Producer [Produced By] – David Miner, Tonio K. Recorded By – Larry Hirsch Recorded By [Additional Recording By] – Larold Rebhun (tracks: 8) Rhythm Guitar [Occasional], Vocals – Tonio K.
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – What? Records Copyright (c) – What? Records Manufactured By – A&M Records, Inc. Distributed By – A&M Records, Inc. Recorded At – The Sound Factory Recorded At – American Recorders Recorded At – Ocean Way Recording Recorded At – Mad Hatter Studios Recorded At – A&M Studios Mixed At – The Sound Factory Mastered At – Masterdisk Published By – Bibo Music Publishers Published By – N.Y.M. Published By – Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. Published By – Safespace Music Published By – Unicity Music Published By – Tea Time Tunes Published By – Yellow Brick Road Music Published By – VALEVISTA Music
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