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*

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.

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

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