Undercover – Branded – 1986

Branded was a turning point album for Undercover. It has a mature sound but it certainly leaves behind some of the elements that set Undercover apart in their early days. Their first album featured Ric Alba on lead vocals, then on the follow up Bill Walden took over, as Ric had moved on to Altar Boys. Bill recorded lead vocals on two albums for Undercover before this, their fourth where Sim Wilson took over the mic. The mature sound is very dark compared to the original upbeat, peppy happy-go-Jesus songs on their first two albums. The third record started to get more serious, but not brooding like Branded is. Sim’s vocals are powerful and booming, begging you to take seriously everything he says, ensuring you that the drama is all worth it. Most of the band did stick together, so they still have some signature sounds, although this could have been a different band. The band obviously didn’t see it that way because on this, their fourth album they labelled the record “side 7” and “side 8.” Maybe that was apologetic. There are a lot of introspective tracks such as “I’m Just A Man,” “Cry Myself To Sleep,” and “Come Away With Me.”

1 – I’m Just A Man – 3:24
2 – The Fight For Love – 3:00
3 – Where Can I Go – 3:13
4 – Tears In Your Eyes – 2:05
5 – Pilate – 3:00
6 – Build A Castle – 3:25
7 – Cry Myself To Sleep – 2:31
8 – Prelude – 1:55
9 – Darkest Hour – 3:26
10 – Interlude – 0:35
11 – Come Away With Me – 4:44
12 – If I Had A Dream – 5:02

Arranged By – Undercover
Art Direction – Harry Barnes, Ojo Taylor
Crew [Road] – Buzz Bolton, Kenny Olson
Design [Album] – Undercover
Engineer – Mike Mierau, Joey
Engineer [Second] – Bobby Saucedo, Paul Abajian
Executive-Producer – Harry Barnes
Illustration, Typography [Lettering] – Dave Gibson
Keyboards, Bass – Ojo Taylor
Layout – Graphics Gloria
Mastered By – Bernie Grundmann
Mixed By – Dino Elefante
Photography By – David Gomez
Producer – Ojo Taylor
Vocals – Sim Wilson
Vocals, Drums – Gary Olson
Vocals, Guitar – Gym Nicholson
Voice [Additional] – Gene Eugene, Glenn, Riki
Written-By – Gym Nicholson, Ojo Taylor

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Lexicon Distribution
Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios
Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios
Published By – B-1 Music
Published By – Royal Commandment Music

Kansas – Drastic Measures – 1983

When it became public that Kerry Livgren of Kansas had been “born again” nobody knew what was next for the iconic 70s band. Drastic Measures is their first recording after that and it is a stellar album by any measure. The sound on Drastic Measures is harder than the sound that Kansas was known for due to songs like Dust in the Wind. The 80s demanded a little more modern and hard rock sound, and they delivered, but not without bringing in the softer sounds needed to bring the lyrics home, or the mood of a song like “Andi.” The opening track “Fire With Fire” lets you know they mean business right away. Even though it’s at a slower pace, “Going Through The Motions” still carries a strong rock vibe with a strong rhythm in it. After this album, Kerry put his efforts into his new band “AD” which was mostly new members, other than Dave Hope.

1 – Fight Fire With Fire – 3:40
2 – Everybody’s My Friend – 4:09
3 – Mainstream – 6:36
4 – Andi – 4:15
5 – Going Through The Motions – 5:43
6 – Get Rich – 3:43
7 – Don’t Take Your Love Away – 3:44
8 – End Of The Age – 4:33
9 – Incident On A Bridge – 5:37

Art Direction – Drennon Studio
Backing Vocals – David Pack, Kyle Henderson, Terry Brock
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Boxcar PeeWee And The Megapeople (tracks: A3), The Gang Of Men (tracks: B1, B2), Women At Work (tracks: B1)
Bass – Dave Hope
Crew [Kansas Crew] – Buren Fowler, Clay Schell, Davy Moire*, Jerry Gilleland, John Thompson (15), Merle McLain
Drums – Phil Ehart
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Bullet Recording] – Danny Mundhenk
Engineer [Recording Engineer Assistance – Le Mobile] – Cliff Bonnell, Guy Charbonneau
Guitar – Rich Williams
Keyboards [Additional] – Neil Kernon (tracks: A2)
Keyboards, Guitar – Kerry Livgren
Keyboards, Vocals – John Elefante
Lacquer Cut By – HW*
Management – Budd Carr, The Carr Company
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Photography By – Glen Wexler
Producer – Kansas (2), Neil Kernon
Recorded By, Mixed By – Neil Kernon
Steel Guitar – Jim Vest (tracks: A4, B3)
Words By, Music By – Dino Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3), John Elefante (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B3), Kerry Livgren (tracks: A3, B4, B5)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – Corn & Blood, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Manufactured By – CBS Records
Distributed By – CBS Records
Recorded At – Lakewood Fairgrounds
Recorded By – Le Mobile
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Mixed At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – Son Of Other Room
Mastered At – Masterdisk
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
Published By – Full Grown Man Music
Published By – Mastodon Music
Published By – Don Kirshner Music
Published By – Blackwood Music Publishing

Mastedon – It’s a Jungle Out There – 1989

Mastedon was a studio project by John & Dino Elefante. The fact that they were dabbling in heavy metal right at the end of the 80’s kind of surprises me but then again it shows their versatility and their love of all styles of music. The “Band” were basically a bunch of high quality studio musicians. John & Dino Elefante both played on the album but left lead vocals to David Robbins who was also the vocalist on the 1989 X-Sinner album “Get It”, another Elefante project. John & Dino Elefante also wrote all of the tracks with the exception of the lyrics on “Shine On” written by Petra’s Bob Hartman. The album is a pretty high quality metal album but some tracks lean more Hard Rock. Most of the Metal songs have a commercial Metal Pop song. My final thought on this album is that it’s pretty good and I look forward to listening their album from 1990.

1 – It’s A Jungle Out There – 3:54
2 – Glory Bound – 4:17
3 – This Is The Day – 4:14
4 – Love Inhalation – 4:39
5 – Islands In The Sky – 3:42
6 – Get Up – 4:00
7 – Love That Will Survive – 4:02
8 – Innocent Girl – 3:42
9 – Shine On – 4:24
10 – Right Hand – 6:05

Backing Vocals – Dave Amato, Dino Elefante, John Elefante
Bass – Dino Elefante, Jimmy “Flim” Johnson, John Pierce
Drums – David Raven, John Elefante, Phil Rowland
Engineer [Additional] – Ben Rodgers
Engineer [Assistant] – Jeff Simmons
Engineer, Mixed By – Dino Elefante, John Elefante, Mike Mierau
Fretless Bass – John Patitucci (tracks: 9)
Illustration – Robert Fischer
Keyboards – John Elefante
Lead Guitar – Dave “Pittsy” Amato
Lead Vocals – Dave Amato (tracks: 2, 4, 10), Dave Robbins (tracks: 1, 3, 5, 6), Perry Lee (tracks: 4, 8)
Lyrics By – Bob Hartman (tracks: 9)
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Music By – Dino Elefante (tracks: 9), John Elefante (tracks: 9)
Producer – Dino Elefante, John Elefante
Rhythm Guitar – Dino Elefante
Vocals – Dave Robbins
Written-By – Dino Elefante (tracks: 1-8, 10), John Elefante (tracks: 1-8, 10)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – R.E.X. Music Inc.
Copyright (c) – Regency Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Regency Music
Mastered At – Future Disc
Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios
Recorded At – Pack’s Place
Pressed By – Disc Manufacturing, Inc., Huntsville – 27581

X-Sinner – Peace Treaty – 1991

The second album from X-Sinner took up where their first album left off. As with the first album this album was produced by the infamous Elefante brothers. They were able to recreate the AC-DC sound of the first album all over again. This was a little more difficult than you may think as Rex Scott took over lead vocals from David Robbins. The band found the album to have too soft a feel and they wanted more edge in their sound. Personally, I think this album is excellent, though admittedly I preferred “Get It” only because I felt there were more potential singles.

1 – Peer Pressure – 4:38
2 – Rollin’ Thunder – 4:32
3 – We Need Love – 5:14
4 – Getch Ya – 4:52
5 – Hold On – 2:58
6 – I Take Power – 4:36
7 – Gotta Let Go – 4:04
8 – You Got Me – 4:29
9 – All I Need – 3:38
10 – Don’t Go – 5:25

Drums – Mike Buckner
Engineer, Mixed By – Mike Mireau
Guitar, Bass – Greg Bishop
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Rex Scott
Musician [Additional Musician], Backing Vocals – Jamie Rowe
Musician [Additional Musician], Backing Vocals, Shaker, Cowbell, Tambourine, Bass [Bass on “Getch Ya”] – John Elefante
Producer, Engineer – John Elefante
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Dino Elefante

Barren Cross – Atomic Arena – 1988

This is the second album from Christian metal band Barren Cross.

It is much like the first album but has been produced to a more radio friendly level. In fact the production is much better than the previous album which actually had fairly good production on its own.

Both albums were produced by the Elefante brothers who never really go wrong on any album.

Track Listing:
1 – Imaginary Music – 4:26
2 – Killers Of The Unborn – 3:28
3 – In The Eye Of The Fire – 4:57
4 – Terrorist Child – 3:30
5 – Close To The Edge – 4:55
6 – Dead Lock – 4:18
7 – Cultic Regimes – 2:48
8 – Heaven Or Nothing – 4:10
9 – King Of Kings – 3:30
10 – Living Dead – 6:50

Art Direction – Marco Registrada
Artwork By [Album Cover Painting] – Steve Huston
Bass Guitar, Synthesizer [Taurus Synthesizer Pedals], Backing Vocals – Jim LaVerde
Concept By [Album Cover] – Ray Parris
Drums, Backing Vocals – Steve Whitaker
Engineer – Dino Elefante, Mike Mierau
Keyboards – John Elefante
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Mike Lee
Other [Costumes] – Sharon Shubin
Other [Hair And Makeup Artist] – Lisa Lee
Photography By [Additional Live Shots] – Rebecca May, Renee Parris
Photography By [Inside Photos] – ‘Nar’ Of Limelight
Producer – Dino Elefante, John Elefante
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Ray Parris
Vocals [Additional] – Dino Elefante, John Elefante