It is with “Jesus Loves Ya” that many believe Jon Gibson found his artistic center. Though it may not be his best album it remains his most consistent and completely Jon Gibson. Longer and more progressive songs without fear of needing to create three minute radio friendly singles, Gibson here explores more musical diversity and allows the songs to be rather than editing them for record company suits. The result was the longest running number one single in CCM history clocking in at over 6 minutes with no “radio edit” ever released by the record company. The single stayed at number one despite its length and the album also hit number one on the CCM sales charts. Too bad more record companies and radio stations never learned this lesson in artistic freedom and the listeners’ desire for real good songs no matter the length. The album remains Gibson’s “grittiest” and most “street sounding of his career. The quiet soulfulness of Body and Soul is gone and the slick pop of the follow-up Forever Friends had not yet surfaced. Here Gibson’s penchant for scat, improvisation and “vamping” is given free reign and results are stellar. As the song continues and builds Gibsons’ passionate soul draws the listener in. The album also contains more rap than any other album with several guest appearances as well as Gibson’s own blue-eyed rap style. But the most important influence on this album is clearly the late Gene Eugene (Adam Again) whose production help and funk grooves gave Gibson more a polished platform to perform. The drum and bass sounds are unmistakably Eugene. Along with title tracks claim to fame, Love Come Down also reached Number one and Preacher Man made it to the Top 5. The latter really stands out as something wonderful from Gibson with the rousing brass section and sounds like something off of “Songs in the Key of Life.” This album may not be Gibson’s best or most popular but it clearly may be the most important album in his career.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Enough Is Enough – 4:32 2 – Love Come Down – 5:45 3 – Jesus Loves Ya Intro – 0:10 4 – Jesus Loves Ya – 6:26 5 – From Heaven – 5:34 6 – Call On My Love – 4:59 7 – Everlasting – 6:08 8 – Straight On – 3:09 9 – Preacher Man – 3:26 10 – In Too Deep – 4:25 11 – Forever Now – 4:32 12 – His Love Is Strong – 5:08 13 – Watching All My Days Go By – 6:51
Credits Bass [5 String Bass] – Myron Dove Clavinet – G. Eugene Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electronic Drums, Programmed By – Jon Gibson Organ [B-3], Strings – Rob Watson Rap – Jon Gibson, M.C. Peace Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar – Dave Koval Drums, Congas – Cubby Ingram Rhythm Guitar – Rick Zunigar Saxophone – Doug Webb Vocals (Kids) – Kumari Lewis, Vivian Lewis Backing Vocals – Ray Sidney, Shelly Penir, Vivian Lewis Lead Guitar – Tony Palacios Arranged By [Clavinet] – Gene Eugene Arranged By [Drum, Piano, Synth And String] – Jon Gibson Arranged By [Horns] – Rob Watson Arranged By [Rhythm Guitar] – Rick Zunigar Arranged By [Saxophone] – Doug Webb Art Direction, Design – Ed McTaggart Mixed By – G. Eugene Photography By – Michael Seeley Recorded By – G. Eugene Written-By – Jon Gibson
Companies, etc. Recorded At – The Mixing Lab Mixed At – The Mixing Lab
This is the second album from Xalt. The band had one lineup change between albums with Randy Carlson replaced Steve Davis on Bass. It’s another commercial sounding Metal album and falls right in line with their first album. The album was not well received however and all the reviews I read criticized the lyrics and engineering. I do agree the engineering was not great and I admit that I greatly enhanced it for our YouTube videos. As for the lyrics personally they sound like all the other metal lyrics of the era so I don’t understand that complaint. All in all sounds like a solid Metal effort. It was reissued in 2021 by Retroactive Records and included a bonus track which I have included with our YouTube playlist. Strangely the reissue also came with trading cards. I don’t remember seeing that before.
Tracklist 1 – Through The Night – 3:44 2 – Forgiven – 2:46 3 – Under The Ruins – 3:59 4 – Waste Your Life Away – 3:29 5 – Lost Without You – 4:05 6 – Piercing The Darkness – 4:47 7 – The Fortress – 2:45 8 – Wounded Heart – 4:45 9 – The Kingdom Within – 2:50 10 – Lift Him Up – 3:32 11 – Take A Look (2021 Bonus Track) – 2:25
Credits Randy Carlson – Bass Allan Chase – Engineer, Keyboards, Background Vocals Scott Doerfler – Lead and Background Vocals James Erdman – Producer, Guitars Todd Gleason – Drums Andie Leheay – Assistant Engineer Carolyn Neito – Background Vocals Joey Powers – Producer Kevin J. Wessner – Executive Producer
The Imperials entered the 90’s with some big changes. They left Myrrh records for Star Song records who actually had a distribution deal with Sparrow. This was a surprise in the industry as Star Song wasn’t considered a big dollar label but here’s the proof they were. Lineup changes continued with this album. David Robertson replaced Jimmie Lee Sloas who left for a solo career that never took off. David promptly left the band after this album also for a rather non spectacular solo career. They simply weren’t Russ Taff but I think that’s what they envisioned. Anyway drama aside the album was successful as usual. “It’s Raining Again” made it to #1, “I Will Follow You” to #3, “Come Into My Life” to #5, and “Original Love” made it to #9. Personally however I think the best track on the album is “It’s Gonna Be Alright” which personally I could have heard on a Blues Brothers album. Shout out to the horn section. Yes it’s that good a track and is in my regular rotation.
Tracklist 1 – Big Ball Turning – 5:17 2 – Love Can Make It Happen – 4:37 3 – Come Into My Life – 4:33 4 – Original Love – 4:36 5 – I Will Follow You – 4:51 6 – It’s Raining Again – 4:45 7 – It’s Gonna Be Alright – 4:47 8 – Love’s Still Changing Hearts – 4:26 9 – Come Let Us Worship – 4:40 10 – Goin’ Away – 3:40 11 – Platinum Medley – 8:46
Credits Acoustic Guitar – Billy Panda, David Barrett Alto Saxophone – James A. Perkins, Jr. Arranged By – Morris “Butch” Stewart Arranged By [Original] – Diane Louie Art Direction, Design – Jackson Design Backing Vocals – Jason Morales, Kim Fleming, Morris “Butch” Stewart, Tanya Goodman-Sykes, Vicky Hampton Baritone Saxophone – Steve Eisen Bass – Ronald Hall Drums – Wayne Stewart Electric Guitar – Peter Lerner, Richard Davis Engineer [2nd] – John David Parker, Scott Ahaus, Tom Russo Engineer [3rd] – Graham Lewis Executive-Producer – Armond Morales, Jeff Moseley Mixed By – Nick Froome Photography By – Russ Harrington Producer – Morris “Butch” Stewart Recorded By – Larry Millas, Paul Klingberg Sequenced By – “Kuk” Harrell, Morris “Butch” Stewart Synth, Organ [Hammond B-3] – Chris “Hambone” Cameron Synthesizer – Morris “Butch” Stewart, Neil Artwick Tenor Saxophone – James A. Perkins, Jr., Steve Eisen Trombone – Michael Halpin Trumpet – Grant Cramer, Mark Ohlsen Vocals [Guest] – Kim Fleming Vocals [The Imperials] – Armond Morales, David Robertson, David Will, Ron Hemby
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Star Song Copyright (c) – Star Song Distributed By – Sparrow/Star Song Distribution Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia Recorded At – River North Studios Recorded At – Home Boy Studios, Evanston, IL Recorded At – Reflections Studio, Nashville, TN Mixed At – 16th Avenue Sound Mastered At – Georgetown Masters
Michael Bloodgood and the rest of the Bloodgood gang hit us with this excellent Live album recorded at Lincoln Auditorium In their hometown of Seattle, Washington. This album was also available in a video format and apparently it was quite the show. This is Volume 2 of a 2 part series of this concert. Michael really shines in the live environment and I think his vocals are actually better live then studio. The album is very well mixed which is usually pretty tricky on live albums but the engineer really pulled it off on this one. If you want your favorite Bloodood tunes turned up to 12 this is the album for you.
Tracklist 1 – Let My People Go – 4:22 2 – Mad Dog World – 4:33 3 – Top Of The Mountain – 5:59 4 – Awake! – 4:00 5 – Eat The Flesh – 3:57 6 – Holy Fire – 2:59 7 – Crucify – 5:04 8 – The Sixth Hour – 2:04 9 – The Messiah – 4:18 10 – Accept The Lamb – 0:19 11 – Seven – 6:51 12 – New Age Illusion – 4:24
Credits Eric Beaver – Background Vocals Marilyn Bloodgood – Background Vocals Michael Bloodgood – Producer, Songwriter, Bass, Background Vocals Joyce Carlsen – Songwriter, Background Vocals Les Carlsen – Producer, Songwriter, Vocals Craig Church – Rhythm Guitars Roger Cleven – Background Vocals Dan Grant – Background Vocals Tom Hall – Engineer, Mixed Paul Jackson – Songwriter, Guitars, Background Vocals Angel Kinssies – Background Vocals Brooke Lizotte – Keyboards Kara Murphy – Background Vocals Ed Robinson – Background Vocals David Schueller – Background Vocals Terry B. Shelton – Songwriter Grant Stott – Sound Effects Teri Tamas – Background Vocals Kevin Whistler – Drums Steve White – Executive Producer David Zaffiro – Songwriter
Ex Bloodgood guitarist David Zaffiro is back wit his second solo album. I think he and Frontline were able to build on the first album and I feel this album is even better produced. Though David is best known for being a Metal guitarist this album leans more Rock than Metal though there is always a hint of David’s Metal past. Some do classify this album as Metal but it leans more Rock to me. What really surprised me about this album was David’s keyboard skills. Several tracks have a opening keyboard riff that set the feel for the track and that said there is strong keyboards on this album but it works with it’s Rock sound. This album is an excellent display of David’s musical skills and how diverse they are.
Tracklist 1 – Through His Eyes – 4:23 2 – Holding Fast – 4:07 3 – He’s Lying To Ya – 3:45 4 – In Scarlet Storm – 4:14 5 – I Wait Alone – 3:55 6 – Let It Go – 4:38 7 – Blue Ice – 4:22 8 – The Song – 3:40 9 – I Give This Life To You – 4:12
Credits Art Direction – Ed McTaggart Backing Vocals [Background Singers] – Eric Beaver Backing Vocals [Background Singers], Drums – Joe Pollastrini Engineer – Charles Meserole, Dave Van Liew Illustration – Jeff Foster Layout – Joe Potter Lead Vocals – Eric Beaver, Joe Pollastrini Mastered By – John Matousek Mixed By – Dave Jahnsen Producer [Additional Vocal Production], Engineer, Backing Vocals [Background Singers] – Doug Beiden Producer, Engineer, Backing Vocals [Background Singers], Bass, Keyboards – Maverick Gibson Producer, Guitar, Lead Vocals, Engineer, Bass, Keyboards – David Zaffiro Vocals [Argument Singers] – Eric Beaver, Lary Melby Written-By – Charles Meserole, David Zaffiro, Maverick Gibson
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Intense Records Copyright (c) – Intense Records Produced For – Zaffiro Productions Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia Recorded At – Full Voice Audio Recorded At – Neverland Studios Mixed At – Mixing Lab A Mastered At – Soundworks West Published By – Broken Songs
Dear God, how I love this album! There is not one wasted note, riff or beat anywhere to be found. Some may find Miller’s quirky, child-like voice an acquired taste, but I rather consider it simply needing an educated palette. After a very short stint with the group Streetlight, which only recorded an EP, with her husband Buddy Miller, Julie was signed by Myrrh and immediately they began the horrific mistake of touting their Leslie Phillips replacement and their answer to Cyndi Lauper. What they actually had was a brilliant songwriter, singer and performer. Talent runs deep in the Miller household and CCM;s inability to grasp the fact and promote her properly left her looking to mainstream and independent channels for the majority of her fine career. But in 1990 a wonderful, melodic, accessible and utterly enjoyable album found a home in my CD rotation and has never left it. Rich in harmonies, memorable melodies and brilliant musicianship, Meet Julie Miller was a brilliant introduction to the artist.
The 30-second acapella blues number “Dogtown” starts the record before launching right into one of the radio hits from the album, “You Knew the Way to My Heart.” Melodic, pop-driven Americana rock with a hook of a chorus so large you could drive a truck through it. Miller’s ability to work her voice through whispering, soft moments to gravelly pop hooks is quite impressive. The use of her own voice in the backing vocals just works in creating the perfect harmonies in the bridge.
“Mystery Love” follows in the same vein with the bluesy, jangly rock (Mark Heard and T-Bone Burnett would be proud) style. This is one of the few songs that reminds me musically of Leslie Phillips, though one of the great ironies is that Phillips is said to be the one who passed along Miller’s demo to the execs at Myrrh in the first place.
We have mentioned “classics” and what qualifies as one several times on this blog. I firmly believe Miller has one here on this project and it remains her one biggest hit on Christian radio though clocking in at nearly 6 minutes (most stations played the edited version that leaves off the spoken word introduction), with “What Would Jesus Do.”
The song is not the normal sweet and lovely “Jesus loves me” sort of content CCM radio has been known for. But rather, the song is pointed look at the churches lack of genuine Biblical and loving response to the “least of these.” This missional (before the word existed) song features an all-star chorus at the end that is genuinely inspirational in the good sense of the word, including Phillips, Buddy Miller, Russ Taff and a host of others.
“Don’t Cry for me” returns to the more acoustic Americana rock that populates the majority of the album. Dan Posthuma’s production may get occasionally heavy-handed, as a more stark, limited and earthy arrangement would have made this song more authentic. But Posthuma is much more hands off sounding than on some of the work he did a few years previous with Phillips.
Following somewhat in the vein of “What Would Jesus Do,” is the beautiful “How Could You Say No.” A stunningly simply acoustic ballad, the song is both poignant and powerful in its sheer simple faith. When presented with the truth of what Christ suffered on your behalf, how is it possible to reject His grace?
“King of My Heart” is another less than a minute number that moves directly into the one real “rocker” on the album. The funky and rollicking “Song to the Devil” is very reminiscent of the two “Devil” songs recorded by Keith Green over a decade previously. The possibly pretentious silliness of the song is overcome by the sheer joy and humor of the performance.
The completely different “world music” rhythm of “Who Owns Your heart” is so refreshing as sounds cool 20 years later. Reminds me of some of Bruce Cockburn’s music off of “Stealing Fire.”
Live the “devil” song, “My Psychiatrist” is a humorous novelty song that wins the listener over by the sheer joy of it all. Deep within the silliness, though, is a great message.
“Love Will Find You” remains my favorite song from the album and would give the listener a glimpse at what was to come from the artist. The light country/folk of the melody belies a deeper thought process within its message. Also, the song really shows Miller the singer and how she sounds harmonizing with Buddy. Really a pretty song that should and could have been a country hit in the right circumstance.
The darkest and most moving song on the album may be the abortion themed “Dangerous Place.” Here the womb is described as a dangerous place to many an unborn child. Melodically, the song is the darkest and most difficult. The fading refrain of “Jesus Loves Me” sung by a children’s choir at the songs close is quite moving.
The album closes with the traditional, “I Will Arise and Go to Jesus.” This simple reworking of the classic Gospel tune is a fitting finale to this amazing project that throughout tips its cap to the traditional music of Gospel while looking to the future of great artistic folk and rock music in Miller’s career.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Dogtown – 0:32 2 – You Knew The Way To My Heart – 3:00 3 – Mystery Love – 3:06 4 – What Would Jesus Do – 6:11 5 – Don’t Cry For Me – 3:49 6 – How Could You Say No – 3:27 7 – King Of My Heart – 0:55 8 – Song To The Devil (I’m Thru With You) – 2:38 9 – Who Owns Your Heart – 2:41 10 – My Psychiatrist – 2:09 11 – Love Will Find You – 3:52 12 – Dangerous Place – 2:58 13 – I Will Arise and Go To Jesus – 2:54
Credits Rose Banks – Background Vocals Mickey Cates – Songwriter Shawn Colvin – Background Vocals Craig Finley – Background Vocals Dan Garcia – Mixed Amy Grant – Background Vocals Amy Hargrave – Choir Vocals Katie Hargrave – Choir Vocals Jean Johnson – Background Vocals Ron Krueger – Keyboards Howard McCrary – Background Vocals Buddy Miller – Associate Producer, Engineer, Songwriter, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Drum Programming, Background Vocals Julie Miller – Songwriter, Guitars, Vocals Kathy Pinto – Background Vocals Dan Posthuma – Producer, Bass, Drum Programming Lee Trudy Posthuma – Choir Vocals Millard Posthuma – Violin Sara Posthuma – Choir Vocals Sara Richards – Choir Vocals Lincoln Schalifer – Bass John Andrew Schreiner – Keyboards, Accordion Leland Sklar – Bass Russ Taff – Background Vocals Carlos Vega – Percussion Billy Jo Walker – Guitars Kelly Willard – Background Vocals Victoria Williams – Background Vocals Robin Williamson – Hurdy-Gurdy
Companies, etc. Record Company – Word, Inc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc. Copyright (c) – Word, Inc. Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Published By – Word Music Published By – LCS Music Published By – StraightWay Music Manufactured By – JVC Designed At – OSS
Right off the bat there is some confusion out there on this band. This is the New York Contender NOT the Illinois Contender. The Illinois version had 2 demos and this version does not have a demo out there I am aware of. Other than that I was unable to find out much about this one album band. The lead singer Eddie Villanueva apparently had some info on the band on MySpace but it’s long since been scrubbed. The album is a straight out Rock album. Some have classified it at Metal but in my opinion it’s Hard Rock. It’s a pretty good album but I feel it should have had a little more production. It was produced by the band and I am surprised that when Refuge picked it up they didn’t bring someone in to work on the album but it really looks like it went straight from studio to pressing. Too bad because I think had this had some better production it would have been a whole lot better known.
Tracklist 1 – I Won’t Give Up – 3:10 2 – You – 3:36 3 – Convenient Christianity – 4:04 4 – You’re There For Me – 4:10 5 – Fighting To Win – 4:03 6 – So I’m Singing – 3:53 7 – Cryin’ Over You – 3:31 8 – I Know You’re There – 4:27 9 – Pullin’ The Wool – 3:10 10 – I Believe In You – 4:19
Credits Bass – Rich McCarthy Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Paul Grimsland Guitar, Drums, Bass – Bob Vinsick Guitar, Keyboards, Drums, Bass, Backing Vocals – Steve Atwood Lead Vocals – Eddie Villanueva
Dead Artist Syndrome is actually simply Brian Healy and a host of friends that over the year, records and concerts rotated in and out in support of their friend who is easily Christian Music most unheralded alternative artists. Too often pigeon holed as exclusively a “goth” artists, DAS was an alternative that presented a darker, gloomier and deeper perspective to the world than most in CCM. The label most obviously comes from Healy’s baritone and at time monotone vocals associated with goth rock. It is not a whole lot different from many Mike Knott (who makes in appearance here) created projects. On “Prints” Healy is joined by Undercover’s Ojo Taylor and Gym Nicholson and it shows. There is an atmospheric sound to the record that is reminiscent of Undercover as well the Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Sisters of Mercy. Healy willfully uses satire, sarcasm and symbolism throughout and, as a result, often misunderstood. Healy is an ordained minister and infuses much of his lyrics with doctrinal ideologies. I was working for Frontline Records when the second album was released and met Brian on a few occasions as result. I always found him to be incredibly nice, very, very funny and quite intelligent and interesting. These virtues would appear within the content of all of DAS’s music and is most evident on this debut. The opening track, “Christmas” is a sly indictment on the commercialization of the “Winter Break” and the rejection of the truth of the season. “Red” appears to be inspired by the story of Hosea and the harlotry of God’s people over the generations. I love the album’s finale, “Reach,” which is a very simply expression of worship in a somber and powerful way. It reminds the listener of the need to reach out to God in glory and honor.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Christmas – 3:35 2 – Amy – 3:41 3 – Dancing Without Touching – 3:25 4 – Vision – 3:35 5 – Hope – 4:35 6 – Dance With Me – 4:04 7 – Think Of Me – 3:16 8 – Red – 3:40 9 – Reach – 3:30
Credits Backing Vocals – Annica Svensson, Brian Miller, Camille Miller Bass, Guitar [Acoustic] – Mike Knott Bass, Keyboards – Michael Saurerbrey Executive Producer – Thom Roy Guitar – Gym Nicholson Guitar [Rhythm & Acoustic] – Chris Harvey Keyboards – Jeff Sheets, Ojo Taylor Mixed By – Brian Healy, Ojo Taylor, Thom Roy Producer – Brian Healy Recorded By – Brad Jeffers, Dave Hackbarth, Ojo Taylor, Scott Macklin Synthesizer [Synclavier] – Whitney Quinn Vocals – Brian Healy
This was probably one of the most surprising albums of 1990. MATW did a complete change of direction going from a new wave pop sound to a more hard rock sound. I can honestly say that this new “The Cult” sound was quite a surprise to me and honestly I was not a fan. I didn’t mind the sound, I had The Cult in my collection at the time but when a band does a switcharoo like this it is just too startling to me. Now that aside the album is very well done and these guys nailed a sound that was not well represented in CCM music at the time. The album sold very well as I think the new style was a welcome change to a lot of fans. I think it can be said that this album was a rather historic CCM music moment so if for no other reason than that you should give it a listen.
Tracklist 1 – The Narrow Road – 3:39 2 – Seasons Of Love – 4:51 3 – City Of Anger – 5:34 4 – When The Wind Blows – 5:38 5 – Marshmallow Land – 2:58 6 – Summer’s Gone – 3:06 7 – Promised Land (The Deception Of Drugs) – 5:24 8 – So Insane – 3:22 9 – It’s Not A Joke – 3:27 10 – The Love That Never Fades – 4:05 11 – Seasons Of Love (Reprise) – 5:04
Credits Arranged By, Engineer [Engineered By] – Roger Rose Art Direction – Ed McTaggart Band [Mad At The World Is] – Brent Gordon, Mike Pendleton, Randy Rose, Roger Rose Illustration [MATW Logo Illustration Re-worked By] – David Jackson Layout – Joe Potter Mastered By – John Matousek Photography By – David Dobson Producer [Produced By] – Roger Rose Songwriter [Songs Written By] – Randy Rose, Roger Rose
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Alarma Records Copyright (c) – Alarma Records Distributed By – The Benson Company Recorded At – MATW Studios Mastered At – Soundworks West Published By – Broken Songs Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia
The late 80’s provided the Christian metal scene some fantastic metal bands and this is one of them. Fronted by a female singer they stuck out a bit from the crowd and the fact that she was gorgeous certainly didn’t hamper the band either. Arsenal first appeared on a Regency Records sampler “East Coast Metal”. I am assuming they were well received so the album came about. Unfortunately this is all we got from them as it appears this was a one record deal. This band continues my complete bewilderment of the Christian Metal scene as obviously there was sufficient talent here to merit another album. That said I was not involved with this area of the Christian music scene so I don’t know what kind of sales numbers these albums were getting. Apparently there are demo’s pre and post this album and you can rest assured I’ll be looking for them. I understand that Christine is still strongly involved with music and recent pics of her show that she is every bit as beautiful now as she was when this album came out.
Tracklist 1 – Turn Around – 3:30 2 – Someone Believes In You – 3:38 3 – Armored Choir – 3:39 4 – Coming Back To You – 2:29 5 – Forever Yours – 3:44 6 – The Valley – 3:14 7 – You’re No Good For Me – 3:28 8 – Bishop Of Souls – 3:56 9 – Take It Away – 3:23 10 – The Candle… The Flame – 3:30
Credits Backing Vocals – Dale Tiemann, Doug Kirkland, Russ Kirkland Bass – Kandy Slaughter Cover – Jeff Spencer Drums – Dave Calliano Lead Guitar – J.D. Miller Lead Vocals – Christine Steel Producer, Engineer, Keyboards – Russ Kirkland
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Regency Records Made By – Disctronics S Distributed By – Word (U.K.) Ltd Recorded At – Papa K’s Produced For – September Music Productions