Steve Taylor – I Predict 1990 – 1987

The first time I saw the cover of I Predict 1990, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know it (apparently) resembled a tarot card, or that Steve seemed to be making (apparently) some sort of weird hand signal. I did find it kind of unsettling, though. ‘Man, what is with that creepy expression…’ But, c’mon, this was Steve Taylor. I loved his music, his lyrics, his clever, skewering humour. Loved it so much that as a teenager I insisted my mom listen to the entire On The Fritz album in one sitting, while I explained every song in detail. And, sure – Steve was controversial. Challenging. Slightly possibly maybe verging on inappropriate, once in a while. (“Lifeboat”, anyone?)

So, I put on the album. And the first track hits me with:

Now I don’t care if it’s a baby or a tissue blob
but if we run out of youngsters
I’ll be out of a job, and so I
I did my duty cleaning up the neighborhood
I blew up the clinic real good

Steve, what the heck.

But I hung in there. And then came the line: “The end don’t justify the means anytime”

Okay. Okay. Phew. Steve hadn’t lost it completely. I got it.

But certainly, with this third studio album Steve pushed the ‘acceptable topics for CCM artists’ envelope to a pretty big tipping point. Or at least the ‘acceptable treatment of topics’. Listeners had come to expect his biting, uncomfortable-making lyrics; but people all along the conservative/liberal spectrum of Christian thought weren’t sure what to, well, think. Many simply closed the book on him after this album – some not making it past the first song.

And that was (and is) a real shame. Steve’s music asks listeners to really hear what’s being said in the lyrics – and to seriously consider that those lyrics might be holding a mirror up to stuff we might want to examine in ourselves. His stuff isn’t for lazy listeners. But when we let ourselves get so bound to tightly-held and well-reasoned opinions, we can lose our cool over a ‘shocking’ song like “Clinic” and miss the chance to engage in critical thinking and respectful debate. Do I agree with everything Steve Taylor says? Nope. (Some day I’d love to talk with him about “Jung and the Restless”…)

And hey – there’s a LOT of good stuff on this album. Some of my favourites are…no, that’s too many to list. But here are a few comments…

– “What Is The Measure of Your Success” – If you get a chance, watch the video – it’s pretty powerful. He nails the mood of a regretful, bitter, dying businessman.
– “Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better” – Another delightfully satirical lyric, having the opposite effect of making you smile (hopefully).
– “Jim Morrison’s Grave” – Fantastic song. Poetry and rock.
– “Innocence Lost” – Emotional piece about a visit to death row. Gets me every time.
– “Harder To Believe Than Not To” – A beautiful song, haunting and moving. Taking its title from the writings of Flannery O’Connor, an American writer, the song argues against the idea that Christianity is a crutch.

Tracks

1. I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good – 4:11
2. What is the Measure of Your Success? – 4:38
3. Since I Gave Up Hope I Feel A Lot Better – 3:25
4. Babylon – 4:48
5. Jim Morrison’s Grave – 4:29
6. Svengali – 4:28
7. Jung and the Restless – 4:32
8. Innocence Lost – 5:02
9. A Principled Man – 3:26
10 – Harder to Believe Than Not To – 4:31

Personnel

Some Band
Steve Taylor – vocals and backup percussion
Dave Thrush – saxophones
Jeff Stone – guitar
Glen Holmen – bass
Jack Kelly – drums
Steve Goomas – keyboards
Gym Nicholson – guitar

Additional musicians
Dave Perkins – additional guitar on all songs except “Jim Morrison’s Grave” and “Harder to Believe”
Greg Husted – assorted keyboard tracks and accordion
Papa John Creach – fiddle
Ashley Cleveland – vocal stylings on “Jim Morrison’s Grave”, “Svengali”, and “Babylon”
Annie McCaig – backing vocals on “Success” and “A Principled Man”
Nathan East: bass on “Clinic”
Gary Lunn – bass on “Hope”
Lisa Cates – percussion
Mike Mead – more percussion
Mary Bates – operatic vocal on “Harder to Believe”
Jim Horn – tenor sax on “Clinic”
Ross Holmen – French horn
John Andrew Schreiner – synth bass on “Svengali”
Janet Croninger – “Jung” woman
Fred Travalena – “Jung” doctor
Del Newman – orchestration on “Harder to Believe Than Not To”

Production notes
The Beaufort Twins (Dave Perkins and Steve Taylor) – producers and engineers
Dave Perkins – producer, engineer, mixing
Steve Taylor – producer, mixing
David Schober – engineer
Malcom Harper – engineer
Robert Wartinbee – assistant engineer
Michael Ross – engineer on “Harder To Believe”
Music Grinder, Los Angeles, California – recording location
Reelsound Bus, Nashville, Tennessee – recording location
Wayne Cook Studios, Los Angeles, California – recording location
CBS Studios, London – recording location
Reelsound truck, Austin, Texas (48 track) – mixing location
Bob Ludwig – mastering
Masterdisk, New York, New York – mastering location
Dave Perkins and Steve Taylor are listed as producers as “The Beaufort Twins.” A likely satire of the Mick Jagger & Keith Richards production/songwriting partnership billed as The Glimmer Twins

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Various – The Rock of Gospel – 1987

This is a fascinating sampler album (CD). It came out on Arrival Records, which is a Sublabel of K-Tel International. I had no idea until I found this album that K-Tel had distributed Christian albums. Even more of a surprise for me is that there were several of these albums. The quality of the CD is horrible, but I’ve cleaned up the recordings as best I could. K-Tel’s vinyl releases were well known for their horrible quality which was a result of cheap vinyl and cheap pressing. This album was released on CD so there was no need for the poor quality. I’ve always suspected that the licensing agreements for these songs included a stipulation that the quality be horrible in hopes people would buy the original album.

Include below is the info on which album the songs were released on

Tracklist
1 – Michael W. Smith – You’re Alright – 4:39 – The Big Picture
2 – Petra – Back To The Street – 4:17 – Back To The Street
3 – Leslie Phillips – Love Is Not Lost – 4:03 – Black And White In A Grey World
4 – White Heart – The Beat Of A Different Drum – 4:17 – Don’t Wait For The Movie
5 – David Meece – All Is God’s Creation – 3:48 – Candle In The Rain
6 – Kim Boyce – Love Resurrection – 4:11 – Kim Boyce
7 – Randy Stonehill – Defender – 3:02 – The Wild Frontier
8 – Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart – Crack The Sky – 3:59 – Crack The Sky
9 – Rick Cua – This Raging Fire – 3:53 – Wear Your Colors
10 – Steve Camp – Cheap Grace – 5:11 – One On One
11 – David & The Giants – Cold Lonely Nights – 3:37 – Magnificat
12 – Margaret Becker – Fight For God – 4:06 – Never For Nothing

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – K-Tel International (USA), Inc.
Distributed By – K-Tel International (USA), Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – K-Tel International (USA), Inc.

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Whitecross – (self-titled) – 1987

This debut album from Whitecross hit us in the peak of CCM’s metal heyday. The guitar sounds are unmistakably 80s metal, but Whitecross has a much more melodic sound to their songs than some of the other bands. It’s like a harder version of Bon Jovi and it’s fun to listen to.

Whitecross has the vocal harmonies are typical in this genre of music, and in addition to that, each song has a melody that the listener can follow along with. Some of the similar bands lack this distinction. All in all one of the better examples of this style of music.

Track Listing:
A1 Who Will You Follow
A2 Enough Is Enough
A3 He Is The Rock
A4 Lookin’ For A Reason
A5 You’re Mine
B1 No Way I’m Goin’ Down
B2 Seein’ Is Believin’
B3 All I Need
B4 Nagasake
B5 Signs Of The End

Companies, etc.:
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Pure Metal Records (3)
Copyright (c) – Pure Metal Records (3)
Distributed By – Refuge Music Group
Distributed By – Creative Music Canada
Recorded At – Opus Recording Studio
Mixed At – Opus Recording Studio
Published By – Girder Music

Credits:
Bass – Jon Sproule (The Human Harmonizer)*
Design, Graphics [Photo Tinting] – Jeff Spencer (2)
Drums – Mark Hedl
Engineer – Perry Miller
Executive-Producer – Gavin Morkel*
Guitar – Rex Carroll
Keyboards [Additional] – Joan Johnson (5), Kent Cantwell, Tonja Kataja
Photography By – Gary Trantafil
Producer – Caesar Kalinowski, Rex Carroll
Vocals – Scott Wenzel (Scottzilla!)*

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Dave Perkins – The Innocence – 1987

This 1987 release by Dave Perkins was his only album in the 80’s. Don’t think you haven’t heard him though. He has worked with some of the best including Mark heard, Steve Taylor, Randy Stonehill, Steve Camp, Phil Keaggy, and many many more. His fingerprints are all over CCM music in the 80’s. His personal effort here is a solid Rock Pop effort and utilizes the wall of sound style. Among the names helping him on this album were Rick Cua and Steve Taylor. The real highlight of the album is a cover of the Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn where Perkins sounds like Elvis Costello and it works! It works good!

Tracklist
1 – Revolution – 3:33
2 – (You Can) Make Me Feel – 3:44
3 – Harvest Home – 5:00
4 – Fathers And Sons – 4:14
5 – Catacombs – 4:38
6 – Turn, Turn, Turn – 3:37
7 – Every New Day – 5:15
8 – The Innocence – 4:27
9 – Oribt – 4:57

Credits
Art Direction – Joan Tankersley
Artwork By – Albert Loudin
Engineer – Brian Tankersley, Dave Perkins, Malcolm Harper, Mike Fraser
Engineer [Additional] – Gene Ford, Lynn Fuston
Executive Producer – Lynn Nichols
Musician – Ann Richards, Brian Butler, Gregary Husted, Hank Carter, Jackie Cusic, Lisa Cates, Mike Mead, Phil Naish, Richard Price, Rick Cua, Rob Frazier, Steve Taylor, Stevie Butler, Tommy Greer
Photography – Caroline Greyshock
Producer – Dave Perkins

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John Mehler – Back In Love – 1987

This is John’s 2nd solo album but he had several compilation albums.

He really should have done more solo albums as he really does some great Rock & Roll.

I will admit that there are a few songs with a new wave vibe but generally it’s a good Rock & Roll album. The fact that John is a drummer actually comes through in his music.

I’ve never heard so many songs start with a drum intro on any album. It’s not a complaint however because it works great on this album. Bottom line is that this is a great album that should be in your 80’s collection.

Track Listing:
1 – Hey Landlord
2 – Child of Heaven
3 – Drive Away
4 – Point Of View
5 – Back In Love
6 – Channel 53
7 – Gate Into The Sky
8 – All Of Your Love
9 – Call For Surrender
10 – There Will Come A Time

Credits:
Co-producer – Bill Batstone
Producer – John Mehler

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Phil & John – Lonely Dancer – 1987

This was the 3rd album from Phil & John and it had almost the same style as their previous release.

It’s a sound that was serving them well so why change. It is quite comparable to the popular secular male duo’s of the time. I would describe them as Hall & Oates light. Not an insult though as they do the style very well.

Track Listing:
1 – Goodbye Yesterday – 3:33
2 – Beat The Situation – 3:28
3 – Hurts To Learn – 4:35
4 – Over The Moon – 4:56
5 – Wasted Years – 3:15
6 – Celebrate – 4:08
7 – Lonely Dancer – 5:10
8 – All At Sea – 4:10
9 – Maybe This Is Love – 4:36

Credits:
Lyrics By – John Hartley
Music By, Lyrics By – Phil Baggaley
Performer – Chris Eaton, David Fitzgerald, John Hartley, Julie Moon, Karlos Edwards, Les Moir, Luke Tunney, Mal Pope, Mathias Kaufmann, Mike Newbon, Neil Costello, Pete Thoms, Phil Baggaley, Phil Johnson
Producer – Chris Eaton, Les Moir
Recorded By, Mixed By – Neil Costello

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Bloodgood – Detonation – 1987

The second release from Bloodgood continues the raw metal sound they had in their first album.

This album is better produced and engineered but some fans preferred the edgier first album. But that said Detonation placed 8th in a poll by Heaven’s Metal fanzine of the top 100 Christian metal albums of all time.

Bloodgood is a mainstay in the Christian metal genre and most hold up this or their first album as their best work.

Track Listing:
1 – Battle Of The Flesh – 2:45
2 – Vagrant People – 3:26
3 – Self-Destruction – 3:29
4 – Alone In Suicide – 4:04
5 – Heartbeat (Of The City) – 3:25
6 – Eat The Flesh – 4:25
7 – Holy Fire – 3:10
8 – Crucify – 3:05
9 – The Messiah – 4:25
10 – Live Wire – 2:37

Credits:
Arranged By – Bloodgood
Art Direction, Layout – Ed McTaggart
Bass, Backing Vocals – Michael Bloodgood
Drums – Mark Welling
Engineer – Doug Doyle
Guitar, Backing Vocals – David Zaffiro
Illustration [Cover] – John Dickenson
Mastered By – John Matousek
Mixed By – David Zaffiro, Doug Doyle, Les Carlsen, Michael Bloodgood
Other [Litho Prep] – Graphic Masters, Santa Ana, CA
Other [Stage Clothes] – Brent Flemming
Photography By – Ken Baley, Lynn DeBon
Producer – David Zaffiro, Les Carlsen, Michael Bloodgood
Vocals – Les Carlsen

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The 77’s – (self titled) – 1987

Most people believe this was one of the most important albums in the 80’s CCM scene.

This album was released on Island records not a Christian label. And this wasn’t some unheard of label, Island records was home to U2 at the time. The hope was that this was going to be the true entry of a CCM band into the secular music scene.

Unfortunately not everything worked out as hoped and the album was not a huge commercial success. But that said many believe this was one of the greatest CCM albums of all time.

It is in my top 10 and usually dances in the top 3. As I remember it “Do It For Love” was the radio single and is a darn good song but my favourite was “What Was In That Letter”. Final thought is that the album is solid and there’s no filler content here, just quality music.

Track Listing:
1 – Do It For Love – 4:26
2 – I Can’t Get Over It – 4:38
3 – What Was In That Letter – 3:07
4 – Pearls Before Swine – 8:20
5 – The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes & The Pride Of Life – 3:50
6 – Frames Without Photographs – 4:18
7 – Don’t Say Goodbye – 4:30
8 – Bottom Line – 3:50
9 – I Could Laugh – 7:50

Credits:
Art Direction, Graphic Design – Marty Gessler
Band [The 77’s Are], Bass [Fender Bass], Backing Vocals [Support Vocals] – Jan Eric
Band [The 77’s Are], Drums [More Pounding & Thrashing] – Aaron Smith
Band [The 77’s Are], Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals [Support Vocals] – Mark Tootle
Band [The 77’s Are], Vocals, Guitar – Mike Roe
Engineer [Assistant Engineer At Quadrasonic] – Peter Sturge
Engineer [Assistant Engineers At Exit] – Daryl Zachman, Steve Griffith
Executive-Producer – Mary Neely
Featuring, Backing Vocals, Keyboards – Steve Griffith
Featuring, Bass [Fender 6-String Bass], Electronics [Ibanez Midi Guitar Controller] – Sam Ching
Featuring, Percussion [Ethnic & Orchestral Percussion], Other [Hat Hair] – Bongo Bob Smith
Featuring, Piano [Prepared Piano] – The Cleverly Brothers
Featuring, Saxophone – Jon Skinner
Featuring, Sounds [A.M.S. Sampling] – Pete “Fastfingers” Sturge
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Photography By – Deborah Wiley, Linda Pearson
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Robert Musso
Recorded By [Live Remote Recording], Recorded By [Pre-Production Demos Extraordinaire] – Steve Griffith

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In-3D – Barrage – 1987

This was the second and last album from In 3-D.

At times it feels like Glenn Kaiser is doing vocals and the Police doing the Instruments. But to be clear this really isn’t a “sounds like” album.

It is a stand alone quality album. While most people think their first album was better I personally prefer this album. It was more highly produced and had a much better flow.

Personally this is a top 50 album from the era for me, pity is was their last.

Track Listing:
1 – Now You Did It – 2:51
2 – Barrage – 3:19
3 – Too Much To Lose – 4:14
4 – Some Other Day – 3:51
5 – Anytime – 3:58
6 – Holdin’ On – 3:30
7 – Love Will Find A Way – 3:27
8 – Face To Face – 3:40
9 – Love Is Lost – 3:50
10 – Dunga Dunk – 3:14
11 – Final Fire – 3:48

Credits:
James Neave – Vocals, Bass
Nail – Keyboards, Guitar
Randy Kerkman – Guitar
David Geer – Drums, Percussion

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The Lead – The Past Behind – 1987

The Past Behind is a thrash album by the metal band The Lead that was released in 1987.

Strangely they re-recorded the album and released it on R.E.X. Records with a new cover in 1988. As I have no knowledge of Thrash Metal I have no idea if this is a good album or not.

Track Listing:
1 – Abomination – 1:58
2 – National Pride – 0:40
3 – He Won’t Take A Joke – 3:26
4 – No Religion – 2:04
5 – Old Warrior – 1:16
6 – Tunnel Vision – 4:45
7 – Puritan – 0:12
8 – Jesus Became Sin – 2:07

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Ivan Zyklon Gripweed
Drums, Vocals – Robbie Christie
Executive-Producer – Doug Mann
Guitar, Vocals – Julio Rey
Photography By – Leyla Arner
Producer, Engineer, Backing Vocals – Mike McNamee
Vocals, Bass – Nina Llopis
Written-By – Julio Rey

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