Sam Phillips – The Indescribable Wow – 1988

This is Leslie Phillips first album using the moniker Sam Phillips. It is also her first release in the secular music stream. Much has been written of her departure from the Christian music market but I will quote her instead of offering my opinion. In an interview with Enio Chiola in 2011 this is what she stated “I found out through that whole process that I wanted to learn how to write songs and make music better than I had before, and I realized that a lot of the fundamentalist people didn’t care about that, or were judgmental about that. It seemed that they had a very utilitarian view of art. That art was only to serve one purpose, which was to get across their point of view, and I didn’t agree.” I think I can safely say there were “artistic differences” between her and Myrrh records. For her first pop album T-Bone Burnett came on board to produce and the result is probably the best cross over album of any artist. It is no surprise to my regular readers that I am a huge T-Bone fan and this album is one of those reasons. After this album came out T-Bone and Leslie/Sam confirmed they were in a relationship and they did marry a year later.

Tracklist
1 – I Don’t Want To Fall In Love – 2:50
2 – I Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye To You – 3:18
3 – Flame – 2:33
4 – Remorse – 3:43
5 – What Do I Do – 3:52
6 – I Can’t Stop Crying – 3:17
7 – Holding On To The Earth – 3:00
8 – She Can’t Tell Time – 3:35
9 – What You Don’t Want To Hear – 2:59
10 – Out Of Time – 4:26

Credits
Arranged By – T Bone Burnett (tracks: 5), Van Dyke Parks, Van Dyke Parks (tracks: 5)
Bass – Jerry Scheff
Cello, Double Bass [String Bass] – Buell Niedlinger
Coordinator [Production Co-ordinator] – Tim Davis
Drum Machine – Ralph Forbes
Drums – Mickey Curry, Steve Jordan
Engineer [Assistant] – Brian Soucy, Clif Norrel, Dave Knight
Harpsichord, Harmonium, Bass – David Miner
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Mixed By – Kevin Killen
Organ – Mike Utley
Percussion, Drums – Alex Acuña
Producer, Guitar, Mandocello, Marxophone – T-Bone Burnett
Recorded By – Rik Pekkonen
Recorded By [Additional Recording] – Tchad Blake
Recorded By [Assistant] – Mike Ross
Trumpet – Darrel Leonard
Written-By – Sam Phillips (tracks: 1 to 10), T Bone Burnett (tracks: 7, 8)

Companies, etc.
Copyright © – Virgin Records America, Inc.
Copyright © – Virgin Records America, Inc.
Distributed By – WEA
Recorded At – Ocean Way Recording
Recorded At – The Sound Factory
Mastered At – Masterdisk

Megamouth 2 – The Great Skateboard Adventure – 1988

This is the second of 2 children’s albums done by Terry Taylor and Greg Flesch. This one is centered on a skateboarding theme with a story line of competing in said sport. Apparently this idea didn’t get much traction but I commend them for trying. This project didn’t age very well but it may have been cool in the 80’s if I was 10 years old.

Tracklist
1 – Megamouth Theme – 3:12
2 – You’re One In A Million – 4:24
3 – We’re Bad, That’s Good, and We’re Ugly (Viper’s Theme) – 5:22
4 – Quantized (Be a Good Sport) – 4:03
5 – Practice Makes Gnarly (Spinner’s Song) – 5:47
6 – Viper’s Theme Part 2 (Megamouth’s Answer) – 7:03
7 – Ready, Steady, Go – 8:00
8 – Tubin’ It – 1:21
9 – Getting Vertical (By Trustin’ The Lord) – 22:35

Credits
Art Direction, Layout – Ed McTaggart
Cover – John Dickenson
Engineer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Doug Doyle
Illustration – June Valentine
Mastered By – John Matousek
Producer, Arranged By, Recorded By, Mixed By, Instruments, Written-By, Concept By – Greg Flesch
Producer, Arranged By, Recorded By, Mixed By, Written-By, Concept By, Voice Actor – Terry Taylor
Vocals – Amy Watson, Lisa Grimaud*, Nancy Hanson, Nancy Marquez
Voice Actor, Vocals – Dan Rupple, Dennis Bowen, Diane Meador-Pemelton, Scott Rummell

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.
Mixed At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.

Kerry Livgren / AD – Prime Mover – 1988

After the demise of AD Kerry Livgren and Warren Ham came back together to record and release this album using the AD name. It is said that this album was put together to fulfill contractual obligations and raise some funds. I’m not really sure if I believe this but it is said that Kerry said this but I can not find the actual quote. Kerry supplied all of the instruments with the exception of harp and sax supplied by Ham and this gives the album a rather unique sound and I really like it. I’m not disrespecting the rest of the band I’m just saying I really like this sound. The track “Portrait II” is actually a re-write of Portrait (He Knew), from the 1977 Kansas album Point of Know Return. Kerry rewrote it to be about Christ rather than Albert Einstein. Strangely the entire album was re-recorded and re-released in 1998 as Prime Mover II with 5 additional tracks. One last point of trivia of this album is that the UK vinyl version stated the title as “Prime Cuts” on the vinyl label. Rather odd error but errors on vinyl labels are actually quite common.

Tracklist
1 – Don’t Pass Me By – 4:24
2 – Fathers And Sons – 3:56
3 – Portrait II – 5:35
4 – Children Of The Shadows – 4:49
5 – Wandering Spirit – 4:04
6 – I’ll Follow You – 3:55
7 – New Kind Of Love – 3:37
8 – One More Song – 4:09
9 – T.G.B. – 5:58

Credits
Design – Nick Newton
Illustration [Photo Illustration] – Mark Fokol
Instrumentation By [All Instruments By] – Kerry Livgren
Lead Vocals – Warren Ham
Mastered By – Glen Meadows
Producer [Produced By] – Steve Walsh
Recorded By, Mixed By – Kerry Livgren
Vocals – Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Dean Heitkamp, Michael Gleason

Companies, etc.
Produced For – GrandyZine Productions Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Kerry Livgren Productions,Inc.
Copyright (c) – Kerry Livgren Productions,Inc.
Recorded At – The Peach, Covington, GA
Mixed At – The Peach, Covington, GA
Mastered At – Masterfonics

Crumbächer – Tame The Volcano – 1988

I was very excited to listen to this album as I had not heard it before and wow was I surprised. Surprised being a synonym for disappointed in this case. On their/his previous album “Thunder Beach” we had a hint of what was coming but I wasn’t prepared for this album. Quite frankly it’s just another AOR album. Albums like this were a dime a dozen and it is hard to believe this even was Crumbächer. There are only a few tracks where we get to hear the synth genius that made Stephen Crumbächer famous. Instead most the tracks are run of the mill worship tracks. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Now if I had never heard of Stephen Crumbächer I would likely have said this was a pretty good AOR album. Stephen’s voice is strong and even a little surprisingly good. I don’t think I ever gave him credit for the quality of his vocals. It even had 2 CCM singles with “Rainy Season” making it to #15 and “Waiting For You” to #13. While I was unhappy with the album it is not a bad album. It is quite good in its own right, just not what I expected or wanted.

Tracklist
1 – Once More (With Feeling) – 4:26
2 – Speechless – 3:51
3 – Waiting For You – 3:58
4 – Release Me – 4:27
5 – Reckless Boys & Bad, Bad Girls – 4:55
6 – Tame The Volcano – 4:17
7 – Lava Rock – 2:46
8 – Rainy Season – 3:58
9 – Somebody’s Arms – 3:58
10 – Every Now And Then – 5:06
11 – Once More (For The Band) – 4:24

Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Christopher Duke
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Christopher Duke, Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Jimmy Wisner, Stephen Crumbächer
Bass – Tim Chandler
Design – Ed McTaggart
Drums – Jimmy Wisner
Electric Guitar – Christopher Duke
Engineer – Dave Jahnsen
Engineer [Second] – Beth Wisner, Eric Kibbe
Illustration – Marilee T. Niehaus
Keyboards – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer, Tim Heintz
Lead Vocals – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer
Music By – Christopher Duke (tracks: 4,7,9,10), Stephen Crumbächer (tracks: 1 to 11)
Percussion – Kurt Rasmussen
Photography – R. Michael Seeley
Piano [Acoustic] – Stephen Crumbächer
Producer – Bill Baumgart, Stephen Crumbächer
Saxophone – Eric Marienthal
Words By – Stephen Crumbächer (tracks: 1 to 11)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Recorded At – Asylomar

Michael Anderson – Sound Alarm – 1988

Sometime around 1987 I was working at a very large and popular christian Bookstore in Southern California when a copy of Billboard Magazine came across my desk. Along the bottom of the front page was an ad for an artist on A&M Records. The slogan on the ad was something like, “There’s Nothing Funny About the End of the World.” I was intrigued. I immediately called my local one-stop mainstream distributor and asked about the project. He hadn’t heard about but did make a couple calls for me. It would be released a few weeks later, but he did call the next day and said he got an advanced copy of the album for my to review before ordering. I drove over right away and put the CD in my car. The content seemed “Christian” to me but i had no real proof the artist was a Christian. Songs were about faith and the title track mentioned Babylon and Armageddon. I ordered some for the store despite the “hell” word being present and not receiving any confirmation about the faith of the artist. It sold well. In fact, it sold extremely well. My staff loved it and pushed and I don’t think a customer came in that didn’t hear something about it one way or the other. It charted in CCM Magazine just because of our sales alone. About a month later i received a phone call. On the other end of the line was a man with a very low voice and calm demeanor. He introduced himself as Michael Anderson and asked why in the world was i selling his record at a Christian Bookstore. I was a bit stunned and taken aback. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said, “I just wanted to know how you knew I was a Christian?” As I found out later his manager told him the album charted in CCM Magazine and that was because of the sales from one store. He tracked down the store and called. That started a friendship that would last for several years. My wife and I would travel to Hollywood regularly to hang out with Michael and his wife. In fact, we were invited by Michael his wife’s birthday party at an amazing gourmet Japanese restaurant in Bel Air and were seated at a table with Michael and Stormie Omartian. Michael’s debut project on A&M Records is a powerful, straight ahead Americana rock and roll in the same vein as the best from John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen but with a more blues and country influenced sound. Anderson’s voice will huff, puff, spit, scream and squeal with an edge that pierces as it communicates with passion few have reviled. On higher notes he is known to have his voice crack in trademark fashion. But on the mellower tunes he can bring it down to soft, almost Barry White-like smooth growl. Anderson would record two releases for the mainstream market on A&M and then two projects for the Christian market on Forefront. He made his way there after I gave a copy of this album to Eddie DeGarmo at a Benson records sales conference.

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

Tracklist
1 – Sound Alarm – 5:31
2 – I Know That You Can Stand – 5:14
3 – I Need You – 4:51
4 – Until You Loved Me – 3:49
5 – Sanctuary – 5:43
6 – Little Bit O’ Love – 4:24
7 – Memphis Radio – 4:47
8 – Soweto Soul – 4:03
9 – Shine A Light – 4:49
10 – Time To Go Home – 5:10

Credits
Backing Vocals – Toni Anderson
Bass, Backing Vocals – Buck Silvertone
Drums – Chad Cromwell
Guitar – Josh Sklair
Harmonica – Jimmy Z
Producer, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Terry Manning
Vocals, Guitar – Michael Anderson

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&M Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – A&M Records, Inc.
Distributed By – PolyGram
Made By – PolyGram
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Recorded At – Alpha Sound
Mixed At – Ardent Studios
Mixed At – Alpha Sound
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Published By – Atlantic Recording Corporation
Published By – Cadillac Pink Music

Eddie DeGarmo – Feels Good To Be Forgiven – 1988

In 1988 Eddie DeGarmo was instrumental in the opening of ForeFront Records. I am guessing that he did this solo album to help jumpstart the label. Dana Key also did a solo album in 1990 which also went on ForeFront. Eddie assembled a group of studio musicians for this album but you can tell it was on a new label as most of them weren’t really first call material. Not that they are bad but it’s rather obvious that this is a group of people not under contract to another record company. As for the album I was a little surprised it wasn’t a little more keyboard oriented. Instead it is a blues rock album with an emphasis on guitar riffs. I think it’s a pretty good album but without Dana you can tell it’s just not quite as good without their team work. That said it deserves to be listened to.

Tracklist
1 – Heaven’s 911 – 3:40
2 – Stayin’ on the High Road – 4:51
3 – Feels Good to Be Forgiven – 4:47
4 – Pickin’ Up the Pieces – 4:58
5 – Turn On Heaven’s Power – 4:08
6 – Goodbye Mr. Heartache – 3:48
7 – Thank You – 3:39
8 – I Believe – 3:52
9 – Faith Like a Rock – 4:20
10 – I Ain’t Gonna Lose – 4:58
11 – I Wanna Praise You – 5:07
12 – Yes Indeed – 3:18

Credits
Art Direction – Connie Sneed
Backing Vocals – Helen Gray, Phyllis Duncan
Bass – Warren Pease
Design – Camille Engel Advertising
Drums – Willy Lucius
Engineer [Additional] – James Craft
Executive-Producer – Dan R. Brock
Guitar – Greg Redding*, Jack Holder
Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Eddie DeGarmo
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Photography By – Dave Hawkins
Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Ron W. Griffin
Saxophone – Andrew Love
Trumpet – Ben Cauley

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Copyright (c) – The ForeFront Communications Group, Inc.
Published By – DKB Music
Recorded At – Crosstown Recorders
Remixed At – Crosstown Recorders
Mastered At – Mastermix
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

Randy Stonehill – Can’t Buy a Miracle – 1988

Can’t Buy A Miracle is the follow up to Randy’s wildly popular album The Wild Frontier. Randy was joined for backup vocals from Phil Keaggy, Gary Chapman, Russ Taff, and REZ on individual tracks. This enhances some excellent songs with the exception of the Rez track “Cold Rock The Groove” which I just didn’t like and no guest appearance was gonna save it for me. The album isn’t quite as good as Wild Frontier but it’s not a bad album. Wild Frontier was probably Randy’s best album so saying it’s not as good is not necessarily a criticism. My favourite track is the title track which made me feel like I was listening to an old Stones tune. The album did actually sneak a single onto the CCM charts with “Coming Back Soon” making it to #5. All in all a pretty darn good album that definitely deserves a listen.

Tracklist
1 – It’s Now – 4:03
2 – Don’t Break Down – 3:04
3 – Coming Back Soon – 4:46
4 – O How The Mighty Have Fallen – 4:10
5 – Brighter Day – 4:05
6 – Awfully Loud World – 3:02
7 – Cold Rock The Groove – 4:05
8 – Beyond The Veil – 4:55
9 – Can’t Buy A Miracle – 3:49

Credits
Artwork – Michael Hodgso
Backing Vocals – Dave Perkins (tracks: 6, 9), Gary Chapman (tracks: 5), Phil Keaggy (tracks: 2), Rez (tracks: 7), Russ Taff (tracks: 6)
Bass – Rick Cua
Drums – Mike Mead
Electric Guitar – Dave Perkins
Engineer – Dave Perkins, Malcolm Harper
Engineer [Additional] – Dave Shirley, Lynn Fuston
Executive-Producer – Ray Ware, Tom Willett
Guitar [Flat Top Guitars] – Randy Stonehill
Keyboards – Greg Husted
Mixed By – Dave Perkins, Malcolm Harper
Percussion – Lisa Cates
Photography By – Peter Nash
Producer – Dave Perkins

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Randy’s Rock Bunker
Recorded At – The Reelsound Truck
Mixed At – The Reelsound Truck
Manufactured By – Discovery Systems – 2W20100B
Published By – Stonehillian Music
Published By – Word Music
Published By – Undone Tunes
Published By – Blue Finch Music

Mylon & Broken Heart – Face The Music – 1988

This was without a doubt one of Mylon LeFevre’s most successful albums. It had 4 CCM singles. Again And Again made it to #1, Mercy Seat to #3, Modern Man to #37, and Lamb Of God to #26. It also won the 1989 Dove Award for Recorded Song of the Year, Rock for “Won by One”. That’s a pretty darn successful album. It is also probably his best produced album with his usual producer Joe Hardy hitting it out of the park on this one. This was his first album with Star Song records after being done with Myrrh. It was nice to see he could bring his producer over with him as sometimes after a label change inside politics gets involved and complicates staffing matters but obviously not here. Really I can’t add much more than that. This is a must listen to album for anyone that listened to CCM music in the 80’s.

Tracklist
1 – Won By One – 4:21
2 – Sixteen – 3:54
3 – Talk To Me – 2:35
4 – Modern Man – 3:43
5 – Mercy Seat – 3:35
6 – Again And Again – 4:46
7 – Change – 3:01
8 – Rock Of Safety – 3:27
9 – Lamb Of God – 4:08

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Dave Rogers, Toni Thigpen
Bass, Vocals – Kenneth Bentley
Electronic Drums [Digital Drums], Vocals – Ben Hewitt
Guitar, Vocals – Scott Allen, Trent Argante
Illustration – Randy Rogers
Keyboards, Vocals – Paul Joseph
Photography By – Jim Collins
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By, Programmed By [Fairlight Programming] – Joe Hardy
Vocals, Guitar, Producer – Mylon LeFevre

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Sparrow/Star Song Distribution
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Records
Copyright (c) – Star Song Records
Published By – Angel Band Music
Made By – Discovery Systems
Recorded At – Ardent Studios
Recorded At – Doppler Studios
Recorded At – Twelve Oaks Studio
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Published By – Jerome Olds Music

Undercover – 3-28-87 – 1988

Here’s a live album from Undercover that was recorded on 3-28-87, hence the name, at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The album has the vocal stylings of The Smiths we heard on their previous album, Branded. The album features all the usual hits from previous album but also has 2 previously unreleased tracks, “You and I” and “One to One”. The album is very well engineered and probably one of the better live albums in the late 80’s. I heard that this album was unofficially billed as their retirement tour but of course that proved to be untrue with many more albums coming out after this.

Tracklist
1 – Is Anyone Thirsty – 4:12
2 – I’m Just A Man – 3:46
3 – God Rules – 1:22
4 – Three Nails – 3:27
5 – Boys & Girls – 3:43
6 – I Love God – 4:08
7 – Cry Myself To Sleep – 2:32
8 – Darkest Hour – 3:32
9 – Build A Castle – 4:00
10 – Pilate – 3:07
11 – You And I – 2:55
12 – I’d Rather Stay – 2:58
13 – One To One – 3:59
14 – Come Away With Me – 4:42
15 – If I Had A Dream – 5:22

Credits
Artwork [Logo] – Rick Griffin
Backing Vocals [Support Singers] – Jim Chevalier, Joy Broome, Riki Michele
Bass, Keyboards – Joey (Ojo Taylor)
Design [Album Design] – Gene Eugene, Riki Michele
Design [Album Design], Photography By – Brian Ray
Drums – Gary Olson
Engineer – Ray Thompson
Engineer [Assistent Engineer] – Tim Pinch
Guitar – Gym (Gym Nicholson)
Lead Vocals – Sim Wilson
Mixed By [Mixing Assistent] – Dave Hackbarth
Mixed By, Producer, Design [Album Design] – Ojo Taylor
Photography By [Gary’s Drums] – Steve Lanning

Companies, etc.
Mixed At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.
Mastered At – Motown Recording Studios
Edited At – Motown Recording Studios

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Side 1
Side 2

Zero Option – Absolute Zero – 1988

Zero Option was actually just one guy, Ralph Ward. I guess you could call him the Thomas Dolby of Christian music. Well maybe more the Howard Jones due to his vocals. This is actually his second album, his first album was titled “Ralph Ward” but using the artist name Zero Option. Does that qualify as a self titled album? When asked why he didn’t refer to his work by just his name he said “…..people expect you to be one bloke standing there with an acoustic guitar!” He took the name Zero Option from the nuclear disarmament policy of the same name which I guess was big in the U.K. in the early 80’s. He played anywhere he could including pubs, schools, and Churches. The album is a synth affair with upbeat vocals. At times I hear Harold Faltermeyer, Howard Jones, and even Men Without Hats. Speaking of Men Without Hats the album cover looks like it’s right out of the music video for “Safety Dance”. This is the style of music I loved i the 80’s and it’s too bad I had to wait until 2021 to hear this album because I really like it.

Tracklist
1 – Throwing It All Away – 5:32
2 – Let Me Die On Platform 9 – 6:09
3 – Still In Love With You – 3:31
4 – Let Go And Let God – 5:43
5 – The Telephone Song – 5:30
6 – Caught Up On The Wrong Side – 3:42
7 – In My Dreams Tonight – 5:47
8 – For Eternity – 4:33
9 – Love Looks Down – 3:19
10 – Hold Out Forever – 5:00

Credits
Instruments, Vocals, Producer, Songwriter – Ralph Ward
Producer, Engineer – William Jackson

Jacket Front
Jacket Back
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back
Side 1
Side 2