Ben Okafor – Nkiru – 1989

Occasionally I just take a day and root through a record company library to see what I find. This is one I found while rooting through the Refuge library. I’d never heard of the artist though actually he’s relatively well known for the period. Ben claims to have grown up as a child soldier in Nigeria. These stories don’t usually end well but his does as he was able to immigrate to the U.K. He was actually a well known artist in the anti apartheid movement and shared the stage with several prominent artists at that time. He has continued on with his somewhat unique style today. As for that style I would best describe it as pop oriented folk reggae. The industry refers to it as Afrikanese reggae but I don’t care for that description so I’ll go with mine.

Tracklist
1 – Wake Up – 4:38
2 – Got Me Running – 4:56
3 – Oke Na Ngwele – 2:55
4 – Man Of Sorrow – 4:28
5 – I Need Love – 5:17
6 – Raise Your Conscience – 5:10
7 – Filippino – 3:33
8 – World Gone Crazy – 3:57
9 – No Matter What It Is – 4:27
10 – Look Out – 2:34

Priscilla Engle – Ageless Love – 1989

This is Priscilla’s second album. Her first album was on Frontline Records but this one was on tiny label Diadem Music. It appears she didn’t get a second album deal with Frontline. Now I have not listened to her first album yet but after listening to this one I am kind of surprised she couldn’t get a larger record deal. This album is very good. The jacket cover had me worried I was about to listen to a worship album but not so. This is a fun 80’s Pop album. I can’t find much out there on this album but I’m not overly surprised due to the label it was on. Diadem was owned by Benson (a much larger label) but I don’t know if they did much promotion of their Diadem label. Anyway this is a great fun pop album and is definitely a fun listen.

Tracklist
1 – Ageless Love – 3:04
2 – Nothing But Jesus – 3:34
3 – He Is Still A Father – 5:02
4 – Just Believe – 3:56
5 – No Need (Bow Down) – 4:27
6 – He’s Leading The Way – 3:55
7 – There You Are – 3:25
8 – River To The Throne – 5:00
9 – Follow You – 3:39
10 – Fire Of The Holy Spirit – 3:47
11 – To Live Is Christ – 3:28
12 – Don’t Dance – 3:11
13 – Kingdom Love – 5:00

Credits
Backing Vocals – Beverly Darnall, Guy Penrod, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Kip Raines, Mark Ivey, Paul Marino, Ray Boltz, Steve Millikan
Bass – Gary Lunn, Randy Melson
Drums – Dane Clark, Mark Hammond
Guitar – George Cocchini, Sandy Williams
Keyboards – Joe Hogue, Steve Millikan
Producer – Steve Millikan
Saxophone – Mark Douthit

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David Zaffiro – The Other Side – 1989

Guitarist David Zaffiro left Bloodgood to do his own thing here. The album definitely has it’s own feel and it shouldn’t be mistaken for Bloodgood. The guitar riffs sound similar in places but it looks like David had his own sound that he wanted to get out to the public. Michael Bloodgood does help out on a couple tracks so it’s nice to see that David leaving Bloodgood wasn’t in bad blood. My only fault on the album is that there should have been a few more rockin tracks and a few less ballads but that said they are very well done and I would have been hard pressed to pick ones to delete. So to sum up this is a good rockin album and I look forward to listening to David’s next album.

Tracklist
1 – Stay – 4:00
2 – I See Red – 3:22
3 – Where Are You Now – 3:36
4 – Why Me – 3:58
5 – The Other Side – 6:18
6 – Diversity – 4:42
7 – You – 3:11
8 – To The End – 4:27
9 – Only Eyes – 3:39
10 – Spirit Of The Lord – 4:50

Credits
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Assemblage – Jason Brown
Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Charlene Nemieyer, David Schueler, Marlene Cochran, Paula Prince, Richard Bartholomew
Bass Guitar – Bill Hale (4), Mark Mosholder (tracks: 2)
Co-producer [On Lead Vocals] – Michael Bloodgood (tracks: 2, 10)
Drums – Davin McLaird
Engineer – Charles Meserole
Keyboards – David Hubbard (tracks: 10), Kelly Carpenter
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Producer, Engineer, Written-By – David Zaffiro
Photography By – Mark Wilkins
Rhythm Guitar – Maverick Gibson (tracks: 1)
Written-By, Co-producer [On Lead Vocals] – Maverick Gibson (tracks: 1,8)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Alarma Records
Copyright (c) – Alarma Records
Mastered At – Hitsville
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Published By – Broken Songs
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

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Liaison – Liaison – 1989

Liaison was formed by brothers Larry and Tim Melby who grew up in rural North Dakota. The brothers played just about every instrument there was and they display this talent on their first album. The album was very well received partly due to some excellent production by tech wizard Bill Baumgart. This album has an excellent arenas rock feel but leans AOR too. It even had 2 chart singles on the CCM charts. Go And Sin No More made it to #14 and The Way, The Truth, And The Life to #38. I understand it was also very very popular on Christian rock radio but I don’t currently have access to any of their charts. This is a great rock album and everyone should give it a listen. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one track that will fall in your like pile.

Tracklist
1 – When The Kingdom Comes Down – 4:21
2 – You Are His Main Concern – 3:51
3 – Go And Sin No More – 3:31
4 – Man With A Mission – 5:02
5 – The Way, The Truth, And The Life – 4:23
6 – Kick It Down – 3:21
7 – The Light Is On – 4:11
8 – He Lives – 4:15
9 – Give Me One Day At A Time – 3:29
10 – You’ve Got My Heart In Your Hands – 3:42

Credits
Arranged By [Arrangements By] – Tim Heintz
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Bass – Kelly Burns
Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Beth Wisner, Eric Kibby
Engineer [Engineered By] – Dave Jahnsen
Illustration – Jeff Foster
Mastered By – John Matousek
Music By, Lyrics By – Lary, Tim Melby
Musician, Backing Vocals – Bill Baumgart
Musician, Drums – Jeff Porcaro
Musician, Guitar [Additional Guitars] – Gawain Reifsnyder, Glenn Pearce, Vince Mendoza
Musician, Guitar [Guitars] – Michael Landau
Musician, Keyboards – Bill Baumgart, Tim Heintz
Musician, Saxophone – Dave Koz
Performer [Liaison Is], Guitar [Guitars], Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Tim Melby
Performer [Liaison Is], Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar [Guitars], Bass – Lary Melby
Photography By – Ralph Bizik
Producer [Produced By], Arranged By [Arrangements By] – Bill Baumgart

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontline Records
Copyright (c) – Frontline Records
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Produced For – Asylomar Productions
Recorded At – The Mixing Lab
Mixed At – The Mixing Lab
Mastered At – Sound Works West
Copyright (c) – Broken Songs

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Kim Hill – Talk About Life – 1989

Kim was that “girl next door” artist CCM was looking for. That is, if you lived next door to a really attractive girl who appeared to live on a farm and possessed nothing but jeans and an acoustic guitar who drove a 1950’s era puck up truck. Yeah…that next door. After a decent debut that showed glimmers of hope for originality and artistic merit, Kim Hill’s sophomore release, Talk About Life, revealed those possibilities. Less Nashville pop and more female singer-songwriter. Less AC pop and more rock, country and folk. Hill was Christian music answer to the Melissa Etheridge/Meredith Brooks. jean wearing female rocker/songwriter. Hill’s husky alto voice (think Chistine McVie, KT Tunstall)) was great fit to the earthy, acoustic rock on the album. What also worked is a strong lyrical content that went beyond the normal CCM categories, even if the themes remained similar. There is a passion in the content as well as in the performance. “Snakes in the Grass” is one of the great songs in the history of CCM female artists. Her vocal flexibility and range mixed with a stark and edgy production makes this a stand out on so many levels. It’s a song Maria McKee would do, but with no guarantee of better results. The acoustic guitar accentuated by an incredible “rock” string arrangement is pure studio magic. Brown Bannister, more noted for his AC pop, outdid himself on this album. The title track and Closer to a Broken Heart continue the great rock sound in the vein of The Pretenders and Tom Petty. In fact, there are really no weak moments on the albums and has remained her strongest effort, though her follow up also contained similar quality work. Hill would later move in a more worship direction and an involvement with Women of faith type ministries. She has yet to return to this type of music and that is true loss for Christian Music. But even some 20 years later this album sound fantastic and not dated in any way.

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

Tracklist
1 – Inside Of You – 4:22
2 – Stop, Watch And Listen – 5:14
3 – Secret Place – 4:45
4 – Snake In The Grass – 4:08
5 – Let’s Talk About Life – 2:01
6 – Closer To A Broken Heart – 3:37
7 – Turning – 3:50
8 – Testimony – 3:33
9 – Charm Is Deceitful – 2:21

Credits
Art Direction, Design – Jackson Design
Coordinator [Production Coordinator] – Richard Headen
Cover [Cover Coordinator] – D.L. Rhodes
Executive-Producer – Michael Blanton, Terry Hemmings
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Photography By – Russ Harrington
Producer [Associate Producer] – Wayne Kirkpatrick
Producer [Produced By] – Brown Bannister
Recorded By [Additional Recording] – Splash Headen, Smash Kirkpatrick
Recorded By [Assisted By] – Carry Summers, Steve Bishir
Recorded By [Overdubs Recorded By] – Slash Bannister
Recorded By [Tracks Recorded By] – Jeff Balding

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Reunion Records
Copyright (c) – Reunion Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word Records Limited
Copyright (c) – Word Records Limited
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Word (Uk) Ltd.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Overdubbed At – Home Groan Studio
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Published By – Pupfish Music
Published By – Knightsville Music
Published By – Edward Grant, Inc.
Published By – Birdwing Music
Published By – Songs Of PolyGram International, Inc.
Published By – Yellow Jacket Music, Inc.
Published By – Emily Boothe, Inc.
Published By – Word Music (2)
Published By – Riverstone Music, Inc.
Pressed By – DADC – DIDX-006789

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Fighter – Demo – 1989

As I understand it this was Fighter’s first demo. 2 of the tracks got released on their first album, “Radio Man”, and “Face To Face”. “Leo” and “Irresponsible Evil” remained unreleased until 2019. In 2019 these four tracks were bonus material on a re-release of Fighters first album, The Waiting. Do not confuse this with the 2019 Girder Records release “The Fighter Demos” which is a collection of most of their demo work but not these 4 tracks.

Tracklist
1 – Radio Man – 4:38
2 – Leo – 3:15
3 – Face To Face – 5:27
4 – Irresponsible Evil – 3:24

Credits
Bass – Jim Wolter
Drums – Sean Murphy
Guitar – Billy Heller
Keyboards – Mark Pence
Lead Vocals – Amy Wolter, Sean Murphy

Giant – Last Of The Runaways – 1989

I have to admit that I was a little surprised when I learned about this album. I remember the album from late 89 as it was all over secular radio. What I did not learn is that the Huff brothers (White Heart) were two of the driving forces behind it. Joining them was studio musician Alan Pasqua who had mainly worked secular projects but had a fair amount of CCM albums in his credits too. Also joining them was studio musician Mike Brignardello who mainly did CCM projects at the time. So apparently these guys came together and decided to do a secular project and this is it. This was the first project after the Huff brothers left White Heart but I don’t know if they left to do this project or if they left and then decided to do this project. This is a fantastic Hard Rock album and if you ever doubted Dann Huff’s guitar prowess this album should dispel that. The album had a big single, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” though the second single, “I’m a Believer”, was better but did not chart as well. I’d love to hear the story of how this album came about but I couldn’t find any reliable explanations on the internet. Anyway if you like your Rock Hard and or your Metal light this is definitely the album for you.

Tracklist
1 – I’m A Believer – 5:44
2 – Innocent Days – 5:16
3 – I Can’t Get Close Enough – 6:06
4 – I’ll See You In My Dreams – 4:46
5 – No Way Out – 4:03
6 – Shake Me Up – 4:16
7 – It Takes Two – 4:58
8 – Stranger To Me – 5:57
9 – Hold Back The Night – 4:11
10 – Love Welcome Home – 4:51
11 – The Big Pitch – 5:07

Credits
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Lea Hart, Peter Howarth, Terry Thomas
Bass, Vocals – Mike Brignardello
Drums, Vocals – David Huff*
Keyboards, Vocals – Alan Pasqua
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Dann Huff
Mastered By – Arnie Acosta
Mixed By – Rafe McKenna (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 7 to 11), Terry Thomas (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 7 to 11)
Mixed By [Assistant] – Jon Mallison (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 7 to 11)
Producer [Produced By] – Terry Thomas
Recorded By – Rafe McKenna
Recorded By [Assistant at Farmyard Recording Studio] – Derek Murphy
Recorded By [Assistant at Master Rock Studios] – Helen Woodward
Recorded By [Assistant at Ridge Farm Studios] – Paul Cuddeford

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&M Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – A&M Records, Inc.
Recorded At – Ridge Farm Studios
Recorded At – Farmyard Studios
Recorded At – Master Rock Studios
Mixed At – Livingston Studios
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Manufactured By – Digital Audio Disc Corp. – DIDX-005359

Jon Gibson – Body & Soul – 1989

Jon Gibson would score higher sales (Jesus Loves Ya) and radio success (Forever Friends) elsewhere, but his true artistic triumph came on this sweet little record, Body & Soul. Combining an obvious Beatles influence with his Stevie Wonder grooves helped Gibson create an utterly unique and never duplicated release. The album would also feature Gibsonsd most transparent, thoughtful and poignant songwriting. The soulful crooning and Gospel infused Church Anthems still remain, but there is a distinct musical quality, a fresher, more earthy appeal, that sets the record apart. It also remains the finest production work in Bill Baumgart’s career. The sub-three minute Beatle’s directed “Heart of Gold” kicks off the album with a great Abbey Road era sound to the opening strings followed by Bill Baumgart’s great piano that would prove to be the central instrumentation for the whole project. “In the Name of the Lord” follows and remains one of Gibson’s biggest radio hits despite many stations rejecting the song based on the term “good God” used in the chorus. But it is with the ballads that Gibson becomes most personal and intimate. Whether biographical or not, many of the slower songs capture a hurting and striving artist. Most notably is “Merry-Go-‘Round.” The sense of loss and repentance found in the words of a father seeking redemption are at times chilling. “God Will Find Ya” has Gibson with a psuedo-falsetto vocal that whines through a hypnotic melody that never pushes the groove. Possibly the strongest ballad is “Father, Father.” Another song of repentance builds and builds as it moves to a great vocal climax, more emotional than many other Gibson ballads. Two last songs of note are the great cover of Stevie Wonders “Have a Talk With God,” that features a cameo by Wonder on harmonica and the killer closer, Everyone Needs the Lord.” The later is Black Gospel masterpiece that Smokie Norful really needs to cover. Starting slow and building up both the passion and pace as it moves, the song would become a moderate hit and great live experience. With it Gibson continued to prove he was easily the most soulful artist in CCM at the time, and maybe ever. the only criticism is that it is clearly 3 minutes too short!

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

Tracklist
1 – Heart Of Gold – 3:02
2 – In The Name Of The Lord – 4:38
3 – Merry-Go-Round – 4:46
4 – God Will Find Ya – 4:36
5 – Father, Father – 3:52
6 – Have A Talk With God – 3:28
7 – Long Ago – 4:32
8 – Us Now – 3:07
9 – Everyone Needs The Lord – 3:56

Credits
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Belinda Stewart (tracks: 2,6), Beverly Williams (tracks: 2,6), Crystal Blake (tracks: 3), Francine Williams (tracks: 2,6), Jon Gibson, Lisa Russo Judd (tracks: 2,6)
Choir – The Friendship Baptist Choir
Co-producer – Jon Gibson
Engineer – Bill Wolfer
Engineer [Assistant] – Eric Kibbe, Jon Gibson
Executive Producer – Brian K. Tong
Guitar – Jon Gibson, Kit Charlton
Harmonica – Stevie Wonder (tracks: 6)
Keyboards, Drum Programming, Synthesizer [Bass Synth] – Bill Wolfer
Keyboards, Guitar, Lead Vocals – Jon Gibson
Keyboards, Programmed By – Paul Gottschalk
Lead Vocals – Cubby Ingram (tracks: 8), Jon Gibson
Mixed By – Bill Wolfer
Percussion [African Drums], Cuica, Djembe – Vinx
Photography By – Ken Kloster
Producer – Bill Wolfer

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – Mixing Lab B
Mixed At – 7th Street Sound

David & The Giants – R U Gonna Stand Up – 1989

David & The Giants finished off the 80’s with what I think is their best album. If for no other reason than the title track. They turned David Huff loose with his guitar and probably came up with their best Rock song ever. The album was a “commercial” success with three singles. “Here’s My Heart” made it to #2, “Count On Me” to #24, and finally “Love Has A Place” made it to #12. It’s rare when I agree with the CCM charts but on this album I do, though their choices of singles doesn’t line up with mine. This album however did mark the departure of Keith Thibodeaux, long time drummer of the band (though he would return in 2007). Lance Huff (David’s Son) stepped in with drum duties for the subsequent tour and future albums. This album falls in the “should listen to” category in case you missed it in 89.

Tracklist
1 – R U Gonna Stand Up – 3:59
2 – I’ll Stay With You – 4:19
3 – Love Has A Place – 4:30
4 – Joy Up In The Sky – 3:40
5 – Evolution Is Pollution – 4:20
6 – Here’s My Heart – 4:08
7 – Everybody Got A Story – 3:52
8 – Living On High Hopes – 3:36
9 – Count On Me – 3:58
10 – Everybody Needs Love – 3:52
11 – He’ll Be There – 4:22

Credits
Arranged By – Tommy Sims
Backing Vocals – Kellye Huff (tracks: 9), Tim Pedigo
Bass, Backing Vocals – Clayborn Huff
Drums, Backing Vocals – Keith Thibodeaux
Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Remix – David Huff
Harmonica – Terry McMillan
Keyboards, Programmed By, Backing Vocals, Arranged By – Rayborn Huff
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Lance Huff
Photography – Richard Gazowski
Producer – David Huff
Remix [Assistant Remix Engineers] – Terry Ostovich
Remix [Assistant Remix Engineers], Arranged By – Scott Carter

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Giant Records
Copyright (c) – Giant Records
Published By – Huff, Huff And Huff Publishing
Recorded At – Huff Recording Studios
Recorded At – Sound Barrier Studio, Nashville
Mastered At – Mastermix
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

Scarlet Red – Don’t Dance With Danger – 1989

Scarlet Red started out as a secular band called Lust but upon the drummer becoming saved they actually broke up. The story goes that the entire band became saved but not together but instead each separately and then came back together and chose a new name that honoured the blood of Christ. This appears to be the only album, they released which is too bad because it’s a pretty good commercial metal album. Personally I always liked my hard rock/metal with a female lead so this band fits well with my taste. Like I said this is a very commercial metal band and wit the female lead vocals it’s an album that must have played well.

Tracklist
1 – You Live Fast – 4:48
2 – Cry Out – 2:47
3 – Never – 3:33
4 – Knock Down The Walls – 4:06
5 – Fight Fire – 2:47
6 – Don’t Dance With Danger – 3:21
7 – Lost And Found – 2:42
8 – Hold On To Love – 4:20
9 – Why – 3:37
10 – Break The Chains – 3:57

Credits
Bass – Jeff Warner
Cover – Jim Null
Drums – Davy Ledford
Guitar – Curtis Lee
Photography By – Dennis Carney
Producer – Armand John Petri
Vocals – Danis

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Pure Metal
Copyright (c) – Pure Metal
Distributed By – Mainroads Music Group