DeGarmo & Key – Heat.It.Up. – 1993

This was D&K’s second last album and it really seems to have just been ignored. I really couldn’t find many reviews for it. As a result of this I sat down and listened to the album over again and I decided I love it. But that’s probably where the problem lies. I loved D&K thorough the 80’s but this album was in 1993. I now realize that D&K really hadn’t changed their sound much over the years. While this isn’t a problem for me it probably caused an issue getting new listeners in 1993. That said “Talk To Me” still made it to #6 on the charts and there were 2 tracks to make it into the 30’s on the charts. These would be the final charting singles for D&K. So my suggestion is if you enjoyed that D&K 80’s sound you will like this album but of you are more a fan of late 80’s early 90’s rock this album may not be for you. That said give it a listen anyway, it may surprise you.

Tracklist
1 – Voices – 0:40
2 – God Good/Devil Bad – 4:31
3 – Selective Amnesia – 3:12
4 – Never Look Back – 4:06
5 – Heat.It.Up. – 3:17
6 – It’s My Business – 4:28
7 – Dare 2B Different – 4:54
8 – Talk To Me – 4:29
9 – Armed And Dangerous – 4:27
10 – I Use The J Word – 3:56
11 – Soldiers Of The Cross – 4:24
12 – Divine Embrace – 3:34
13 – Fight Back – 5:37

Credits
Art Direction – Connie Harrington
Backing Vocals – Jim Jamison
Bass, Backing Vocals – Tommy Cathey
Design – The Riordon Design Group Inc.
Drums, Percussion – Greg Morrow
Engineer [2nd] – Jeff Powell, Jeffrey Reed, Skid Mills
Executive-Producer – Ken Pennell
Mastered By – Ken Love
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Engineer – John Hampton
Producer, Lead Vocals, Guitar – Dana Key
Producer, Organ [B3], Piano [Wurlitzer], Synthesizer, Vocals – Eddie DeGarmo

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright © – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Distributed By – Benson Music Group, Inc.
Distributed By – Christian Marketing
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mastered At – Mastermix

Lenny LeBlanc – Say A Prayer – 1983

Lenny LeBlanc is a very interesting story. He was actually quite a successful secular artist in the 70’s and was under contract by Capitol Records. He had recorded and released the first of that 2 record contract in 1981. However also 1981 he became saved after having a talk with his newly saved friend who was, and I quote here “… a big-time drug smuggler”. Lenny subsequently wanted to do Christian music which Capitol Records wasn’t much interested in. They did however agree to release him from his contract of he could find someone to buy it out. The Christian music labels were certainly not interested in this so he was stuck being unable to do music and actually made a living doing stained glass which was another one of his skills. In 1983 it became obvious to Capitol that no one was going to buy out his contract so they agreed to release him. He immediately signed with Heartland Records and recorded this album. The album is a relatively easy listening 80’s pop album but there are a few pretty good upbeat tracks of which the best is probably “Give Your Heart To The Lord”. The single for the album was “Say A Prayer” which reached #9 on the CCM charts.

Tracklist
1 – Say A Prayer – 3:51
2 – Have Mercy – 3:59
3 – Preacher Man – 3:53
4 – Give Your Heart To The Lord – 3:12
5 – New Tomorrow – 3:45
6 – Angel Of The Lord – 3:33
7 – Asleep In The Boat – 4:02
8 – I Don’t Understand – 3:41
9 – Soul Searching – 3:37
10 – I Believe In You – 3:58

Credits
Backing Vocals – Ava Aldridge, Cindy Richardson, Mac McAnally, Michele Pillar, Robert Byrne, Sherrie LeBlanc
Bass – David Hood, David Hungate, Mike Brignardello
Blues Harp – Bill Darnell
Drums – Larrie Londin, Roger Hawkins
Engineer – Gary Platt, Greg McNeily
Engineer [Mixdown] – Gary Platt
Guitar – Jon Goin, Wayne Perkins, Will McFarlane
Keyboards – Clayton Ivey, Shane Keister, Steve Nathan
Lacquer Cut By [JG in runouts] – Joe Gastwirt
Management – Rip Pelley
Percussion – Farrell Morris
Producer, Backing Vocals – Jon Phelps
Producer, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar – Lenny LeBlanc
Saxophone – Ronnie Eades

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Heartland Records
Copyright © – Heartland Records
Recorded At – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Recorded At – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Remixed At – Fifth Floor Recording Studios
Mastered At – JVC Cutting Center

John Michael Talbot & Terry Talbot ‎– No Longer Strangers – 1983

Well here’s the 1983 offering from the Talbot brothers. It’s pretty standard fare for them but there is a highlight on this album. The title track actually has an Eagles feel and it sounds like something from back in their Mason Proffit days. It’s actually good enough for me to add it to my regular rotation. The music may be Eagles but the lyrics are typical of what you would expect form them. That said this may actually be one of their best tracks since the Mason Proffit days.

Tracklist
1 – No Longer Strangers – 4:08
2 – He Is Risen – 2:42
3 – We Will Rise – 4:07
4 – Silence – 3:34
5 – Nature And Grace – 3:30
6 – Holy Father – 3:37
7 – Isaiah 58 – 5:06
8 – Lady Poverty – 4:10
9 – Hear Us Oh Lord – 4:10
10 – Few Be The Lovers – 4:22

Credits
Arranged By [Orchestra] – Lee Holdridge
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Cover – Stan Evenson Design
Cover [Coordination] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Drums – Bill Maxwell
Engineer – Darrel Powell, Mike Ross-Trevor
Executive-Producer – Billy Ray Hearn
Guitar, Vocals, Co-producer, Arranged By [Vocals] – John Michael Talbot, Terry Talbot
Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall
Orchestra – National Philharmonic Orchestra Of London
Performer – National Philharmonic Orchestra Of London
Photography By – Mark Hanauer
Written-By – John Michael Talbot, Terry Talbot

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Recorded At – The Barn
Mixed At – CBS Studios, London
Mastered At – Future Disc
Distributed By – Canadian Christian Distributors, Inc.
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

David Edwards – Get The Picture – 1983

There are only two artists in the history of CCM that I wish would come out from hiding and release a new album. The first is Steve Taylor and i understand the whole “trying to make a movie” clap trap, but enough already! The second is David Edwards and I would prefer the latter to the former if I had to choose just one to release an album. Two rock efforts, a lullaby album and a collection of Christmas carols is simply not enough; especially when the artists is simply this amazing. The debut album will be discussed later. Here we will look at the sophomore release that suffered from no sophomore jinx. A little darker, more musically refined and chock full of pop music goodness, this album will go down as the greatest crime in CCM history. He should have been a rock star and this album should have made him a household name. Hell, there’s even a great wedding song and that always meant success in the early 80’s in CCM! Musically that album is a bit the Knack and a bit Billy Joel. More rock than new wave and more smart than quirky. Perhaps it was all those songs about “love” on the album that caused it’s doom; just like one sweet little lady told me when she wanted to return the album to the store I was working at by asking “what does love have to do with Jesus anyway?” Edwards walks the listener through the many feelings, struggles and circumstances that come about when love is either absent or twisted. “Anything But Love” describes how lust clouds the heart from seeing reality, while “Someone to Trust” pictured the opposite reality. It’s a great wedding and I should know, it was in mine! “The Feeling Part” addresses the mistake Christians make by not addressing the reality of romance and feelings in relationships, both with God and with one another. “How Could You Throw It All away?” should have made Edwards a star. sadly it just kicks off side 2 with a great reminder that love is worth holding on to. “Break the Big One” deals with the scar of abortion when sexual love is removed from its Biblical context of marriage. The album closes with two songs that, though not connected on the recording, are completely inseparable. “Girls Like You” expresses the anger of a broken heart and the vindictive feelings associated with being the “dumped.” Kind of like the losers version of Ben Fold’s “Song for the Dumped.” “Girls” is followed by possibly Edwards’ finest composition, “A Fools Condition.” The song recounts the story of a young (naive?) and sexually tempted boy who falls for and is captured by a dead and decaying woman who only possesses a beautiful outer appearance. Borrowing from the writings of George MacDonald (this wouldn’t be the last time), Edwards’ protagonist is consumed by the appearance and loses his soul as a result. Brilliantly conceived, wonderfully presented and utterly unforgettable. I went nearly two decades unable to listen to it until Edwards released the album himself on CD, and was singing along by the first line. This album is the definition of an AYSO!

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

Tracklist
1 – Anything But Love – 3:43
2 – Someone To Trust – 3:09
3 – The Feeling Part – 4:55
4 – Watch Over Your Heart – 3:19
5 – How Could You Throw It All Away – 4:37
6 – Break The Big One – 3:38
7 – Put Me Down – 3:06
8 – All I Want – 3:10
9 – True Confession – 2:50
10 – Girls Like You – 2:18
11 – A Fool’s Condition – 5:17

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – David Edwards
Alto Saxophone – Irv Cox
Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer], Backing Vocals, Written By, Composed By – David Edwards
Art Direction – Barbara LeVan
Backing Vocals – Randy Stonehill, Suzan Curly
Bass, Backing Vocals – John Trujillo
Cello – John Walz
Drums, Percussion – Rick Geragi
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Dan Jacob
Marimba – Guy Shiffman
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Piano – David Edwards
Producer, Keyboards, Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Barry M. Kaye
Recorded By, Mixed By – Britt Bacon
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Jay Leslie

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright – Word, Inc.
Copyright – Word, Inc.
Published By – Mountain Park Music
Published By – Dayspring Music
Recorded At – Skyline Recording
Mixed At – Skyline Recording
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. 25877

Phil & John – Count Me Out – 1983

This was the introductory album from Phil & John. It is probably one of the oddest choices for an premier album in CCM. The entire side 2 of the album is a live recording. Now this may sound like a very strange thing to do but in this case I think it was brilliant. Phil & John really did shine in their live work as they were essentially a comedy team that played music and it really set them apart frm the rest of the industry at the time. I personally love their style which on this album can be best described as 70’s Beatles. Unfortunately I did not give them the the amount of listening time they deserved in the 80’s. If you’ve never heard Phil & John live you should at least listen to side 2 of this album as it’s live where they really shine.

Tracklist
1 – Wasted Years – 2:57
2 – Teenage Millionaire – 3:13
3 – Saturday Night And Sunday Morning – 3:35
4 – You Wouldn’t Let Me Go – 3:25
5 – I Remember – 2:49
6 – Holding On – 4:16
7 – What Do You Do? – 3:10
8 – The Gnome Song – 7:06
9 – Factory Blues – 4:43
10 – Times I Find – 3:45
11 – Watch And Pray – 3:16

Koinonia – More Than A Feelin’ – 1983

This is the one that started it all for Koinonia. The band formed in 1980 and were probably one of the first Christian bands to play their particular fusion jazz style. While the band were somewhat popular in North America they were huge Scandinavia where their style of music was really well received. Personally I don’t care that much for the style but they do it well and I always appreciate well done music even if it’s not my style.

Tracklist
1 – More Than A Feelin’ – 5:29
2 – Rescue – 4:24
3 – Graceful – 4:32
4 – Cuando – 3:59
5 – Divina – 4:09
6 – Give Your Love – 5:29
7 – Valentine – 5:35
8 – Funky Bumpkins – 4:43
9 – On My Way Home – 5:31

Credits
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums, Percussion – Alex Acuña, Bill Maxwell
Engineer – Bill Schnee
Guitar – Dean Parks, Hadley Hockensmith
Keyboards – Harlan Rogers
Photography By – David Randle
Producer – Bill Schnee
Synthesizer – Michael Omartian
Vocals – Abraham Laboriel, Bill Maxwell, Harlan Rogers, Russ Taff
Woodwind – John Phillips (6), Justo Almario

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Key Of The Moment Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Breaker Records
Distributed By – MCA Distributing Corporation

Wendell Burton – Closer – 1983

This is Wendell’s 4th album. This is another album that doesn’t fall in the style I usually listen to BUT I do listen to this one. This is a great Easy Listening album and Wendell was a great song writer. Now this album came out in 1983 and I should have heard of it but somehow I don’t remember anything about it. I’m pretty sure the album cover turned me off if I did see it. This is another example of a horrible album cover that I have complained about before from several labels. Strangely a track from this album ended up on a Sparrow records sampler but the album was on Lamb & Lion Records and Word Canada. I’m just guessing that Sparrow was doing the U.S. distribution but like I said that’s just a guess. Anyway there is one stand out track to me on the album. “America” just begs to have been covered by Springsteen. But I don’t want to say the original isn’t good, it’s very good and is gong into my regular rotation.

Tracklist
1 – Spreading All Over the World – 3:52
2 – Just Like You – 3:04
3 – Who He Is – 3:24
4 – The Battle Is Already Won – 3:50
5 – Come To Me – 3:27
6 – America – 5:17
7 – Today’s The Day – 3:34
8 – Only Be Strong – 4:11
9 – Greatly Rejoice – 4:04
10 – To Be Like Jesus – 2:46

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Wendell Burton
Arranged By [Strings] – Allen Moore, Kristen Wilkinson
Backing Vocals – Christie Houser, Donna McElroy, Lynn Kellogg, Patti Burton*, Randy Thompson, Vicki Wilson
Bass – Larry Paxton, Tim Smith
Drums – Buster Phillips, Joe English
Keyboards – Bobby Wood
Keyboards, Synthesizer – John Lawry, Roger Morris, Shane Keister
Mixed By – Joe Wilson
Mixed By [Assistant] – Bill Cobb
Mixed By, Backing Vocals – Dan Collins
Percussion [Synthesized] – Dan Collins
Producer, Recorded By, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Joe Wilson
Saxophone – Donnie Sanders
Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Tom Howard

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Lamb & Lion Records
Recorded At – Master’s Touch
Mixed At – Poiema Studios
Mixed At – Martinsound
Mixed At – Glaser Sound Studios, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee

Debby Boone – Surrender – 1983

This was Debby’s seventh album and considering we’re talking about Debby Boone here it didn’t do all that well. I’ve listened to it a few times and to be honest it’s just kind of boring. I know I’m not her target audience but the album just didn’t have any punch to it. It was produced by Brown Bannister so I don’t know why it has this feel. I’ve kind of decided it was due to song selection. I think they just got unlucky and didn’t have a great track that stuck. Now lets be clear the album was popular and did sell well. I’m just saying it didn’t sell well for a Debby Boone album.

Tracklist
1 – O Come All Ye Faithful – 4:05
2 – Keep The Flame Burning – 4:42
3 – Can You Reach My Friend – 4:09
4 – Lift Him Up – 4:23
5 – Wounded Soldier – 4:59
6 – Surrender – 3:35
7 – Keep Rollin’ On – 4:05
8 – Find A Hurt And Heal It – 2:38
9 – O Holy One – 4:12
10 – Blessing – 3:05

Credits
Debby Boone – Vocals
Jim Baird – Engineer
Brown Bannister – Producer, Handclaps
Debbie Bannister – Handclaps
David Baroni – Songwriter
Laury Boone Browning – Background Vocals
Niles Borop – Songwriter
Harry Browning – Songwriter
Robbie Buchanan – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Background Vocals
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Bill Champlin – Background Vocals
Tamara Champlin – Background Vocals
Gary Chapman – Background Vocals
Claire Cloninger – Songwriter
Diana DeWitt Hanna – Background Vocals
Phil Driscoll – Duet Vocal
Nathan East – Bass
Gene Eichelberger – Engineer
Victor Feldman – Percussion
Marty Goetz – Songwriter, Piano
Richard Green – Handclaps
Debbie Hall – Background Vocals
Sandy Hall – Background Vocals
Russ Hollingsworth – Songwriter
John Houghton – Handclaps
Dann Huff – Guitars
Shane Keister – Keyboards, Synthesizers
Jim Keltner – Drums
Brent King – Engineer
Greg Laughery – Songwriter
Pam Mark Hall – Songwriter
Martyn Ford – Orchestra Strings
Dony McGuire – Songwriter, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Alan Moore – String Arranger
Farrell Morris – Percussion
Rich Mullins – Songwriter
Connie Nelson – Songwriter
Dean Parks – Guitars
Jack Joseph Puig – Engineer
Bill Purse – Songwriter
Reba Rambo – Songwriter, Background Vocals
John Rosasco – Songwriter
Rick Shlosser – Drums
Leland Sklar – Bass
Billy Sprague – Songwriter
Fred Tackett – Guitars
Carmen Twillie – Background Vocals
Jim Weber – Songwriter

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Sparrow Records
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Phil Driscoll – I Exalt Thee – 1983

I’m pretty sure we will agree that this was Phil’s most successful album. The album got a Grammy nomination for Best Male Gospel Performance and also received the 1984 GMA Dove Award for Instrumentalist of the Year. It was also nominated for the GMA Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year. That’s pretty impressive. Now one of the stranger things about this album is that Phil went back into the studio are rerecorded the entire album so he could release it on his own label. He also added a track. I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty sure this was a big screw you to Sparrow records. Anyway if you only have time to listen to one track make it his version of “Amazing Grace”. It’s actually my favorite version of this classic hymn, Phil’s voice just makes it sound so great.

Tracklist
1 – I Exalt Thee – 7:23
2 – Wings As Eagles – 5:30
3 – Let The Whole World Know – 4:05
4 – Our God Reigns – 4:36
5 – Amazing Grace – 4:10
6 – Hosanna – 4:33
7 – El Shaddai – 3:55
8 – Everlasting Life – 4:18
9 – The Lord’s Prayer – 4:49

Credits
Backing Vocals – Beverly Baxter, Donna McElroy, Lari Goss, Melodie Tunney*, Roni Goss, Sharon Scott (3), Terry Blackwood
Bass – Ricky Keller
Congas, Timbales, Percussion – Alex Acuña, Laran Philpott
Drums – Buster Phillips, Jim Keltner
Guitar – Dann Huff, Mike Deasy
Keyboards – Jerry Cleveland, Lari Goss
Producer – Lari Goss, Phil Driscoll

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Sparrow Records

Paul Field – Restless Heart – 1983

Many readers may be more familiar with Paul Field as a member of Nutshell for four albums, with two different incarnations. A very popular British folk trio, Nutshell was referred to by some as the British Second Chapter of Acts. But Field is quite the prolific songwriter, including writing a number one CCM single for pop group Avalon called “Testify to Love.” Winona Judd would actually cover song as it was used on the popular “Touched By An Angel” television series and made it a Top Ten Billboard Hit! But here we are discussing his first solo album, and the one that most may be familiar. He would later record a few other solo projects and spend much of his time writing musicals. Field is a prolific songwriter and has produced scores of albums though many reached widespread distribution in the US. Immediately “Restless Heart” sounds like it could just have easily been released by Cliff Richard. It also reminds me of the “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t” album by Richard, and not only because Richard would cover a song from this album (“Has to Be You, Has to Be Me”). Like the previously discussed Mark Williamson composition, Richard’s version is a bit more upbeat. The album kicks of with what would be the one single KYMS in Southern California really jumped on. “Rock with the Best of Them” is a fun song to start the album with a great horn section a la Chicago. If the world of CCM radio at the time had any justice, this would have been a monster hit! “Radio” follows with a much more mid-tempo feel very reminiscent of the sound for that day. Darker, more somber, I always saw the metaphor of the radio as being related to the Holy Spirit. The song always reminds me more of what the late 70’s Steve Winwood music was like. The album’s 12 songs (quite a few for the day) bounces back and forth between uptempo pop/rock and ballads. One stand out in the Loggins & Messina vein is “The Storm Is Over.” Something that perhaps Scott Wesley Brown would have done at the same time, it may be the most obviously evangelical song on the album. At the same time, it should have been a hit. The whole album is filled with great songs, but the last song I would like to highlight is the most upbeat song on the album, “Fair Fight.” This could just as easily fit on an album from Mark Williamson/Lyrix or even Morgan Cryar or David Edwards, both musically and lyrically. Never released on CD that I know of (at least in the US) and missing from virtually every streaming service (like much of early 80’s Myrrh releases), the album is worth tracking down. I have seen it for a reasonable price on Amazon and Ebay.

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

Tracklist
1 – Rock With The Best Of Them – 3:23
2 – Radio – 3:56
3 – Has To Be You, Has To Be Me – 4:42
4 – Solo – 3:48
5 – Positive – 2:57
6 – The Storm Is Over – 3:51
7 – Fairfight – 2:46
8 – Stranger In Your Eyes – 3:45
9 – Just Around The Corner – 3:04
10 – You’re The One – 5:12
11 – Nearly Midnight – 3:48
12 – Restless Heart – 3:46

Credits
Paul Field – Vocals, Guitar and Piano
Graham Jarvis – Drums
Mark Griffiths – Bass
Martin Jenner – Guitar
Dave Cooke – Piano, Keyboards, Guitar and Backing vocals
Luís Jardim – Bass
Linda Jardim – Backing vocals
Marilyn David – Backing vocals
Tom Blades – Guitar
Colin Larne – Drums
Bill Thorpe – Violin
Martin David – Percussion
Barry de Souza – Drums
Ray Russell – Guitar
Henry Lowther – Horn
Nick Pentelow – Saxophone
Nick Firkle – Trumpet
Steve Jones – Violin
Penny Thompson – Viola
Jan Sharpe – Cello

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Produced For – Friday Productions
Recorded At – Riverside Recordings
Mixed At – Riverside Recordings
Mastered At – Liberty Recording Studios
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – △26054