Undercover – Branded – 1986

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
Engineer – Mike Mierau
Engineer [Second] – Bobby Saucedo, Paul Abajian
Keyboards, Bass – Joey
Mastered By – Bernie Grundmann
Mixed By – Dino Elefante
Producer – Joey Taylor
Vocals – Sim Wilson
Vocals, Drums – Gary Olson
Vocals, Guitar – Gym Nicholson

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Lifesavors – A Kiss Of Life – 1986

Not only did they change the name from “Lifesavors” to “Lifesavers” on this one, but the band took a sudden turn with this album, sounding a lot more like Flock of Seagulls than like a Cali-punk band.

Smooth production, serious looking photography, and a clean sound make this a pop album. Subsequent releases from Lifesavers all share this mature style but some of them manage to bring the edge back rather than the adult contemporary sound of 80s oldies.

Throughout, they manage to keep thoughtful lyrics and passionate delivery.

The band’s energy comes through again on songs like “Choose To Be True,” a truly catch tune. The classic “Turn Turn Turn” also makes an appearance on this album. It seems to be more an homage to Ecclesiastes than to Pete Seger or The Byrds though.

Tracklist
1 – She’s On Fire – 3:39
2 – I Pray You Pray – 3:34
3 – I Can’t Wait – 3:42
4 – Choose To Be True – 2:28
5 – Highway To Zion – 3:02
6 – Dreamin – 4:20
7 – Love Boy Love Girl – 3:13
8 – Turn, Turn, Turn – 3:39
9 – We Live For The Sun – 3:44
10 – Free Her – 3:18
11 – See Me Fall – 4:48

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Frontline Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontline Records
Copyright (c) – Broken Songs

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Michael Knott
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Kenny Samuels
Bass Guitar – Brian Doidge
Drums – Kevin Lee
Electric Guitar – Doug Doyle, Michael Knott
Engineer – Doug Doyle
Keyboards – Doug Doyle, Michael Knott
Layout – Ed McTaggart
Liner Notes – Craig A.J. Keyzers
Percussion – Kevin Lee, Michael Knott
Photography By – Brian Ray
Producer – Doug Doyle
Saxophone – Allen Palmer
Vocals – Michael Knott
Written-By – Bill Robinson (tracks: 2), Chris Lizotte (tracks: 2), Jim Akin (tracks: 2), Michael Gerard Knott (tracks: 1 to 6, 7, 9 to 11), Pete Seger (tracks: 2)

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911 – Time Will Tell – 1986

911 was a band formed in Las Vegas in the late 70’s by Cathi Demman, her husband at the time, her brother and sister, and Brother in Law. Yes it was a real family affair. They originally used the name “Son Song Band” but changed their name to 911 relatively quickly. This is their one and only album which was well received but not well enough for Exile Records to record a second album.

Tracklist
1 – Time Will Tell – 3:45
2 – Do You? – 3:22
3 – Believe – 2:48
4 – Is It Any Wonder? – 2:12
5 – A Memory – 3:41
6 – Where Are You Now? – 4:01
7 – Too Cool – 3:23
8 – Pick Me Up – 2:57
9 – East From West – 4:30
10 – Are You Willing? – 3:25

Credits
Jeff Lams: Arranger, Keyboards, Synthesizers
Mark Wiegand: Vocal Arranger, Songwriter, Keyboards
Cathi Demman: Songwriter, Lead and Background Vocals
Cristina Stretz: Lead and Background Vocals
Kiko Campo: Lead and Background Vocals
Hap Smith: Guitar
John Klingbiel: Bass
Brian Hicks: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Nelson Kole: Keyboards, Synthesizers
Eric Stretz: Songwriter, Drums

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Truth – Still the Truth – 1986

Truth are one of the stranger bands in CCM. They started in 1971 with 15 members malking thwm more of a choir than a band. Later the band expanded to 22 members but you can’t really tell as this album sounds like a typical 5 piece band. According to John Roger Breland the choir/band’s name stands for “Trust, Receive, Unchangeable, True Happiness [in Jesus]”. The band was active until 2001 and released 47 albums in their time.

Tracklist
1 – What Can I Do
2 – Wonderful Invention
3 – He Is Able
4 – The Spirit Of David
5 – Undivided
6 – Do What
7 – The Highest Call
8 – Have You Heard
9 – I’ll Remember You To The Father
10 – Lamb Of God

Credits
Arranged By [Vocals] – Steven V. Taylor
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Directed By – Roger Breland
Drums – Mark Hammond
Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Steve Fralick, Tom Harding
Executive-Producer – Dan Cleary
Guitar – Jon Goin
Horns – The Truth Brass
Keyboards – David Huntsinger
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Mixed By – Brent King, Steven V. Taylor
Percussion – Brent King, Steven V. Taylor, Terry McMillan
Performer [Member] – Alan Nowell, Berneé Tuttle, David Cleveland, Ed Seidenkranz, Gina Angiulli, Joy Young, Ken Reich, Kevin Newton, Lisa Pieper, Mark Harris, Mike Eldred, Mike Thomas, Mike Walker, Paul Glasgow, Phil Peters, Shari Beeman, Tim Marshall, Travis Laws, Wes Tuttle
Producer – Steven V. Taylor
Programmed By [DX-7 Programming], Keyboards [Additional] – John Slick
Recorded By – Brent King, Michael Psanos*
Strings [Played From Synclavier Digital System] – Reed Arvin

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A. D. – Reconstructions – 1986

This album was the second and last album using “AD” as the band name.

This album saw the departure of vocalist Warren Ham. Replacing him was Michael Gleason who had worked with Livgren in the past.

This album had more keyboards so it had a more 80’s techno sound but it wasn’t done too strong. Kerry engineered and produced this album and some reviewers actually criticized his skills in this area but personally I though the production was on par with his other albums.

Track Listing:
1 – All Fall Down – 4:27
2 – Life Of Crime – 4:16
3 – No Standing – 3:56
4 – Exiles – 4:15
5 – We Draw That Line – 3:43
6 – Walking The Wire – 3:44
7 – You Are The Distance – 4:06
8 – Highway To The Heart – 3:45
9 – One Golden Thread – 4:20

Credits:
Art Direction – Jean Hoefel
Backing Vocals – Terry Brock (tracks: A2, A4 to B2, B4, B5)
Bass Guitar – Dave Hope
Design [Jacket Design] – Jim Shanman
Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion – Kerry Livgren
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keyboards – Michael Gleason
Percussion – Dennis Holt
Producer, Engineer – Kerry Livgren
Written-By – Kerry Livgren (tracks: A1 to B1, B3, B5), Michael Gleason (tracks: A1, B2 to B4 )

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Michael Card – Scandalon – 1986

This was Michael’s 3rd studio album and at this point in his music career he wasn’t afraid to make his lyrics a little more challenging to Christians. That said while his lyrics are a little edgy, they are somewhat prose rather than poetry. With the release of this album his music and lyric style is well established and even though this is an worship style album the quality is there.

Track Listing:
1 – Scandalon – 4:00
2 – What Will It Take To Keep You From Jesus – 3:41
3 – The Lamb Is A Lion – 2:52
4 – The Nazarene – 2:40
5 – The Gentle Healer – 2:02
6 – Meditation / Baptism – 5:29
7 – The Wedding – 2:46
8 – Forgiving Eyes – 4:07
9 – God’s Own Fool – 3:16
10 – Jesus Let Us Come To Know You – 1:59

Credits:
Arranged By, Conductor – Alan Moore (3) (tracks: B1, B3, B4)
Bass – Norbert Putnam (tracks: A1 to A4, B1, B3, B4)
Cello – John Catchings (tracks: A1, A2, B2, B5)
Concertmaster – Gavyn Wright
Design – Buddy Jackson
Drums, Percussion – Larry Londin (tracks: A1, A3, B3, B4)
Featuring – John Catchings – Cellist
Flute – Jim Horn (tracks: B1)
Guitar – Jon Goin (tracks: A1 to A3)
Orchestrated By – Alan Moore
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Recorded By – Norbert Putnam
Synthesizer – Dave Innis (tracks: A2)
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Piano, Drums [Digital Drums], Congas – Michael Card

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Common Bond – Heaven Is Calling – 1986

This was the first studio album from Common Bond though there was a highly produced Demo and an EP previous.

Guest appearances on this album included Jerry Chamberlain from Daniel Amos/The Swirling Eddies and Terry Taylor also from Daniel Amos/The Swirling Eddies and Lost Dogs.

The album is a well produced (Doug Doyle) album with a heavy New Wave sound. This is another lost album from the 80’s that should have been far better known.

Track Listing:
1 – Matter Of Time – 4:37
2 – I’m In Control – 2:45
3 – Heaven Is Calling – 2:51
4 – Bittersweet – 3:48
5 – Yshua – 3:05
6 – My Direction – 3:50
7 – Savor My Saviour – 2:40
8 – The Dickens – 3:50
9 – For You – 2:30
10 – Imagining – 3:20

Credits:
Acoustic Guitar – Steve Durham
Backing Vocals – Bruce Swift, Jerry Chamberlain, Ken Samuels, Rob Watson, Terry Taylor
Bass Guitar – Ken Samuels
Cover – Terl Bryant
Design – Ed McTaggart
Drums – Chuck Cummings, Terl Bryant (tracks: A1)
Electric Guitar – Steve Durham
Engineer – Doug Doyle
Guitar – Bobby Salsedo, Doug Doyle
Guitar [Solo] – Jerry Chamberlain (tracks: A4, B5)
Layout – Ed McTaggart
Lead Vocals – Ken Samuels
Percussion – Chuck Cummings, Terl Bryant (tracks: A1, A5)
Photography By – Craig Incardone
Producer – Doug Doyle
Written-By – Ken Samuels

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Greg X. Volz – The River Is Rising – 1986

Greg X. Volz was the lead singer of Petra from 1979 to 1985 and was part of the Classic Petra project Back to the Rock.

This was his first solo effort and it was well received. It is a very heavily produced keyboards and guitar rifts affair that fit relatively well in 1986.

Lyrics were good but not outstanding but quality instrument tracks make up for it. This playlist includes “Break Out Of The Trance” which was a bonus release on the CD reissue.

Track Listing:
1 – Barrier – 4:34
2 – Joyous Grave – 4:26
3 – Livin’ For The Bell – 3:51
4 – Still Waters – 5:04
5 – All I Can Do – 4:40
6 – Heaven Is Within You – 4:38
7 – The River Is Rising – 5:17
8 – Hold On To The Fire – 5:07
9 – Man Like You – 5:32
CD Bonus Track
10 – Break Out Of The Trance – 3:38

Credits:
Bass – Jimmy Lee Sloas
Engineer, Mixed By, Cymbal [Overdubs] – Jonathan David Brown
Guitar – Kirk Henderson
Piano, Synthesizer, Keyboards [Fairlight], Drum Programming [Fairlite Drums] – Carl Marsh
Producer – Greg X. Volz, Jonathan David Brown
Vocals, Backing Vocals, Cymbal [Overdubs] – Greg X. Volz

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Bloodgood – (self titled) – 1986

This was the first album from Bloodgood who were one of the early and biggest Heavy Metal bands in the Christian genre.

They were formed in Seattle in 1984 by Michael Bloodgood. They sold over 5000 copies of their self produced demo at concerts which attracted attention from new record label Frontline Records.

Darrell Mansfield was brought in to produce the album which ended up sounding very well engineered and produced.

Track Listing:
1 – Accept The Lamb – 3:47
2 – Stand In The Light – 3:41
3 – Demon On The Run – 3:56
4 – Anguish And Pain – 3:02
5 – Awake – 4:10
6 – Soldier Of Peace – 3:15
7 – You Lose – 2:53
8 – What’s Following The Grave – 5:00
9 – Killing The Beast – 4:41
10 – Black Snake – 2:53

Credits:
Bass, Backing Vocals – Michael Bloodgood
Drums – J.T. Taylor (2)
Engineer – Doug Doyle
Guitar, Backing Vocals – David Zaffiro
Lead Vocals – Les Carlsen
Producer – Darrell Mansfield

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Stryper – To Hell With The Devil – 1986

To Hell with the Devil was the 3rd studio album from Stryper.

It was the first Christian metal album to achieve platinum status, which means sales of one million copies. 3 Videos were produced for the album and they played heavily on MTV.

The highest ranking single was “Honestly” and it peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart.

A piece of trivia, the album went through 2 bass players before a session musician (Brad Cobb) finished doing the album. He however he did not join the band.

Track Listing:
1 – Abyss (To Hell With The Devil) – 1:21
2 – To Hell With The Devil – 4:08
3 – Calling On You – 3:59
4 – Free – 3:44
5 – Honestly – 4:10
6 – The Way – 3:37
7 – Sing-Along Song – 4:21
8 – Holding On – 4:16
9 – Rockin’ The World – 3:30
10 – All Of Me – 3:11
11 – More Than A Man – 4:35

Credits:
Bass – Brad Cobb
Co-producer, Engineer, Arranged By – Stephan Galfas
Drums, Co-producer – Robert Sweet
Engineer – Dan Nebenzal
Guitar, Backing Vocals, Co-producer – Oz Fox
Keyboards – John Van Tongren*
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Co-producer, Arranged By – Michael Sweet
Mastered By – Eddy Schreyer

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