Zion – Behold The Man – 1981

Before Rich Mullins solo career he was in a band called Zion. Zion was a part of the Zion Ministries out of Cincinnati Bible College. In 1981 with some help from relatives they were able to record this album. It did not have any distribution and was apparently just sold at concerts and in the local Cincinnati area. A copy of the album made it’s way someway to Amy Grant’s manager. He wanted Amy to record the song “Praise to the Lord” and the rest as they say is history. Amy recorded the song and had a huge hit with it. Rich capitalized on this and launched his own career.

1 – Praise To The Lord – 5:41
2 – For Unto Us – 2:06
3 – The Way To Love You – 7:16
4 – Lord Help Me Be – 3:10
5 – Nothing In This World – 4:07
6 – You Can Live Without Him – 5:16
7 – Hope To Carry On – 2:17
8 – Heaven In His Eyes – 4:40

Jenny Filson – Vocals and Synthesizers
Tom Weimer – Vocals and Guitars
Beth Snell – Vocals
Rich Mullins – Vocals, Guitars, Piano, and Dulcimer

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Daniel Amos – ¡Alarma! – 1981

This record was one of the all time best things throughout my teenage years. It was radical, it was catchy, it was rock, it was new wave, it was rebellious, loud, subversive and all that.

This album is so old and so cross-genre it was released on 8-track as well as cassette and vinyl.

Plus it was great art. It was a fold-out album with a fascinating scene presented in the inner part. The front cover and the back cover had images that corresponded. They went together to make a message. It had liner notes that were a story written to go along with the songs on the album.

In 1981 I’m sure I sat and read the whole thing. Then my friend read it and after we talked about it I read it again. And then I read it again.

Now I have this beautiful piece of art and I feel guilty for not taking the time to read the whole thing right now, to complete my experience. But I’ll do that again soon, I promise, I just have a few things to do for work first…

This is Daniel Amos’ second attempt at becoming a New Wave band after releasing 2 legit California style country albums. Those were good but they were not this. Horrendous Disc was recorded years before its release, and so technically came out in the same year as ¡Alarma!

This album changed the band forever by launching them as a completely restyled product. Terry Taylor guided DA all the way through and the New Wave years were cutting edge.

1 – Central Theme – 3:18
2 – ¡Alarma! – 3:21
3 – Big Time/Big Deal – 3:04
4 – Props – 1:58
5 – My Room – 3:25
6 – Faces To The Window – 2:31
7 – Cloak & Dagger – 2:16
8 – Colored By – 2:58
9 – C&D Reprise – 0:43
10 – Through The Speakers – 2:42
11 – Hit Them – 2:28
12 – Baby Game – 2:43
13 – Shedding The Mortal Coil – 1:20
14 – Endless Summer – 2:52
15 – Walls Of Doubt – 3:57
16 – Ghost Of The Heart – 2:36

Artwork [Airbrushing] – Stephen Nicol Price
Band [Members Of Daniel Amos], Bass Guitar, Keyboards – Marty Dieckmeyer
Band [Members Of Daniel Amos], Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Ed McTaggart
Band [Members Of Daniel Amos], Lead Guitar [Lead Guitars], Backing Vocals – Jerry Chamberlain
Band [Members Of Daniel Amos], Rhythm Guitar [Rhythm Guitars], Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Terry Taylor
Congas – Alex MacDougall (tracks: A5)
Design Concept [Cover Concept] – Daniel Amos
Engineer [Engineered By] – Thom Roy
Engineer [Live Sound], Coordinator [Road Coordination] – Wes Leathers
Graphic Design – Karen Knecht
Lead Vocals [Reluctant Lead Vocal] – Marty Dieckmeyer (tracks: A4)
Marimba – Alex MacDougall (tracks: A2)
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Percussion – Jerry Chamberlain (tracks: A5), Marty Dieckmeyer (tracks: A5)
Photography By [Photography] – Scott Lockwood
Producer [Produced By] – Daniel Amos, Thom Roy
Songwriter [All Songs Written By] – Terry Taylor (tracks: A1 to A6, A8 to B4, B7, B8)
Text By [‘Alarama Chronicles’ Book Text Written By] – Terry Taylor
Vocals [Female Vocal] – Karen Benson (tracks: B8)

Companies, etc.
Produced For – Rebel Base Productions
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Newpax Records
Copyright (c) – Newpax Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Recorded At – Rebel Base Studio
Pressed By – PRC Recording Company, Richmond, IN
Published By – Paragon Music Corp.

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Barratt Band – Playin’ in the City – 1981

This was the first of 2 albums from the Barratt Band. The band featured Tim Hatwell from After The Fire and Norman Barratt from Gravy Train. It was rounded out by Russell Caldwell and Dave Morris. This album was probably one of the best British CCM albums from the early 80’s. It has a strong Pop Rock feel and really should have made it onto secular radio especially with Norman Barratt’s vocals being so strong. The band along with Alwyn Wall warmed up for Larry Norman’s 1981 live Friends on Tour album.

1 – The Only One
2 – Not The Way
3 – Your Love
4 – Playing In The City
5 – Coming Of The Man
6 – Bad Mean World
7 – My Spirit’s Free
8 – Voice In The Night
9 – Never Seen Your Face

Bass Guitar – Tim Hatwell
Drums – Russell Caldwell
Keyboards – Dave Morris
Keyboards [Additional] – Walter Bollard
Written-By – Tim Hatwell (tracks: 7)
Written-By, Guitar, Vocals – Norman Barratt

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The Archers – Spreadin’ Like Wildfire – 1981

This album continued the transition of The Archers from the 70’s to the 80’s. They transitioned very easily and as CCM music grew in the 80’s so did the reach of The Archers. This album was released on MCA records and it was stacked with some very talented session musicians. The album did very very well and got a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary. The Archers also performed at The Grammy Awards that year performing George Ratzlaff’s “Everyday I’ve Got To Sing Some”. This was really the peak of their career. They continued on very strong but successfully releasing on a secular record label with a Grammy nomination was kind of hard to top.

1 – Spreadin’ Like Wildfire – 4:01
2 – I Never Knew Love – 4:02
3 – Sooner Or Later – 4:22
4 – Back In Your Arms – 4:45
5 – Everyday – 4:11
6 – Runnin’ Too Long – 4:13
7 – Care – 4:33
8 – Nothing Can Separate Us – 4:15
9 – Merry-Go-Round – 5:19
10 – Never Say Goodbye – 3:53

Arranged By [Strings And Horns] – Buddy Skipper
Art Direction – George Osaki
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Design – Randy Moses
Drums, Percussion – Alex Acuna, Larry London
Electric Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Engineer [Recording], Mixed By [Mixing Engineer] – George Michael Psanos, Warren Peterson
Horns – Buddy Skipper, Dennis Solee, George Tidwell, Roger Bissell
Keyboards – Dan Cutrona, Dony McGuire
Mandolin – Bill Kenner
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Photography By – Bob Duffy
Producer – Dony McGuire
Recorded By [Vocal Overdubs] – Willie Harlan
Saxophone [Solos] – Dennis Solee
Strings – Carl J. Gorodetzky, Conni L. Ellisor, Dennis W. Molchan, Gary Vanasdale, George Binkley, III, James R. Skipper, John David Boyle, Lenni Haight, Marvin D. Chantry, Roy Christiansen, Samuel Terranova, Sheldon Kurland, The Shelly Kurland Strings
Synthesizer – Dony McGuire, Shane Keister

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Sparrow Records
Pressed By – MCA Pressing Plant, Pinckneyville
Recorded At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Overdubbed At – International Automated Media
Remixed At – Sound Stage Studios
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios

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Lifesavors – Us Kids – 1981

This was the first album from the Lifesavors. They hit the California scene and definitely made large splash. The lead vocalist for this album (they changed frequently) was Mark Krischak. His fake English accent gave us a cross of English Punk Bands and New Wave Bands. Throw in some 50’s groove and you have probably the best Christian album of 1981. Personally I think Mark Krischak was the best vocalist the band had and he wrote most the songs on this album with Chris Wimber. Strangely the album had 2 vinyl releases with the songs in different orders. The cover and sleeve however remained the same. It was re-released in 1999 on CD with 9 bonus tracks.

1 – Young
2 – Operation
3 – Where You Going
4 – Blue
5 – Oh Yeah
6 – I Am
7 – Take Me Over
8 – New
9 – Isa: 36
10 – Christianity
11 – Life
12 – Genocide
13 – Jetstream
14 – Us Kids

Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals – Chris Wimber
Arranged By – The Lifesavors
Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Kevin Annis
Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Mark Krischak
Producer, Mixed By, Recorded By – Thom Roy
Recorded By – Tim Vegvari
Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals – Mike Knott

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Mercy Publishing
Copyright (c) – Mercy Publishing
Distributed By – Grassroots Music Distribution

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Bob & Pauline Wilson – Somebody Loves You – 1981

Bob and Pauline Wilson were originally members of the 70’s Jesus Music band Seawind. They decided to do their own thing in 1981 though Bob appeared on a Seawind album in 1982. Pauline actually won a Grammy in 1979 for her vocals on a Sesame Street album. Yes the Grammy was for best children’s album. Anyway this was the only album Pauline and Bob put out together. After this album Bob went on to be a very successful studio musician appearing on dozens of CCM albums. Pauline continued to record albums most with her old band mates at Seawind. Apparently Bob and Pauline divorced somewhere along the line here which may explain the sudden split of their career paths. The first single of the album was “You Can’t Hide” did not single but the track “Joyful Melody” did single peaking at # 12 with 18 weeks on the charts. The style of this album is decidedly funk. Not just a little Funky but full head on high speed funk. If your a fan of funk you’ll love this album.

1 – I’ll Keep My Eyes On Jesus – 3:44
2 – With Love In Your Eyes – 4:32
3 – Joyful Melody – 4:29
4 – Vision: Power And Glory – 1:36
5 – You Can’t Hide – 4:18
6 – Somebody Loves You – 4:24
7 – Lullabye Of Love – 4:04
8 – In The Spirit – 4:18
9 – Jesus Is My Lord – 4:12

Art Direction – Leo McIntire
Backing Vocals – Edie Lehmann, John Bahler, Mark Vieha
Bass – Ken Wild
Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Engineer – Kevin Clark
Concertmaster – Gerry Vinci
Design [Inner Sleeve] – Dennis Hill
Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Producer – Bob Wilson
Engineer [Assistant] – Norman Graichen
Guitar – Bud Nuanez
Keyboards, Saxophone, Flute – Larry Williams
Liner Notes – Davin Seay
Mastered By – Chris Bellman
Percussion – Paulinho Da Costa
Photography By – Harry Langdon
Saxophone, Flute – Kim Hutchcroft
Trombone, Conductor, Strings – Bill Reichenbach
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Jerry Hey
Vocals, Percussion – Pauline Wilson

Companies, etc.
Mastered At – Allen Zentz Mastering
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Golden Sound Studios
Mixed At – Golden Sound Studios
Recorded At – Tape Recorders, Inc., Hollywood, CA

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Tamarack – Tamarack – 1981

Tamarack appears to be another Rob Watson project. At lease he was involved but I guess I can’t say it was “his” project. While the album does have Rob Watson vocals I would say the majority of the vocals are by Cathy Spurr and/or Debbie McNeil. If you are wanting to listen to this as another upbeat Rob Watson album you’ll be disappointing. This is a easy listening album in the extreme. That said the vocals are excellent, the lyrics are good and the instrumentation is also good. Strangely this album was re-released in 2017 in Japan. Guess the Japanese were big fans.

1 – Carry My Blues Away – 3:38
2 – Breakaway – 3:35
3 – Good TImes Bad Times – 3:57
4 – Thinkin Is – 7:57
5 – High Horse – 4:58
6 – Here I Am – 3:37
7 – Exile – 3:32
8 – Come Back Jesus – 3:34
9 – Another Time – 4:30

Arranged By – Tamarack
Bass – John Patitucci
Drums, Percussion – Dave Spurr
Guitar – Wayne Brasel
Producer – Jonathan David Brown
Vocals, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Synthesizer [Prophet 5, Synclavier Ii] – Rob Watson
Vocals, Percussion – Cathy Spurr
Vocals, Piano – Debbie McNeil

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Mark Heard – Stop The Dominoes – 1981

Mark Heard created a tradition of going the extra mile on his records. He wrote lyrics that had real honesty packed in tight, and yet he still managed drop some tongue-in-cheek one-liners. The effect was that when he was cheeky, you still had to take him seriously. Stop the Dominoes is a classic version of this.

He had a lot to say. The liner notes are incredible. CCM records routinely included all the lyrics printed out on the sleeve, but in addition, Mark included 2 full pages of small print, written from his heart to his fans. Mark had a passion for reality. You can hear it in his song lyrics, and these notes include some personal diary entries from his tour stops through Europe. It’s hard to imagine this kind of thoughtful writing being shared with fans now.

These notes were written on his travels, and later collated into this form, typeset and arranged, sent out to print, manufactured, distributed to stores, and then finally brought home to read. I hope a lot of people read them, but then again, I know. In 1982 when we bought records, we read everything.

There was no Twitter feed. The Internet didn’t exist in any consumer form at that time. Mark died in 1992, well before fandom was available online. Long before we would be able to follow someone’s thoughts as they had them.

Sure, we can follow people on social media now, but that’s a different thing. Online posts are so disposable because they are so temporal. Reading someone’s deliberate writing, something that they know they would have to work on, proofread, and only be able to publish to the world once a year – that’s special in a different way.

Mark Heard was one of the most thoughtful songwriters, and gone much too soon and much too young.

Track Listing:
A1 One Of The Dominoes 4:23
A2 Stranded At The Station 3:30
A3 You Could Lie To Me 4:02
A4 One Night Stand 2:52
A5 I’m Crying Again 3:29
B1 Stuck In The Middle 4:39
B2 Call Me The Fool 3:11
B3 I’m In Chains 3:25
B4 Lonely One 4:35
B5 To See Your Face 3:31

Arranged By – Mark Heard
Backing Vocals – Dave De Coup Crank, Larry Norman, Leslie Phillips, Little Bobby Emmons, Randy Stonehill
Bass – John Patitucci
Electric Guitar – Tony Eisenbarger
Electric Guitar, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Mark Heard
Engineer – Jonathan David Brown
Fiddle – Buddy Spicher
Keyboards – Tom Howard
Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Producer – Mark Heard
Saxophone – Karl Denson
Steel Guitar [Pedal Steel] – Sonny Garrish
Written By – Mark Heard

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Bonnie Bramlett – Step By Step – 1981

Bonnie Bramlett was a well known performer long before her foray into Christian music. Bramlett became a Christian in the late 70’s and signed a deal with Refuge records shortly. This is the only album from that relationship. In fact it was Bramlett’s last album until 2002. This album sold well in Christian circles and was well received. Refuge was hoping for a crossover with secular sales but it didn’t happen, most likely due to a distribution deal with Benson records who had no proper secular distribution network. This album has a strong southern feel and it’s host of high quality studio musicians makes it very high quality. Joe English appeared, as he did on so many albums of the era, as the drummer. Trivia note is that some labels Side 2 was printed incorrectly by substituting the number 4 with the number 5 on the last track.

1 – Givin’ It Up – 3:17
2 – Back Out On The Streets – 3:15
3 – For The Love Of It – 3:55
4 – Let It Flow – 3:27
5 – Whispering Hope – 2:46
6 – Step By Step – 3:39
7 – White Dove – 3:36
8 – Sweet Rose Of Sharon – 4:36
9 – Joy – 3:51

Backing Vocals – Bobby Jones, Bonnie Bramlett, Donna McElroy, Gary Moreno, The New Life Singers, Vicki Hampton
Bass – Bob Wray, Larry Paxton
Drums – Joe English
Engineer – Scott Hendricks
Executive Producer – Ray Nenow
Guitar – Jon Goin, Kenny Mims
Keyboards – John Rosasco, Mitch Humphries
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Terry McMillan
Producer – Greg Nelson
Saxophone – Donnie Sanders
Synthesizer – Alan Steinberger

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.

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Randy Stonehill – Between The Glory and The Flame – 1981

This follow-up to 1980’s The Sky Is Falling was a much more refined studio approach. Randy recruited a lot of top CCM artists to help out.
Producer Terry Taylor (of Daniel Amos) recruited his entire band to play on the album along with, Tom Howard, another Larry Norman and Solid Rock Records protege.

The result is a tight band performing Randy’s songs in the studio, giving a much more polished sound than we were used to getting from him up to this point.

The song “Die Young” is an example of Randy’s cynical but honest approach, calling out the typical Western lifestyle centered around short term thinking. His combination of humour and truth-telling was present throughout his career.

“Christine” is one of Randy’s reaches out to a lonely and desperate person. It has a significant parallel to the song Christmas at Denny’s, which we get many years later on the Return To Paradise album.

This album established Randy’s ability to move beyond performing as a singer-songwriter.

1 – The Glory And The Flame – 3:10
2 – Die Young – 3:15
3 – Fifth Avenue Breakdown – 2:50
4 – Granfather’s Song – 3:24
5 – Find Your Way To Me – 3:42
6 – Christine – 3:29
7 – Rainbow – 3:49
8 – Givin’ It Up For Love – 4:13
9 – Letter To My Family – 4:58
10 – Farther On – 2:56

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Rebel Base Productions
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios
Published By – Prime Cut Publishing
Published By – CanaanLand Music
Published By – Tong Songs Music
Published By – Joyful Road Music

Guitars, Background Vocals – Jerry Chamberlain
Bass – Marty Dieckmeyer
Background Vocals, Songwriter, Synthesizer String Arranger, Piano, Harmonium, Acoustic Guitar – Tom Howard
Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Drums, Percussion – Ed McTaggart
Engineer – Thom Roy
Producer, Songwriter, Guitars, Percussion, Vocals – Randy Stonehill
Producer, Slide Guitar – Terry Scott Taylor

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