Michael Omartian – White Horse – 1974

A good friend, Micheal Anderson, whose album will appear later on this list was having a birthday party for his wife at a wonderful gourmet Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills. I was seated at a table with my wife and the wonderful Hal Fishman, the late famed local news anchor in Southern California. Seated to my right, though, was a man I had admired my entire music listening life. I have met countless “famous” people over the years and seldom found my self starstruck. That night I was as I was seated next to Michael Omartian. Michael Omartian is easily the most renowned, decorated and successful individual in Christian music. Most of that as a producer in mainstream music for everyone from Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross to Donna Summer and Rod Stewart. Grammys, Doves and Billboard awards cover the portions of the wall not occupied Gold and Platinum albums. He, along with Quincy Jones, produced the most successful single in history, We are the World. In 1974 Omartian released his first solo album on ABC/Dunhill and later that year on Word’s Myrrh label. I was easily the finest produced album the Christian music world had seen at the time. Leaps and bounds above its contemporaries, White Horse is a majestic and stellar album that easily has earned its “classic” status. The album was also one of the most progressive musically any artist had released. Fusing jazz, funk gospel and progressive rock sounds very “current” for the time with some of the finest musicians in the world, White Horse was a revelation and a game changer like nothing the industry had ever seen. Am added plus is that the album is also filled with wonderful songs, both lyrically creative and musically stunning. Omartian collected a line-up of supporting musicians second to none. Larry Carlton, David Hungate, David Kemper, Dean Parks and a host of others lent their talents to this amazing project, Omartian’s voice has touches of Peter Gabriel and Neil Young and he weaves through musical genres as diverse as those he has produced. Touched of Genesis, Yes, Kansas combine with pop, gospel and jazz fusion. Lyrically the album did not reflect the simplistic evangelical approach which was the norm for the time. perhaps the mainstream release did not limit Omartian’s content and his wife, Stormie, provided the bulk of the lyrics. The lead track, Jeremiah, walks through the themes of the minor prophets and relates them both to the historical setting and modern application. The Steely Dan like groove of “Fat City” shows off Omartians stellar keyboard work and an amazing brass section. The title track is a seven minute epic masterpiece. Starting slow and building into an amazing instrumental section driven by Omartian’s keyboard work and Larry Carlton and Dean Park guitar work. The industry had never seen anything like it and it would be quite some time for the rest of the industry to catch up.

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

Tracklist
1 – Jeremiah – 4:37
2 – Fat City – 3:09
3 – The Orphan – 2:01
4 – Silver Fish – 2:34
5 – Add Up The Wonders – 5:19
6 – Take Me Down – 3:39
7 – Right From The Start – 2:30
8 – The Rest Is Up To You – 2:47
9 – White Horse – 7:06

Credits
Backing Vocals – Ann White, Carolyn Willis, Patti Henderson, Stormie Omartian
Cover [Album Cover Artwork By], Artwork [Album Cover Artwork By] – Dave Jarvis
Cover [Album Cover Concept By] – James Fitzgerald
Guitar – Dean Parks, Larry Carlton
Lyrics By – Stormie Omartian
Management [Personal Management] – James Fitzgerald Enterprises, Inc.
Music By – Michael Omartian
Photography By – Harry Langdon
Producer, Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Tenor Saxophone – Don Menza, Jackie Kelso
Trumpet, French Horn – Paul Hubinon
Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion – Michael Omartian

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright © – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright © – American Broadcasting Music, Inc.
Copyright © – Holicanthus Music
Lacquer Cut At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Pitman
Published By – American Broadcasting Music, Inc.
Published By – Holicanthus Music
Recorded At – Sound Labs, Hollywood
Recorded At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

The Archers – Keep Singin That Love Song – 1974

This is the first album that The Archers recorded with Impact Records. They did re-release their first album with Impact but Impact were not involved with that album other than that. Impact had Bob MacKenzie step in and do the production for the album. They all obviously meshed together well as the album had 2 number one hits, “Little Flowers” and “Jesus, He Is The Son Of God”. This is the album that really introduced The Archers to the world but strangely they couldn’t follow it up with Impact as they switched over to Light Records after this album. Anyway if your an Archers fan this is the one that actually started it all even though it wasn’t their first album.

Tracklist
1 – Keep Singin’ That Love Song – 2:50
2 – Truth, Peace And Joy – 3:21
3 – He Washed My Sins Away – 2:34
4 – Children – 3:11
5 – Jesus (He Is The Son Of God) – 3:00
6 – Thank You, Lord Jesus – 3:51
7 – Little Flowers – 4:16
8 – Soul Down – 3:00
9 – He Loves You – 2:42
10 – There Is A Light – 3:38

Credits
Don Aldridge – Songwriter
Steve Archer – Vocals
Tim Archer – Vocals
The Archers – Vocal Arrangements
Andrae Crouch – Songwriter
Stu Evans – Engineer
Jon Ferrin – Songwriter
Toby Foster – Remix Engineer, Mastered
Lee Hazen – Remix Engineer
Phil Johnson – Songwriter
Danny Lee – Songwriter
Bob MacKenzie – Producer
Billy Masters – Songwriter, Vocals
Nancye Short – Songwriter, Vocals
Bob Sisco – Vocal and Instrumental Arrangements

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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Malcolm And Alwyn – Wildwall – 1974

The UK’s Malcolm & Alwyn, the Simon and Garfunkle of Christian music, return with their second album that was released in both the UK and the US. Their first album sold well and developed a following for this duo and this album continues the sound from their first album but is a little more upbeat. Personally I came to the Malcolm & Alwyn train late after I heard Alwyn doing work with Larry Norman in the 80’s. Luckily I got caught up on their work and while I think their live work is their best this album is certainly a must listen to. In 1999 Footstep Records reissued this album on CD and added 3 bonus Live tracks which we have included.

Tracklist
1 – I Feel Fine – 3:48
2 – I Love You More Today Than Yesterday – 4:15
3 – Spaceman – 4:15
4 – Someone To Sing To – 2:21
5 – I’ll Carry You Through – 3:47
6 – Buried Alive – 3:27
7 – Stay With Me – 3:27
8 – I Love – 3:50
9 – Wildwall – 2:48
10 – England Goodbye – 5:18
CD Bonus Tracks
11 – I Feel Fine – 4:29
12 – Morning Star – 3:21
13 – Fool’s Wisdom – 2:54

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – James Litherland, Roger Hand
Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals – Alwyn Wall
Arranged By [Brass] – Roger Ball
Arranged By, Co-producer – Rod Edwards
Arranged By, Producer – Jon Miller, Roger Hand
Autoharp, Lead Vocals – Malcolm Wild
Backing Vocals – Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Bass – Johnny Gustafson
Drums – Mike Giles
Electric Guitar – Davy Johnson, James Litherland
Engineer – Denny Bridges
Engineer [Remix] – Bill Price, Denny Bridges
Keyboards – Rod Edwards
Music By [Additional] – Rod Edwards, Roger Hand
Saxophone – Malcolm Duncan, Roger Ball
Sleeve – Paul Welti
Trombone – Chris Pyne
Trumpet – Henry Lowther
Written-By, Composed By – Alwyn Wall, Malcolm Wild

Companies, etc.
Published By – Thankyou Music
Recorded At – Redan Recorders

Narnia – Aslan Is Not A Tame Lion – 1974

Before there was “After The Fire” there was Narnia. Tim Hatwell, Peter Memory Banks, and John Russell all seem to have started here. Lead singing duties were handed over to Pauline Filby who had released a solo album in 1969. Now don’t think you are going to hear a version of ATF here because you’re not going to. This is a straight out Jesus Music album and Pauline’s singing in no way resembles anything ATF ever did. This album has very strong vocals and though sometimes they seem a little strangely performed it all works well after a few listenings. It’s always nice to go back to the roots of 80’s bands but sometimes those roots will leave you a little confused.

Tracklist
1 – You’d Better Believe It – 3:12
2 – Muddy Ground – 3:52
3 – The Juggler – 3:51
4 – Agape – 5:49
5 – To A Fountain – 3:19
6 – Miracle Of Birth – 4:08
7 – In The Forest – 3:03
8 – Boogie For Narnia – 2:37
9 – Living Water – 5:41

Credits
Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Tim Hatwell
Design [Sleeve Design] – Bernard A. Cope
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Kenneth ‘Ginger’ Dixon
Engineer – Nick Sykes, Robin Thompson
Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar – Peter Banks
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Recorder, Vocals – John Russell (7)
Producer – Tony Hooper
Vocals – Pauline Filby
Written-By – Welch (tracks: A1), Tom Paxton (tracks: A1)
Written-By, Arranged By – Narnia (2) (tracks: A2 to B5), Pauline Filby (tracks: A2 to B5)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – United Artists Music Ltd.
Copyright (c) – World Music (UK)

Resurrection Band – Music To Raise The Dead (Demo) – 1974

This Demo was one of two demos recorded by Resurrection Band. It was recorded in Gary Rotta’s moms basement and was mixed using headphones as she was sleeping. It was distributed at concerts and is very rare. This was recorded before Stu Heiss joined the band but the style is definitely the sound we became used to from Resurrection Band. I’m not familiar with any songs on this Demo except Quite Enough which showed up on the Live Bootleg album in 1984. This is a nice insight to where Rez came from and lets us hear what they were doing before we all got to hear them.

Tracklist
1 – Down Baby – 6:17
2 – I Can’t Help Myself – 4:17
3 – Crimson River – 6:04
4 – There Will Be Fire – 4:03
5 – We Can See – 4:42
6 – Better Way – 4:01
7 – Growin’ Stronger – 4:22
8 – The Man I Used To Be – 5:25
9 – Quite Enough – 5:58

Credits
Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals – Jim Denton
Drums – John Herrin
Harmonica – Tom Cameron
Lead Vocals – Wendi Kaiser
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Glenn Kaiser

Petra – (self titled) – 1974

This is the first album from Petra. It was released in 1974 and has a sound typical of the time.

It’s a mix of Jesus music, Rock & Roll, and the common one bluegrass tune and one blues tune. This was very common on albums from this period as bands tried to transition from Jesus music to Rock & Roll.

The production is very poor, but in defense Of the band it was recorded and mixed on a $1000 budget.

Track Listing:
1 – Walkin’ In The Light – 3:16
2 – Mountains And Valleys – 2:48
3 – Lucas McGraw – 2:57
4 – Wake Up – 3:38
5 – Back Sliding Blues – 4:31
6 – Get Back To The Bible – 2:17
7 – Gonna’ Fly Away – 4:57
8 – I’m Not Ashamed – 3:00
9 – Storm Comin’ – 4:25
10 – Parting Thought – 1:30

Credits:
Bass – John DeGroff
Drums, Percussion – Bill Glover
Engineer – Terry Jamison, Thom Byler*
Producer – Billy Ray Hearn
Vocals, Banjo, Guitar – Bob Hartman
Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin – Greg Hough
Written-By – Hartman* (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B5), Hough* (tracks: A4, B3)