Rick Riso – Gotta Have The Real Thing – 1985

Rick Riso was the lead singer for Messenger in the 70’s who released 2 albums the last in 1978. Rick then disappeared until this album showed up in 1985. The style is similar to Messenger with a funk feel/sound. As I mentioned on my review of a Messenger album I really can’t find out much about Rick. There just isn’t any info on him. This is a little odd as this album had a top 10 single. “Gotta Have The Real Thing” made it to #10 in October of 85 and even stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. So I’ll have to leave the review at that. This is a fun funk pop album and deserves a listen.

1 – Don’t Let It Fool You – 4:16
2 – Remember Me – 4:32
3 – Gotta Have The Real Thing – 4:00
4 – He Is Willing – 3:43
5 – I Only Wanna Follow You – 4:12
6 – Take A Stand And Fight – 4:23
7 – Your Loving Hands – 3:49
8 – Armor Of The Lord – 4:21
9 – Each Moment Of My Life – 3:54
10 – Worship You – 3:56

Backing Vocals – Donny Henderson
Bass – Dave Marotta, Leon Gaer
Bass, Backing Vocals – Tim Jaquette
Drums – Dave Spurr, John Ferraro
Engineer, Mixed By – Tim Jaquette
Executive Producer – Chris Christian
Guitar – Carl Verheyen, Carlos Rios
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Bob Somma
Harmony Vocals – Alexa Anatasia
Keyboards, Arranged By – Bill Meyers, Mark Levang
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Percussion – Paul Bahn
Producer, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Songwriter – Rick Riso
Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Songwriter – Joey Arreguin
Synthesizer – Marc Hugenberger
Synthesizer, Backing Vocals, Arranged By, Keyboards – Brad Cole
Trumpet – Walt Fowler

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Studio Masters
Mixed At – Studio Masters
Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering

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The English Band – What You Need – 1985

The best of all of Joe English’s contribution to the world of CCM was also his last. There was band name from The Joe English Band to just The English band and a decidedly much more contemporary sound than the previous albums that seemed dated, even by the standard of the day, despite having some wonderful songs and killer production attached to them. Joe English entered the Christian Music world with a bang with name recognition high as the drummer for the band Wings of Paul McCartney fame. After producing a few pop albums in a distinctly 70’s feel there was clear need for a change. That change came in the form of a new label, new musical direction as well as the previously mentioned band name change. More “modern” sounds with heavier guitars, bigger and glossier production, electronic drums (a thankfully short lived music experiment in the world of music) and more contemporary musical arrangements made the album a pretty big hit with several Top 10 radio hits. His back up band were an amazing group of musicians that also recorded a solo record of their own under the name Forerunner with former Petra member John Lawry handling the vocals. What You Need, The Master, Yield to the Spirit and Children of the Light are all stand outs. It may be difficult for some to listen to the album now is it was clearly impacted by the sound of the day and does not translate as well as other album. But for the time the album was a standard. The musical direction also impacted groups like the Imperials. English would return to do a solo album a few years later that did not make a dent. He then simply disappeared and was unable to continue drumming due to some physical ailments regarding his ankles. He has also recently been seen filming a video for a questionable and controversial Church in the south where he denounces his years in CCM as a fraud, claiming to have never been a Christian during those days.

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

1 – What You Need – 3:33
2 – The Master – 3:38
3 – Take the Cross – 4:05
4 – The First Stone – 3:10
5 – Easy Street – 3:13
6 – I Will Follow You – 3:51
7 – Yield to the Spirit – 3:52
8 – The Joy of the Lord – 4:12
9 – Children of the Light – 3:29
10 – Through the Veil – 2:22

Kim Boyce – Background Vocals
Paul Brannon – Songwriter, Bass, Guitar
Steve Camp – Songwriter
George Cocchini – Producer, Songwriter, Guitars, Bass
Rick Crawford – Songwriter
James Isaac Elliott – Songwriter
Joe English – Producer, Songwriter, Drums, Vocals
Glen Allen Green – Songwriter, Background Vocals
Monroe Jones – Songwriter
Chris McCollum – Songwriter
Paul Mills – Songwriter, Keyboards, Synclavier
Justin Peters – Songwriter
Brian Tankersley – Producer, Engineer, Mixed, Background Vocals
Becky Thurman – Songwriter
Geoff Thurman – Songwriter
David Zycheck – Background Vocals

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – GMB
Distributed By – Nye Toner / Teovision
Distributed By – Finngospel
Distributed By – Sephora Diffusion
Distributed By – Emmaul
Distributed By – GMI Records
Distributed By – Filadelfia Forlag
Distributed By – La Sorgente Music
Distributed By – Master Music
Distributed By – Grace Music
Distributed By – Master-Vision-S.A.
Distributed By – Leon Music A.B.
Distributed By – Kir Music
Distributed By – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Distributed By – Pila Music
Engineered At – Rivendell Recorders
Mixed At – Rivendell Recorders

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Michael Hart – True – 1985

This is a micro Canadian release album. In fact it was so micro that we never heard of the artist or the album and we’re Canadian. That said the producer was Roy Salmond who you may not recognize but I can guarantee you have heard his productions as he was one of the best producers of the era. He was also very influential in Canadian music circles and I’m sure it’s that influence that helped supply the excellent lineup of studio musicians for this album. In fact the drummer, Phil Robertson, was the drummer for Idle Eyes who were a very big Canadian secular band at the time. Anyway, let’s talk about the album. It’s a solid Pop offering with some quirky spots here and there and several tracks almost have a calypso fell/sound. This is an album that could have done well but it was stuck on the Producers micro label and I don’t even think it had a distribution deal. Too bad cause it’s a pretty good album.

1 – True – 3:23
2 – Beachcomber – 3:57
3 – Small Voice – 4:00
4 – Robin’s Song – 4:30
5 – Waterfall – 2:59
6 – Blackbeard’s Gold – 3:13
7 – Peter Was A Fisherman – 4:02
8 – Wings Of Your Love – 3:12
9 – Hear The Lord – 2:37
10 – 2,000 Years – 4:16

Alto Saxophone – Bill Runge
Backing Vocals – Pattie Howard, Rebecca Kemery
Bass – Miles Hill
Drums, Percussion – Phil Robertson
Electric Guitar – Brett Wade, Dane DeViller
Engineer, Mixed By – Don Ramos (tracks: Don Raymus)
Flute – Mark Dowding
Keyboards – Dave Pickell
Percussion – Darryl Bennet
Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Composed By – Michael Hart
Producer, Synthesizer, Piano – Roy Salmond

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Profile Sound Studios
Published By – Riverbed Publishing Co.

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Mark Heard – Mosaics – 1985

Mosaics is another folk-rock sounding album from Mark, a style he settled solidly into after releasing some softer, almost country albums and a few rock albums. This blend suited his creativity well. After this album he had a five year gap before putting out another one. Mark recorded few songs that were not his own writing, so this album stands out with a version of T Bone Burnett’s “Power Of Love.” It’s a pretty close cover of the original on T Bone’s 1980 album “Truth Decay.” An interesting coincidence with the T Bone cover is the appearance of David Mansfield playing lead guitar on four of the tracks on this album. However, David is not credited on “Power of Love” despite having played with T Bone on his albums, as well as their work together in Alpha Band and on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. As always, Mark was able to attract top level musicians to his project. It seems like everyone wanted to work with him and the results suggest the reason why. Leslie Phillips (aka Sam Phillips) appears on backing vocals on a few tracks, Tom Howard plays keys on several tracks, and John Mehler adds his drumming to make this another all-star cast project.

1 – With Broken Wings – 4:23
2 – Schizophrenia – 3:48
3 – All Is Not Lost – 3:05
4 – Heart On The Line – 4:08
5 – He Plays The Game – 3:20
6 – The Golden Age – 4:08
7 – The Power Of Love – 3:42
8 – I Want You – 4:04
9 – It Will Not Be Like This Forever – 4:18
10 – Miracle – 4:58

Arranged By – Mark Heard
Backing Vocals – Dave de Coup-Crank (tracks: 2), Dori Howard (tracks: 10), Leslie Phillips (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Mark Heard
Bass – Bill Batstone (tracks: 4)
Cover [Front Cover Concept] – Tim Alderson
Design, Illustration [Computer Art] – Mark Heard
Drums – John Mehler (tracks: 1-6, 8, 9)
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass, Lead Vocals – Mark Heard
Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – David McSparran (tracks: 7, 9)
Engineer, Mixed By – Mark Heard
Harmonica – Buddy Rufus Greene (tracks: 3, 6)
Lead Guitar – David Mansfield (tracks: 2, 4, 8, 9)
Organ – Barry Kaye (tracks: 9)
Percussion, Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – Harry Stinson
Photography By – Stewart Ivester
Producer – Mark Heard
Synthesizer – Tom Howard (tracks: 2, 3, 6)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word Ltd.
Printed By – Shorewood Packaging Co. Ltd.
Recorded At – Fingerprint Recorders
Mixed At – Fingerprint Recorders

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David Eastman – The Hands of God – 1985

Here’s another one I found while rooting around through the Refuge Records library. I have never heard of Eastman and really can’t find much info on him. This appears to have been his only album. I do know that he is a keyboard player and that he has appeared on a few (very few) albums as a studio musician. So lets talk about the album. It’s actually a really good album. It is keyboard heavy but good keyboards. some of the tracks have a bit of a funk feel to them but essentially this is a Pop album. It’s actually really good production and I’m somewhat surprised it didn’t do better. Give a listen for a fun 45 min’s of Pop.

1 – The Hands Of God – 3:35
2 – Remember I’m Coming Back Soon – 5:11
3 – Something To Believe In – 5:55
4 – Let All Israel Rejoice – 3:41
5 – The Power Of Love – 3:49
6 – Don’t Stop Don’t Give Up – 4:19
7 – Time Steals By – 3:13
8 – Resurrection Day – 4:11
9 – You Came Along – 3:25
10 – I’m Forgiven – 5:15
11 – The Hands Of God (Reprise) – 1:10

Artwork – Specs Art Agency
Engineer – Dave Aston, Derek Murray, Neil Costello
Engineer [Assistant] – Peter ‘Masher’ Morgan
Engineer [Mixdown] – Andy Kidd
Executive-Producer, Artwork [Sleeve Concept] – John Paculabo
Illustration – Peter Geissler
Producer – Les Moir
Producer, Artwork [Sleeve Concept] – David Eastman
Written-By, Arranged By – David Eastman

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Window Records
Copyright (c) – Window Records
Recorded At – ICC Studios
Recorded At – Chapel Lane Studios
Mixed At – Secret Studios, Belfast
Designed At – Specs Art Agency

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Tom Howard & Bill Batstone – One By One – 1985

Some of the old gang from Solid Rock got together for this one minus Larry of course. Bill Batstone had helped out as a studio musician on several early Solid Rock projects and someone had the vision of him and Tom Howard doing an album. Excellent vision. This album works just perfect. Tom and Bill take turns on lead vocals and it works. The album has an excellent flow and their vocals compliment each other. The album was mixed by Mark Heard at his studio and the mix is perfect, but we came to expect that of Mark. The album is a mix of easy listening and light rock but their is something here for everyone. It’s a great rounded album and it definitely deserves a listen.

1 – When The Curtain Falls – 3:42
2 – Storm Moving On – 3:23
3 – Night And Day – 4:04
4 – Think On These Things – 3:53
5 – Heart of a Fool (Psalm 4) – 3:40
6 – Your Constant Love – 3:27
7 – He Took The Form Of Man – 3:23
8 – The Best Thing – 3:33
9 – Show Me The Shepherd – 4:43
10 – And He Heard Them Sing – 4:47

Arranged By – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard
Art Direction – Tim Alderson
Drums [Drum Overdubs] – David Raven
Engineer – Mark Heard
Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming [DMX] – Bill Batstone
Keyboards – Tom Howard
Mixed By – Mark Heard
Percussion – Harry Stinson
Photography By – Stewart Ivester
Producer – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard
Vocals – Bill Batstone, Tom Howard

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – A&S Records
Copyright © – A&S Records
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
Recorded At – Fingerprint Recorders
Mixed At – Fingerprint Recorders

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Glen Allen Green – A Living Fire – 1985

This was the first of 2 albums from Glen Allen Green. I can’t really find much information on Glen but I do know that this album was pretty popular. The album was released on Chris Christian’s Home Sweet Home Records and Chris took the title of executive producer though the album was produced by Keith Thomas. The album is your typical 80’s pop album but it is well done and I’m sure it was one of those albums that could bridge the gap between teens and middle aged music lovers. Give it a listen, it deserves it.

1 – A Living Fire – 4:17
2 – The Dance – 4:00
3 – Mirror Of My Heart – 4:24
4 – Forevermore – 4:19
5 – Beyond The Door – 4:48
6 – Run – 3:59
7 – Blessed Be The Lord – 4:32
8 – Jezebel – 3:58
9 – The Beauty Of His Love – 4:07
10 – Jesus Shall Reign – 3:20

Art Direction, Design – Kent Hunter
Backing Vocals – Denny Henson, Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Bass [Moog Bass] – Keith Thomas
Choir – Bonnie Keen, Brett Perry, Celeste Hammond, David Martin, David Pierce, David Ramsey, Dawn Rogers, Jim Foster, Keith Thomas, Lee Ann Ramsey, Lori Lee Loving, McLauren Pearman, Mel Tunney, Pam Mark Hall, Pete Calson, Richard Headen, Rick Cua, Teri Headen
Directed By – Bruce Koblish
Drums – Dennis Holt
Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Glen Allen Green
Engineer [Assistant] – Brett Perry
Executive-Producer – Chris Christian
Guitar – Gregg Jennings
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Lisa Crates
Photography By – Ron Keith, Scott Bonner
Piano – Keith Thomas
Producer, Arranged By, Programmed By [Synthesizer] – Keith Thomas
Programmed By [DMX Programming] – Keith Thomas
Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Synthesizer – Glen Allen Green, Keith Thomas
Synthesizer [Synclavier] – Keith Thomas

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Home Sweet Home Records, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Published By – Bug & Bear Music
Recorded At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN
Recorded At – Master’s Touch
Mixed At – Goldmine East, Brentwood, TN
Mastered At – Mastermix

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Hank Laake Band – How Laake Can You Get! – 1985

This was our final offering from Hank and it followed very closely with his previous work. The hard Rock style he was known for continued. Over his 3 albums the band didn’t seem to mature but for me this is a positive as I loved their sound and still love it today. Apparently Hank got disillusioned with Tunesmith records so this is the end. Not many artists even lasted 3 albums with Tunesmith so he should be commended for trying to make it work. It is probably a testament to how bad he wanted people to hear his music as it’s doubtful he was getting paid what was coming to him.

1 – Dying to Love You – 5:25
2 – Don’t Give Up – 3:30
3 – Plenty of Time – 3:53
4 – Change Your Life – 3:53
5 – Directions – 3:52
6 – Be a Shining Light – 5:31
7 – A Time for Anger – 4:02
8 – Till We Had Jesus – 4:34
9 – Keep Livin’ – 3:57
10 – Family of God – 4:30

Bass, Vocals – Joe Burriola
Cover Art – Dave Nadler
Cover Photo – Tom Gaskill
Drums, Lead Vocals – Hank Laake
Engineer – Dennis Dyer, Tom Tucker
Guitar – Dan Brown
Guitar, Vocals – Terry Fitzsimmons
Piano – Melody Dyer
Producer – Hank Laake
Synthesizer – Todd Toulouse, Joseph Dunn, Melody Dyer, Josef Laake

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Praise Industries Corp.
Record Company – Tunesmith

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Battlecry – Red White And Blue – 1985

This is a fun little EP by a band out of Hawaii and I think they may be the only CCM band I have heard of as being from Hawaii. Anyway it’s a self produced effort and it’s pretty good. Their pop sound is strong and aside from some weak lyrics on a few tracks I really think one of the labels should have picked them up for at least a one album deal. I really like Mariko Martinez’s keyboard work and for that reason alone it should have got a deal. Anyway, they didn’t and this is all we would get from them. So many good bands in the 80’s just never got the chance they deserved. Apparently the cassette version has 4 bonus live tracks but I have read that they are pretty poorly recorded so perhaps it’s best we don’t have that version. Give them a listen, you might be pleasantly surprised at this self produced effort.

1 – Red White And Blue – 4:44
2 – When The Lord Comes Back – 4:04
3 – Not Tough Enough – 4:08
4 – Life With The Lord – 5:04
5 – Power And Might – 3:12
6 – You’ve Got To Know – 5:56

Bass, Vocals – Ronald P. Simmons
Drums, Percussion – Bret Kik Keys
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Vocals – Mariko Martinez
Lead Guitar, Vocals – Robert Giverink
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Doug Morris
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards – Dave Chumchal
Engineer, Producer – Randy Bluer

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Songwriters Dream Studios
Manufactured By – Greenworld Distribution
Marketed By – Greenworld Distribution

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Sheila Walsh – Don’t Hide Your Heart – 1985

This was Sheila’s 6th studio album and by this time she knew what she was doing. This album has a very pop sound and her vocals are very strong. One of my favorite things about Walsh’s work was that she did not try to sound like Amy Grant. I won’t go into any names but so many female artists in this time were just trying to sound like Amy in a reach for her success. In all fairness this was probably pushed by the record companies too. But not Sheila, you could never mistake her vocals for anyone else. The CCM magazine single was “Jesus Call Your Lambs” which is actually a duet with Cliff Richards. It reached #9 on their charts but the real single was “We’re All One” which did very well on the radio charts. It is actually a cover of a 1978 Bryn Haworth song and it was also released on Steve Taylor’s Transatlantic Remixes project. For that release it was heavily remixed by Michael Omartian and that version remains one of my favourite songs of the 80’s. This probably comes in as my favorite Walsh album but most fans don’t rank it that high.

1 – Don’t Hide Your Heart – 4:04
2 – Under The Gun – 3:58
3 – Jesus Call Your Lambs – 4:05
4 – Alpha Omega – 3:20
5 – You’ll Never Be The Same – 4:22
6 – Light Across The World – 3:27
7 – We’re All One – 3:28
8 – It’s All For You – 4:44
9 – Not Guilty – 4:55
10 – Thief In The Night – 4:19

Backing Vocals – Annie McCaig, Chris Eaton, Cliff Richard, Joe Chemay, Kin Bassey, London Community Gospel Choir, Mark Williamson, Mo Turner, Sheila Walsh, Terry Williams
Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Andy Pask
Brass, Percussion – Craig Pruess
Drums – Graham Jarvis, Paul Leim
Guitar – Michael Landau, Phil Manzanera, Rick Fenn
Keyboards – Craig Pruess
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Michael Omartian
Percussion – Dave Mattacks
Saxophone – Gary Herbig, Mel Collins
Strings – Trevor Smith

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The Sparrow Corporation
Recorded At – Gallery Studios
Recorded At – Lion Share Recording Studios
Mixed At – Gallery Studios
Mixed At – Lion Share Recording Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc

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