Jon Gibson – On The Run – 1986

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.

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

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

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Frontline Records
Copyright © – Frontline Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Distributed By – The Master’s Collection
Distributed By – Kingsway Publications Ltd.
Pressed By – Nimbus, Virginia

One Bad Pig – A Christian Banned – 1986

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.

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

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

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Porkys Demise
Copyright © – Porkys Demise
Recorded At – Studio West, Austin, TX.
Mastered At – Rainbo Records
Pressed By – Rainbo Records
Glass Mastered at – Cinram

Commissioned – Go Tell Somebody – 1986

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.

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

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.

Alternate cover

Kenny Smith – Witness – 1986

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.

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

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

Sandi Patti – Morning Like This – 1986

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 –

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

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

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word, Inc.
Copyright © – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Distributed By – Word Records Limited

Bride – Show No Mercy – 1986

Bride were originally known as Matrix and actually recorded 4 demos using that name. They got their break when they were booked to open for Daniel Band in Pottstown, PA. Apparently there were executives from Refuge records at the show and they subsequently signed the band to their new metal sub label, Pure Metal records. The band went into the studio with a budget of $2500 and it shows. The album has a very thin production but fans if Bride cite this as one of the reasons they love this album. I’m actually a little surprised that Refuge didn’t throw some money at them and give them a producer. While I love Refuge they made some very questionable business decisions during their existence. The album is a little darker than their subsequent work that they were better known for. The real star of the album is Dale Thompson’s guitar work which is some of the best in the industry and we also got a little introduction to Dale’s excellent vocal abilities coming on subsequent albums.

1 – Evil That Men Do – 3:38
2 – Now He Is Gone – 3:50
3 – Fly Away – 4:12
4 – Forever In Darkness – 3:44
5 – Follow Your Heart – 4:29
6 – Show No Mercy – 3:37
7 – I Will Be With You – 4:29
8 – Thunder In The City – 5:53
9 – No Matter The Price – 4:19
10 – The First Will Be Last – 4:07

Bride – Producer, Arranger
Gary Barnes – Background Vocals
Howell Gano – Background Vocals
Scott Hall – Songwriter, Bass
Steve Osborne – Lead Guitar
David Pitt – Background Vocals
Stephan Rolland – Drums
Billy Sutherland – Guitar Special Effects, Voice Box
Dale Thompson – Vocals
Michelle Thompson – Background Vocals
Sharon Thompson – Background Vocals
Troy Thompson – Songwriter, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Piano, Violin
Eric Tripton – Lead Guitar

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Pure Metal
Copyright © – Pure Metal

Larry Howard – Sanctified Blues – 1986

Larry was a member of Grinderswitch through the 70’s and early 80s. They were a southern rock band and toured with all the big names of the style and time. Larry left the band in the mid 80’s and started his solo career. This is his first solo album. Larry brought a sound to CCM music that was needed in the period. Yes their were some blues bands but not of this caliber. Quite frankly this album is as good as anything in the secular market at the time. Playing harmonica on the album is Buddy Greene who is probably second only to Darrell Mansfield as a harmonica player. The rest of the band is a who’s who of some of the best studio musicians in the CCM genre of the time. I am really surprised at how good they were at the blues as none of them had actually recorded in that style that I can find any way. This album does a rather odd track though. The intro end exit track “Sanctified Blues” is exactly the same song but with the stereo tracks reversed. Have to admit that’s a first.

1 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30
2 – Lost Ship – 3:21
3 – Love Ain’t What You Say – 2:56
4 – Cool Rain – 3:34
5 – I Gave Jesus My Blues – 4:20
6 – Shuffle On Home – 2:49
7 – One Night – 3:31
8 – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven – 3:38
9 – Friend In Jesus – 4:34
10 – Sanctified Blues – 1:30

Art Direction – Michael Pierce
Artwork [Handwriting] – Michael Pierce
Backing Vocals – Ava Aldridge, D. Bergen White, Cindy Richardson, Dorothy Moore, Lisa Silver, Wendy Suits
Bass – David Hood, Ed Cain, Michael Joyce, Michael Rhodes
Design Concept [Album Cover Concept] – Gary F. Montgomery, Michael Pierce
Drums – Eddie Bayers, James Stroud, Roger Hawkins, Willie Smith
Engineer – Pat McMakin, Paul Hornsby, Steve Melton
Executive-Producer – Gary F. Montgomery
Guitar – Larry Byrom, Steve Gibson
Harmonica – Buddy Greene
Horns – Charles Rose, Don Sheffield, Harvey Thompson, Jim Horn
Keyboards – Kenny Smith, Mitch Humphries, Randy McCormick
Lead Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Lead Vocals – Larry Howard
Piano – Randy McCormick
Producer – Bucky Jones, Gary F. Montgomery, Larry Howard, Pat McMakin
Rhythm Guitar – Jimmy Nalls, Larry Byrom, Larry Howard
Saxophone – Elbert Durham, Jim Horn, Ronnie Eades
Slide Guitar – Jimmy Nalls
Synthesizer – Randy McCormick
Vocals – Bob Bailey, John Whittaker, Larry Howard, Robin Johnson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Refuge Records
Copyright © – Refuge Records
Distributed By – Refuge Music Group
Recorded At – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Recorded At – The Sound Shop
Recorded At – Muscadine Studio
Produced For – New Street Productions

Scott Roley – Brother To Brother – 1986

This is the final album from Scott in the 80’s and it was also his most successful. The track “Brother to Brother”, a duet with Michael Card, made it to #22 and while there wasn’t a second single there were several tracks that could have in my opinion. The album was produced by David Eastman and British recording star Melanie sang several background vocals. Undoubtedly the album was popular due to appearances from Michael Card but it is a great stand alone album and Scott should be proud of this one.

1 – Brother to Brother – 3:45
2 – Things We Leave Behind – 3:27
3 – Jesus – 3:45
4 – Road To Heaven – 3:41
5 – Isolation – 4:14
6 – How Could I Answer You – 4:44
7 – Perfect Prayer – 3:20
8 – Suffer The Children – 3:00
9 – Eye To Eye – 3:56
10 – Melody Of Praise – 3:48

Cactus World News – Urban Beaches – 1986

The first of the “asterisk” artists to make the countdown, Cactus World News may also prove to be the least well known. Despite being the first Mother Records, and getting U2’s seal of approval, the band’s success never really came. But it should have! The most obscure of the asterisk artist, CWN released a stellar debut project that yielded a moderate hit with “The Bridge” and a sound that was right in the wheelhouse of what was happening in music at the time. Influences that included The Clash, Ramones, U2 the band also had an energy that equaled The Alarm, Echo and the Bunnymen and Big Country. Christian music listeners might want to use Undercover, 441 and early 77’s as a musical comparison, though their sound was completely their own. The first single and biggest hit, The Bridge, was produced by Bono and helped spur enough interest to be placed on a tour with the Cult. Band members, especially band leader and guitarist, Frank Kearns, shared a longtime friendship with U2 and would often serve as road and equipment support for the then fledgling band. Though immediately likeable and a long time favorite, my favorite cut wasn’t the hit single, but rather the opening track, Worlds Apart. The high energy and passion of the song reveals a heart wrenching longing for acceptance and closeness. Another stand out follows with “In a Whirlpool.” Again, the high energy delivers and impassioned plea for belonging. “The Promise” contains the most direct allusions to a biblical understanding and remains another personal favorite from the album. More questioning than evangelical the band longs for answers as they examine the world around them and discover that they are no less guilty than anyone else. This song is most “U2ish” on the album. Despite the theme of loneliness that weaves itself throughout the project, the album does not feel depressing or dark. For those desiring or demanding a more obvious or clearly evangelical message this album should be avoided. For those who embraced bands like The Waterboys, U2, The Alarm and The Call, this should prove a very satisfying, albeit very obscure, experience.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Worlds Apart – 3:36
2 – In A Whirlpool – 3:36
3 – The Promise – 5:03
4 – The Bridge – 4:15
5 – State Of Emergency – 7:10
6 – Years Later – 4:10
7 – Church Of The Cold – 3:49
8 – Pilots Of Beka – 6:04
9 – Jigsaw Street – 3:19
10 – Maybe This Time – 7:00

Artwork By – Creative Department Ltd, The, Dublin, Ireland.
Artwork By [Sleeve Design] – Steve Averill
Bass – Fergal MacAindris
Drums, Percussion – Wayne Sheehy
Electric Guitar, Guitar [Spanish] – Frank Kearns
Engineer [Assistant, Dublin] – Mary Kettle
Engineer [Dublin] – Mark Freegard
Engineer [Holland] – Thomas Stiehler
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Eoin McEvoy
Photography [Black And White Interiors] – Conor Horgan
Photography [Exterior] – Brian Griffin
Producer – Chris Kimsey
Written-By, Performer – Cactus World News

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

Saint – Time’s End – 1986

The second album from Saint is often considered their best by their hardcore fans. They definitely turned up the Metal for this album. The only lineup change was the drummer with Brian Willis replacing Mike Lowery. Strangely the band went through a drummer every album for their first six albums. While I personally loved their first album, and consider it my favourite, most never even heard of it. Instead this was their first exposure to Saint. The album cover was a little controversial with it’s depiction of beasts but I believe they were trying to represent “Time’s End” visually with a depiction of the Antichrist, at least that’s my theory. The cover was well received by Christian Metal heads partly because it resembled a secular cover which is also just my theory. Anyway this was one of the original CCM metal albums and deserves a place in infamy because of that. The album was reissued several times over the years. The 2002 version contains Live Cornerstone tracks as a bonus and is apparently very well remixed.

1 – In The Night – 3:25
2 – Island Prisoner – 4:18
3 – Through You – 4:13
4 – Space Cruiser – 5:15
5 – Times End – 4:42
6 – Primed And Ready – 3:47
7 – Destroyers – 3:17
8 – Phantom Of The Galaxy – 2:34
9 – Steel Killer – 3:43

Bass, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Richard Lynch
Cover – Jeff Spencer
Drums – Brian Willis
Engineer – Dave “R” Lore
Guitar, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – John Mahan
Lead Vocals – Josh Kramer
Producer – John Mahan, Richard Lynch

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – Nimbus, Virginia
Distributed By – Refuge Music Group
Recorded At – Falcon Studios
Published By – Snellsong