Phil Keaggy – Private Collection Volume 1 (Underground) – 1983

This is a collection of stuff Phil recorded in his basement studio. It was all recorded on a Teac 144 Porta-Studio and Phil played all of the instruments. If you didn’t know this I’m pretty sure you would think this was a studio recorded album with studio musicians. Apparently there was enough material for a double album but a decision was made to make it a single album release as Volume 1. Volume 2 never came unfortunately. I would have loved to hear more. I had not listened to this album back in the 80’s as I wasn’t really a big Keaggy fan. Wow did I miss out. This is a fantastic album. It has a great rock / pop sound with a 70’s feel. In my opinion this might have been some of his best work. Keaggy said he never intended to release these tracks but somehow it happened. I’d love to hear the story of that decision. Keaggy said of this album “The uniqueness of this album lies in the fact that all the tunes were recorded at my leisure, in a comfortable setting, without realizing they would be used for an official record release. Because of this factor, I feel there is a freedom and confidence expressed in these songs which sets them apart from some of my other recordings.”

Tracklist
1 – What A Love – 3:56
2 – The Ransom – 3:47
3 – Deadline – 3:36
4 – Think About It – 3:36
5 – One In A Million – 4:36
6 – I Know Someone – 3:41
7 – The Two Of You – 4:56
8 – Paid In Full – 4:20
9 – What You Are Inside – 3:35
10 – Follow Me On – 3:24
11 – The Survivor – 5:12

Credits
Arranged By – Phil Keaggy
Art Direction, Design – Stan Evenson Design
Coordinator [Cover Coordination] – Charlyne Hinesley, Judith Cotton
Engineer – Phil Keaggy
Engineer [Additional Overdubs] – Mike Ross, Wally Grant
Mixed By – Bob Cotton, Phil Keaggy
Performer, Instruments [All] – Phil Keaggy
Photography By – The Design Oasis
Producer – Phil Keaggy
Vocals – Phil Keaggy (tracks: A1, A3 to B1, B3, B5)
Vocals [Additional] – Bernadette Keaggy (tracks: A4)
Written-By – Phil Keaggy

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Nissi Records
Published By – Marguerite Music
Published By – Emmaus Road Music
Recorded At – Weddington Studios
Mixed At – Weddington Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc
Distributed By – Sparrow Distribution

9th Street – The Prayer – 1989

9th Street were a UK band that initially signed a record deal with German label Bellaphon. They then were able to secure deals in Canada, Italy, and strangely, South Africa. I can not find any info that this album was released in the United States but it was probably available as an import. Other than that I am unable to find out anything else about this band. Their sound is excellent. It’s a new wave pop sound that I think would have done well in the United States. I really enjoyed listening to this album and the cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is probably one of the best I’ve heard. If you missed this one in the 80’s, and you probably did, it’s well worth a listen.

Tracklist
1 – Feel It – 3:17
2 – Some Time – 5:31
3 – The Feeling’s Gone – 4:46
4 – The Prayer – 4:32
5 – Tonight – 4:44
6 – Nobody Knows – 3:52
7 – Confusion – 6:00
8 – Ordinary Man – 4:36
9 – Sabotage And Secrets – 4:20
10 – I Heard It Through The Grapevine – 3:28

Credits
Guitars – Keith Beauvais
Keyboards – Kevin Mason
Producer, Recorded By – Rod Gammons
Saxophone – Chris Margary
Vocals – Mark Applin

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Bellaphon
Copyright (c) – C-Side Records
Recorded At – Rod Gammons Soundstudio
Recorded At – Berwick Street Studios
Produced For – C-Side Records

Erick Nelson and Michele Pillar – The Misfit – 1979

As the world of “Jesus Music” was progressing into what is now known as CCM, there were several very good albums and some brilliant artists making music that was clearly in both genres and served as bridges and building blocks to this new industry. But there were not many “game changers” that forced the music world to consider the genre valid and worthy of consideration. Most great albums lacked quality production, originality or authenticity. The Misfit was a game changer. Completely original and just as good as anything in the pop music world at the time. Most “concept” albums suffer from content over quality and are often filled with songs that are forced to push the story forward and do not stand on their own as original compositions. The Misfit was a concept album that just happened to be filled 13 brilliant individual songs that have stood the test of time. This is not a concept album in the same way as something from The Who where it is a rock opera with a singular storyline weaving throughout each song. Rather, The Misfit is a concept album where a common thread of concept of being an “outside” or outcast weaves its way throughout each and every song. The different topics range from faith, love, loss, doubt and more, but all with a singular focus as coming from the outside looking in. Erick Nelson at this point had a very good and lengthy Jesus Music career going as both a solo artists and as members of popular bands like Good News. Michele Pillar was an up and coming and much talked about new female vocalist on the precipice of a wonderful career in the 1980’s. Her sweet and smooth Karen Carpenter (ballads) or Kiki Dee (pop) like voice matched Nelson’s more soulful and, at times, rocky voice perfectly and the blend just worked. It shocked many at the time that this would be their only album together. Nelson has said of himself that one his greatest strengths is his ability to surround himself with amazing musicians and performers. Though no slouch on the piano himself, he most certainly surrounded himself with the very best on this project. Guest musicians include Hadley Hockensmith, Dean parks, John Wickham, Jonathan David Brown, Alex MacDougall, Keith Edwards, Kelly Willard, Stan Endicott, Denny Correll and a host of others!

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – The Misfit – 3:35
2 – Carry Me Along – 3:30
3 – Stand – 3:58
4 – Sail On – 2:35
5 – Can’t Find My Way Home – 3:22
6 – The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – 1:56
7 – He’s Asleep – 3:20
8 – Hurting People – 3:42
9 – Take Me To The Light – 4:00
10 – First Prayer – 3:08
11 – Love Hurts – 2:47
12 – He Gave Me Love – 2:54
13 – Martyr Song – 3:40

Credits
Jonathan David Brown – Synthesizer
Alf Clausen – Orchestration
Darrel Cook – Bass
Denny Correll – Background Vocals
Tim Correll – Background Vocals
Keith Edwards – Drums, Percussion
Stan Endicott – Orchestration
Hadley Hockensmith – Bass, Guitars
Phil Kristianson – B3 Organ
Alex MacDougall – Percussion
George Marinelli, Jr. – Electric Guitar
Erick Nelson – Piano, Wurlitzer, Vocals
Dean Parks – Electric Guitar
Michele Pillar – Vocals
David Storrs – Electric Guitar
John Wickham – Electric Guitar
Kelly Willard – Rhodes

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Maranatha! Music
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music

Crumbächer – Tame The Volcano – 1988

I was very excited to listen to this album as I had not heard it before and wow was I surprised. Surprised being a synonym for disappointed in this case. On their/his previous album “Thunder Beach” we had a hint of what was coming but I wasn’t prepared for this album. Quite frankly it’s just another AOR album. Albums like this were a dime a dozen and it is hard to believe this even was Crumbächer. There are only a few tracks where we get to hear the synth genius that made Stephen Crumbächer famous. Instead most the tracks are run of the mill worship tracks. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Now if I had never heard of Stephen Crumbächer I would likely have said this was a pretty good AOR album. Stephen’s voice is strong and even a little surprisingly good. I don’t think I ever gave him credit for the quality of his vocals. It even had 2 CCM singles with “Rainy Season” making it to #15 and “Waiting For You” to #13. While I was unhappy with the album it is not a bad album. It is quite good in its own right, just not what I expected or wanted.

Tracklist
1 – Once More (With Feeling) – 4:26
2 – Speechless – 3:51
3 – Waiting For You – 3:58
4 – Release Me – 4:27
5 – Reckless Boys & Bad, Bad Girls – 4:55
6 – Tame The Volcano – 4:17
7 – Lava Rock – 2:46
8 – Rainy Season – 3:58
9 – Somebody’s Arms – 3:58
10 – Every Now And Then – 5:06
11 – Once More (For The Band) – 4:24

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Christopher Duke
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Christopher Duke, Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Jimmy Wisner, Stephen Crumbächer
Bass – Tim Chandler
Design – Ed McTaggart
Drums – Jimmy Wisner
Electric Guitar – Christopher Duke
Engineer – Dave Jahnsen
Engineer [Second] – Beth Wisner, Eric Kibbe
Illustration – Marilee T. Niehaus
Keyboards – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer, Tim Heintz
Lead Vocals – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer
Music By – Christopher Duke (tracks: 4,7,9,10), Stephen Crumbächer (tracks: 1 to 11)
Percussion – Kurt Rasmussen
Photography – R. Michael Seeley
Piano [Acoustic] – Stephen Crumbächer
Producer – Bill Baumgart, Stephen Crumbächer
Saxophone – Eric Marienthal
Words By – Stephen Crumbächer (tracks: 1 to 11)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Recorded At – Asylomar

20/20 Blind – Never Far – 1994

This was the one and only album we got from 20/20 Blind but what an album it is. It was released on Intersound records who were actually better known for mainstream country acts. I don’t know how good Intersound was at distribution but I’m guessing not very good as the band talked Benson into distributing the album. Other than the band was from Houston TX I can’t really find too much about them. Guitarist Doug Middleton was in the 80’s band Straightaway but the rest of the members don’t appear to have recorded before this project. After this project several members went on to form the band Atticus Finch the next year. As for the album it’s an excellent hard rock album with a strong guitar track and well worth a listen as their sound is more late 80’s than 1994.

Tracklist
1 – Wash – 3:23
2 – Soul Song – 3:20
3 – Love Keeps Reaching – 4:03
4 – I Am Blind – 3:50
5 – Do I – 3:39
6 – Easier Way – 3:28
7 – Never Far – 2:51
8 – Show Each Other Love – 3:34
9 – Only Hope – 3:33
10 – Sleepyland – 3:27

Credits
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Charles Powell, Phil Beck
Bass, Backing Vocals – Schon Alkire
Drums, Backing Vocals – Chris Laurents
Engineer [Second Engineer] – Joseph L. Mangiameli
Executive-Producer – Charles Gates
Graphic Design – Ken Wells
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Doug Middleton, Mike McNeely
Keyboards [Additional], Sequenced By [Sequencing By] – Phil Beck
Lead Vocals – Wallace B. Chase
Photography By – Arthur Garcia, David Smith
Producer [Produced By] – Brian Garcia (tracks: 1 to 6, 8, 10)
Recorded By, Engineer [Engineered By], Mixed By – Brian Garcia

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Intersound Inc.
Copyright (c) – Intersound Inc.
Manufactured By – Intersound Inc.
Distributed By – Intersound Inc.
Recorded At – The 4th Creation Recording Studio
Mixed At – The 4th Creation Recording Studio
Published By – Intercede
Published By – Ariose Music
Made By – Disctronics USA – 122999

XT – XT – 1992

XT was a project / partnership between Leviticus guitarist Bjorn Stigsson and Motherlode vocalist Sonny Larsson. I was just introduced to Motherlode last week so when I read about their XT project I couldn’t wait to hear it. Larsson had contributed vocals to Stiggson’s solo project “Together With Friends” in 1987 and they must have meshed as they came back together years later after their respective bands shut down. While they were known for their Metal leaning work in the past this album with a little more hard rock with some keyboard influences. I think I preferred their work with their original bands there is nothing wrong with this album and it is well worth a listen. Stigsson and Larsson went on to release 2 more albums in the 90’s and got back together in 2017 & 2019 for two new albums. I’m looking forward to giving them a listen soon.

Tracklist
1 – Toccata – 0:36
2 – Looking For Love – 2:35
3 – The Rock Is My Life – 3:36
4 – All Your Love – 3:57
5 – Open Your Heart – 4:08
6 – I’m In Heaven – 2:53
7 – Theme Of Händel – 0:59
8 – Everything Is Possible – 3:13
9 – Call Your Name – 2:53
10 – Down The Street – 3:08
11 – White Knight – 3:37
12 – Standing For Jesus Christ – 4:03
13 – Voices In Heaven – 1:45

Credits
Bass – Håkan Andersson
Cover – Anders Bühlund
Drums – Michael Ulfsgard
Guitar, Keyboards, Arranged By, Programmed By, Producer – Björn Stigsson
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Producer – Sonny Larsson
Mixed By – Magnus “MBee” Berggren*
Mixed By, Engineer – Niklas Windahl
Mixed By, Engineer, Bass – P-O Larsson
Photography By – Torleif Svensson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Viva Records AB
Copyright (c) – Viva Records AB
Made By – Zero Corporation
Recorded At – Eagle One Studios
Recorded At – Pol Music Studios
Recorded At – Studio Box-Room

Keith Thomas – Instrumental Appetite – 1983

I was quite surprised when I first listened to this album. I have heard Thomas’s follow up album to this one and quite liked it’s synth heavy pop sound. This album has nothing in common with that album. This is an instrumental jazz album and quite frankly I don’t like it. I don’t deny that there is a ton of talent here but this album is not what CCM was looking for at the time. I can’t find any info on how well it sold so I’m guessing not well. As I said there is no shortage of talent here but to put out an album for a niche part of a niche market just seems odd to me. Thomas was one of the best studio musicians of the time and must have had tons of contacts in the industry but chose to do a jazz album instead of something a little more trendy. That said if you do like instrumental jazz you’ll love this one and it’s probably the best instrumental jazz album of the era, not that it had much competition in this category.

Tracklist
1 – Road To Paradise – 3:32
2 – I Can’t Believe It’s True – 2:24
3 – Midnight Celebration – 4:15
4 – Made To Love You – 3:18
5 – Livin’ Without Your Love – 3:09
6 – The Heartmender – 3:45
7 – Changes – 5:43
8 – One More Song For You – 3:40

Credits
Arranged By [Strings] – John Darnall
Art Direction, Design – Bill Brunt
Bass – Bob Wray
Drums, Percussion – Mark Hammond
Engineer [Recording] – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Flugelhorn – Terry Townson
Guitar [Acoustic], Electric Guitar – Jon Goin
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Mixed By – Bill Schnee
Percussion – Terry McMillan
Photography By – Mike Borum
Producer, Arranged By, Piano [Acoustic], Synthesizer [Prophet V, Oberheim], Electric Piano – Keith Thomas
Strings – The Kris Wilkinson Strings
Woodwind – Mark Douthit

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.

Kenny Marks – Attitude – 1985

This was Kenny Mark’s third album and was kind of a breakthrough album. Mark’s first two albums received very little airplay as the lyrics and style went a little to far for Christian radio. However this album got heavy radio play in part due to it being better material and also in part to Christian radio was finally growing up and allowing more upbeat pop songs. The album produced 3 singles. Soul Reviver spent 9 weeks on the charts peaking at #35. Heroes was on the charts for 17 weeks peaking at #27 and Friends made it to #21 and was on the charts for 8 weeks. However the best song on the album “The Party’s Over” received no airplay as the JPM count was too low (Jesus Per Minute). Anyway, it’s a great Pop album and the music video for The Party’s Over was excellent.

1 – Life After High School – 3:57
2 – Attitude – 2:53
3 – It Doesn’t Hurt That Much – 4:51
4 – Heroes – 4:28
5 – It’s A Good Thing – 3:33
6 – The Party’s Over – 4:27
7 – Heart Trouble – 4:28
8 – Soul Reviver – 4:33
9 – Friends – 3:40

Credits
Art Direction – Keith Hunter (2), Thomas Ryan Design
Concept By [Cover Concept] – Pamela Marks
Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Willie Pevear
Engineer [Assistant] – Alan Henry, Chris Hammond
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Producer – Bubba Smith (2)
Recorded By, Mixed By – David Schober

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Mixed At – Bullet Recording
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Mastered At – Sheffield Lab Matrix
Pressed By – Electrosound Los Angeles – △27138

Gideon’s Army – Warrior Of Love – 1986

The second album from Gideon’s Army heard them stray from their 70’s influenced sound to a very pop oriented hard rock sound. I was actually surprised at their new sound. The first album was pretty good but nothing special but this album does have something special. Admittedly this is a very commercial sound but wow is it well done. This album would have fit in perfectly with the commercial radio Metal/Rock sound of the era. I’m actually kind of surprised I had never heard of these guy’s back in the 80’s. This album they switched over to A&R Records who were essentially a all in one place to record, produce, and press an album. I don’t believe they had any distribution deals for this album so I don’t know how widely it was heard. Luckily it was re-released in 2013 by Retroactive Records. I am assuming most of you missed this one in 1986 so today’s the day you should listen to it so you don’t miss out.

Tracklist
1 – Moment By Moment – 3:33
2 – It’s Your Love – 4:20
3 – Warriors Of Love – 4:26
4 – No Fun – 3:44
5 – I Know Someone – 4:18
6 – Runaway – 4:19
7 – I Know You Could See – 3:33
8 – Video – 4:55
9 – Backsliding Brother – 4:27
10 – Face To Face – 4:01

Credits
Jerry Anderson – Drums, Vocals
Dave Angeles – Lead Guitar
Ron Davis – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Producer
Mark Greves – Bass, Blues Harp, Vocals
Joseph Linn – Percussion
Tom Long – Synthesizer
Doug Naruo – Piano, Hammond B-3, Percussion, Arp String, Oberheim, Sequential
Nor Sivad – Effects

Michael Anderson – Sound Alarm – 1988

Sometime around 1987 I was working at a very large and popular christian Bookstore in Southern California when a copy of Billboard Magazine came across my desk. Along the bottom of the front page was an ad for an artist on A&M Records. The slogan on the ad was something like, “There’s Nothing Funny About the End of the World.” I was intrigued. I immediately called my local one-stop mainstream distributor and asked about the project. He hadn’t heard about but did make a couple calls for me. It would be released a few weeks later, but he did call the next day and said he got an advanced copy of the album for my to review before ordering. I drove over right away and put the CD in my car. The content seemed “Christian” to me but i had no real proof the artist was a Christian. Songs were about faith and the title track mentioned Babylon and Armageddon. I ordered some for the store despite the “hell” word being present and not receiving any confirmation about the faith of the artist. It sold well. In fact, it sold extremely well. My staff loved it and pushed and I don’t think a customer came in that didn’t hear something about it one way or the other. It charted in CCM Magazine just because of our sales alone. About a month later i received a phone call. On the other end of the line was a man with a very low voice and calm demeanor. He introduced himself as Michael Anderson and asked why in the world was i selling his record at a Christian Bookstore. I was a bit stunned and taken aback. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said, “I just wanted to know how you knew I was a Christian?” As I found out later his manager told him the album charted in CCM Magazine and that was because of the sales from one store. He tracked down the store and called. That started a friendship that would last for several years. My wife and I would travel to Hollywood regularly to hang out with Michael and his wife. In fact, we were invited by Michael his wife’s birthday party at an amazing gourmet Japanese restaurant in Bel Air and were seated at a table with Michael and Stormie Omartian. Michael’s debut project on A&M Records is a powerful, straight ahead Americana rock and roll in the same vein as the best from John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen but with a more blues and country influenced sound. Anderson’s voice will huff, puff, spit, scream and squeal with an edge that pierces as it communicates with passion few have reviled. On higher notes he is known to have his voice crack in trademark fashion. But on the mellower tunes he can bring it down to soft, almost Barry White-like smooth growl. Anderson would record two releases for the mainstream market on A&M and then two projects for the Christian market on Forefront. He made his way there after I gave a copy of this album to Eddie DeGarmo at a Benson records sales conference.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

Tracklist
1 – Sound Alarm – 5:31
2 – I Know That You Can Stand – 5:14
3 – I Need You – 4:51
4 – Until You Loved Me – 3:49
5 – Sanctuary – 5:43
6 – Little Bit O’ Love – 4:24
7 – Memphis Radio – 4:47
8 – Soweto Soul – 4:03
9 – Shine A Light – 4:49
10 – Time To Go Home – 5:10

Credits
Backing Vocals – Toni Anderson
Bass, Backing Vocals – Buck Silvertone
Drums – Chad Cromwell
Guitar – Josh Sklair
Harmonica – Jimmy Z
Producer, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Terry Manning
Vocals, Guitar – Michael Anderson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&M Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – A&M Records, Inc.
Distributed By – PolyGram
Made By – PolyGram
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Recorded At – Alpha Sound
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – Alpha Sound
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Published By – Atlantic Recording Corporation
Published By – Cadillac Pink Music