Mercy Rule – Overruled – 1989

Michigan’s Mercy Rule started out as “AZ-IZ” but changed their name sometime in the mid 80’s. They had a track on the 1988 Underground Metal sampler which probably led top a record deal with R.E.X. Music. Strangely they also had a track appear on the 1990 Word UK sampler Metal Mission which was not their record company. Not unheard of but strange. This album was self produced by the band and unfortunately it shows. They have a very commercial metal sound and I can’t help but to think if a top rated producer had stepped in this would have been a much more popular album. I also believe there would have been more from the band but unfortunately this is the only offering from them. The guitar work really shines on this album and there is lots of great vocal harmonies. All in all a pretty darn good album and if you’re a metal head be sure to give it a listen.

Tracklist
1 – You Lied To Me – 3:00
2 – Cecilia – 3:40
3 – Real Love – 3:30
4 – Lonely Heart – 3:40
5 – Don’t Cha Know – 4:10
6 – Black And White – 4:45
7 – Prodigal – 3:25
8 – If You Only Knew – 6:35
9 – There’s A Love – 3:20
10 – Stand Up On The Rock – 3:00

Credits
Artwork [Cover] – Jeff Spencer/Sudden Images
Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Bruce Tordrup
Drums, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Rich Favazza
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – George Favazza
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Aaron Byrnes
Photography By – Frank Leet
Producer, Arranged By – Mercy Rule
Producer, Engineer – Rick Young

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – R.E.X. Music
Copyright © – R.E.X. Music
Recorded At – Talent Live Recording Studios

Abraham And Moses – ‘Til You Came In… – 1980

I really can’t find much info on this album. As near as I can tell it was only released in Canada on New Born Records which was a division of Praise Industries Corp. Abraham is Abraham B. Cardenas and Moses is Moses Perez. I can not find that they recorded or even assisted on any other albums. Strangely the studio support musicians are mainly from the band Glad but there appears to be no other connection. The album was recorded at Susquehanna Sound productions in Pennsylvania which is the same state as Glad came from. That’s it, that’s all I got for this worship oriented album. It’s actually pretty good and while we owned almost the entire Praise Industries library back in the 80’s we did not own this one as I’m guessing the name scared us away.

Tracklist
1 – Upon You Lord – 3:10
2 – ‘Till You Came In – 4:03
3 – Natural High – 3:22
4 – You Send Me Love – 3:06
5 – I’ll Follow You – 4:15
6 – Cool – 3:20
7 – We Should Fly – 4:52
8 – Open Your Heart – 4:42
9 – A Prayer For You – 1:40
10 – Work – 3:45

Credits
Arranged By [Strings And Horns] – Walt Straiton, III
Arranged By, Bass – Don Nalle
Arranged By, Drums – Mark Farley
Arranged By, Piano, Keyboards – Bob Kauflin
Design – Craig Heisey
Flugelhorn – Jim Gambini
Lead Guitar – Chris Davis
Percussion – Craig Lauterbach
Photography – Nick Frey
Producer, Arranged By – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas, Ed Nalle
Producer, Engineer – Scott Gelnett
Rhythm Guitar – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas
Vocals – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas

Edin-Adahl – Big Talk – 1989

Edin-Ådahl finished out the 80’s with what might be their best album. Now to be clear I know it did not sell well but this is often blamed on distribution problems and not on the quality of the album. Unfortunately right around the time this album was released there were problems over at Refuge records. This album is a superb pop album that was the exact right sound for the time period. The lead tracks sets the feel for an album that is a solid pop effort. I will admit that I missed this one in the 80’s but I’m sure glad I got to hear it now. It feels as fresh and fun today as it did back then.

Tracklist
1 – Going Back – 3:50
2 – Missin’ You – 6:05
3 – Wider Than The Ocean – 4:04
4 – Man Of The Street – 3:56
5 – Big Talk – 3:50
6 – Mystical Moments – 5:25
7 – Write It On The Wall 3:25
8 – Utopia – 3:27
9 – Lonely Without You – 4:37

Credits
Frank Adahl – Songwriter, Keyboards, Guitars, Vocals
Simon Ådahl – Songwriter, Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Bertil Edin – Songwriter, Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Lasse Edin – Keyboards, Vocals

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Refuge Records
Copyright © – Refuge Records
Distributed By – Spectra Distribution
Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group

Pilgrim Outlets – Do You Know Him – 1974

This is one big time serious ALBUM YOU SHOULD OWN! (AYSO) But good luck with that. It’s nearly 50 years old and has been out of print for most of those 50 years. For those fortunate enough to track down a copy by hook or by crook know just what a gem this funkadelic soul masterpiece truly is. It is legit with a capital “L” and sounds so good even right now as I listen to it. As far as I have been able to track down, this is the only full length release, while there are some singles floating around. It also appears that in the decade since I first reviewed this album, some streaming services have added their music. The title track kicks off the album with such a soulful jam, tight harmonies and a blistering lead vocal. Very few Christian label releases ever matched this mainstream release. Songbird was a traditional Gospel label that was eventually sold to ABC. I have asked everyone I know from that era and no one can remember any distribution to Christian/Bible bookstores. The soul styling of the title track only hints at what is to be found inside. The members share lead vocal duties and the interaction between them is fun and funky. The cover of Parliament’s “I Want to Testify” is worth the price of admission. The slower soul tunes are packed with real emotion, something sorely lacking in the general world of CCM and the Jesus Music of the time. Even Andrea Crouch and the Disciples never quite reached the authenticity of this great album. In the review over a decade ago I neglected to give kudos to the musicianship that fills this album. Most notable are the amazing bass lines and soulful, gospel organ that permeate the project. Check out “Standing in the Need of Prayer” for evidence. It’s almost unfair to review and so heavily promote this album since for most it will be nearly impossible to find. For those that have it and those that do track down a copy, they will know exactly what I’m talking about. I have seen the vinyl on-line for anywhere from $50 to $100. For some it may be worth it!

Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Do You Know Him – 3:33
2 – I’m Sorry – 3:20
3 – I Just Want To Testify – 3:40
4 – Standing In The Need Of Prayer – 3:24
5 – Where Could I Go – 3:25
6 – Didn’t Think I Could Make It This Far – 3:52
7 – Here I Am Jesus – 2:13
8 – Don’t Let The Devil Fool You – 2:50
9 – A Letter – 3:27
10 – Get On Up – 4:00

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Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

Steve Apirana – No Turning Back – 1992

New Zealander Steve Apirana is back with his second album and while I liked his first album this is a huge improvement from that album. This is a straight up blues album and it is good, real good. Again this album wasn’t released in North America which is a pity because I think it would have sold pretty good. Most people will recognize the title track as done by DeGarmo and Key bur in fact it’s a traditional so they didn’t get credited. That said this version is very good and I think I prefer it to the D&K version. Track 7 is kind of an instrumental but has some humming. The real gem of the album is the last track “It’s No Miracle”. It’s a spoken word track over a fantastic instrumental score and at 10 minutes long it’s definitely one not to miss. All in all this is probably the best album I have listened to this month and if you like blues I bet you’re gonna love this one.

Tracklist
1 – That Same Old Road – 4:54
2 – Hear Me Knocking – 3:51
3 – Postscript – 5:45
4 – No Turning Back – 4:19
5 – Song For The Bride – 6:33
6 – I Choose To Follow – 4:58
7 – E Te Ariki – 5:31
8 – It’s No Miracle – 10:02

Credits
Steve Apirana – Producer, Arranger, Songwriter, Guitars, Lead and Background Vocals
Alison Ahu – Background Vocals
Ainsley Apirana – Lead and Background Vocals
Kuru Apirana – Drums
Tai Brown – Sounds, Haka, Vocals
Leza Corban – Background Vocals
Graham Flaws – Bass
Steve Garden – Producer, Engineer, Arranger, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards
Dallas Graham – Keyboards
John Misky – Sounds, Haka, Vocals
Pepe Nahu – Sounds, Haka, Vocals
Stuart Pearce – Keyboards
Donna Tai Rakena – Flute, Background Vocals
Jay Tamati – Sounds, Haka, Vocals
Ray Totorewa – Sounds, Haka, Vocals

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Someone Up There Records
Distributed By – Someone Up There Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Riverside Productions
Copyright © – Riverside Productions
Recorded At – Progressive Studios
Licensed To – Southern Heartland Music Company Pty Ltd

Keith Hutchinson – Alpha – Omega – 1984

Keith is an artist from South Africa and while this is his only solo album it dies not represent his contribution to the music industry. In 1993 he received a Grammy Nomination for the album “Heat, Dust and Dreams” while he was in the group Johnny Clegg and Savuka. He has also been responsible for a plethora of film scores throughout the 2000’s. As for this album it is a conceptual jazz album with only 4 tracks. I’m not really too sure this is a CCM album as it’s instrumental but it was released on Refuge records and that’s how I found it. The album isn’t my style but it is very well done and if you like Jazz fusion conceptual music this is the one for you.

Tracklist
1 – Alpha I – 3:32
2 – Alpha II – 7:42
3 – Alpha III – 12:06
4 – Omega – 18:48

Credits
Bass – Denny Lalouette
Drums – Kendall Kay
Guitar – Joe Willis
Percussion – Romeo Avelino
Piano, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Synthesizer [Oberheim Obxa], Flute, Composed By, Orchestrated By, Conductor, Producer – Keith Hutchinson
Soprano Saxophone – Chris Vernon
Strings [Lead] – Jurgen Schwietering
Trombone – John Davis, Mark Seldon, Pat Bertram, René Laanen, Steve Hurlin Trumpet – Billy Kerker, Hansel Von Brüggen, Robin Finley

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Universal Studios, Johannesburg

Bride – Show No Mercy – 1986

Bride were originally known as Matrix and actually recorded 4 demos using that name. They got their break when they were booked to open for Daniel Band in Pottstown, PA. Apparently there were executives from Refuge records at the show and they subsequently signed the band to their new metal sub label, Pure Metal records. The band went into the studio with a budget of $2500 and it shows. The album has a very thin production but fans if Bride cite this as one of the reasons they love this album. I’m actually a little surprised that Refuge didn’t throw some money at them and give them a producer. While I love Refuge they made some very questionable business decisions during their existence. The album is a little darker than their subsequent work that they were better known for. The real star of the album is Dale Thompson’s guitar work which is some of the best in the industry and we also got a little introduction to Dale’s excellent vocal abilities coming on subsequent albums.

Tracklist
1 – Evil That Men Do – 3:38
2 – Now He Is Gone – 3:50
3 – Fly Away – 4:12
4 – Forever In Darkness – 3:44
5 – Follow Your Heart – 4:29
6 – Show No Mercy – 3:37
7 – I Will Be With You – 4:29
8 – Thunder In The City – 5:53
9 – No Matter The Price – 4:19
10 – The First Will Be Last – 4:07

Credits
Bride – Producer, Arranger
Gary Barnes – Background Vocals
Howell Gano – Background Vocals
Scott Hall – Songwriter, Bass
Steve Osborne – Lead Guitar
David Pitt – Background Vocals
Stephan Rolland – Drums
Billy Sutherland – Guitar Special Effects, Voice Box
Dale Thompson – Vocals
Michelle Thompson – Background Vocals
Sharon Thompson – Background Vocals
Troy Thompson – Songwriter, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Violin
Eric Tripton – Lead Guitar

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Pure Metal
Copyright © – Pure Metal

Don Francisco – The Live Concert – 1982

I guess it’s rather silly to point out that this is a live album from Don Francisco but I have to open the paragraph some way. It was recorded at the Huffman Assembly of God in Birmingham, AL on September 20, 1982 and released later that year. At this point in his career Don was established as THE folk artist of CCM music. At the time this album came out I was not a big fan of folk music but I liked this album. Let that be a testament to how good it is. In fact I would say it is probably one of the best live albums of the 80’s regardless of style. I can honestly say that I would have loved to have seen him live as it sounds like it was a really good show. Years later I have listened to most of his albums now and most of the versions he did live are the best versions of these songs.

Tracklist
1 – Since I Met Him I Can See – 3:24
2 – Got To Tell Somebody – 5:11
3 – Jesus Is The Lord Of The Way I Feel – 2:34
4 – Steeple Song – 3:01
5 – I’ll Never Let Go Of Your Hand – 3:28
6 – Adam – 4:30
7 – I Don’t Care Where You’ve Been Sleeping – 3:12
8 – Give Your Heart A Home – 3:52
9 – Too Small A Price – 5:52
10 – Christmas Song – 2:44
11 – Come And Follow Me – 4:10
12 – I Could Never Promise You – 3:03
13 – Love Is Not A Feeling – 1:57
14 – Beautiful To Me – 4:22
15 – The Package – 3:08
16 – Jehoshaphat – 3:01
17 – Closer To Jesus – 3:22
18 – He’s Alive – 4:50

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Bill Barnes, Randy Martin
Backing Vocals – Duann Hall, Gary Dunham
Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Louie Hall
Engineer – Noah White
Executive-Producer – Michael B. Suttle
Keyboards – Gary Dunham
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Don Francisco
Mastered By – Ken Perry
Mixed By [Remixed By] – Louie Hall
Photography By – Dean Dixon
Producer – Don Francisco, Louie Hall

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Mixed At – Spectrum Recording Studios, Birmingham, AL
Mastered At – Masterfonics

Larry Howard – Sanctified Blues – 1986

Larry was a member of Grinderswitch through the 70’s and early 80s. They were a southern rock band and toured with all the big names of the style and time. Larry left the band in the mid 80’s and started his solo career. This is his first solo album. Larry brought a sound to CCM music that was needed in the period. Yes their were some blues bands but not of this caliber. Quite frankly this album is as good as anything in the secular market at the time. Playing harmonica on the album is Buddy Greene who is probably second only to Darrell Mansfield as a harmonica player. The rest of the band is a who’s who of some of the best studio musicians in the CCM genre of the time. I am really surprised at how good they were at the blues as none of them had actually recorded in that style that I can find any way. This album does a rather odd track though. The intro end exit track “Sanctified Blues” is exactly the same song but with the stereo tracks reversed. Have to admit that’s a first.

Tracklist
1 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30
2 – Lost Ship – 3:21
3 – Love Ain’t What You Say – 2:56
4 – Cool Rain – 3:34
5 – I Gave Jesus My Blues – 4:20
6 – Shuffle On Home – 2:49
7 – One Night – 3:31
8 – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven – 3:38
9 – Friend In Jesus – 4:34
10 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30

Credits
Art Direction – Michael Pierce
Artwork [Handwriting] – Michael Pierce
Backing Vocals – Ava Aldridge, D. Bergen White, Cindy Richardson, Dorothy Moore, Lisa Silver, Wendy Suits
Bass – David Hood, Ed Cain, Michael Joyce, Michael Rhodes
Design Concept [Album Cover Concept] – Gary F. Montgomery, Michael Pierce
Drums – Eddie Bayers, James Stroud, Roger Hawkins, Willie Smith
Engineer – Pat McMakin, Paul Hornsby, Steve Melton
Executive-Producer – Gary F. Montgomery
Guitar – Larry Byrom, Steve Gibson
Harmonica – Buddy Greene
Horns – Charles Rose, Don Sheffield, Harvey Thompson, Jim Horn
Keyboards – Kenny Smith, Mitch Humphries, Randy McCormick
Lead Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Lead Vocals – Larry Howard
Piano – Randy McCormick
Producer – Bucky Jones, Gary F. Montgomery, Larry Howard, Pat McMakin
Rhythm Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Saxophone – Elbert Durham, Jim Horn, Ronnie Eades
Slide Guitar – Jimmy Nalls
Synthesizer – Randy McCormick
Vocals – Bob Bailey, John Whittaker, Larry Howard, Robin Johnson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Refuge Records
Copyright © – Refuge Records
Distributed By – Refuge Music Group
Recorded At – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Recorded At – The Sound Shop
Recorded At – Muscadine Studio
Produced For – New Street Productions

Jan Groth – Roots – 1984

Roots is Jan’s 3rd solo album and was released in the U.S. by Refuge Records. Jan was far better known in Scandinavia than in North America but he deserved to be better known in North America. This album is a straight up Rock & Roll album and Hard Rock albums were what I was listening to at the time. Unfortunately I grew up in Canada where we struggled to hear the complete catalogue of U.S. artists never mind foreign acts. Anyway, I this this is Jan’s best album and I wish so much I had heard it back in the 80’s. At least I have the opportunity to enjoy it now.

Tracklist
1 – I Can’t Fly – 3:11
2 – How Do You Know – 3:21
3 – That’s Why I Long For Tomorrow – 3:49
4 – So Good To Be Me – 3:32
5 – And The Show Goes On – 4:37
6 – Lie Is Not Truth – 4:02
7 – Looking For You – 3:10
8 – For Real – 4:11
9 – Lighthouse – 3:40
10 – I’m Going Home – 3:27

Credits
Bass – Dave Markee , Rick Cua
Drums – David Dix, Henry Spinetti
Executive-Producer – John Pac
Guitar – Freddie Salem, Norman Barratt
Photography By – Jan Pethrus
Producer – Jan Groth, Ray Nenow
Written-By – Jan Groth

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.