The Visitors – Death Of A Gunfighter – 1983

Before The Lead there was The Visitors. They self produced this 7″ in 1983. It highlights their punk roots and quite frankly I wish they would have kept this style as they were good at it and quite frankly CCM needed this style right at this time. But alas they would do punk for a few more years and then switch to thrash. But it’s fun to hear where they came from.

A – Death Of A Gunfighter – 4:06
B – I’ll Never Know – 2:38

Written-By – Julio Rey
Vocals, Bass – Peter Lopez
Vocals, Guitar – Julio Rey
Drums – Juan Carlos

Keith Green – The Prodigal Son – 1983

This is the second posthumous album from Keith Green. The highlight of the album is the track “The Prodigal Son Suite” which was part of a Rock Opera that Keith was writing but unfortunately was interrupted by his death in 1982. The album featured a multipage booklet from Keith’s Ministry “Last Days Ministry”. It details the history of Last Day’s Ministry and is actually a pretty good read. The album is typical Keith and needless to say if your a fan of his work you will love this album as it is very well produced as usual.

1 – I Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven – 3:19
2 – Lord I’m Gonna Love You – 2:46
3 – The Prodigal Son Suite – 12:03
4 – Keep All That Junk To Yourself – 3:23
5 – Open Your Eyes – 4:02
6 – Love With Me (Melody’s Song) – 3:15
7 – Only By Following Jesus – 3:10
8 – Song For Josiah – 6:12

Arranged By [Strings, Orchestra], Conductor, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Organ – Harlan Rogers
Artwork By [Art Direction, Design] – Last Days Ministries, Pretty Good Graphics
Backing Vocals – Alphanette Silas*, Howard Smith, Keith Green (2), Linda McCrary, Maxi Anderson
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Hadley Hockensmith
Co-producer – Melody Green
Engineer – Peter Granet
Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Orchestra – The London Philharmonic Orchestra
Photography – Jerry Melrose
Piano [Acoustic] – Keith Green (2)
Producer, Drums, Percussion – Bill Maxwell
Written-By – Keith Green (2) (tracks: A1 to B1, B3 to B5), Melody Green (tracks: A1, B1, B2, B4)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – MCA Distributing Corporation

Avion – Avion – 1983

A few decades before he would grace the stage nightly with country mega-star Shania Twain, guitarist and vocalist Randall Waller lead his band Avion with amazing guitars and vocals. The band would release two albums and Waller would release a solo project under the “Larry Norman Presents” banner on Tunesmith Records. In 1983 the band would release its first album on 1983 and despite great songs, top notch production and radio friendly image and music, the album just didn’t go anywhere. There are so many great songs here produced so incredibly well it becomes another one of those great frustrations in the music world. Several songs also appear on Waller’s “Midnight Fire.” Straight ahead early 80’s rock with a touch of southern rock thrown in for fans of the Eagles (Long Run), Aerosmith, Loverboy and 38 Special. I Need You, Lady of the Night and Always waiting are those that also appear on Waller’s solo album, but appear here with slightly different arrangements and significantly better production. “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” remains a favorite some 30 years later with it’s great rhythm guitar riff and sexy vocals. Waller commands the vocal stage so well it’s really amazing he never broke into the mainstream. The album can be a tough find but well worth the effort.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – I Need You – 3:51
2 – Diamond Eyes – 4:17
3 – Lady Of The Night – 2:58
4 – We Can Try – 3:24
5 – Warrior – 4:34
6 – Never Let Me Go – 4:27
7 – Where Do We Go From Here – 3:40
8 – Always Waiting – 3:32
9 – Who’s Crying Now – 3:06
10 – Once Bitten, Twice Shy – 3:19

Bass, Backing Vocals – Kendall Waller
Drums, Backing Vocals – John Waller
Guitar – Martyn Toole
Keyboards – Evan Murray
Producer – Chris Gilbey
Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Randall Waller

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – RCA Records
Copyright (c) – RCA Inc.
Distributed By – RCA Inc.
Manufactured By – RCA Inc.

Brush Arbor – I Will Follow – 1983

This was the 7th album from longtime CCM/Jesus Music band Brush Arbor. Though they released 10 albums through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s they only had two chart singles. This album includes one of them, “I Will Follow” which made it to #29. Though this album was released in 1983 the album has a distinctly 70’s sound and structure. The song’s vary from country, rock, easy listening, and bluegrass. Like I say it’s a rather typical 70’s Jesus Music album. This however isn’t a criticism, I actually enjoyed the album and the track “Praise His Name” might actually make it into my regular daily rotation. The real treat of the album however are the last 2 tracks which are live bluegrass songs. Personally I think they’re the real stand out of the album and is probably what the band did/does best.

1 – Then Came You – 3:02
2 – Have I Got A Story For You – 2:26
3 – Love Is All I Need – 3:14
4 – Praise His Name – 3:09
5 – I Will Follow – 2:56
6 – I Got You – 2:30
7 – It’s All Right – 2:48
8 – Psalm 103 – 4:05
9 – Dancin’ With The Angels – 2:00
10 – Let’s All Go Down To The River – 3:10

Arranged By – Brush Arbor, Michael Lloyd
Cover, Design – Susan K. Blatman
Engineer – Carmine Rubino
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Performer – Dale Cooper, David Rose, Jim Rice, Joe Rice, Kevin Watkins
Photography – David Randle
Producer – Michael Lloyd

Companies, etc.
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word Records Limited
Copyright (c) – Word Records Limited

Leslie Phillips – Beyond Saturday Night – 1983

Along with Julie Miller, Leslie (Sam) Phillips is the only female artist to have four albums included on this list. It was very close to five but Powder Room Politics was a deal breaker. Phillips began her career singing backing vocals for other LA based Myrrh artists like Randy Stonehill, David Edwards and Mark Heard. It was while singing backing vocals on Mark Heards classic “Victims of the Age” album that she heard the song “Heart of Hearts” that she would cover on this album and would become her first of several career hits. As much as the label would push her as the Christian Cyndi Lauper, only a few cuts from Dancing With Danger would really qualify. The only comparison was the high pitched, young girl sounding voice (similar to Julie Miller in many ways), for Leslie was more rock than pop and more lyricist than entertainer. BSN is filled with so many amazing and lasting songs that there actually no real forgettable songs. Michael Landua’s impressive guitar work (similar to Dann Huff and Steve Lukather) was unfortunately lost often in Jack Joseph Puig’s mixes. I have often wondered if the record company requested that the album be softened in the mix as it has been a constant frustration just how such impressive guitar work would be so stifled in the production. Songs like Hourglass, Heart in Me, Bring Me Through and He’s Gonna Hear You Crying deliver the rock goods that deserve a remix and remastering at some point. Phillips also proved early that she could bring a ballad with passion and transparency sorely lacking from female artists at the time. I’m Finding became a huge radio hit while the title track and Heart of Hearts show the strength of an artists that is rarely seen on a debut project. Phillips would go one to be one of the important, prominent and perplexing artist in CCM history,

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Hourglass – 3:28
2 – Gina – 3:24
3 – Put Your Heart In Me – 4:00
4 – I’m Finding – 3:23
5 – Beyond Saturday Night – 4:27
6 – Bring Me Through – 4:43
7 – Heart Of Hearts – 3:14
8 – Will They Love Him – 4:31
9 – He’s Gonna Hear You Cryin’ – 3:10
10 – Let Me Give – 3:42

Backing Vocals – Bob Carlisle, Brian Duncan, Leslie Phillips
Bass – Leland Sklar, Nathan East
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Susan Pyron
Design [Album Design] – Paradise Graphics, Paul Gross, Steve Elowe
Drums – Carlos Vega
Executive-Producer – Doug Corbin
Guitar – Michael Landau, Randy Thomas
Keyboards – John Schreiner, John Hobbs, Robbie Buchanan
Liner Notes – Davin Seay, Leslie
Mastered By – Doug Sax, Mike Reese
Photography By – Aaron Rapoport
Producer, Recorded By – Jack Joseph Puig
Synthesizer – John Schreiner, John Hobbs

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Myrrh Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – Δ25989
Published By – Word Music (2)
Published By – Cutting Edge Music
Published By – Maranatha! Music
Published By – Bug & Bear Music
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Goldmine West
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Gary Davis – Numbered Days – 1983

I simply could not find out anything about Gary Davis. I do have a bit of info on the album though. It was released by Ministry Resource Center who we’re starting to be a real powerhouse label right at the time this album was released. It appears however that it was not distributed and instead was a mail order item. The album was also initially released with the tracks incorrectly ordered on the vinyl label but subsequent releases caught this and stickers were applied to the label to correct the error. That’s all I know about this album. As far as the album goes it is an easy listening album. The lyrics and music are good, nothing outstanding but good and definitely a worthwhile listen.

1 – Lukewarm
2 – Willing Vessel
3 – Unless The Spirit
4 – The Prophet’s Warning
5 – Little By Little
6 – In Christ
7 – Numbered Days
8 – Kingdom Way
9 – Song For Those Who Thirst
10 – Guidance Song

Lead Vocals – Gary Davis
Background Vocals – Gary Davis, Bobbi Vandevort, Carla Piper, Kathy Dittmer
Piano and Rhodes – Andy Narell
Synthesizers – Frank Martin
Guitar – Steve Erquiaya
Bass – Rich Girard
Drums – Paul VanWageningen
Percussion – Kenneth Nash
Sax – Marc Ruso, Larry Schneider
Produced/Arranged – Kenneth Nash

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center

Benny Hester – Legacy – 1983

This was Benny’s best forgotten album. When I read the bio’s on Benny it always seems this album is ignored. I’m a little confused by this as it did have 2 charting singles, Legacy made it to #5, and Melody Man made it to #40. Admittedly that’s not a stunning album but a #5 single shouldn’t be ignored. I know at the time it wasn’t ignored but for some reason history has kind of forgotten about it. One thing that was odd about this album is that at the same time Michael Card came out with an album with the same name. Normally I would have considered this a rather large error but in this case Card was on a relatively smaller label and I doubt that either company knew this was going to happen. By the way The Card album was more successful but in my opinion not as good.

1 – Legacy – 4:44
2 – Closer – 4:39
3 – It Took So Long – 4:30
4 – Melody Man – 3:19
5 – Sensitive Heart – 3:28
6 – Caught Away – 5:08
7 – Out Of The Natural – 3:38
8 – Nobody’s Listening – 4:05
9 – Footprints – 3:54
10 – These Things Were Done By You – 1:53

Bass – David Coy
Concertmaster – Assa Drori
Design – Dennis Hill
Drums, Percussion – Paul Bahn
Guitar, Vocals – Benny Hester
Keyboards – Michael Omartian (tracks: A1, A3, B1, B3)
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Jeff Lams
Lead Guitar – Tony Sena
Orchestrated By, Conductor – Michael Omartian
Photography By – Aaron Rapoport
Producer – Benny Hester, John Guess
Recorded By – John Guess

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse
Made By – Garrod & Lofthouse

David Meece – Count The Cost – 1983

While I was researching this album I discovered that very few people were discussing this album. It’s almost as if people are saying “This is his 6th album” and that’s it. I’m kind of surprised because personally I think it’s probably his second best album (I think “Are You Ready?” was his best). The album is keyboard/Piano heavy which is to be expected as David Meece is a classically trained concert pianist. That said I don’t think David was comfortable with synth at this time as he had Michael W. Smith and Shane Keister step in to help in that area. The track that stands out to me is the title track. I absolutely love studio musician Jon Goin’s guitar riffs on this track. I think it would have been fun if David and Jon had tried a real Rock & Roll song as it really does sound like Jon could have handled that role. I also think David could have written some real Rock & Roll as he was an excellent songwriter and I get the feeling he enjoyed a good rock song.

1 – Gloria – 3:59
2 – Making My Life Brand New – 4:19
3 – Falling Down – 3:04
4 – Pressing On – 3:46
5 – Some People They Never Believe – 3:22
6 – Count The Cost – 2:51
7 – I Don’t Know What I’d Do Without You – 5:10
8 – Today Is The Day – 2:29
9 – And You Know It’s Right – 4:25
10 – Replace It With Your Love – 4:00

Arranged By – Alan Moore
Backing Vocals – Diana DeWitt, Donna McElroy, Gary Pigg, Jackie Cusic, Kim Fleming
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig
Engineer [Assistant] – Don Cobb
English Horn – Bobby Taylor
Executive-Producer – Dan Harrell, Michael Blanton
Flugelhorn, Trumpet [Piccolo Trumpet] – John Rommel
Guitar – Jon Goin
Keyboards, Synthesizer – Michael W. Smith, Shane Keister
Percussion – Farrell Morris
Photography By [Album Photo] – Michael Borum
Producer – Brown Bannister

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Myrrh Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – Δ 26087
Published By – Meece Music
Published By – Full Armor Publishing Co
Published By – Whole Armor Publishing Co.
Published By – Handrail Music
Published By – Meadowgreen Music Co.
Recorded At – Caribou Ranch
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – Sound Stage Studios
Remixed At – The Bennett House
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Chuck Girard – The Name Above All Names – 1983

This album marked Chuck’s departure from Good News Records and instead he created his own label for this album. That said I am guessing the experiment didn’t go well as he joined Asaph Records for his next album. Now I’m going to criticize this album but hear me out as it’s not that bad. Chuck brought in Bob Rose to help produce this album. Bob had only produced one album before this one which was Chucks The Stand album. Chuck and his wife Karen took co-producing credits and executive production credits. Quite frankly the album shows the lack of proper production. A few songs have fade ins which is generally avoided by most producers as it not generally well received. That said an occasional fade in song is good for artistic license but not so many. Further the album just doesn’t have that finished feel. Many of the song names are too long and it just doesn’t feel finished. Now that said, the songs are good and the album probably has some of his best lyrics ever. The mix is good if not polished and I noticed that Derald Dougherty gets an engineering credit on the album. So to sum up it’s a good album and my criticism should probably be initially ignored and you should listen to the album and judge it for yourself.

1 – The Name Above All Names – 4:34
2 – Kingdom Come – 4:44
3 – We Are The Righteousness Of God – 3:36
4 – Blessed Be The Name Of My Rock – 3:30
5 – Soldiers Of The Lion – 4:51
6 – Don’t Shoot The Wounded – 4:07
7 – And The Rain Came Down – 4:00
8 – Wall Of Love – 3:37
9 – Walk As I Walk – 4:05
10 – The Power And The Glory – 3:44

Arranged By, Producer – Bob Rose
Arranged By, Producer [Produced By] – Chuck Girard (tracks: B1)
Art Direction – Liza McDonald
Backing Vocals – Bili Thedford, Chuck Girard, Denny Correll, Terry Clark, Tommy Funderburk
Co-producer, Executive-Producer – Chuck Girard
Engineer – Bill Cobb
Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Derald Dougherty, Jonathan Brown
Executive-Producer – Karen Girard
Mastered By – Carol Hibbs
Mixed By [Mixdown Engineer] – Nick Van Maarth
Percussion – Burleigh Drummond
Photography By – Harry Langdon
Synthesizer – Rob Watson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Seven Thunders Records
Copyright (c) – Seven Thunders Records
Distributed By – Word Records (2)
Mastered At – K Disc Mastering
Recorded At – Poiema Studios
Recorded At – Baby’O Recorders
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios

Mike Warnke – Growing Up – 1983

The humour continues as Mike is joined by his wife, at the time, for his 7th 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 – Jim Osborn
Engineer – Malcolm Harper
Mastered By – Hank Williams (2)
Photography By – Mark Tucker (7)
Producer, Edited By, Remix – Neal Joseph

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Published By – Warnke Publishing Co.
Published By – Prime Time Music (2)
Recorded At – Will Rogers Auditorium
Recorded By – Reelsound
Edited At – Bullet Recording
Remixed At – Bullet Recording
Mastered At – Mastermix