Dave Kelly – Crowning Of A Simple Man – 1980

Dave Kelly was a member of a great band called “Ark” that released one incredible album that will be featured later on this list. Ark was a wonderful band that escaped the attention of most fans but critics loved for very good reason. Dave Kelly was an integral part of Ark and his songwriting prowess shows on this solo debut. Fans of British pop will love it immediately with a Beatlesque quality and an overall sound comparable to Alwyn Wall and Cliff Richard. Very catchy hooks and memorable melodies from start to finish and a message that was upfront but without a “preachy” quality to it. The albums closer is worth a mention here. A Scottish inspired acoustic number with violin and bagpipes accentuate a story of kings and dragons and knights in a castle. Lyrically sounding like something Kemper Crabb may have written, but musically closer to Van Morrison. All the imagery points to the redemptive work of Christ. Anyone even remotely interested in the early days of CCM in England and the influence of the birth of a more legitimate musical expression in the states should try and obtain a copy of this great album.

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

1 – King of Love 02:39
2 – God Knows 03:46
3 – Tonight 02:25
4 – Turn Your Back 02:49
5 – Dead Or Alive 02:13
6 – Trouble 02:49
7 – Love Night and Day 01:56
8 – Supernatural Man 02:21
9 – Sandy 02:19
10 – Ballad of J.C. 02:32

Background Vocals – Mary Russell, Mona Lisa Young
Bagpipes – Alex McGilvery
Bass – Dennis Belfield
Drums – Jim Keltner
Harmony Vocals – Jim Seatter
Lead Guitar – Billy Joe Walker
Lead Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar – Dave Kelly
Organ, Piano, Background Vocals – Terry Young
Penny Whistle, Fiddle – Stewart Hamilton
Prophet Synthesizer – Dale Ocherman

John Fowler & Harpoon – Live – 1980

This is one of the real rule breakers. A glorified EP and live album to boot. But given that it is the only distributed output from the band, and it is so exceptional, there was no way to leave it off the list. It is also one those very rare 10 inch vinyl releases. Fowler practiced one day with the band (as he was going to just perform solo) and then recorded live at a Calvary Chapel concert night. Fowler, though, has had a very good career as a songwriter with songs having been recorded by Martina McBride, Bob Bennett, Cindy Cruse, Dion and others. This is blues! Straight ahead honking freakin’ blues! Fowler and his band possess, hands down, the best blues guitar work I have ever heard on a Christian album, albeit six songs may not be a large enough sample size. He also plays a mean harmonica. Fans of Larry Howard, Glenn Kaiser and definitely Ed Raetzloff will have much here to enjoy. I remember seeing them once at a Calvary Chapel concert and, who knows, that could be where this was recorded. I really very limited information on the group and google searches only bring up a few short reviews with limited information. The placement is based solely on the amazing musicianship, great songwriting, smoking hot vocals and sheer rocking passion. Fowler has commented on the original countdown blog. As a traditional rock and blues project the point here is not the lyrical content as most of the songs are simple blues fair with repetitive lines and big hooks in the choruses. It’s about the blues. Does it feel real? Fans of Bad Company, Eric Clapton and the previously mentioned Ed Raetzloff will love this.

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

1 – B.C. Blues – 3:42
2 – You Only Go Round Once – 3:26
3 – 51st Street Blues – 5:06
4 – Lookin’ Back – 3:03
5 – Faithful – 6:43
6 – Liar! – 3:37

Producer – Michael Aguilar, Thom Roy

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Lightworks Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Lightworks Records
Copyright © – Lightworks Records

Giantkiller – The Alternative – 1980

Giantkiller was a British band that had a solid following in England but just a cult following in North America. They originally self released this album but it was picked up by Kingsway Music in the UK and Star Song in North America. Strangely they added a track, “Refuge From The Wind” for the two label releases. I don’t quite know how to classify them but I would say this was progressive new wave for 1980. At time you definitely hear a seventies rock sound and almost punk at others. This is one that I missed in the 80’s which is too bad as it would have been right up my alley. I kind of doubt it was released in Canada so that’s probably why I didn’t hear them at the time. Production on the album was a little weak and I would love if a real producer found the original tracks and remixed them.

1 – Voices – 3:29
2 – Dirty Hearts – 2:41
3 – Refuge From The Wind – 2:22
4 – Problem Page – 3:02
5 – Living In The Cities – 2:14
6 – Innocent Blood – 4:13
7 – Kicking In The Gates Of Hell – 3:28
8 – Fire In My Heart – 2:55
9 – Children Of The Promise – 5:03
10 – King Of Kings – 3:30
11 – Stand And Be Counted – 3:55
12 – Kingdom Come – 5:23

Bass, Vocals – Alan Hiscox
Drums – Steve Purton
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Paul Herbst
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Pete Gilgan
Producer – Terry Gavaghan
Vocals – Richard Nicholson

Abraham And Moses – ‘Til You Came In… – 1980

I really can’t find much info on this album. As near as I can tell it was only released in Canada on New Born Records which was a division of Praise Industries Corp. Abraham is Abraham B. Cardenas and Moses is Moses Perez. I can not find that they recorded or even assisted on any other albums. Strangely the studio support musicians are mainly from the band Glad but there appears to be no other connection. The album was recorded at Susquehanna Sound productions in Pennsylvania which is the same state as Glad came from. That’s it, that’s all I got for this worship oriented album. It’s actually pretty good and while we owned almost the entire Praise Industries library back in the 80’s we did not own this one as I’m guessing the name scared us away.

1 – Upon You Lord – 3:10
2 – ‘Till You Came In – 4:03
3 – Natural High – 3:22
4 – You Send Me Love – 3:06
5 – I’ll Follow You – 4:15
6 – Cool – 3:20
7 – We Should Fly – 4:52
8 – Open Your Heart – 4:42
9 – A Prayer For You – 1:40
10 – Work – 3:45

Arranged By [Strings And Horns] – Walt Straiton, III
Arranged By, Bass – Don Nalle
Arranged By, Drums – Mark Farley
Arranged By, Piano, Keyboards – Bob Kauflin
Design – Craig Heisey
Flugelhorn – Jim Gambini
Lead Guitar – Chris Davis
Percussion – Craig Lauterbach
Photography – Nick Frey
Producer, Arranged By – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas, Ed Nalle
Producer, Engineer – Scott Gelnett
Rhythm Guitar – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas
Vocals – Moses Perez, Abraham B. Cardenas

Ken Medema – Kingdom In The Streets – 1980

To say Ken was a music generator in the CCM industry is an understatement. He had 7 albums in the 70’s and 5 albums in the 80’s. This album came out in 1980. The problem with a performer putting out this many albums is that they get lost due to volume. This however was one of Ken’s best 80’s albums. Strangely over a career of more than 20 albums Ken never had a CCM charting single. Now this is silly as his style is exactly what CCM was looking for on their charts. How he never had a charting single is completely beyond me but I think we can rest assured there was more to the story. CCM was well known to have manipulate their charts and if you need any proof, Ken is the proof. Anyway this is a great upbeat worship album so if that is your style and no one ever suggested you listen to this album be sure to give a listen now.

1 – Don’t Tell Me – 4:26
2 – Is There A Place For Dreaming? – 5:58
3 – Those Love Songs – 3:21
4 – I Saw You – 4:29
5 – Kingdom In The Streets – 6:59
6 – Barn Builder – 3:20
7 – By The Waters Of Luxury – 4:39
8 – Corner Drugstore Jesus – 6:04

Arranged By – Bill Pursell,
Engineer – Brian Tankersley, Paul Mills, Phil York
Mastered By – Eric Tomlinson, John Mayfield
Producer – Kurt Kaiser
Words By, Music By – Jane Medema
Words By, Music By, Sleeve Notes – Ken Medema

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Rivendell Sound Recorders
Recorded At – Sumet Sound Studios
Recorded At – Autumn Sound Studios
Mastered At – Sumet Sound Studios
Mastered At – Abbey Road Studios
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Made By – Garrod & Lofthouse

Tim Koller – Last Days – 1980

This was the one and only album from Tim Koller and it’s almost impossible to find any info on him. His album appears to be the first full album released on Ministry Resource Center which in itself is rather historic. Taking a look at the credits we can see that Kelly Willard sang some background vocals and her husband Dan engineered and produced the album. We also see Michelle Pillar supplying some background vocals so there was no shortage of talent on the album. The track “May You Get All The Glory” appears to have been the single and was also released on the 1981 sampler “Back To The Rock!”. The album itself has a late 70’s rock feel and is actually really good and I’m surprised it wasn’t more widely heard but that’s how this industry went at the time. If you missed this one in the 80’s (and I’m guessing you did) give it a listen now.

1 – Last Days – 5:16
2 – New World Comin’ – 4:40
3 – Rock-n-Roll for Jesus – 4:05
4 – Take Another Drink – 4:58
5 – Spiritual Counterfeits – 4:51
6 – May You Get All The Glory – 5:53
7 – The Just Shall Live By Faith – 3:29
8 – The Puzzle – 5:14

Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals – Tim Koller
Drummer – Keith Edwards
Keyboards – Jeff Lams
Bass – Darrel Cook
Electric Guitar – Tony Dean
Piano, Background Voclas – Kelly Willard
Background Vocals – Michelle Pillar
Producer, Engineer – Dan Willard
Master – Kevin Grey, Thom Roy
Photography – Bill Valenzuaia
Art Director – Bill Converse

T-Bone Burnett – Truth Decay – 1980

The first release from T-Bone Burnett after the demise of the incredible Alpha Band proved the songwriting genius of T-Bone Burnett suffered no loss at the bands demise. Fresh, current, original and utterly and completely T-Bone Burnett. The Alpha Band is not completely gone here as Steven soles, David Miner and David Mansfield all appear on the album with T-Bone. I have worked in the Christian music arena since the late 1970’s and have never been starstruck when meeting artists. Even backstage at Anaheim Stadium meeting Bono and the Edge was exciting, but no stuttering or stammering conversations took place. But when Leslie Phillips released the Turning the store I was managing did an in-store appearance with her. She brought T-Bone Burnett with her in tow. I completely lost it. I mean, seriously. the dude is T-Bone freakin Burnett! I met him again a few years later at Anaheim Stadium at the same U2 concert where my wife and I were seated between then Sam Phillips with T-Bone on one side and Nick Cage and his date on the other side. I’m sure people around me had to wonder why I was more enthralled with the fact I was next to this tall lanky, Texan with an unfamiliar face. It was with Truth Decay that i was first introduced to T-Bone Burnett. I went back to get the Alpha Band after discovering him through this great album. If I was to create a “Best Of” project it would include nearly every song from this album and a few songs from his others. Every song here rang true with great country and blues driven guitar and Burnett’s nasally and caustic vocals. It was my introduction to “roots rock” and I was sold! The album possesses a wonderful combination of bluesy rockers and stark, introspective ballads. The lyrics are as caustic, raw and emotive as the music. Relationships, selfishness, materialism and faith all are explored here with precision and honesty. One song to note is “Power of Love,” which would later be covered impressively by Mark Heard. Quicksand, Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk, and Boomerang are all major standouts on a record filled with. the latter is simply brilliant! I could never prove it but I have always been convinced that Gene Eugene was influenced by the melody and vocals found here on Madison Avenue. This is an obvious AYSO like the rest of T-Bone’s catalog. Very few artists have even scratched the surface of the brilliance of Burnett. His accolades run a mile long and his production credits have earned him Grammy and even Oscar’s, but it is with his wonderful, simply solo projects that the genius truly is exposed.

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

1 – Quicksand – 3:54
2 – Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk – 3:40
3 – Boomerang – 4:15
4 – Love At First Sight – 4:11
5 – Madison Avenue – 2:35
6 – Driving Wheel – 3:10
7 – Come Home – 4:22
8 – Power Of Love – 2:54
9 – House Of Mirrors – 3:30
10 – Tears Tears Tears – 2:30
11 – Pretty Girls – 4:00
12 – I’m Coming Home – 4:00

Art Direction – John Van Hamersveld
Bass – David Miner
Drums – David Kemper
Engineer [Recordist] – Geoff Gillette
Lacquer Cut By – JG
Mixed By – Larry Hirsch
Performer – Billy Swan, Gary Montgomery, Jerry McGee, Jude Johnstone, K.O. Thomas, Stephen Bruton, Steven Soles
Performer [Uncredited] – T-Bone Burnett
Photography By – Nick Rozsa
Producer – Reggie Fisher

Companies, etc.
Lacquer Cut At – Kendun Recorders
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute
Distributed By – Chrysalis Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Takoma Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Takoma Records

Peter Beveridge – Loving Again – 1980

There’s not a lot of information on where Peter Beveridge came from (not physically as I know he’s from Australia). This was his introductory album and I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. The opening track is one that I would never have imagined would have been released in 1980 CCM. It appears it was only released in Australia and Canada and I am not surprised no U.S. label wanted to touch it. The lead track “To Hell and Back” probably sealed it’s U.S. opportunities. That said it is a fantastic rock tune with a great message. Unfortunately the album settles down after this track and has an easy listening Jazz and funk sound. For a first CCM album Peter deserves credit. This is a great album that most of us probably missed in the 80’s so thank goodness we can listen to it now.

1 – To Hell And Back – 3:48
2 – Trusting – 4:11
3 – Loving Again – 3:53
4 – Crown Of Thorns – 3:58
5 – A Prayer Trilogy – 4:11
6 – Heaven Or Hell – 4:34
7 – See A Tear – 3:43
8 – For Me To Know – 4:28
9 – Help The Man – 2:34
10 – How Can You Love Me? – 3:10

Arranged By – Gilbert Beveridge, Peter Beveridge
Artwork By, Layout – Graham Chaseling
Backing Vocals – John McConnel, Mike Haughton, Naomi Warne
Lyrics By – Debra Walker, Peter Beveridge
Lyrics By, Music By – Gilbert Beveridge
Mixed By, Recorded By – Ross McGregor
Music By – Peter Beveridge
Percussion – Bruce McCormac
Photography By – Roger Hanlon
Synthesizer, Producer, Piano [Acoustic Piano], Electric Guitar, Concept By [Cover], Backing Vocals – Peter Beveridge

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Nightlight Music Pty Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Rhema Music
Recorded At – Axent Studios
Mixed At – Axent Studios
Produced For – Nightlight Music

Jimmy Hotz – Beyond The Crystal Sea – 1980

The definitive and original Christian progressive rock album, Beyond the Crystal Sea is the masterpiece of an artist that may be one of the most important people in the history of all of rock music that very few may even be aware of.Musicians around the world have been indebted to Hotz’s work and may not even realize it. He is the inventor of the Hotz Box, Midi Vest, Atari Hotz Box, MIDI Translator and host of other commonly used and creatively important electronic advances. In fact, Hotz is also responsible for integrating 3D Graphics and manipulating their movement through computer technology. Hidden amongst his technological achievements is also a brilliant composer, arranger, instrumentalist and songwriter. his musical vision met his technological genius ion 1980’s brilliant Gospel themed “Beyond the crystal Sea.” Like much or progressive rock Hotz borrows from fantasy literature and themes and infuses them into clear Biblical messages. This album is “Art Rock” at its finest. Fans of early Genesis and experimental rock fans of Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd will love what Hotz creates here. Songs are complex, with intricate changes and musical instrumental breaks interspersed with more commercial rock vocal influences. But one great joy is Hotz ability to remain accessible with this album and not alienate those outside of the limited “art rock” fan base. There are layers of vocals, keyboards and guitars creating a much larger than life wall of sound. There is no doubt that modern Progressive Rock legends like Dream Theatre and Neal Morse were heavily influenced and inspired by Hotz’s work. It should also be noted that Hotz also had a hand in producing the classic Ark Angel album to be discussed later.

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

1 – Observations Of A Larger Reality – 8:32
2 – Night Passage – 2:12
3 – Vision Ship – 5:35
4 – Teton – 3:18
5 – Beyond The Blues – 4:53
6 – Alpine Magic – 1:42
7 – From Love Life Did Begin – 4:37
8 – Long, Long Ago – 5:47
9 – The Gates Of Time – 3:45

Artwork By [Front Cover Art By] – Bruce Eagle
Backing Vocals [Vocals (Backup)] – Bob Farrell, Carol Chambers
Bass – Brian Tankersley, Wayne Six
Concept By [Cover Concept By] – Jimmy Hotz
Drums – Gary Ingram, Rocky Mountain, Russell Dunlap
Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Brian Tankersley
Keyboards – Paul Mills, Phil Huston
Layout – Lex Zachary
Producer, Engineer – Jimmy Hotz
Recorder – Kemper Crabb
Remastered By – J. Powell
Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards – Jimmy Hotz

Companies, etc.
Remastered At – Steinhaus
Recorded At – Rivendell Sound Recorders
Mixed At – Rivendell Sound Recorders

The Hope – Which Side Are You On – 1980

I read that “The Hope” were a new and improved version of “Hope Of Glory” who had recorded throughout the 70’s. The problem is that none of the band members are the same and it’s even on a new label. It is reasonable to assume a new label might have wanted a new more hip name but I’m a bit confused by a completely new lineup. Because of this I feel this might be an entirely different band but feel free to correct me. The band is/was made up of some great studio musicians who had many appearances throughout the 70’s & 80’s. The quality of their work makes this an excellent album. The sound is heavily 70’s and as such may have been a little late to the market. It’s not a heavy rock album but does have a few 70’s rock tracks. I am guessing many people missed this one in 1980 so give it a listen now if you like your music with a 70’s vibe.

1 – Tender Love – 4:38
2 – Standing On The Rock – 3:27
3 – Sunshine In My Life – 2:45
4 – Stand On What You Believe – 3:09
5 – Hills Of Morning – 4:33
6 – Which Side? – 4:28
7 – What Have You Got To Lose? – 4:12
8 – Anticipation – 3:18
9 – You Got Love – 3:43
10 – Walk In The Light – 3:11

Backing Vocals – Bubba Chambers
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Thigpen
Drums – Gary Ingram
Electric Guitar – Rick Crawford
Electric Guitar – Melvin Mar
Keyboards – Paul Mills
Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Mike Barnes
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Brian Tankersley
Saxophone – Kenny Dimick