Sweet Comfort Band – Sweet Comfort – 1977

Sweet Comfort Band started out in 1973 and Maranatha! Records gave them their first recoird deal in 1977. The album was more Rock oriented than most of the Jesus Music of the time period. The Thomson brothers along with Bryan Duncan and Randy Thomas were on to a good thing. Even if you’re only familiar with their later work you’ll hear the same quartet song back here where it all started. The Maranatha! deal only lasted for this album (they fled the Rock & Roll CCM scene in terror) but Light Records stepped in for the next album. Again this is the one where it all started and it started well.

Tracklist
1 – It’s So Fine (Soul Tune Boogie) – 2:58
2 – Ryan’s Song – 4:05
3 – Childish Things – 2:42
4 – Let It Go – 2:26
5 – Your Life – 2:24
6 – Somebody Loves You – 2:56
7 – His Name Is Whispered – 3:11
8 – God’s Got A Plan – 3:08
9 – Get Ready – 3:01
10 – When I Was Alone – 3:37

Credits
Art Direction – Neal Buchanan
Bass – Kevin Thomson
Design [Album Design] – Greg Laurie
Drums – Rick Thomson
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig, Jonathan David Brown
Graphics – Greg Laurie
Graphics [Logo] – Rick Griffin
Guitar – Randy Thomas
Horns, Arranged By – Glen Myerscough
Keyboards – Bryan Duncan
Organ – Martie Echito (tracks: A5, B1)
Percussion – Alex MacDougal (tracks: A2, B1, B4)
Photography By – Ray Westbrook
Producer – Jonathan David Brown, Tommy Coomes
Tenor Saxophone – Glen Myerscough
Trombone – Thurman Green
Trumpet – Allen Gregory
Violin – Bruce Hoag (tracks: B5)
Vocals – Bryan Duncan, Randy Thomas, Rick Thomson

Companies, etc.
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Maranatha! Music

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Pete Carlson – Hideaway – 1977

This is Pete’s second album and his first with small label Chrism. There’s not really much to say about this album. It is the standard easy listening/AOR album of the time but I’m not denigrating Pete at all. He does what he does well but with most albums of this style it’s hard to make them stand out. One stand out though is the song Up And Down. It was well ahead of it’s time and I would have loved to hear someone cover it in the 80’s. Imagine a DA version, would have loved that.

Tracklist
1 – Loving The Lonely Nights
2 – Praise Song
3 – Heavenly Places
4 – I’m So Glad That You Waited
5 – Did You Ever Want To Fly
6 – Up And Down
7 – It Took Only Once
8 – The Call
9 – Someday Soon
10 – I’m Gonna Live Forever

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Mike Warnke – A Christian Perspective On Halloween – 1979

This recording was originally produced as a one hour radio show, and was released on vinyl as part of Mike’s catalogue.

There is a bunch of professionally produced intro and interlude stuff here, as well as a series of interview questions. Of course, there is also some good comedy material, taken from his Alive! album as well as Hey Doc!

The Halloween debate among Christians has been around for a long time, and this is one part of it. Maybe this interview was an influence when churches came up with alternative ideas like “Jesusween.” Not sure.

Mike weighs in as an expert occultist here. He certainly has researched occultism enough to talk about the subject, however this was recorded before he recanted his testimony about having been a Satanist.

Regardless, I find this a fascinating artifact of the time and it helps tell the story about how we arrived where we are now.

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Bruce Hibbard – A Light Within – 1977

In the early 70’s Bruce toured as a support musician for artists such as The Amplified Version, The Paul Clark Band and Phil Keaggy. In the mid 70’s he decided to start doing his own music. This was his first album and he penned all the songs himself many of which went on to be covered by other artists making Bruce a well known song writer. This album is a staple in the West Coast AOR crowd.

Tracklist
1 – Questions – 3:24
2 – Rescue Me – 2:24
3 – All That I Want To Be – 3:49
4 – Given Myself Over – 4:10
5 – Only God (Can Put A Song In Your Heart) – 3:20
6 – Peace – 3:50
7 – A Nation’s Prayer – 3:34
8 – Hem Of His Garment – 3:23
9 – Lord Bless This Day – 5:06
10 – Make Me A Blessing – 3:19

Credits
Sherman Andrus – Background Vocals
Curt Bartlett – Guitars
Terry Blackwood – Background Vocals
Paul Clark – Producer
Bobby Cotton – Producer
Joe Davis – Horns
Keith Edwards – Percussion
Rick Gordon – Vocals
Sandra Halgendale – Oboe
Lanny Hansen – Drums
Bruce Hibbard – Songwriter, Keyboards, Piano, Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Marie Hibbard – Songwriter
Hadley Hockensmith – Guitars, Bass
Mel Lieb – French Horn
Bill Maxwell – Drums
Carol Morgan – Songwriter
Harlan Rogers – Keyboards, Piano
Fletch Wiley – String Arrangements, Horns, Flute
Kelly Willard – Vocals
Steve Wright – Drums

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Cool Sound Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Seed Records
Copyright (c) – Seed Records
Licensed Through – MJM Entertainment Group Inc.

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Amy Grant – Amy Grant – 1977

The introductory album has a background story we’ve all dreamed about of we were musicians. At 15 years old she recorded a demo tape for her parents. The studio owner overheard the recording and played it for someone at Word records and thus her career began. It was recorded in 1977 and released in late 1977 (Wikipedia is wrong) and a year later she performed her first public appearance. There are a few strange things about this album. First of all Word released it on their Myrrh label. Seeing the popularity of the album A&M was approached for a wider audience release. The original cover from Word was absolutely horrible. It had a Jesus Music feel portrait of Amy on the cover which looks horrendous. Thankfully A&M put a stop to the horrible jacket before it got too widely distributed. (It is a collectors item now). They replaced it with a youthful happy picture of Amy that was a huge improvement. Myrrh also released a version of the album that included a second disk that was a sampler of other artists.

Tracklist
1 – Beautiful Music – 3:10
2 – Mountain Top – 3:39
3 – Psalm 104 – 3:27
4 – Old Man’s Rubble – 2:57
5 – Brand New Start – 2:53
6 – Grape, Grape Joy – 1:11
7 – Walking In The Light – 1:38
8 – What A Difference You’ve Made – 3:26
9 – Father – 3:26
10 – I Know Better Now – 2:49
11 – The Lord Has A Will – 2:38
12 – On & On – 3:20
13 – He Gave Me A New Song – 1:22

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Ron Elder, Steve Chapman
Acoustic Guitar, Bells – Brown Bannister
Backing Vocals – Chris Harris, Cindy Lipford, Gary Pigg, Gwen Moore, Marty McCall, The Grapeland Vocal Band
Bass – Joe Osborn, Stephen Schaffer
Drums – Jerry Carrigan, Kenny Malone, Lanny Avery, Larri Londin
Electric Guitar – Joe Wilson, Peter Bordonali, Reggie Young
Engineer – Brown Bannister
Horns – Dennis Good, Don Sheffield, George Cunningham, Roger Bissell
Keyboards – Randy Goodrum, Shane Keister
Oboe – Robert Taylor
Producer – Chris Christian
Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Dennis Solee
Strings – Sheldon Kurland Strings

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – A&M Records, Inc.
Distributed By – A&M Records, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.

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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”.

Tracklist
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.

Tracklist
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

Credits
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.

Tracklist
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

Credits
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.

Tracklist
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

Credits
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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