Michele Pillar – Michele Pillar – 1982

Michelle came to prominence with her duet album with Erick Nelson “The Misfit” in 1979. It was well received and is considered a classic to this day. This is her debut album as a solo artist. This album was very well received and had 2 CCM chart singles including “Walk Across Heaven” which made it to #4, and More Than Just A Man that made it to #11. The album is solidly Easy Listening and on a couple tracks eases into AOR but for the main part it’s a nice comfortable listen. If you missed it in the 80’s give it a listen now.

1 – Walk Across Heaven – 4:03
2 – You Were There All Along – 3:30
3 – More Than Just A Man – 3:30
4 – You’ve Known Me All My Life – 3:15
5 – Free From The Night – 3:20
6 – Rock Of Love – 3:15
7 – The Things I Hope For You – 3:17
8 – In Nazareth There’s A Carpenter – 4:18
9 – You – 3:37
10 – I Can Do It All By Myself – 4:20

12-String Acoustic Guitar – Jerry Wallce
Acoustic Guitar – Jerry Wallce, Will McFarlane
Arranged By [Horns] – Harrison Calloway
Arranged By [Strings] – Jerry Wallace
Art Direction – Stan Evenson
Backing Vocals – Cindy Richardson, Jerry Wallace, Lenny Le Blanc, Michele Pillar, Robert Byrne, Will McFarlane
Bass – Butch Ledford
Bells – Jerry Wallace
Concertmaster [Strings] – Earl Spielman
Coordinator [Cover Coordinator] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Drums – Owen Hale
Electric Guitar – Will McFarlane
Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Jerry Wallce
Engineer – Steve Moore
Engineer [Assistant] – Keith Compton
Executive-Producer – Billy Ray Hearn
Guitar – Jerry Wallce, Will McFarlane
Guitar, Soloist – Will McFarlane
Harmony Vocals – Jerry Wallace, Lenny LeBlanc
Horns [The Muscle Shoals Horns] – Charles Rose, Harrison Calloway, Harvey Thompson, Ronnie Eade
Keyboards – Jerry Wallce
Oboe – Beth Smith
Organ – Clayton Ivey
Percussion – Mickey Buckins
Photography By [Cover] – Mark Hanauer
Piano – Jerry Wallce, Lenny Le Blanc, Steve Nathan
Piano [Acoustic] – Steve Nathan
Producer – J.L. Wallace, Lonnie Ledford
Saxophone, Soloist – Harvey Thompson
Strings – Earl Spielman, Jo Ann Cruthirds, Kristin Wilkinson, Martha Wiggins, Paul Tobias, Pauli Ewing
Synthesizer – Jerry Wallace
Synthesizer [Prophet] – Steve Nathan
Vocoder – Michele Pillar

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – East Avalon Recorders
Mixed At – East Avalon Recorders
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Published By – Hall-Clement Publications
Published By – Muscle Shoals Sounds Publishing Co., Inc.
Published By – Birdwing Music
Published By – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.

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Sweet Comfort Band – Cutting Edge – 1982

As the 70’s turned the corner into the 80’s, the “last band” of the Jesus Music era morphed from a funky, groovy and R&B driven unit into a full-fledged commercial and corporate rock quartet. And one of the very best CCM ever produced. With only six albums to their credit, the band will have landed four of those titles on this list when all is said and done. Two albums come from the first half of their career with the more R&B style while the final two on the list will come from the “rock trilogy” that closed out their career. Both of those two will be included in the Top 100. Those three albums would be noted not only for the obvious change in musical direction, but also for the fact that Bryan Duncan all but completely took over the lead vocals exclusively and played the part of front man in concert as well. This would be helped by the inclusion of the amazing John Andrew Schreiner on keyboards, both on the recording as well as in live concert support. One other difference were the fabulous brush art album cover artwork. The first two (Hearts of Fire, Cutting Edge) featured a “Spiritual Warfare” theme to the artwork with swords and battle appearance. Cutting Edge artwork shows a glistening sword with a warrior battling a serpent in the sward’s reflection. This warfare theme would also educate the lyrics at times as well. Cutting Edge is a really odd album in that, for some reason, even fans of hard rock and metal seem to like the album with several “heavy music” publications giving the album a great review. perhaps it was the artwork and themes, but no matter, the album is one for the ages.

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

1 – Runnin’ To Win – 4:06
2 – What Have You Got? – 3:10
3 – Falling In Love With You – 3:34
4 – Haven’t Seen You – 4:47
5 – Breakdown Love – 3:12
6 – Valerie – 3:23
7 – Changed Hearts – 3:40
8 – Live It – 4:03
9 – What Did It Mean? – 3:31
10 – Armed And Ready – 4:47

Bass – Kevin Thomson
Drums, Vocals – Rick Thomson
Engineer [Second @ Bill Schnee] – David Shober
Engineer [Second @ Mama Jo’s] – Steve Ford
Guitar, Vocals – Randy Thomas
Illustration, Design – Kernie Erickson
Keyboards – John Schreiner
Keyboards, Vocals – Brian Duncan
Management – David Bendett Artists, Inc.
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Percussion – Victor Feldman
Photography By [Back Cover] – David Randle
Producer – Jack Joseph Puig
Soprano Saxophone – David Hlebo
Tenor Saxophone – John Phillips
Vocals – Bob Carlisle

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Lexicon Music, Inc.
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Mixed At – Mama Jo’s
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.

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Per-Erik Hallin – Better Late Than Never – 1982

This is another album I found by rooting through the Refuge catalog. It is Per-Erik’s first album and as near as I can tell it was his only album released outside of Europe. There’s not really that much information about him out there so unfortunately I’m going to just be able to echo his Wikipedia page. In the 70’s he apparently played with Elvis but again I struggled to find any more information about this. He was a strong studio musician in the 70’s with tons of appearances. The album is naturally keyboard and piano heavy but has a bit of a funk feel in places. It is well worth listening to at least once.

1 – Let It Out – 3:37
2 – Gospel Train – 5:33
3 – You Put Another Song In My Heart – 4:15
4 – Do You Know What You’re Missing – 4:01
5 – What A World It Would Be – 3:23
6 – Better Late Than Never – 3:34
7 – Don’t You Put It Off Until Tomorrow – 4:16
8 – The Golden Rule Jingle – 4:09
9 – Nothing To Fear – 4:38
10 – The Summer Is Not Over – 4:25

Design – Camilla B
Engineer – Gordon Shryock, Peter Olsson
Engineer [Mixing] – Per-Erik Hallin, Peter Olsson
Engineer [Overdubs] – Anders Oredson, Andy Kidd, Boje Lundberg, Christer Lindström, Peter Olsson, Wally Grant
Photography By – Labe Allwin
Producer, Arranged By, Written-By – Per-Erik Hallin
Programmed By [Prophet 5 Synthesizer] – Per-Erik Hallin

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Weddington Studios
Recorded At – Park Studio
Overdubbed At – Studio Bastun
Overdubbed At – Weddington Studios
Overdubbed At – Supreme Studio
Overdubbed At – Park Studio
Overdubbed At – KMH Studios
Mixed At – Studio Bastun
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Royal Music Productions
Copyright (c) – Magnus Erikson Production
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Refuge Records
Copyright (c) – Refuge Records

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Barnabas – Find Your Heart A Home – 1982

Here’s the second album from Barnabas. It follows in the path of their first release but the production is much better. There was also considerable changes in the band lineup so that may have contributed to the improved sound. The album was initially released by Tunesmith Records in 1982 but Light Records worked out some kind of deal to re-release it in 1984. Barnabas had signed with Light in 1983 and released “Approaching Light Speed” so for some Barnabas fans they were getting the albums out of order. The album has been re-released twice since then. In 2000 it was packaged with “Hear The Light” and the 2 album on one CD was released by Millenium Eight Records. It was again re-released by Retroactive Records in 2017. It is a testament of this bands popularity that their albums keep getting re-released.

1 – Find Your Heart A Home – 4:44
2 – The Conflict Of Desire – 4:49
3 – Way To Destruction – 4:38
4 – Boogie Tyme – 4:26
5 – Swordsman – 3:47
6 – Southern Woman – 5:28
7 – Star – 7:50

Bass – Gary Mann
Cover Layout – Tim Varro
Drums – Kris Klingensmith
Engineer – Rick Hope
Lead Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner
Organ – Kris Brauminger
Piano – Kris Brauminger
Producer – Barnabas
Rhythm Guitar – Kris Brauminger, Mick Donner
Synthesizer – Nancy Jo Mann
Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann

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Cruse – Cruse – 1982

This was the first album after the Cruse Family renamed themselves “Cruse” to sound more hip and young. There really isn’t much info out there on the family and really the only member to go on to success was Cindy Cruse. The album has a pop feel on several tracks but others are very easy listening oriented. The interesting track is the lead track “First Love” which was written by producer John Rosasco. It’s interesting in that it is also done by Joe English on his Held Accountable album. John played keyboards on that album and also played keyboards on this album. Both versions came out in the same year but I’ll be honest I think I prefer this version. Anyway we have a pretty good album here and it’s definitely worth a listen.

1 – First Love – 4:26
2 – How Did God Know? – 4:10
3 – Everyday Life – 3:50
4 – I Am, The Mighty One – 3:35
5 – Sing – 4:07
6 – You Are That Man – 4:51
7 – Understanding Heart – 3:30
8 – Bless Your Name – 2:57
9 – One Day Closer Home – 3:02
10 – Me And My House – 3:11

Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [String], Keyboards – Larry Muhoberac
Arranged By [Track], Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Arranged By [Track], Keyboards – Smitty Price
Art Direction – Bob McConnell
Baritone Saxophone – Dennis Solee
Bass – Abe Laboriel
Drum Programming [Linn Drum Machine] – Robbie Buchanan
Drums – Ed Greene, Ron Krasinski, Steve Turner
Engineer – Bob Cotton
Engineer [Assistant] – Jim Baird, Wally Grant
Guitar – Jon Goin
Illustration – Mike Drake
Keyboards – Allen Steinberger
Percussion – Paulinho daCosta
Photography By – Larry Dixon
Producer, Arranged By [Track], Arranged By [Vocal], Keyboards – John Rosasco
Saxophone – Dennis Solee
Strings – Sid Sharp Strings

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – CBS Inc.
Published By – Priority Music
Published By – John T. Benson Publishing
Recorded At – Weddington Studios
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – United Western Studios
Mixed At – Weddington Studios
Mastered At – MCA Whitney Recording Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc

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Silverwind – A Song In The Night – 1982

While the first Silverwind album is still somewhat terrifying to me this one is a huge improvement. Not that the first album was bad it was just scary in it’s level of Easy Listening. This album turns it up a notch or two and presents us with a ABBA sound that was appropriate at the time. Not that I liked ABBA but I sure preferred this sound to their first album. Skip to track2 if you really want to hear that ABBA sound. Now lets be clear, I was not the market for this band and I know it, but I am adult enough to appreciate what they were doing. Their timing was impeccable and this sound was needed in the industry. The first single was “New Beginning” which peaked at #8. The better track however was the second single “A Song In The Night”. There was even a music video for the song which I just watched and it’s not horrible. The title track only made it to #25 which I think is a little low. The rest of the album was too ABBA for CCM magazine to chart any more singles.

1 – A Song In The Night – 4:16
2 – Daybreak – 3:08
3 – Elya – 3:48
4 – Cinderella’s Dream – 3:54
5 – Forgiven – 4:29
6 – A New Beginning – 3:54
7 – Destiny – 3:24
8 – Colors – 2:42
9 – Love Came Softly – 2:53
10 – The Rider – 2:59

Accordion – Frank Marocco
Arranged By – Georgian Banov, Larry Muhoberac, Tony Salerno
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Joe Chemay
Design – Stan Evenson Design, Inc
Drums – Paul Leim, Rick Shlosser
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Ron Capone
Executive-Producer – Tony Salerno
Guitar – Billy Walker, Timothy May
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Larry Muhoberac
Management – Dharma Artist Agency
Mixed By – Bruce Swedien
Percussion – Alex Acuña, Paulinho Da Costa
Performer – Betsy Hernandez, Georgian Banov, Patty Gramling
Photography By – Mark Hanauer
Piano – John Hobbs, Larry Muhoberac
Producer – Georgian Banov, Larry Muhoberac, Tony Salerno

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word Ltd.
Published By – Garden Valley Music
Published By – See This House Music
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Mixed At – Westwind Studio

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Bryn Haworth – The Gap – 1982

This was Bryn’s 5th album but only his second to be released in North America. This album was in some way facilitated by Larry Norman but I have no idea what the arrangement was between him and Star Song and I can’t find any details on it. The album did well in all markets due in part to the quality of the backup band which was introduced as the “The Eric Clapton Band”. In reality the musicians had all played with Eric Clapton, but I think it was a bit of a stretch to call them the Eric Clapton Band. That said, they are a fantastic backup band and this album is fantastic and it ranks as one of my top 10 80’s CCM albums.

1 – The Gap – 4:54
2 – Egypt – 3:59
3 – I Can Do Things – 2:51
4 – New World Coming – 3:02
5 – It Would Have Been Me – 4:21
6 – Power Of The Holy Spirit – 2:51
7 – More Of You – 3:51
8 – New Jerusalem – 5:19
9 – No Time – 2:39
10 – Send Down The Rain – 4:53

Bass, Mandocello – Dave Markee
Design [Sleeve] – Phil Thomson
Drums – Henry Spinetti
Engineer – Paul Cobbold
Keyboards – Chris Stainton
Percussion – Bruce Rowland
Producer – Bryn Haworth, Dave Markee
Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harp [Harpolek] – Bryn Haworth

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Chapel Lane Studios
Distributed By – Word

20/20 Vision – In The Town/In The City – 1982

I was completely unable to find out any information on this 5 piece band out of the U.K. They self produced and released this album in 1982 and it appears they have a few fans out there as I actually had a request for it on our YouTube channel. None of the band appear to have gone on to do anything else except for keyboardist Steve Preston who did appear on a 1992 Rob Newey album. The album is mainly rock ballads which is a bit different as most albums have 1 or 2 Rock ballads but this album has several. The track “The Dealer” shows some real talent from these guys with some smokin guitar work.

1 – In The Town/In The City – 2:43
2 – Come Praise – 4:45
3 – The Darkest Night – 3:20
4 – Galilee – 4:26
5 – He´s Alive – 3:12
6 – The Dealer – 4:05
7 – Jehovah – 3:45
8 – Living´s Easy – 4:00
9 – I Thank You Lord – 5:12

Bass – David Lewis
Drums, Backing Vocals, Concept By [Cover] – Andrew Shortman
Guitar – Gerwin Howley
Keyboards – Steve Preston
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Denvyl Lewis
Mixed By – Mike Newbourn
Producer, Mixed By – 20/20 Vision

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – ICC Studios
Copyright (c) – Daybreak Music Ltd

Jay Beech – The Death of the Stickman – 1982

This is the first of 2 albums from Jay. The cover is fantastic but has no relation to the album. This was a rather odd album for me. I just told the other person here at Real 80’s CCM I didn’t like it. So I sat down to do a review for the album and upon listening to it for probably the 3rd time it actually started growing on me. In fact strangely I think I actually really like it now. I’m actually going to have a difficult time describing it. It’s somewhat jazzy but at times has a 70’s sound. You’re going to have to listen to it yourself because I can’t quite describe what I’m hearing. Do not prejudge this album by the cover, you will be disappointed. Give it a listen with an open mind and let me know how it felt to you.

1 – I’m All Right – 3:58
2 – Anchor Of My Soul – 4:02
3 – It Is Not Me – 3:37
4 – For Real – 3:40
5 – Forgiveness – 3:33
6 – God-Man – 4:20
7 – Watching The Sky – 3:57
8 – Broken People – 5:54
9 – Faith – 4:10
10 – Black & White – 2:37

Jay Beech – Guitar, Vocals, Producer
Curt Bartlett – Guitar
Don Harris – Bass
Doug Dimmel – Drums
Mark Isackson – Sax, Flute
Bill Busch – Keyboards
Amy Swartzendruber – Background Vocals
Lyndon Bartell – Background Vocals, Engineer
Steve Peterson – Engineer

Mike Warnke – Higher Education – 1982

The humour continues as Mike is joined by his wife, at the time, for his 6th album.

It should be noted that Warnke was revealed as a liar and fraudster in 1991 by Cornerstone magazine. This recording is offered as a historic record of what was being listened to in the Christian community in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Art Direction – McConnell Graphics
Engineer – Carl Frost
Engineer [Second] – Eric Tarleton
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer – Neal Joseph

Companies, etc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Mastered At – Masterfonics