Prodigal – Electric Eye – 1984

In 1982 I was a Junior in High School and had a subscription to Campus Life Magazine. One day I saw an ad for a brand new band called Prodigal that sported a very cool cover, which was a take off on Escher’s famous painting. But what was even better was that there was a pull out single for the band attached to the center of the magazine. These were all the rage during the 1970’s and often found included inside cereal boxes or even attached to the cardboard of those same cereal boxes. You had to take the very flimsy plastic disc, place it on top of a solid LP and then you could play the single. That was the first of three Prodigal releases, and all three made this list. That band was that damned good. probably better than we even realize. Prodigal is easily the most overlooked and unsung band in CCM history…PERIOD! The type of innovation already noted was what fans could expect from the band Prodigal during their short-lived three record existence. Their innovations also included being the first recipient of the Dove Award for “Video of the Year.” They were one of the few bands that continued to invest in the fledgling video marketing promotional support creating several videos per release. And even for the album in question there was what is called a “stop groove” at the end of the side 2 and a “hidden bonus track” of sorts which contained a computer code for the old Commodore 64 computer. Using a cassette drive a person could get bonus information about the album along with photos and lyrics. This may have become common with the invent of compact discs, but this was totally revolutionary in 1984. All three of their album covers were spectacular. But it was the content, both musically and lyrically, that set Prodigal above their peers for the time. Where other artist bemoaned the struggles, pain and realities of life on this spinning globe, Prodigal placed themselves within that reality and expressed those struggles from one who is intimately aware and experienced with those struggles. Where the first album stayed along the musical lines of Steely Dan and the Eagles, it was with “Electric Eye” the band became very current, and dare I say, cutting edge. Guitar driven rock and new wave synth pop merged to create a sound that was uniquely Prodigal while immediately familiar and memorable. Driving keyboard and bass that for some reason reminds me of the music from the “St. Elmo’s Fire” soundtrack. Also another unique feature is the use of three different lead singers with duties distributed according to musical style. The content on “Electric Eye” is beautifully portrayed on the album cover shown above. We have surrounded ourselves with so much to entertain us and consume our time that the difference between reality and artificial are not just blurred but rather the artificial begins to be more “real.” Note how the actual lightning through the window is faded and bland while the same lightning shown on the television set is vibrant and exiting. This is expressed in different ways on the album along with a host of other topics that are both poignant and eternal. Even the recording process was experimental. The album was recorded in an abandoned Catholic Girls school in Cincinnati using a mobile recording system built into a motor home. Band members would move from room to room to create a different acoustic sound to discover the best fit for a particular song. Lead vocalist and band leader Loyd Boldman told me that at the time the band (especially himself) was listening a lot to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and “The River” as well as Daniel Amos and Michael Omartian. These influences shade and nuance much of what makes this record so amazing. With the knowledge guitar parts, vocal styles and overall production results make sense. The goal was to create a larger, less polished and precise studio album that the debut was. In that area the band succeeded with flying colors.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Scene Of The Crime – 4:44
2 – Fast Forward – 4:43
3 – Masks – 4:05
4 – Just What I Need – 3:08
5 – Emerald City – 3:23
6 – Electric Eye – 5:00
7 – Bobby – 3:18
8 – Shout It Out – 3:25
9 – Neon – 5:15
10 – Boxes – 3:35

Arranged By – Prodigal
Artwork [Additional] – A.I.R. Studio
Bass – Mike Wilson
Design [Cover] – Dave Workman, Loyd Boldman
Design Concept [Cover] – Loyd Boldman
Drums, Vocals – Dave Workman
Effects [Special Sound FX] – Gary (Platinum) Platt
Engineer [Assistants] – Brad Kuenning, Paul Thompson, Rytt Hershberg
Graphics [Additional] – The Malone Group
Guitar, Vocals – Rick Fields
Keyboards, Vocals – Loyd Boldman
Mastered By – Mike Fuller
Mixed By [Additional Overdubs, Final Mixdown] – Gary Platt
Photography By [Back Cover] – Luther Blue
Photography By [Cover] – Gary Kessler
Producer – Jon Phelps
Recorded By – Greg McNeily
Sounds, Engineer [Concert Sound] – Paul Thompson
Written-By – Workman (tracks: A4, B5), Boldman (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B4)

Companies, etc.
Recorded By – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Mixed At – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Engineered At – Moonlight Sound
Mastered At – Criteria Recording Studios
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Published By – Between The Lines Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Heartland Records Company
Copyright (c) – Heartland Records Company

Michael W. Smith – Michael W. Smith 2 – 1984

This is the follow up album to Michael’s very successful first album. He picks right up where the first album left off and had 2 top 10 CCM chart singles. “Hosanna” climbed to #2 and “I Am Sure” made it to #8. Strangely only one of the songs on this album were written by his wife Debbie who cowrote most of the songs on his first album. Instead Mike Hudson, Gary Chapman, and Amy Grant stepped in to do most of the cowriting. Personally I think his wife’s writing was better but hey, what do I know. Anyway the album follows his pattern of keyboard oriented easy listening pop tunes very similar to his first album. Smith also received the Grammy Award for Best Male Gospel Performance for 1985 based on this album. Sometimes this one gets overlooked by CCM fans of the 80’s so if you missed it be sure to give it a listen now.

1 – A Way – 3:50
2 – I Am Sure – 4:42
3 – End Of The Book – 4:08
4 – I’m Up – 3:11
5 – Glorious Grace – 3:26
6 – Musical Instruments – 1:05
7 – Restless Heart – 4:59
8 – All I Needed To Say – 4:21
9 – Wings Of The Wind – 4:14
10 – Hosanna – 2:30

Jim Baird – Additional Engineer
Brown Bannister – Vocal Production
Michael Blanton – Executive Producer
Mike Brignardello – Bass, Mini Moog
Lenny Castro – Percussion
Gary Chapman – Songwriter, Background Vocals
Don Cobb – Additional Engineer
Jackie Cusic – Background Vocals
Ron Downey – Background Vocals
Dave Durham – Background Vocals
Teresa Ellis – Background Vocals
Bridgette Evans – Background Vocals
Steve Ford – Additional Engineer
Amy Grant – Songwriter, Background Vocals
Mark Hammond – Simmons Drums, Roland Drum Machine
Dan Harrell – Executive Producer
Chris Harris – Background Vocals
Jan Harris – Background Vocals
Mike Hudson – Songwriter
Dann Huff – Guitars
Shane Keister – Synthesizers, Vocoder, Piano, Background Vocals
Paul Leim – Drums, Linn Drums
Tim Marsh – Songwriter
Stephen McAlister – Additional Engineer
Gary Pigg – Background Vocals
Mike Psanos – Additional Engineer
Jack Joseph Puig – Engineer, Mixed
Leland Sklar – Bass
Deborah D. Smith – Songwriter
Kimberly Smith – Background Vocals
Michael W. Smith – Producer, Songwriter, Synthesizers, Vocoder, Piano, Vocals
Dave Thornton – Background Vocals

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Reunion Records
Copyright (c) – Reunion Records
Manufactured By – Uni Distribution Corp.
Distributed By – Uni Distribution Corp.
Glass Mastered At – DADC
Pressed By – Digital Audio Disc Corp.

Philip Bailey – The Wonders Of His Love – 1984

Most reviews of this period of Philip Bailey refer to him as an ex member of Earth, Wind & Fire. That’s not true as Bailey worked with EW&F well into the late 90’s. Now that I have that out of the way this was Bailey’s second solo album. He did parallel releases on both secular and Christian albums through the 80’s. I think it can be said that this was his biggest album on the Christian side of his career. It had 3 CCM singles with “I Will No Wise Cast You Out” making it to #4 despite it’s rather oddly grammered title. “The Wonders Of His Love” and “He Don’t Lie” both singled in the 20’s. This album was not my style in the 80’s so I don’t think I ever intentionally listened to it. Now that I have matured I can say that this is a very good album. Bailey’s high tenor voice is exceptional and not many can match his vocal quality. The song writing is also very good, not exceptional but very good. His vocals are just so strong that it makes any lyrical shortcomings irrelevant. If you skipped this one in the 80’s because R & B wasn’t your style give it a listen now. In fact I wouldn’t even say it’s a R & B album. Give it a listen and tell me how you would classify it, I decided it is Pop.

1 – I Will No Wise Cast You Out – 4:41
2 – I Want To Know You – 4:32
3 – God Is Love – 4:58
4 – Sing A New Song – 4:58
5 – Safe In God’s Love – 3:45
6 – I Am Gold – 5:04
7 – He Don’t Lie – 4:59
8 – The Wonders Of His Love – 5:05
9 – Make Us One – 5:47

Arranged By [Horn] – Jerry Peters (tracks: A1, B1, B4)
Arranged By [String] – Jerry Peters (tracks: A1, B1, B2, B4)
Arranged By [Synthesizer] – Leonard Caston (tracks: A5)
Backing Vocals – Carl Carwell (tracks: A1 to B2, B4), Carolyn Caston (tracks: A3, A5), Greg Walker (tracks: A4, B1, B4), Gwen Brown (tracks: A4, B1, B4), Jeanette Hawes (tracks: A1 to B1, B4), Julia Tillman (tracks: A4, B1, B4), Leonard Caston (tracks: A3, A5), Margeret Briggs (tracks: A4, B1)
Bass – Freddie Washington (tracks: A4, B1), James Jamerson, Jr. (tracks: A1, A3, A5, B2, B4)
Concertmaster – Charles Veal
Drums – Jerry Brown
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig
Engineer [Second @ Bill Schnee] – David Schober
Engineer [Second @ Hollywood], Mixed By – Ross Pallone
Engineer [Second @ Mama Jo’s] – Steven Ford
Guitar – Paul Jackson, Jr. (tracks: A1, A3 to B3)
Keyboards – Charles Williams (tracks: B1, B4), George Duke (tracks: A2, B3), Skip Scarborough (tracks: A1, B2)
Keyboards, Organ – Jerry Peters (tracks: A3, A4)
Mixed By [Second Engineer] – Mike Wuellner
Percussion – Paulinho DaCosta (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B3), Ralph Johnson (tracks: A3, B2)
Producer, Backing Vocals – Philip Bailey
Synthesizer – Alan Pasqua (tracks: A1, A5, B2, B4)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Recorded At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mixed At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – △26563

Leon Patillo – The Sky’s The Limit – 1984

Throughout the history of CCM many artists made their way over from secular music to Christian Music. Barry McGuire, Joe English, Bonnie Bramlett and a host of others. But few ever reached the critical mass success as former Santana lead vocalist, Leon Patillo. Patillo got his start in the late 60’s as the focal point of the funk band, Creation. He would later work with Martha & the Vandellas as well as with George Clinton’s Funkadelic. His greatest success would come during an eight year stint with guitar god, Santana. Patillo would leave Santana in 1981 to begin a Christian music solo career. Each of his first three studio album would contain a few CCM classic, but were never stellar projects from beginning ’til end until the release of “The Sky’s the Limit.” Earlier releases would contain monster hits like Dance Children Dance, Flesh of My Flesh and Cornerstone, but here Patillo sparkles from beginning to end. The album contains several top hits including J.E.S.U.S., the title track, “I’ve Heard the Thunder, Love Calling and his second hugely popular wedding song, Security. Several of the more upbeat tunes were often “re-mixed” into extended dances versions that were immensely popular at the time. No Christian roller skate night was ever complete without the extended version of J.E.S.U.S.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – I’ve Heard The Thunder – 4:04
2 – Security – 4:04
3 – Life Is What You Make It – 3:57
4 – Come To Receive – 3:28
5 – J.E.S.U.S. – 3:58
6 – Love Calling – 4:30
7 – Fear Not – 4:07
8 – Sing Unto The Lord – 4:25
9 – The Sky’s The Limit – :43
10 – Small Still Voice – 4:27

Art Direction – Dennis Hill
Backing Vocals – Donn Thomas, Elisecia Wright, LaVoughn Thomas, Linda Evans
Concept By [Album Cover] – Jackie Patillo
Engineer [Assistant] – Biff Vincent
Photography By, Concept By [Album Cover] – Alan Bergman
Producer, Composed By, Drums, Bass, Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Synthesizer [Obx-a, Emulator, Dx7, Lynn Drum, Dmx, Simmons], Programmed By [Synthesizers], Lead Vocals – Leon Patillo
Producer, Programmed By [Synthesizer], Engineer, Mixed By – Skip Konte

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Front Page Recorders
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.


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The Call – Scene Beyond Dreams – 1984

This was the third album from The Call and my personal favourite. It has a pretty distinct change in style from “Modern Romans” and at the time this was a style I was a huge fan of. This style is not really my favourite anymore but this album is still in my top 100. I was a bit surprised while researching this album that the title track single didn’t make the charts. I was further surprised that the album only made it to #204 in the U.S. I was a DJ in Canada and this album was huge, I remember playing it like crazy. I know it must have singled pretty strong in Canada but I couldn’t find the charts to confirm. Commonly referred to as their “metaphysical” album this is one you should listen to again.

1 – Scene Beyond Dreams – 3:47
2 – The Burden – 3:34
3 – Tremble – 4:01
4 – Delivered – 4:03
5 – Heavy Hand – 3:23
6 – Promise And Threat – 4:30
7 – One Life Leads To Another – 4:38
8 – Apocalypse – 1:46
9 – Notified – 2:58

Art Direction, Design – Ria Lewerke
Bass, Vocals – Joe Read
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Scott Musick
Engineer – Dave Jerden
Engineer [assistent] – Carolyn Collins
Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Lead Vocals – Michael Been
Guitar, Vocals – Tom Ferrier
Keyboards – Jim Goodwin
Photography – Moshe Brakha
Producer – Michael Been, The Call
Written-By – Michael Been, Peter Lewis

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – PolyGram Records, Inc.
Marketed By – PolyGram Records, Inc.
Recorded At – Eldorado Recording Studios
Pressed By – Hauppauge Record Manufacturing Ltd.

Philadelphia – Tell The Truth – 1984

This was the first album from Philadelphia who were out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Apparently the band had been together for quite some time at this point (1984) and actually started in the late 70’s as a secular band. When I was researching this album I was surprised at the reviews. It seems like some people loved the album and some just liked it and a few definitely did not like it. I usually don’t see such a variety of opinions on an album. Well I fall in the like it to love it category. I know I would have loved this album in 1984 but I doubt it ever made it anywhere near Canada so I would never have heard it. Yes I agree with others that the production is thin but I can forgive that because I think the writing is excellent. There is an 8:43 song which I feel is a little over the top but it’s an OK listen. My favourite track is actually the one most people seem to hate. “No Time For Honey” definitely will make my regular rotation playlist, probably once a week.

1 – Tell The Truth – 4:53
2 – Livin’ In Love – 5:26
3 – No Time For Honey – 3:26
4 – No Compromise – 4:01
5 – Razor’s Edge – 5:01
6 – The Life Inside – 3:07
7 – New Jerusalem – 8:43

Bass, Vocals – Brian Clark
Drums – Brian Martini
Executive Producer – Bill Bafford
Guitar – Phil Scholling, Ronn Flowers
Layout, Design – Scott Waters

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Patmos Records
Manufactured By – Patmos Records
Distributed By – Patmos Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Patmos Records
Copyright © – Moona Music Company

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Dennis Agajanian – Where Are The Heroes – 1984

Produced by Terry Talbot, this 1984 outing from Dennis is a different sort of foray into Country music. It includes two songs written by Steve Camp, and one co-written by Dennis and Terry Talbot. There is also a pseudo-country version of Bach’s Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring. Dennis has been referred to as a “guitar virtuoso” and this is a demonstration of why. In general, this album has a lot more prominent guitar work than earlier releases like Rebel To The Wrong. Backing vocalists on this album include Dennis Agajanian, Julie Miller, Matthew Ward, and Terry Talbot. Over a career spanning around 30 years, Dennis released over a dozen albums and spent some significant time contributing to Billy Graham crusades. This record has all the polish you would expect from a Terry Talbot project, and a smooth sounding Nashville country sound.

1 – If You Say – 2:37
2 – Via Dolorosa – 4:36
3 – Where Are The Heroes – 4:20
4 – The Tongue Is A Fire – 4:32
5 – Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring – 2:54
6 – She’s A Servant (Single And Living Alone) – 2:55
7 – Goodbye Old Man – 3:32
8 – Colleen’s Pirouette – 2:48
9 – I Will Never Leave You – 3:36
10 – All That I Am – 2:52

Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals – Dennis Agajanian
Backing Vocals – Julie Miller, Matthew Ward
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Scott Parish (tracks: A5)
Drums – Bill Maxwell
Electric Guitar – Michael Thompson
Keyboards – Dennis Bouchard*
Mastered By – Ken Pennell, Steve Hall
Mixed By – Ron Capone
Producer, Backing Vocals, Mixed By, Acoustic Guitar – Terry Talbot
Recorded By [@ Poiema] – Bill Cobb
Recorded By [@ Westwind] – Ron Capone

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Record Company – Sparrow Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Birdwing Music
Copyright (c) – Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.
Copyright (c) – Paragon Music Corp.
Recorded At – Poiema Studios
Recorded At – Westwind Studio
Mastered At – Future Disc

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Messiah Prophet Band – Rock The Flock – 1984

Metal done just right. The album starts out with a perfect 1984 hard rock anthem, “Rock The Flock.” Along with some melodic metal tunes like “Labor of Love” this album keeps the pace up all the way through. The band’s strong vocals, bold drumming and continuous guitar flourishes make a nice blend. This was the first of only two albums the band put out in the 80s. Although there was room for more, we got all there was of MPB.

1 – Rock the Flock – 3:36
2 – Labor of Love – 3:46
3 – Try to Understand – 4:44
4 – Travel the Rough Road – 4:08
5 – Why Must You Run – 5:34
6 – To the Rock – 3:55
7 – Answer Our Call – 5:21
8 – Riding Out the Storm – 4:50
9 – Sing – 7:09

Charlie Clark – Songwriter, Lead Vocals
Rob Clark – Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Vocals
Dave Daubert – Drums, Vocals
Dean Pellman – Songwriter, Bass, Vocals
Andy Strauss – Songwriter, Lead Guitar, Vocals
Cedric Winters – Engineer
Jim Zimmerman – Producer


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Scott Roley – Within My Reach – 1984

This was Scott’s first solo album and it was a great one. Scott had been a member of the 70’s group Asian and early 80’s group City Limits. This time Scott was joined at Stage III Studios by several top musicians including, the Huff brothers, Phil Madeira, Gary Lunn, and many others. This was some of the greatest headliners and studio musicians of the time. The album shows this talent with it’s Pop / AOR sound. I missed this one in the 80’s and am sure glad I found it now. The album single was “Within My Reach” but I prefer “Mansion Of Opinion” but the album is all great tunes, no dogs on here.

1 – Against The Tide – 3:47
2 – Living In Your Love – 3:14
3 – Satan’s Tragedy – 5:13
4 – Wounded Healer – 3:37
5 – The Messiah – 3:08
6 – Crash The Prom – 2:56
7 – Really Fine Job – 3:27
8 – Pleasure Planet – 3:20
9 – Mansion Of Opinion – 3:45
10 – Within My Reach – 3:15

Arranged By – Bill Deaton, Phil Madeira, Scott Roley
Artwork – Jeff Spencer
Bass – Gary Lunn, Duncan Mullins
Drums – David Huff, John Hammond
Executive-Producer – Bob MacKenzie, Ray Nenow
Guitar – Scott Roley, Bill Deaton, Greg Jennings, Larry Chaney, Gordon Kennedy
Harmonica – Scott Roley
Keyboards – Phil Madeira
Mandolin – James Isaac Elliott
Mixed By – Bill Deaton
Percussion – David Huff, Scott Roley, Lisa Cates
Photography By – Tommy Greer
Piano – Phil Madeira
Producer – Bill Deaton, Scott Roley
Recorded By – Bill Deaton
Vocals – Scott Roley
Written-By – Mark Chesshir, Scott Roley, Van Stephenson, Tom Douglas, John Thompson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Refuge Records
Copyright (c) – Refuge Records
Published By – Rainy Roley Music
Published By – Stage III Music
Published By – ATV Music
Published By – Warner Bros. Music
Published By – Little Dude Music
Published By – S.C.L. Music
Published By – Saddleshoe Publishing
Published By – Whole Armor Publishing Co.
Record Company – Refuge Record Company
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Lacquer Cut At – Masterfonics

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Koinonia – Celebration – 1984

While not that well known in North America Koinonia was very very popular in Scandinavia. This concert is a testament to their popularity as it was recorded at Scandinavium in Göteborg, Sweden in front of a crowd of about 14,000 people. Now even if you’re not a fan of their Jazz Fusion style you should check out track 6 “Sno-Cone” as it is a blues jam style track, and it is very very good. Other than that the album is Jazz Fusion as I said and Koinonia are the masters of this style.

1 – Pilgrim’s Progression – 6:55
2 – Hidden Beauty – 4:40
3 – Agapao – 1:34
4 – Celebration – 6:25
5 – Countin’ The Cost – 6:38
6 – Sno-Cone – 5:18
7 – From You – 4:54
8 – Goodbye – Means God Be With You – 5:28
9 – All The Time – 4:17
10 – Miracle – 4:20

Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums, Percussion – Alex Acuña, Bill Maxwell
Engineer – Keith Grant, Win Kutz
Engineer [Assistant] – Agne Thorstensson, Lennart Nilsson, Ray Leonard, Steve Ford, Todd Van Etten
Guitar – Hadley Hockensmith
Keyboards – Harlan Rogers
Mastered By – Pounda, Steve Hall
Producer – Koinonia
Vocals – Abraham Laboriel
Woodwind – Justo Almario

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Scandinavium
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright (c) – The Sparrow Corporation
Mastered At – Future Disc
Mastered At – Tape One
Mixed At – Mama Jo’s
Mixed At – Sound City Studios
Distributed By – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Printed By – Shorewood Packaging Co. Ltd.