Salvation Air Force – Strangers In A Strange Land – 1977

Wikipedia described Salvation Air Force as “Canada’s first Christian rock band”. Well as a Canadian I had never heard of them so my research started. The band consisted of Michael and Donnie Gossett and studio musicians. Apparently the brothers were from British Columbia but that is all I co9uld find about their connection to Canada. The more interesting story is that this album was in some way connected to Larry Norman’s label but was pressed and distributed by Myrrh/Word records. I wasn’t able to figure out any more of the Larry Norman connection other than the following. The band was granted permission to cover Larry’s “If God Is My Father” They were joined by Larry, Tom Howard, and Randy Stonehill on the track. This appears to be the only involvement of the Solid Rock crew on this record. The album is very very easy listening except for Complete And Alive which is slightly more rocking. Now the story goes is that the album was not a good representation of the band at all as they were apparently a lot more Rock and Roll than the album represents. This would have been in part due to the horrible time they ended up with Myrrh/ At this time Myrrh were jettisoning all of their “Rock” acts and as I result I’m sure this album had to be toned down. Anyway, the band didn’t have another labelled album however apparently they did have two self published releases that I am currently looking for. Anyway that’s the story of “Canada’s first Christian rock band”.

1 – I Can Feel His Presence – 2:33
2 – Complete And Alive – 2:45
3 – Don’t Make Me Choose – 5:27
4 – If God Is My Father – 6:25
5 – You’re All I Want – 4:39
6 – It’s Jesus In Me – 4:25
7 – Special Friend – 3:01
8 – You Have Blessed Me – 2:33
9 – Accident – 4:22

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Truth – On The Road – 1977

The choir/group known as Truth regularly toured churches through the 70’s to support and sell their albums. This album was recorded over 3 concerts in Dallas, Memphis, and Mobile. This album is extremely easy listening which I guess is to be expected considering the setting at the time.

1 – I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen – 3:15
2 – Greater Is He That Is In Me – 2:42
3 – I Want Jesus More Than Anything – 3:17
4 – Give Them All To Jesus – 4:03
5 – I Lost It All To Find Everything – 4:11
6 – Love, It Comes In All Colors – 3:00
7 – Amazing Grace – 1:32
8 – Would You Believe In Me – 3:24
9 – The Church Triumphant – 5:34
10 – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Hell – 3:25
11 – Didn’t He Shine – 3:30
12 – Whatever It Takes – 3:52
13 – Jesus, I Heard You Had A Big House – 3:23
14 – Thank You (Medley) – 8:53
15 – The Lord Is My Light – 3:33
16 – If My People Will Pray – 3:26
17 – It Is Well – 3:57
18 – It Is Finished – 4:54
19 – He’s On His Way – 3:00
20 – Get All Excited – 2:30

Art Direction – Bob McConnell
Engineer – Lee Hazen, Warren Peterson
Photography By [Cover photos and production assistance] – Greg Golden
Producer – Bob MacKenzie (2)
Recorded By [Live Recording By] – Lee Hazen Recording Service, Prestige Recording Service
Remix – John Thompson*, Warren Peterson

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Tom Howard – View From The Bridge – 1977

Tom Howard’s introductory album was only the third album released on Larry Norman’s Solid Rock Records. As such Tom was part of the old gang at at Solid Rock. This album is packed with the rest of the old gang including Randy Stonehill and of course Larry. The album was entirely recorded at night in sessions Tom referred to as “grueling”. The story of Larry finding Tom was actually Tom finding Larry as Tom said he just kept pestering Larry with Demo tapes until Larry gave in and signed him. Many people consider this album to be one of the best of the 70’s and a defining moment in CCM music.

1 – Intro – 0:38
2 – Come On In – 4:18
3 – Mansion On The Sand – 4:15
4 – To Learn By Living – 4:38
5 – We All Mean Very Well – 3:59
6 – One More Reason – 5:09
7 – She Likes To Look At Pictures – 4:15
8 – Blessed Are The Children – 4:23
9 – Marriage Of Our Souls – 3:59
10 – All Through The Day – 4:15

Acoustic Guitar, Harmony Vocals – Randy Stonehill
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Congas, Cabasa – Vance Tenort
Drums, Percussion, Harmony Vocals – Peter Johnson (3)
Electric Guitar, Harmony Vocals – Wayne Johnson
Engineer – Jonathan David Brown
Keyboards, Flugelhorn – Max McCoy
Producer, Arranged By, Photography, Acoustic Guitar, Harmony Vocals – Larry Norman
Saxophone, Flute – Jim Coile
Written By, Orchestrated By, Conductor, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Piano, Lead Vocals – Tom Howard

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The Alwyn Wall Band – The Prize – 1977

This was Alwyn’s first release after the amicable split of Malcolm & Alwyn. Alwyn was a very popular 70’s artist in both the U.S.A. and Europe. The Malcolm & Alwyn albums were very popular and that popularity carried over to Alwyn’s work here. Alwyn was joined on this album by guitartist Norman Barratt who went on to be one of the most sought after studio musicians well into the late 80’s. Norman also had 2 albums in the 80’s that were well received. The stand out of this album is Alwyn’s lyrics, he truly is one of the best writers of the time. The album does have a Jesus music feel at times but other times has a Beatles sound. The album flows well and is one of the top 70’s albums in my view.

1 – Fly Me – 3:10
2 – Dreams On Sand – 5:28
3 – South California – 3:32
4 – Music Maker – 4:36
5 – Musical Thing – 4:42
6 – That’s Life – 4:07
7 – Hall Of Mirrors – 5:08
8 – All That Really Matters – 3:34
9 – I Don’t Care – 3:03
10 – All Because Of You – 4:38

Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Written-By, Composed By – Alwyn Wall
Arranged By – Wall Band
Arranged By [String], Percussion [Bits & Pieces] – Rod, Roger
Bass – Tony Hudson
Design [Album] – Tony Cantale
Drums – Nick Brotherwood
Engineer – Roger Wake
Guitar, Vocals – Norman Barratt
Keyboards, Vocals – Phil Holmes
Mastered By – George Peckham
Photography By – Keith Bernstein
Producer – Jon Miller, Rod Edwards, Roger Hand

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Word
Copyright (c) – Word Music (2)
Copyright (c) – Gummessons
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word
Manufactured By – Signatur
Distributed By – Signatur
Produced For – Triumvirate Production
Recorded At – Redan Recorders
Mastered At – Master Room
Printed By – SIB-Tryck, Tumba

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Larry Norman – Streams of White Light into Darkened Corners – 1977

Larry released this album in 1977 and it was labelled “Part 1.” Like many of his projects, the rest of it was never released.

The idea here seems to be to “expose” the pseudo-Christian songs that were radio hits in the 60s and 70s. Larry seemed to feel that they were exploiting the Jesus Movement for profit.

Randy Stonehill plays the part of the radio DJ, and the two of them record covers of popular songs that many people considered religious in spite of the rest of the bands’ repretoire. The songs are not recorded very seriously, and you can hear them making fun and holding back laughter in a couple of places.

From the back of the jacket:

This album was originally a newspaper article, but several different publishers backed down from printing it so I decided to record the music that is described in the article and release the soundtrack to the “newspaper movie.”

This is a Satirical Record and anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor that leans toward the surreal, a cursory interest in pop music, and a healthy indifference/disdain for ego-lipped disc jockeys should definitely stay away from this album.
Larry Norman, 1974″

Track Listing:
A1 Spirit In The Sky Written-By – Norman Greenbaum
A2 Put Your Hand In The Hand Written-By – Gene MacLellan
A3 Bridge Over Troubled Water Written-By – Paul Simon
A4 Let It Be Written-By – Lennon-McCartney
A5 My Sweet Lord Written-By – George Harrison
A6 Presence Of The Lord Written-By – Eric Clapton
B1 I Think He’s Hiding Written-By – Randy Newman
B2 He Gives Us All His Love Written-By – Randy Newman
B3 Stranger In A Strange Land Written-By – Leon Russell
B4 Prince Of Peace Written-By – Greg Dempsey, Leon Russell
B5 Song For Adam Written-By – Jackson Browne
B6 Shine A Light Written-By – Jagger-Richard*

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Fireworks – Fireworks – 1977

Fireworks formed in 1976 and released this album in 1977. It was well received and became a staple of late 70’s Jesus Music. The band was led by Marty McCall and he remained at the helm until the band split in 1983. Marty immediately went on to form the band “First Call” who performed into the late 90’s. Fireworks continued on after this album to release 5 more albums and had much success.

1 – New Day – 2:44
2 – Don’t Look Back – 2:47
3 – Carrying On – 3:27
4 – Presence Of The Lord – 2:45
5 – Forever With You – 3:40
6 – Maybe It’s Love – 3:27
7 – Family – 2:44
8 – Open Your Eyes – 3:07
9 – Talks With My Father – 3:03
10 – Takin’ A Rest – 3:06
11 – New Man – 3:06

Bass – Chris Harris, Steve Schaffer (tracks: A1, B2)
Cover – Dave Gaadt
Drums – Kenneth Malone (tracks: B2), Lanny Avery, Larrie Londin (tracks: A1)
Engineer – Brown Bannister
Executive Producer – Michael Blanton
Flute – Marilyn Maingart
Guitar – Chris Christian
Keyboards – Marty McCall, Ron Oates (tracks: B2), Shane Keister (tracks: A1)
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Photography – Mark Pleasant
Producer – Chris Christian
Synthesizer – Shane Keister

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

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Daniel Amos – Shotgun Angel – 1977

Shotgun Angel is Daniel Amos’ second album, following their 1976 debut with this classic in 1977.

How many times did I have to explain to the record store staff that Daniel Amos is not a person? It’s the prophet Daniel and the prophet Amos. Maybe I didn’t have to explain it at all, but I felt like I did.

Had DA stuck with this format, they would have been one of the most progressive “Southern Rock” bands around. It sounds country, but it clearly has a different edge. It’s nowhere near top 40 country, and nowhere near Hank, but still has the right harmonies and the right instrumentation to make you think about it.

Upbeat songs like “Black Gold Fever” and “Meal” sound southern, Texan, and progressive all at once.

“Praise Song” has quite a dirge feeling to it rather than the upbeat feeling we usually expect from modern praise. It really is a praise song, but contemptlative, with the sort of thoughtful lyrics that DA became known for.

“Father’s Arms” has a soothing vocal track and a strong rock feel to it. A medley of violins and bold guitar sounds make this a compelling song that almost defies genre.

The title track “Shotgun Angel” is a good old trucker tune, which was a subgenre in the 70s. Anything that could be played alongside CW McCall’s Convoy would do just fine. This one is a good storytelling song that has a nice country twang to it, steel guitar, diesel sounds, CB radio and all.

“Bereshith Overture” is an orchestral interlude that fits right in, but it’s hard to explain why. By the time we get to “Better” we have already had some apocalyptic scenes and been introduced to what’s almost a Pink Floyd sound. The idea that they can play with the music and the story all along the way like this certainly is consistent with Pink Floyd’s contemporary work.

“Sail Me Away” and “Posse In The Sky” round this album out with more soothing sounds. It’s top quality stuff, but hard to believe that this was the setup for one of the best CCM punk/new wave bands of the 80s.

Track Listing:
1 – Days And Nights – 2:20
2 – Black Gold Fever – 3:01
3 – Praise Song – 3:51
4 – Father’s Arms – 4:26
5 – Meal – 2:07
6 – Shotgun Angel – 3:41
7 – Finale: Bereshith Overture – 2:19
8 – Lady Goodbye – 2:29
9 – The Whistler – 2:57
10 – He’s Gonna Do A Number On You – 1:57
11 – Better – 2:24
12 – Sail Me Away – 5:04
13 – Posse In The Sky – 4:35

Backing Vocals – Ed McTaggart, Jerry Chamberlain, Mark Cook (2), Marty Dieckmeyer, Terry Taylor
Bass Guitar – Marty Dieckmeyer
Drums – Ed McTaggart
Guitar – Jerry Chamberlain, Terry Taylor
Keyboards – Mark Cook (2)
Lead Vocals – Jerry Chamberlain, Mark Cook (2), Terry Taylor
Percussion – Ed McTaggart
Producer – Jonathan David Brown

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Petra – Come And Join Us – 1977

This album from 1977 supplied us with the Christian equivalent of a Rock Anthem.

God Gave Rock And Roll To You was on every Christian mixed tape I remember. That said, the album has other gems that have been forgotten over time.

My personal favourite is Woman Don’t You Know.

Little known fact is that God Gave Rock And Roll To You was actually a cover of a Russ Ballard song originally recorded by his band Argent in 1973.

Track Listing:
1 – God Gave Rock And Roll To You – 5:37
2 – Holy Ghost Power – 2:27
3 – Woman Don’t You Know – 3:41
4 – Sally – 4:26
5 – Come And Join Us – 4:39
6 – Where Can I Go – 3:52
7 – Without You – 4:27
8 – Ask Him In – 3:31
9 – God Gave Rock And Roll To You (Reprise) – 2:50

Arranged By – Petra (9)
Artwork – Dennis Bellile
Bass Guitar – John DeGroff
Drums, Percussion – Bill Glover
Engineer – Terry Jamison
Guitar – Bob Hartman, Greg Hough
Keyboards – Steve McElyea
Percussion – Steve Mergen
Producer – Austin Roberts

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Phil Keaggy with Glass Harp – A Song In The Air – 1977

This 1977 release from Phil Keaggy and Glass Harp is actually a compilation album of Keaggy’s work with Glass Harp in the early 70’s.

Glass Harp was one of the early bands Keaggy was a member of. The album is very easy listening but does highlight Keaggy’s excellent guitar work.

Track Listing
1 – Song In The Air – 2:35
2 – Can You See Me – 6:25
3 – One Day At A Time – 3:40
4 – Song Of Hope – 4:21
5 – The Answer – 2:38
6 – David & Goliath – 2:50
7 – I’m Going Home – 2:40
8 – Do Lord – 4:22
9 – Let’s Live Together – 3:50

Design, Artwork – George Werth
Lacquer Cut By – KP
Mastered By – Ken Perry
Performer – Dan Pecchio*, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy
Producer [Associate], Engineer – Bill Culhane, Dick Shapiro, Gordon Shaad, Ralph Moss, Tom Lubin
Producer [Original Recordings] – Lewis Merenstein

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