Manna – Calling You – 1983

Manna started out as a successful secular band called The Wilton Brothers but in 1981 they changed genre to Christian music and changed their name to Manna. Though original the band consisted of the 4 Wilton brothers they were joined by Wilf Truchon on guitar and Jeff Chaignon on bass to round out Manna. Out of Edmonton Alberta Canada they stated touring the local Alberta and British Columbia area. In 1982 or 83 they went into the studio and recorded this album. I have spoken with lead singer Dennis Wilton and he wasn’t really that impressed with the engineering/production on the album. He feels that the album didn’t truly capture the sound of the band. I would have to agree after listening to some of their live recordings which are available on Dennis’s soundcloud’s channel. The band was far more Rock oriented than this album represents and I think we can blame this on Tunesmith Records who unfortunately often thought they knew better than the band. Unfortunately this was all we got from the band which was also fairly common with Tunesmith records. Pity really as I feel they were headed in a good direction judging from their live work.

Tracklist
1 – Calling You – 4:33
2 – Eyes To See – 3:10
3 – Stand Up – 5:00
4 – Worthy Is The Lamb – 5:49
5 – Choose Today – 4:31
6 – Devotion Song – 3:00
7 – Open Your Heart – 4:36
8 – Greater Is He – 3:37
9 – Be Still…Be Silent – 3:20

Credits
Lead Vocals – Dennis Wilton
Lead, Rhythm Guitars, Vocals – Wilf Truchon
Keyboards, Vocals – Rick Wilton
Keyboards, Vocals – John Wilton
Drums, Vocals, Birdcalls – Paul Wilton
Bass Guitar, Co-Producer – Jeff Chaignon
Concert Engineer – Kevin Phelps
Executive Producer Charles H. Clements II
Producer – Rob Hewes
Engineers – Dean McElwaine, Rob Hewes
Mixed & Remixed – Dean McElwaine

Companies
Recorded At – Zone Five Studio, Edmonton
Record Company – Tunesmith

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The Predators – Social Decay – 1983

I have no idea how I ever got copies of the three albums from The Predators back in the early 80’s. I don’t even know how the were distributed here in the US. I don’t even remember buying them. All I know is that I love all three and this, Social Decay, is just fabulous. When the dictionary defines “new wave” they should have a picture The Predators. Heavy keyboard dominated dance music with guitar stylings taken straight from The Knack and vocals at times sounding eerily like Bill Walden of early Undercover fame. In fact, the first Undercover album may be a decent comparison, though much more musical and stronger songwriting.But it is not a stretch to hear comparisons to Weber and the Buzztones, Quickflight, Elvis Cotello and even Ishmael United. There is a great combination of straight ahead evangelical lyrics and thoughtful and vague pop themes, but all with a Biblical worldview. “Man in My Room” has the feeling of a stalker story until you realize the song is about the Holy Spirit. “Stand Up and Be Counted” is a Christian anthem and “Nasty Video” addresses the problem of modern cinema and its impact. Their catalog is a tough find but worth the effort for those with an affection for early 80’s new wave pop.

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

Tracklist
1 – Jack – 3:10
2 – Free World – 3:09
3 – Man In My Room – 4:07
4 – Stand Up And Be Counted – 3:45
5 – Lost At Sea – 3:48
6 – 2 Out Of 7 – 3:49
7 – One More Time – 3:12
8 – Wipe The Tears – 4:16
9 – Nasty Video – 3:02
10 – Never Say Die – 3:26

Credits
Bass, Vocals – Andy Rayner
Drums, Percussion – Francis Johnson
Engineer – Mick Robson
Guitar – Kelvin Allwood
Keyboards, Vocals – Brian Westhead
Producer – John Pantry
Vocals – Kevin Smith

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2nd Chapter Of Acts – Singer Sower – 1983

Unfortunately this 1983 album from 2nd Chapter Of Acts falls in the “this was another album” category. One of the problems with their style of music is that the albums all start to blend together after awhile. The interesting track on this album is the opening track “Room Noise”. Not the best song I ever heard but it is kind of a cool song. The first single was “Takin’ The Easy Way” which peaked at #2. “Spin Your Light” was the second single which only made it to #31. The album wasn’t a stand out but fulfilled a need by their fans for another album. One point of trivia for the album is that Kerry Livgren played some guitar and synth tracks for the album.

Tracklist
1 – Room Noise – 4:05
2 – Beware My Heart – 4:30
3 – Ocean Liner – 4:33
4 – Takin’ The Easy Way – 4:02
5 – No One Will Have A Secret – 4:00
6 – Spin Your Light – 3:26
7 – Open Up My Blind Eyes – 4:22
8 – I’m Wastin’ No More Time – 3:42
9 – Lift Me Up – 3:33

Credits
Arranged By [All Vocal Arrangements By] – 2nd Chapter Of Acts
Arranged By [Instrumental Arrangements By] – Michael Omartian (tracks: A1, B2, B5)
Bass – John Scudder, Leland Sklar
Drums, Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – Jack Kelly
Guitar – Dean Harrington, Matthew Ward
Piano – Anne Herring, Si Simonson
Piano, Synthesizer, Soloist [Synth Solo] – Michael Omartian
Producer – Buck Herring
Synthesizer, Guitar – Kerry Livgren

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Easter Song Studios

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Northbound – Northbound – 1983

At first I had considered listing this album amongst those chosen as a “guilty pleasure.” Everyone, critics and fan, have these albums. The ones that you’re not supposed to like and that you know the hyper-critical snobs will scoff at as being “too commercial” or “too pop” or “too whatever.” But spending months compiling the list and listening over and over to many albums I came to the conclusion that the inclusion of Northbounds one and only album is not only well deserved, but that is more than just a guilty pleasure, but a great pop album that stands up well nearly 30 years later. Touches of Hall & Oates, Toto, Chicago, The Eagles and even Bryan Duncan, Kenny Marks and the first Prodigal album (for the CCM fans) can be heard throughout this incredibly well produced project. For a debut (and unfortunately only) release this was one of the best produced projects with bright high ends, diverse musical arrangements and some killer saxophone. The album kicks off with what could be the catchiest songs in CCM history, Dancin’ In the Aisles. This ode to a more expressive form of worship has such a monster hook that I mentioned the band’s name to a friend of mine in Christian radio and he immediately began singing the chorus despite not playing the song since around 1985. “Maybe Tonight” slows things down to something akin to a mid-tempo rocker by The Eagles with a bit more soul. The nearly 6 minute ballad “What Do You Do” is reminiscent of Kenny Marks’, “The Party’s Over,” with a slow build that ends huge with great passionate vocals. The question raised about gaining the whole world while losing your soul is timeless and works well within the storytelling nature of the song. The more “Seawind,” jazzy tunes work really well on this project. Songs like Evening Song, Life Without Your Love and When I Look In Your Eyes are great examples. “You Got Me Singing” is the “singing” version of Dancin’ in the Aisles. The albums closer, “Easy Street,” has a “Desperado” sort of feel with the solo piano arrangement builds as the song progresses. This is a clear AYSO, though it may be nearly impossible to find. The album was released nearly 30 years ago and was not amajor hit. It, along with David Edwards’ “Get the Picture” and Dion’s “I Put Away My Idols” were released with a free LP of various Myrrh artists that is also a tough find.

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

Tracklist
1 – Dancin’ In The Aisles – 3:31
2 – Maybe Tonight – 5:10
3 – Livin’ In The Light – 4:21
4 – What Do You Do – 5:48
5 – Evening Song – 4:07
6 – Life Without Your Love – 4:39
7 – You Got Me Singin’ – 3:29
8 – When I Look In Your Eyes – 3:33
9 – Easy Street – 3:02

Credits
Arranged By [Basic Tracks] – Mike Utley (tracks: B1, B4, B5)
Arranged By [Vocal And Instrumental] – Bill Bottrell, Bob Book, Ron Gollner
Bass – Tim Camp
Drum Machine [Linn] – Bill Bottrell
Drums, Vocals – Dave Workman
Engineer [Assistant] – David Marquette, Larry Nefzger, Mitch Gibson, Paul Erickson
Executive-Producer – Buddy King
Guitar [Additional] – Bill Hawkins
Guitar, Vocals – Bob Book
Keyboards [Rhodes “Dyno-my-piano” / Moog / Prophet V], Vocals – Ron Gollner
Lead Vocals – Bob Book, Ron Gollner
Organ [Hammond] – Dave Danieli
Piano – Dale Walker
Producer, Mixed By – Bill Bottrell
Programmed By [Synthesizers] – Ron Gollner
Saxophone [Sax Solos] – Steve Allen

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Word Music
Copyright (c) – Pure Joy Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word Music
Recorded At – Triad Studios
Recorded At – Soundcastle
Mixed At – Soundcastle
Mastered At – Future Disc
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – ?26221
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – ?26203

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Barnabas – Approaching Light Speed – 2000 Remaster

The metal decade gave us a lot of gems and Barnabas is one of them. This is the band’s second album, much more refined than their first. From day one the band showed potential, and with this release the production quality shot up dramatically. Nancy Jo Mann’s solid vocals shout out over some hard marching guitar riffs and a tight band. Even on “If Love Brings Love” with a piano part that would be Layla’s little cousin, the driving guitars won’t let you forget where you are and what decade this is.

This is the 2000 remaster by Rev Hillstrom at Creation Station Studios, Robinsdale, Minnesota. It includes a bonus track “All Alone” which was originally recorded for this album but record company politics kept it off the album at the time.

Tracklist
1 – No Freedom – 4:37
2 – Stormclouds – 4:43
3 – If Love Brings Love – 4:12
4 – Waiting For The Aliens – 6:21
5 – Warrior – 4:01
6 – Never Felt Better – 3:26
7 – Subterfuge – 5:59
8 – Crucifixion – 5:52
9 – All Alone – 5:45

Credits
Bass, Keyboards – Gary Mann
Cover [Cover Art] – Kernie Erickson
Drums, Percussion – Kris Klingensmith
Engineer – Tom Tucker
Engineer [Additional Technical Assistance] – John Hurst
Guitar – Brian Belew
Photography By – Dennis Mabie
Producer – Barnabas, Tom Tucker
Vocals – Nancy Jo Mann
Remaster- Rev Hillstrom

Companies, etc.
Millenium Eight Records

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Hank Laake Band – Life and Death – 1983

This 1983 release from The Hanke Laake Band definitely had a Hard rock edge. Though I’ve seen the comparisons to Def Leopard I don’t quite agree. The vocals do get a Def Leopard sound in production, but the music itself is far more rock and roll than heavy metal. Hanke Laake was from Iowa, but he chose to record and release his albums through Tunesmith Records from BC Canada. Hanke Laake was the lead singer and drummer which wasn’t that common. Point of trivia is that Hanke Laake has since converted to Judaism and moved to Israel. He no longer performs music.

Track Listing:
1 – Time To Rock – Written-By – Hank Laake, Terry Fitzsimmons – 4:05
2 – What’s Wrong With Me – Written-By – Hank Laake – 3:45
3 – Sin’s A Losing Game – Written-By – Dan Brown , Hank Laake – 4:12
4 – Life And Death – Written-By – Hank Laake – 3:55
5 – Don’t Walk Away – Written-By – Hank Laake, Terry Fitzsimmons – 4:15
6 – Celebrate – Written-By – Hank Laake – 3:42
7 – We Are Free – Written-By – Dan Brown, Hank Laake – 3:48
8 – I’m In You – Written-By – Hank Laake – 4:42
9 – For Free – Written-By – Hank Laake, Terry Fitzsimmons – 4:25
10 – New Freedom – Written-By – Hank Laake, M. Donner – 3:53

Credits:
Bass – Dean Stokka
Cover – Mason Bros. Studio
Drums – Hank Laake
Guitar – Dan Brown, Terry Fitzsimmons
Lead Vocals – Hank Laake
Photography – Mason Bros. Studio
Producer – Hank Laake, Josef Laake
Vocals – Dean Stokka, Terry Fitzsimmons

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Kansas – Drastic Measures – 1983

When it became public that Kerry Livgren of Kansas had been “born again” nobody knew what was next for the iconic 70s band. Drastic Measures is their first recording after that and it is a stellar album by any measure. The sound on Drastic Measures is harder than the sound that Kansas was known for due to songs like Dust in the Wind. The 80s demanded a little more modern and hard rock sound, and they delivered, but not without bringing in the softer sounds needed to bring the lyrics home, or the mood of a song like “Andi.” The opening track “Fire With Fire” lets you know they mean business right away. Even though it’s at a slower pace, “Going Through The Motions” still carries a strong rock vibe with a strong rhythm in it. After this album, Kerry put his efforts into his new band “AD” which was mostly new members, other than Dave Hope.

Tracklist
1 – Fight Fire With Fire – 3:40
2 – Everybody’s My Friend – 4:09
3 – Mainstream – 6:36
4 – Andi – 4:15
5 – Going Through The Motions – 5:43
6 – Get Rich – 3:43
7 – Don’t Take Your Love Away – 3:44
8 – End Of The Age – 4:33
9 – Incident On A Bridge – 5:37

Credits
Art Direction – Drennon Studio
Backing Vocals – David Pack, Kyle Henderson, Terry Brock
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Boxcar PeeWee And The Megapeople (tracks: A3), The Gang Of Men (tracks: B1, B2), Women At Work (tracks: B1)
Bass – Dave Hope
Crew [Kansas Crew] – Buren Fowler, Clay Schell, Davy Moire*, Jerry Gilleland, John Thompson (15), Merle McLain
Drums – Phil Ehart
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Bullet Recording] – Danny Mundhenk
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Le Mobile] – Cliff Bonnell, Guy Charbonneau
Guitar – Rich Williams
Keyboards [Additional] – Neil Kernon (tracks: A2)
Keyboards, Guitar – Kerry Livgren
Keyboards, Vocals – John Elefante
Lacquer Cut By – HW*
Management – Budd Carr, The Carr Company
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Photography By – Glen Wexler
Producer – Kansas (2), Neil Kernon
Recorded By, Mixed By – Neil Kernon
Steel Guitar – Jim Vest (tracks: A4, B3)
Words By, Music By – Dino Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3), John Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B3), Kerry Livgren (tracks: A3, B4, B5)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Corn & Blood, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Manufactured By – CBS Records
Distributed By – CBS Records
Recorded At – Lakewood Fairgrounds
Recorded By – Le Mobile
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Mixed At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – Son Of Other Room
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
Published By – Full Grown Man Music
Published By – Mastodon Music
Published By – Don Kirshner Music
Published By – Blackwood Music Publishing

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The Lifters – The Lifters – 1983

This EP came out in 1983 from another great group of guys from the MRC group over at the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. Their Rockabilly style was like nothing else in CCM at the time. In an era where the Stray Cats were popular this album filled a gap in Christian music. These 6 short fun tracks will leave you tapping your foot and even singing along. I have a love of the rockabilly style so I have to admit I was pretty excited when I saw this album. I knew from the cover it was something I was gonna like. The EP must have been popular as the Band came out with a full album (also great) in 1985. Point of trivia is that Darrell Mansfield supplied the harmonica track for “Bucket of Blues”. Also trivia worthy is Ojo Taylor also played some piano and assisted with song writing.

Tracklist
1 – Living Water – 1:51
2 – Baby Left Me – 2:20
3 – Bucket of Blues – 3:10
4 – Eternity Bop – 1:41
5 – I’m Yours – 2:52
6 – He’s My Lord – 2:07

Credits
Antwan Adams – Horns
Chris Brigandi – Songwriter, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Eddie Espinosa – Songwriter, Guitars
Dave Hackbarth – Horns
Kass – Bass Fiddle, Electric Bass, Background Vocals
Mark Kirschak – Songwriter
Michael Knott – Songwriter
Darrell Mansfield – Harmonica
Brian Ray – Songwriter, Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Ojo Taylor – Songwriter, Piano
Bill Walden – Horns
Dan Willard – Producer

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Bryn Haworth – Pass It On – 1983

Pass It On was the follow up to The Gap. I loved The Gap and it is in my top 50 albums. For some reason however this album just didn’t have the same feel to me. The style is the same and the songs are good but for some reason it just didn’t resonate with me. That said if you’re a Haworth fan you’ll probably enjoy this album.

Tracklist
1 – Pass It On – 4:54
2 – Never Give Up On Love – 3:35
3 – Come Away – 4:10
4 – Think For Yourself – 5:09
5 – Perfect Love – 2:45
6 – The Cure – 4:01
7 – Peace And Understanding – 5:34
8 – Looking Through Different Ages – 3:34
9 – Come Over To My Place – 2:58
10 – Fear God – 3:28

Credits
Fran Byrne – Drums
Dave Charles – Drums
Terry “Tex” Comer – Bass
Steve Gregory – Flute, Saxophone
Bryn Haworth – Guitar, Primary Artist, Vocals
Alan “Bam” King – Guitar
Dave Markee – Bass
Henry Spinetti – Drums
Peter Thoms – Horn
Pete Wingfield – Keyboards

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Chapel Lane Studios
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Chapel Lane Productions
Copyright (c) – Chapel Lane Productions
Published By – Signalgrade Ltd.

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Sheila Walsh – War Of Love – 1983

In my opinion this was the best album from Sheila. Keep in mind I am very Rock/Pop oriented. This album was much more pop than her previous work and after this album she seemed to settle into the easy listening category. As I sat down to re-listen to this album for the first time in probably 35 years I was quite surprised how poppy this album was. For some reason her easy listening albums stick out in my head but really it should have been this one. The album did spawned two singles. Mystery peaked at #19 and, Star Song made it to # 21. Really this album deserved to do better.

Tracklist
1 – Turn, Turn, Turn, – 3:59
2 – Mystery – 3:26
3 – Sunset Skies – 4:36
4 – Private Life – 3:28
5 – Yes He Lives – 4:05
6 – Fooled By A Feelin’ – 3:45
7 – Star Song – 3:40
8 – Sleepwalking – 4:01
9 – Lonely When The Lights Go On – 3:10
10 – Fighter – 5:08

Credits
Kirk Allen – Songwriter
Keith Bessey – Engineer
Terry Britten – Songwriter
Sammy Brown – Background Vocals
Vicki Brown – Background Vocals
John Clark – Guitar
Clem Clemson – Guitar
Mel Collins – Sax
David P. Cook – Songwriter
Costa Coulouris – Songwriter
Chris Eaton – Songwriter
Paul Field – Songwriter
Graham Jarvis – Drums
Mart Jenner – Guitar
Graham Kendrick – Songwriter
Scott McClung – Songwriter
Jamie Owens-Collins – Songwriter
Craig Pruess – Producer, Arrangements, Synthesizers, Brass, Percussion, Background Vocals
Cliff Richard – Producer, Background Vocals
Pete Seeger – Songwriter
Sheila Walsh – Vocals
John Woodfield – Songwriter

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