Amy Grant – In Concert – 1981

This was the first of 2 albums featuring Amy Grant in concert. It was recorded at Mabee Hall in Tulsa Oklahoma and Lloyd Noble Center in Norman Oklahoma. It featured two new songs from Grant, “Mimi’s House” and “Singing a Love Song”. Wikipedia states “Although the two should have been issued as a double album, budget problems forced the two to be released separately.” This is absurd, there was no shortage of money at Myrrh and A&M for their gold mine performer so I’d love to hear the real reason. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary. Point of trivia is that DeGarmo & Key are credited as being on the album.

Tracklist
1 – Medley – Beautiful Music , Giggle, Old Man’s Rubble, Never Give You Up – 9:31
2 – Mimi’s House – 3:26
3 – Father’s Eyes – 5:50
4 – Faith Walkin’ People – 3:56
5 – Walking Away With You – 4:38
6 – Mountain Top – 3:40
7 – All I Ever Have To Be – 3:16
8 – Singing A Love Song – 5:52
9 – Don’t Give Up On Me – 4:04

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Billy Sprague
Art Direction, Design – Michael Harris Design
Backing Vocals – Dave Durham, Gary Pigg, Jan Harris, Teresa Ellis
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Gregg Morrow
Electric Guitar, Vocals – Dana Key
Engineer [“Live Recording” Engineer] – Jack Puig
Executive-Producer – Dan Harrell, Mike Blanton
Keyboards – Ed DeGarmo
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Mixed By [Mix-Down Engineer] – Brown Bannister
Photography By [Cover Photo] – Wyatt Brown
Producer – Brown Bannister
Recorded By [Mobile Recording] – Malcolm Harper
Synthesizer [Oberheim] – Gerry Peters

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Mixed At – Gold Mine Studio
Recorded At – Mabee Center
Recorded At – Lloyd Noble Center, Norman
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Published By – Bug & Bear Music
Published By – Song Tailors Music
Published By – Paragon Music Corp.
Published By – Home Sweet Home Music
Published By – Meadowgreen Music, Inc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

Benny Hester – Nobody Knows Me Like You – 1981

Benny Hester’s classic “Nobody Knows me Like You” is the very best Adult Contemporary pop album in the history of Christian Music! Hyperbole much? Nay! There will be other album that are classified as AC or pop higher on this list, but most of the albums were not really “current,” commercial vehicles. They appealed to a pop market, but were not actually purely pop music for the day. But NKMLY was in a class all by itself. All the while the CCM market was discovering they had a treasure in Benny Hester the artist, who, over the years, has not only delivered memorable songs, but actual classics that changed and shaped the CCM landscape. Most artists would be honoured to have one song that could be listed among the greatest in the history of the genre, while Hester has a handful! Long before he made a mockery of radio chart records with “When God Ran,” has had made a very potent career of not just brilliant hits, but overwhelming good albums within his genre. Borrowing liberally from the hit music makes of the late 70’s and early 80’s (Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross, Bee Gee’s, Elton John), Hester mastered his songwriting craft early and never slowed down. He was driven to be a recognized artist, all the while he was driven to express his faith in original and honest ways. Unlike the vast majority of his peers, Hester did not release an album every year like clockwork. Often there were a few years between releases and this gave him the opportunity to create great collections of well-written pop music. But no album would surpass his third (second CCM) album. With the album (and many albums like it) it is often the backstory that makes the album so intriguing and lasting. In the late 70’s Hester had record a series of songs and was getting nowhere with record labels. His debut (mainstream) release owns a tragic story and has become a collectors item of sorts. The label he was signed to folded and the warehouse holding the LP’s burned to the ground, destroying most known copies. Only a handful ever found there way into the hands of listeners. I am one those lucky few. Hester took those few songs and drove from Las Vegas to Canoga Park, CA and the then offices of Sparrow Records. Hester sat in the reception office until Bill Hearn (Sr.) finally agreed to meet with him. Hester played the songs for Hearn who signed him on the spot. Those songs and a few others were released as Hester’s “debut,” the self-titled Spirit Label release that was later knows as “Be a Receiver.” Soon after the release of the album, Hester found himself driving across the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. By the time he had crossed the bridge he had written the chorus to the song “Nobody Knows Me Like” without an instrument. He spent the rest of the day in San Francisco writing the song that he would forever attached to and that would make Hester one of the most popular CCM artists at the time. Hester went into the studio with a who’s who collection of musicians and emerged several months later with his classic. But the album took longer to get going because his new label (Myrrh) wanted Hester to work with producer, Michael Omartian. No one could blame Hester and the label for waiting to work with Omartian. But the time off also allowed Hester to fine tune his craft. It also gave the industry just enough time to forget who he was, and Hester and the label would have to start all over again and making Hester a known commodity.

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

Tracklist
1 – Come Back – 4:14
2 – No Man’s Land – 4:13
3 – Rubber Canoe – 4:09
4 – Nobody Knows Me Like You – 4:44
5 – Step By Step – 4:53
6 – One More Time – 4:07
7 – Goodbye Salty – 4:39
8 – Real Change – 4:22
9 – You Loved Me – 4:04
10 – Christ The Solid Rock – 2:22

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Benny Hester
Art Direction – Dennis Hill
Artwork [Special Logo Design] – Tim Barela
Backing Vocals – Jeff Lams, Michael Omartian, Tommy Funderburk
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Concertmaster – Assa Drori
Congas – Bobby LaKind
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Yvonne Garcia
Drums – Ron Tutt
Electric Guitar – Martin K. Walsh
Engineer [Second] – Ross Pallone, Steve Crimmel
Engineer, Remix – John Guess
Keyboards – Jeff Lams, Michael Omartian
Mastered By – Ken Perry
Photography By – Harry Langdon
Producer – Michael Omartian
Saxophone – Kim Hutchcroft

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Rhema Productions
Recorded At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – Capitol Mastering
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

Saint – The Gentiles Demo – 1981

Saint started out as Power Faith in the late 70’s but didn’t last long. It reformed as The Gentiles in either 80 or 81 and this is the demo they recorded under that name. The lineup would change again after/during the change of name to the Saint we are now familiar with. Lucky for their fans the demo was resurrected in 2001 by M8 Distribution and has been re released two more times since then. It is very very rough but is a nice insight into the early days of the band.

Tracklist
1 – Abyss – 3:22
2 – Worrying World – 2:52
3 – Self Made Man – 5:48
4 – Space Cruiser – 4:46

Credits
Bass – Richard Lynch
Drums – Unknown
Guitar – John Mahan
Vocals – Max Clark

Phil Keaggy – Town To Town – 1981

There is not a lot to say about Phil Keaggy that hasn’t already been said. In fact, I can be pretty sure than nothing I say will be in any way enlightening to the reader. I can do no more than to simply repeat the previous accolades and find a way to recommend even more so the need to own as much Phil Keaggy as humanly possible, especially his 70’s and 80’s material which is just staggeringly impressive. Town to Town is separated from nearly all other Keaggy releases by the fact that it may be his most accessible and commercial. It contains more radio friendly and pop based structured than any other Keaggy recording outside of the “band” Sunday’s Child. The opening track is a great live favorite that tells the story of a one night reunion with his classic rock band, Glass Harp. This song, like many of Keaggy’s, suffer from the guitar solos being limited. The same is not the case for the following track, Full Circle. Here is a great example of how to create a pop rock song without shorting the guitar aficionado fans desire for Keaggy guitar solos.
“What a Wonder You Are” featured vocal support from the queen of Christian duets, Michele Pillar, and ended up being the biggest hit from the album. The song broke molds in that was one of the first radio hits that was simply a love song without having to be a “wedding song.” Previously the only romantic songs were those specifically created for weddings. The album closes with one of Keaggy most popular and enduring songs, Let Everything Else Go. The beautiful song proves that stunning guitar work does not always have to be blistering guitar solos, but also soothing, atmospheric sounds created at the hands of a master. Here we find beautiful and haunting sounds that so create the musical canvas Keaggy’s Paul McCartney-like vocals can paint upon.

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

Tracklist
1 – Wished You Were There – 3:01
2 – Full Circle – 4:15
3 – Life Love And You – 4:20
4 – Town To Town – 6:45
5 – What A Wonder You Are – 4:00
6 – In Between – 3:01
7 – Our Lives – 5:23
8 – Rise Up O Men Of God – 4:10
9 – Let Everything Else Go – 4:50

Credits
Alex Acuña – Percussion
Curt Bartlett – Guitar
Bob Cotton – Engineer, Producer
Jim DeLong – Drums, Percussion
Eugene Friesen – Composer
Leon Gaer – Bass, Bass (Electric), Guitar (Bass)
Dean Hagen – Drums
Paul Halley – Composer
Bruce Hibbard – Vocals (Background)
Lee Jones – Fretless Bass
Bernadette Keaggy – Vocals
Phil Keaggy – Bass, Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Bass), Primary Artist, Vocals
Tom Keene – Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Dan Murdock – Keyboards, Piano
Michele Pillar – Vocals (Background)
John Pooley – Engineer
Denny Siegrist – Engineer
Richard Souther – Synthesizer
The Winans – Vocals (Background)
Pete York – Vocals (Background)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.

Evie – Unfailing Love – 1981

This was Evie’s album for 1981. She generally put out an album every year which unfortunately, in my opinion, diluted the quality of her albums. This album was pretty well received and some even called it innovative though honestly I don’t hear anything different than her earlier albums. The album had one single on the CCM charts. “How I Love You Lord” made it to #9 with a very strong 27 weeks on the chart. A quick skim through the studio musicians doesn’t reveal any interesting names except for Al Perkins who I think was on every studio musician album in the 80’s.

Tracklist
1 – How I Love You Lord – 3:45
2 – Bind Us Together – 3:20
3 – The Cross Where Jesus Gave His Life – 3:40
4 – Be Still – 4:10
5 – I Love My Jesus – 3:30
6 – Unfailing Love – 5:50
7 – A Picture Of You – 3:50
8 – All The Glory – 3:30
9 – You Gave A Song – 3:10
10 – The Lord’s Prayer – 3:40

Credits
Arranged By [String Arrangements], Conductor – Stan Endicott
Backing Vocals – Evie
Bass – Darrel Cook
Design [Cover Design] – Finn Tornquist
Drums – Keith Edwards
Engineer – Chris Taylor
Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Keyboards – Harlan Rogers (tracks: A1, A2, A3, A5, B2 To B5)
Keyboards [Extras], Guitar [Extras], Mandolin [Extras], Synthesizer [Extras], Producer, Arranged By, Backing Vocals – Pelle Karlsson
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Kelly Willard (tracks: A4)
Photography By – Allwil, Dannsted
Steel Guitar – Al Perkins

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Produced For – White Field Music
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios
Manufactured By – Prim

Salmond & Mulder – Hoping & Coping – 1981

Vancouver Canada’s Salmond & Mulder are joined by Faye Mulder and Gayle Chambers for their third album. Full disclaimer they themselves describe this album as follows. “It is basically a worship album, focusing on wholeness in Christ and the struggle to hold that truth preeminent in our lives”. They achieve this outshout even vaguely venturing into even a hint of Rock & Roll. In all fairness that description is on the back of the album so hopefully you caught it before buying this album and expecting like their last album. I’m not saying this is a bad album in fact it’s pretty good but it is a worship album and not consistent with their previous work.

Tracklist
1 – Growing Richer – 3:07
2 – Looking At The Sun – 2:50
3 – Never Doubt – 1:32
4 – Father I Know – 4:18
5 – Hoping And Coping – 4:42
6 – Imnunurnmi – 2:52
7 – Give Me The Courage – 3:35
8 – Moving On – 4:55
9 – You Are My Wholeness – 2:55
10 – May The God And Father – 1:15
11 – You Are The Lord – 1:48

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Image VII Records Inc.
Copyright (c) – Image VII Records Inc.
Published By – Image VII Music

Servant – Rockin’ Revival – 1981

Servant turned it up a notch for their second album, Rockin Revival. Bob Rock returned to engineer the second album and gave it a much more refined sound. The album bounced around with a few different styles, but they all came together and were placed in a logical order on the album. The album finished off with what I believe would have been the single, “I’m Gonna Live”. That said my favourite track is “Suburban Josephine, a fun 50’s feeling track. Point of trivia is that the song, Jealousies, was a cover of an Eddie Money song and he is credited. This is such a good album it easily slides into a high position in my top 50 albums.

Tracklist
1 – Babylon – 4:03
2 – Rockin Reival – 4:18
3 – Isolated – 4:13
4 – Heidleburg Blues – 3:00
5 – Listen – 3:00
6 – Jealousies – 3:47
7 – Suburban Josephine – 3:53
8 – Ad Man – 3:33
9 – I’m Gonna Live – 5:33

Credits
Bass – Rob Martens
Engineer – Bob Rock
Engineer [Assistant] – Mike Fraser
Lead Guitar – Bruce Wright
Lead Vocals – Bob Hardy, Sandie Brock
Organ [Hammond] – Matt Spransy
Percussion – Bob Hardy, Sandie Brock
Piano – Matt Spransy
Producer – Bob Brooks
Rhythm Guitar – Owen Brock
Synthesizer [Polymoog, Prophet 5, Oberheim Synthesisers] – Matt Spransy
Vocals – Owen Brock, Rob Martens

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Praise Industries Corp.

Liberation Suite – Stride for Stride – 1981

In 1981 Liberation Suite moved back to the United States. They carried with them a freshly recorded album from the UK Even though they were actually an American band they had been labelled as a European band. As a result they actually had a difficult time finding a label for this album. This is strange as Chapel Lane had released it in the UK. Finally they got Star Song to bite thankfully or we would have missed out on this album. This album has a bit of a Sweet Comfort Band sound to me but it is their own sound and I think perhaps the similarity was simply the changing sound of the period.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPcTOx34g9XSYAzAQX5PhOOm0IYF4r8o8

Tracklist
1 – Lay Your Sadness Down – 4:41
2 – Stride For Stride – 5:00
3 – Listen – 2:10
4 – How Do I Get To You – 3:59
5 – Heal The Broken Hearted – 4:19
6 – Somehow I´m Changing – 2:35
7 – All I Wanna Do – 4:25
8 – You Are Worthy – 6:03
9 – Where My Home Is – 4:37
10 – Song Of Heaven – 2:30

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Phil Thomson
Bass Guitar – Fred Perez
Drums – Randy Hill
Engineer – Paul Cobbold
Guitar – Barry Bynum, Jim Hazel
Keyboards – Barry Bynum, Jim Hazel
Lead Vocals – Barry Bynum, Howard Lyon
Photography By – Norbert Neetz, Phil Thomson
Producer – Roger Hand
Trombone – Howard Lyon
Vocals – Fred Perez, Jim Hazel, Randy Hill

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Star Song Records
Produced For – Chapel Lane Productions
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Records
Copyright (c) – Star Song Records
Copyright (c) – StraightWay Music
Published By – StraightWay Music
Recorded At – Chapel Lane Studios

Sweet Comfort Band – Hearts of Fire! – 1981

Hearts of Fire is the 4th studio releases from Sweet Comfort Band and the start of a new direction. While their previous release “Hold on Tight” had been met by many reviewers with a yawn Hearts of Fire was very well received. Vocals were pretty well taken over by Bryan Duncan who had a much better Rock & Roll voice than Randy Thomas. The album was more upbeat and had a more “80’s” feel and it was also a bit more cutting edge due to plenty of lyrics to a broader group of issues, something relatively rare for albums of this period. This album was a personal; favourite of mine in 1981 and I remember many hours cruising in cars listening to “Isabel”.

Tracklist
1 – Isabel – 4:08
2 – You Can Make It – 2:44
3 – They Just Go On – 3:34
4 – The Road – 3:49
5 – Feel Like Singin’ – 3:32
6 – Now Or Never – 3:33
7 – Can You Help Me? – 3:50
8 – Contender – 3:10
9 – Just Like Me – 2:47
10 – You Need A Reason – 3:16

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Bob Bennett
Bass [Alembic] – Kevin Thomson
Concertmaster, Violin [Solo] – Doug Cameron
Design, Illustration – Kernie Erickson
Drums, Vocals – Rick Thomson
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Randy Thomas
Engineer [Assistant] – Bobby Gerber, Chip Orlando, Mike Wambsgangs
Mastered By – Mike Reese
Photography By [Inner Sleeve] – Alan Bergman
Piano, Keyboards [Prophet 5], Vocals – Bryan Duncan
Producer, Piano [Acoustic], Electric Piano [Rhodes], Keyboards [Prophet 5], Organ [Hammond], Percussion, Handclaps, Arranged By [String & Horn] – David Diggs
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Jack Joseph Puig
Saxophone, Flute – David Boruff
Saxophone, Flute, Tenor Saxophone [Solos] – Jim Coile
Trombone – Alan Kaplan
Trumpet – Larry Hall, Ollie Mitchell

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Recorded At – Studio 55, Los Angeles
Recorded At – Sound Labs, Hollywood
Recorded At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Mixed At – Mama Jo’s
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

David Edwards – David Edwards – 1981

Before there was CCM New Wave there was David Edwards. His short pop songs with strong lyrics became a recipe for many other CCM bands though I don’t think many were able to recreate the lyrical quality of Edwards work. One of the things that struck me about this album is that most if not all the musicians on the album are completely unknown studio musicians. That makes the quality of the music even more surprising. David’s image on the album cover was a fashion statement for the time and might have heralded the impending leather tie revolution. This album is probably my favourite CCM album of all time and one that has stayed in my regular rotation for years now. Trivia point, “Kicks” is a cover of a song by “Paul Revere and the Raiders” done much better here.

 

Tracklist
1 – Best Friend – 2:13
2 – Rather Be Wrong – 2:26
3 – Commercial Suicide – 4:26
4 – Nagging Optimism – 2:39
5 – Hollywood High – 2:54
6 – The Getaway – 3:36
7 – Kicks – 2:44
8 – Disposable Love – 2:25
9 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 3:25
10 – Don’t Ever Say – 3:18
11 – Not Going To Fall Away – 3:11
12 – Song Of Wholeness – 3:24

Credits
Art Direction – Art Hotel, Leo McIntire
Drums – Craig Krampf
Electric Bass – Eric Nelson
Electric Guitar – Dan Jacob
Electric Guitar, Sitar [Electric] – Ira Ingber
Layout [Inner Sleeve], Design – Dennis Hill
Organ [Hammond & Vox] – Dave Garland
Piano, Synthesizer, Arranged By – Barry Kaye
Producer – Buddy King
Recorded By, Mixed By – Bill Bottrell, David Marquette, Mitch Gibson
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Arranged By – David Edwards

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Pure Joy Productions
Recorded At – Soundcastle
Mixed At – Soundcastle