This is the second album from Acappella. It was again released on Keith Lancaster private label though Word did re-release it 1992. This album did do something very rare in that it had a CCM charting single which is very rare for a private label release. “A Cappella” made it to #29 which should be respected. By this point in the history of Acappella Keith had it developing into a ministry as opposed to just a group. As for the album, well, if you like A Cappella you’ll like the album. Am I the only one that thinks the album cover looks like a metal album?
Tracklist 1 – We Bow Down – 2:22 2 – More Than Conquerors – 2:57 3 – A Cappella – 2:36 4 – Create In Me – 2:30 5 – Everybody Praise – 2:05 6 – Army Of The Lord – 2:53 7 – Amazing Grace – 2:05 8 – Once In A Lifetime Love – 3:02 9 – We Will Glorify – 2:09 10 – John The Revelator – 2:19
Credits Cover – John Laws Engineer – Dan Knowles Mastered By – Glenn Meadows Photography By – John Laws Producer – Keith Lancaster Vocals – Rodney Britt, Keith Lancaster
This version of The New Gaither Vocal Band (now just called The Gaither Vocal Band) consisted of Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Gary McSpadden, and Bill Gaither. I was thinking this might be their best lineup but I think its just because this is their most pop album. As usual it did well on the CCM charts with three top 10 singles. “The Lord Of Hosts” made it to #4, “Can’t Stop Talking About Him” to #1, and “Forever” to #7. Personally I don’t really feel the album had 3 top 10 singles but we all know the CCM charts favoured this kind of acts. But I don’t want to be too critical of the album as I actually did enjoy it.
Tracklist 1 – The Lord Of Hosts – 3:20 2 – Can’t Stop Talking About Him – 4:44 3 – Look Up – 3:39 4 – Lamb Of God – 3:53 5 – Glorious Morning – 4:07 6 – One By One – 4:05 7 – Things That Last Forever – 4:13 8 – Fool For Lesser Things – 3:26 9 – Forever – 3:44 10 – I Walked Today Where Jesus Walks – 4:49
Credits Cover, Design – Jerry Joyner Executive-Producer – Ken Harding Photography By – Peter Nash Producer – Billy Smiley, Keith Thomas Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding Vocals – Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Gary McSpadden, Bill Gaither
Branded was a turning point album for Undercover. It has a mature sound but it certainly leaves behind some of the elements that set Undercover apart in their early days. Their first album featured Ric Alba on lead vocals, then on the follow up Bill Walden took over, as Ric had moved on to Altar Boys. Bill recorded lead vocals on two albums for Undercover before this, their fourth where Sim Wilson took over the mic. The mature sound is very dark compared to the original upbeat, peppy happy-go-Jesus songs on their first two albums. The third record started to get more serious, but not brooding like Branded is. Sim’s vocals are powerful and booming, begging you to take seriously everything he says, ensuring you that the drama is all worth it. Most of the band did stick together, so they still have some signature sounds, although this could have been a different band. The band obviously didn’t see it that way because on this, their fourth album they labelled the record “side 7” and “side 8.” Maybe that was apologetic. There are a lot of introspective tracks such as “I’m Just A Man,” “Cry Myself To Sleep,” and “Come Away With Me.”
Tracklist 1 – I’m Just A Man – 3:24 2 – The Fight For Love – 3:00 3 – Where Can I Go – 3:13 4 – Tears In Your Eyes – 2:05 5 – Pilate – 3:00 6 – Build A Castle – 3:25 7 – Cry Myself To Sleep – 2:31 8 – Prelude – 1:55 9 – Darkest Hour – 3:26 10 – Interlude – 0:35 11 – Come Away With Me – 4:44 12 – If I Had A Dream – 5:02
Credits Arranged By – Undercover Art Direction – Harry Barnes, Ojo Taylor Crew [Road] – Buzz Bolton, Kenny Olson Design [Album] – Undercover Engineer – Mike Mierau, Joey Engineer [Second] – Bobby Saucedo, Paul Abajian Executive-Producer – Harry Barnes Illustration, Typography [Lettering] – Dave Gibson Keyboards, Bass – Ojo Taylor Layout – Graphics Gloria Mastered By – Bernie Grundmann Mixed By – Dino Elefante Photography By – David Gomez Producer – Ojo Taylor Vocals – Sim Wilson Vocals, Drums – Gary Olson Vocals, Guitar – Gym Nicholson Voice [Additional] – Gene Eugene, Glenn, Riki Written-By – Gym Nicholson, Ojo Taylor
Companies, etc. Distributed By – Lexicon Distribution Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios Published By – B-1 Music Published By – Royal Commandment Music
This was Dan’s third solo album and easily his most successful. The first single “Lonely People” reached #2 on the contemporary Christian music chart. Rather oddly this was actually a cover of his song he wrote and performed with his original group, America, in 1975. The second single “Electro-Voice” also charted on the CCM Adult chart. As for the album it’s a pretty good pop album. Somehow I missed this one in the 80’s which is too bad as I think I would have really liked it.
Tracklist 1 – Electro-Voice – 4:09 2 – A New Song – 3:08 3 – Solid Ground – 2:30 4 – Not My Will – 4:00 5 – Lonely People – 2:56 6 – His Master’s Voice – 2:42 7 – I’ll Be Coming Home – 3:45 8 – Open Up Your Heart – 3:26 9 – The Rapture – 3:16 10 – All Things Work Together For Good – 3:41
Apart from his excellent vocal contribution (as well as some guitaring) on David Zaffiro’s Surrender Absolute (1992) album, from Randall Waller’s second solo album, Midnight Fire, onwards his focus changed from the Christian music market to the mainstream music world. This is clearly evident on Avion’s well-produced second and last studio album, White Noise, released on the mainstream EMI label. Forming in 1981, Avion was an Australian band that was beset with hardship and tragedy of one kind and another. Even though they had a few appearances on Australia’s national music show Countdown, Australian rock historian Ian MacFarlane states that they were ‘met with virtual indifference at home’ (Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop). The great singles the band released suffered from a lack of airplay. Apart from a loyal Sydney fan base, the band’s biggest supporters came from North America who appreciated the band’s melodic, American-influenced AOR. Band member and keyboardist, Evan Murray, died in a car accident in late ’87. The band called it a day soon after. The album contained the following 3 singles – We’ve Got Secrets (1985), Celebration (1986), and Berlin Wall (1987). Berlin Wall addresses the detrimental effect of the wall on the city’s residents that divided Berlin into East and West Berlin. The album has two relationship songs – Elle and Ships. Elle is about a couple where one member is pushing the relationship to the next level before the other member is ready for that level of commitment. Ships is about a song of unrequited love, using the saying ‘Ships passing in the night’ to great effect. One of my favourite tracks, Calm Before The Storm, has the strongest Christian connotations about heaven coming down to earth. The only change in personnel for this album was Paul Gannell who replaced Martyn Toole on guitar.
Contributor – Frank Axel Rasenberger
Tracklist 1 – Celebration – 4:05 2 – Berlin Wall – 3:35 3 – Elle – 3:56 4 – In My Mind – 3:33 5 – Ships – 4:45 6 – We’ve Got Secrets – 3:58 7 – Calm Before The Storm – 4:41 8 – The Next Big Thing – 3:24 9 – On & On – 4:50 10 – Never Too Late – 3:55
Credits Bass, Backing Vocals – Kendall Waller Drums, Backing Vocals – John Waller Engineer – Peter Cobbin, Richard Lush Engineer [Assisted By] – Tony Espie Engineer [Assisted By], Mixed By [Assisted By] – Greg Henderson Guitar, Backing Vocals – Paul Gannell Lead Vocals, Guitar – Randall Waller Mixed By – Clive Shakespeare, John Bee, Randall Waller, Spencer Lee Piano, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Evan Murray Producer – Clive Shakespeare), Peter Dawkins, Randall Waller Producer, Engineer – Ross Cockle Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Peter Blyton Producer, Mixed By – Avion
Companies, etc. Recorded At – EMI Studios 301 Produced At – AAV Engineered At – AAV Mixed At – Albert Studios
Recently David Lowman said the following, “If there was any real justice in the world of 80’s CCM, artists Jon Gibson and Tim Miner would have sold out arenas.” Upon reading that I broke out a Tim Miner album and he was right on that one so next I broke out a Jon Gibson album and he is dead on in this one also. In fact I liked this album even more than the Tim Miner album. This is Jon’s second album but his first was on a secular label so this was his first CCM offering. The album was quite popular and had a #1 single, “God Loves a Broken Heart”. In a foreshadowing of what would make him even more popular he did a quasi rap track “Ain’t It Pretty”. Not my favourite track on the album but I’m not a fan of that style. My personal pick for best track is actually “It’s True”. This is a great pop R&B album and as David said deserved to be much better known.
Tracklist 1 – Metal Machine – 4:20 2 – Ain’t It Pretty – 4:24 3 – On The Run – 4:02 4 – God Loves A Broken Heart – 4:24 5 – It’s True – 3:07 6 – Standing On The One – 4:04 7 – Are You Gonna Stay – 4:00 8 – I Love Her Anyway – 3:52 9 – Nation In Need – 3:48 10 – Dreams – 3:52
Credits Art Direction – Terry Dresbach Backing Vocals – Chrystal Blake, Felton Pilate, Jon Gibson, Phillip Ingram, The Waters Bass Guitar – Gary Jackson, Nathan Watts Creative Director – Ed McTaggart Drums – John Robinson, Jonathan Moffett, Tony Lewis Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Clifford Coulter, Tony LuFrano Executive-Producer – Sam Conti Guitar – Ben Bridges, Felton Pilate, Greg Doty, Joe Satriani, Mickey Free, Sneaky Pete, Snuffy Walden Keyboards, Drum Programming, Programmed By – Bill Wolfer, Felton Pilate, Tom Coster Lead Vocals – Jon Gibson Mastered By – Bill Cutler, George Horn Percussion – Cubby Ingram, Wayne-O-Millstein Photography By – Fredrica Drotos Producer – Felton Pilate, Jon Gibson, Tom Coster Saxophone – Larry Williams Synthesizer [Synth Bass] – Felton Pilate, Joey Gallo Written-By – Jon Gibson
One Bad Pig actually originated out of a one time performance at a local Texas music festival. I’m guessing they were pretty well received as the band decided to keep going and recorded this demo. The band at this point was imitating early 80’s punk. It was well received by their fans even though the sound had actually been overdone in the secular industry. That said punk was virtually unknown in Christian music so it was a new sound for fans. I have listened to some of their later work and I see real talent but quite frankly I just don’t hear a lot of talent here. I was a big listener of secular punk music in the early 80’s and quite frankly they just don’t measure up. That said I respect that they were doing something new and the CCM industry really needed new sounds at the time this band came along. If you are a big fan of OBP this is a must listen but don’t expect the quality they would later be know for.
Tracklist 1 – Six – 2:30 2 – Sleepin’ With The World – 1:58 3 – Make Me Burn – 3:39 4 – Blow And Go – 2:18 5 – Anarchy Is Prison – 3:04 6 – Life’s A Bomb – 2:19
Credits Artwork [Cover Art], Design – Capital Spectrum, Kevin Phelan, Ronnie Bronson Bass, Vocals – Kevin Phelan Guitar, Songwriter [Song], Vocals – Paul Q-Pek Lead Vocals [Lead Screams], Lyrics By [Lyric] – Carey Womack Percussion – Jon Taylor Engineer [Engineered By], Mixed By – Kerry Crafton Photography By – David Davis Producer [Produced By] – Kerry Crafton, One Bad Pig
I’ll be honest I have never even heard of Commissioned before but again I believe I grew up in a Funk free zone. That said I found this album to be more easy listening than funk but it is classified as a funk album. This was the second album from Commissioned and I think they turned down the funk a little bit for this one. This album peaked at #2 on the US Billboard Top Gospel albums chart which is pretty good for a second album but it is indicative of the quality of this album. There are 7 more albums by these guys so expect to hear more of them.
Tracklist 1 – Victory – 4:59 2 – Love Isn’t Love – 5:13 3 – Go Tell Somebody – 4:43 4 – Cry On – 5:09 5 – Who Do Men Say I Am – 4:32 6 – Hide The Word – 4:51 7 – Learn To Pray – 4:01 8 – Running Back To You – 4:45
Credits Fred Hammond – Vocals, Bass Guitar, Synclavier, Synthesizer Keith Staten – Vocals Mitchell Jones – Vocals Karl Reid – Vocals Michael Brooks – Keyboards, Piano, Horn Arrangements, Synthesizer, Synclavier, Roland Synthesizer, WX7 Wind Controller, Percussion Michael Williams – Drums, Latin Percussion, Percussion Eric Brice – Electric Guitar Earl J. Wright – Keyboards, DX7, Moog Synthesizer, Synthesizer Michael Wright – Electric Guitar Michael J. Powell – Classical Guitar
Companies, etc. Manufactured By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
I must admit that back in the 80’s I had no idea there was Funk oriented CCM music. Now admittedly I grew up in a funk free zone but I still would have thought I would have heard of some of these artists. But for some reason it simply was not promoted in Canada. Anyway here we have one of the premiere funk artists of the 80’s and 90’s. While I don’t normally listen to this style of music I can recognize when it is good and this album is good. The single and title track did well on the charts but I was actually unable to find out how well it did. Strangely this track is 7 minutes long on the album but a radio version was released on 45 coming in at a more radio friendly 4:45. We actually get requests for more Christian funk music so were happy to provide it when we find it.
Tracklist 1 – Holding On – 4:56 2 – Any Day Now – 6:32 3 – Giving My All To You – 4:57 4 – Watching You – 4:24 5 – Hold Me Holy Spirit – 6:21 6 – You’re My Everything – 4:55 7 – Witness – 7:00 8 – We’ll Be Together – 4:59
Credits Backing Vocals – Kenny Smith, Loida Garcia, Narda Smith Bass – Charles (Hitman) Jefferson Design [Album Cover] – Susan Randle Drum Programming – Kenny Smith Drums – George Bell Engineer – Carl Lange, Cecil Q. Duke Executive-Producer – Joyce Dozier McNichols, Marlin McNichols Guitar – Walter Kevin Foley Horns – Arthur Manley, Tim Anderson Keyboards – Bradley Alexander, Darron Johnson, Kenny Smith Percussion – Gerald (Billy) Hill Photography By – David Randle Producer – Kenny Smith Written-By, Arranged By – Kenny Smith
Companies, etc. Published By – Heavenly Wisdom Music Published By – Kenas Music Produced For – Kenas Productions Manufactured By – McNichols Communications Distributed By – McNichols Communications
As regular readers of this and the previous blog can attest, Adult Contemporary and Inspirational titles do not find themselves here very often. The album itself has to be more than just a collection of praise and worship, hymns and traditional gospel favorites. Something has to set the album apart more than just possibly the greatest voice on the planet. Sandi definitely has the latter. But fortunately, the album also has some great songs that make it stand out against most of the other albums in the genre. The opening track sound like it could have easily fit on a Twila Paris from the same timeframe, with “Let There Be Praise” sounding more like a pop worship/hymn than Patti’s more traditional big songs. “Hosanna” follows suit with the same sort of sound. Like most of the album, there is limited, over-dramatic anthems, but rather more pop infused inspirational music. This song also benefits from a guest appearance from Matthew Ward (who may be able to sing higher). “Love in Any Language” may be Patti’s finest song. Though not as big and dramatic as “Via Dolorosa” and “We Shall Behold Him,” this song of unity has more of a “We Are the World” feel throughout. “King of Glory” sounds more like Farrell and Farrell while “Face to Faith” starts off sounding like Amy Grant’s “Fat Baby,” but ends up sounding more like something from First Call. “Morning Like This” serves to be the most contemporary pop album, which makes it the obvious choice for inclusion on this list.
Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Let There Be Praise – 3:03 2 – Hosanna – 3:37 3 – Unshakeable Kingdom – 5:48 4 – Shepherd Of My Heart – 4:01 5 – Love In Any Language – 4:51 6 – King Of Glory – 2:35 7 – Face To Faith – 4:21 8 – Was It A Morning Like This – 3:22 9 – In The Name Of The Lord – 5:00 10 – There Is A Savior – 4:42
Credits Arranged By [Strings], Conductor – Alan Moore Arranged By, Orchestrated By, Conductor – David T. Clydesdale Bass – Craig Nelson (tracks: A3, B4, B5), Mike Brignardello Brass – Barbara Hutchins (tracks: A3, B4), Eberhard Ramm, Michael Buckwalter, Richard Ricker, Robert Heuer, Tom McAnich Drums – Mark Hammond, Paul Leim Executive Producer – John Helvering Guitar – John Darnall, Jon Goin Keyboards – Phil Naish, Shane Keister Leader, Strings – Carl Gorodetzky Percussion – Farrel Morris Piano – David Huntsinger Producer – Greg Nelson, Sandi Patti Helvering Strings – Carol Walker, Cathy Umstead, Charles Everett, Chris Teal, Connie Heard, Craig Nelson, David Boyle, David Vanderkooi, Dennis Molchan, Edgar Meyer, Gary Vanosdale, George Binkley, Grace Bahng, Inez Boyle, Jack Jezioro, Janet Hazen, Joann Cruthirds, John Borg, Katherine Plummer, Lee Larrison, Linda Alosco, Mark Tanner, Mary Katherine Parker, Nathan Kahn, Pam Sixfin, Pauli Ewing, Phyllis Mazza, Rosemary Harris, Roy Christensen, Sara Fogel, Stephanie Woolf, Teresa Fream, Nashville String Machine, Virginia Christensen Vocals – Beverly Darnall, Bonnie Keen, Craig Patty, David Maddux, Jane Sherberg, Jon Mohr, Jon Sherberg, Leah Taylo, Lynn Hodges, Marty McCall, Melodie Tunney, Mike Patty, Rick Gibson, Sandi Patti Helverin, Steve Taylor, Tammy Boyer, Tammy Taylor, Keith Moore