Imperials – Love’s Still Changing Hearts – 1990

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

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Inside
Disc

Imperials – Free The Fire – 1988

This was the Imperials album for 1988. They didn’t put out an album every year but almost. They toured so heavy that they missed the occasional year. After the shock of their previous album, “This Year’s Model”, this one wasn’t quite as rock and leaned back to Pop. Not that that album was rock but it was Rock for them. This is a solid Pop album and the vocals are even better than “This Years Model” in my opinion. This album is probably my second most liked from them and it’s a solid Pop effort. The album had an awesome 2 #2 singles, “Free The Fire”, and “The Boss”. “You” also made it to #24. I really like Dann Huff’s guitar work on the intro to “Higher Things” though that’s where I end liking the song. The intro doesn’t fit the song and they did one of those stupid abrupt ends. Not a producing masterpiece that one. That said this is a pretty good album and one of their best in my opinion.

Tracklist
1 – Free The Fire – 5:11
2 – Wild Geese – 4:08
3 – City In The Sky – 4:56
4 – You – 4:55
5 – The Boss – 5:17
6 – Higher Things – 5:11
7 – Rest In Your Arms – 4:16
8 – Let It Go – 4:15
9 – Better Than I Know Myself – 4:08
10 – Touchin’ Me – 4:03
11 – I Just Came To Praise The Lord – 1:59

Credits
A&R – Lynn Nichols, Mark Maxwell
Art Direction, Design – Roland Young
Band [The Imperials Are] – Armond Morales, David Will, Jimmie Lee, Ron Hemby
Engineer – Bart Stevens, Wade Jaynes
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Bass – Jimmie Lee Sloas
Drums – Paul Leim
Guitar – Dann Huff
Keyboards – Robbie Buchanan
Percussion – Lenny Castro
Piano, Synthesizer – Michael Omartian
Photography By – Howard Rosenberg
Producer, Engineer – Bill Schnee
Producer – Deborah Klein

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Pressed By – Discovery Systems
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – The Bunny Hop
Recorded At – 41B Studios
Recorded At – O’Henry Sound Studios
Mixed At – Bill Schnee Studios
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Published By – See This House Music
Published By – Swot Patch Music
Published By – Marquis III
Published By – Word Music
Published By – Martin Noyes Publishing
Published By – Todah Music
Published By – Nanacub Music
Published By – California Phase Music
Published By – Whitney Katherine Music, Inc.
Published By – Birdwing Music
Published By – Waif Productions Ltd.
Published By – ATV Music Ltd.
Published By – Paragon Music Corp.

Jacket Front
Jacket Back

Side 1
Side 2

Imperials – One More Song For You – 1979

At this point in time the Imperials had the whole hit album thing down to a fine art and Dayspring/Word Records was in full profit mode even getting 2 albums out in 1979. The Russ Taff legacy was taking a strong foothold and they were churning out the radio hits. This album had 3 singles. The big one was “I’m Forgiven” which got stuck at #1 for an amazing 13 weeks. “What I Can Do For You” and “One More Song For You” peaked at #12 and #10 respectively. Of real note on this album is Michael Omartian coming on as producer and song writer. Personally this album just wasn’t that impressive to me. I really shouldn’t argue with radio success but at this point the guys could have put out an album of them all snoring and it would have been a #1 hit. CCM radio was only interested in playing tried and true performers and no one was more tried and true than the Imperials. That said I admit there was some good stuff coming on future albums when luckily they had to compete with up and coming acts that turned the electric guitar up past 3. That said to the normal Imperials fan this is a good album and I am sure they quite enjoyed it.

Tracklist
1 – What I Can Do For You – 2:59
2 – I’m Forgiven – 3:54
3 – All My Life – 3:24
4 – Living Without Your Love – 3:27
5 – Eagle Song – 3:14
6 – Closer Than Ever – 4:23
7 – One More Song For You – 4:38
8 – Higher Power – 4:20
9 – More Like You – 3:30

Credits
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Marti McCall, Myrna Matthews, Stormie Omartian
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Concertmaster – Assa Drori
Congas – Victor Feldman
Design [Album Design], Photography By – Bob Anderson
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer [Additional] – Jack Lees, John Banuelos
Engineer, Remix – John Guess
Guitar – Marty Walsh
Horns – Chuck Findley, Dick Hyde, Jackie Kelso, Steve Madaio
Horns, Soloist [Saxophone] – Kim Hutchcroft
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Performer – Armond Morales, David Will, Jim Murray, Russell Taff
Producer, Arranged By, Keyboards, Percussion – Michael Omartian

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Published By – See This House Music
Published By – Word Music, Inc.
Published By – Norman Clayton Publishing
Published By – I.A.M. Music
Recorded At – Jennifudy Studios
Recorded At – Hollywood Central Recorders
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

The Imperials – Heed The Call – 1979

Heed The Call is perhaps the Imperials most iconic album. You can see them decked out in suits that would make the Oak Ridge Boys envious on the back cover. Some memorable songs here like “Oh Buddha” and “Old Man’s Rubble” make this album the one that really represents their body of work well. The Imperials started out in 1964 and their lineup changed many times over the years, but this version of them in 1979 was when they were in their stride. These songs were a slightly modern take on some traditional styles and were very popular as contemporary music in churches in the 80s.

Tracklist
1 – Overcomer – 3:37
2 – Praise The Lord – 3:35
3 – Oh Buddha – 3:28
4 – Old Man’s Rubble – 3:15
5 – Heed The Call – 3:01
6 – Let Jesus Do It – 3:27
7 – Growing Stronger – 3:29
8 – First Morning In Heaven – 2:41
9 – Whenever I Speak His Name – 4:33
10 – My Mind Forgets A Million Things – 3:48
11 – He Didn’t Lift Us Up To Let Us Down – 3:21

Credits
Cover, Illustration – Dave Gaadt
Engineer – Brown Bannister
Executive-Producer – Buddy Huey
Mastered By – Glenn Meadows
Photography By [Back Cover] – Goss Photography
Producer – Chris Christian

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Remixed At – Gold Mine Studio
Mastered At – Masterfonics
Designed At – The Graphic Truth
Manufactured By – Prim
Distributed By – Prim

The Imperials – This Year’s Model – 1987

This was The Imperials first album after the departure of long time tenor Jim Murray and lead singer Paul Smith. Apparently their departure made for a rather odd decision for this album. It is much more youth oriented, and in fact you could argue it was a total pop album. This caused all sorts of consternation from their regular fans who were expecting another worship oriented album. I actually snicker at how they would have reacted on their first listen to this album. The album is well done and actually quite enjoyable. Let’s face it these guys knew what they were doing and probably could have put out a top notch heavy metal album. Try envisioning that for a minute. But alas the new pop sound must not have sold well as the next album they were right back to their worship oriented sound. Pity actually, this was a good album.

Tracklist
1 – Holding On (First Love) – 5:22
2 – Fallin’ – 4:03
3 – Warriors – 4:54
4 – How Do I Get You? – 5:38
5 – Wings Of Love – 4:38
6 – Power Of God – 4:07
7 – Outlander – 6:47
8 – Get Ready – 4:38
9 – Devoted To You – 3:44

Credits
Arranged By [Rhythm Track] – Keith Thomas (tracks: A1, A2, B1)
Art Direction – Joan Tankersley
Artwork [Jacket Concept] – Joan Tankersley, Lynn Nichols
Bass – Jimmie Lee* (tracks: A2, B4)
Drum Programming – Keith Thomas (tracks: A1, A2, B1)
Drums – Paul Leim (tracks: B4, B5)
Engineer [Second] – Bill Whittington, Danny Johnston, J.T., Spence Chrislu, Wade Jaynes
Executive Producer – Lynn Nichols
Guitar – Mark Grendel (tracks: A2 to A4), Tom Hemby (tracks: B2, B4, B5)
Keyboards – Keith Thomas (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B4, B5), Shane Keister (tracks: A4, B4)
Lyrics By – Chris Eaton (tracks: A3, B3), Jimmie Lee (tracks: A2, B4), Ron Hemby (tracks: B2, B5)
Mastered By – Doug Sax
Mixed By – Nick Froome
Mixed By [Assistant] – Ed Goodreau, Rob Jaczko
Music By – Chris Eaton (tracks: A3, B3), Jimmie Lee (tracks: A2, B4), Keith Thomas (tracks: A1, B1)
Photography By [Back Cover] – Aaron Rapoport
Photography By [Front Cover] – Ellen Schuster
Producer – Brown Bannister
Programmed By [Fairlight] – Carl Marsh, Peter Kaye, Rhett Lawrence, Shane Keister
Programmed By [Synclavier] – Steve Schaffer
Recorded By [Overdubs] – J.B., Jeff Balding
Recorded By [Rhythm Tracks, Assistant] – Joe Schiff
Recorded By [Rhythm Tracks] – Steve McMillan
Synthesizer [Fairlight Iii] – Carl Marsh (tracks: A1, A3)

Imperials – Let The Wind Blow – 1985

The previous album to this one, “Side By Side”, was one of the Imperials least popular albums as it was just a little too Worship oriented. The Imperials returned with this album of far more pop oriented songs. Obviously they were going after a more youthful audience. The album succeeds relatively well in that regard with a few songs I would almost classify as pop, especially the first three tracks. After that the album dissolves into a normal Imperials album. Two of those first three tracks actually singled. “Let The Wind Blow” made it to #1 and “In The Promised Land” peaked at #3 on the charts. Also charting were “Jericho” at #12 and “Taking the Time” at #27. The people in charge should have noticed the success of this pop sound but alas on most albums we were only treated to one of two songs that had that sound. My final thoughts on this release is that it is probably one of their best albums from a youthful perspective. That said it never made it’s way into our collections at the time so maybe I’m completely wrong.

Tracklist
1 – In The Promised Land – 4:18
2 – Bread Of Life – 3:53
3 – Let The Wind Blow – 5:03
4 – Jericho – 4:54
5 – The Deeper Meaning – 4:08
6 – Sing For Joy – 3:31
7 – Today – 3:43
8 – Taking The Time – 3:56
9 – Miracles – 4:17
10 – Not To Us, O Lord – 4:18

Credits
Arranged By – Brown Bannister, Imperials
Arranged By [Horns] – Jerry Hey
Art Direction – Kent Hunter, Thomas Ryan Design
Bass – Mike Brignardello, Nathan East
CGI Artist – Daniel Buehler
Design – Kent Hunter, Thomas Ryan Design
Drums – Paul Leim
Electric Piano, Synthesizer – John Schriner, Michael W. Smith, Robbie Buchanan, Shane Keister Engineer, Mixed By – Jack Joseph Puig Executive-Producer – Dan Harrel, Michael Blanton
Guitar – Dann Huff
Horns – Berwyn Linton, William F. Reichenbach, Charles B. Findley, Doug Dana, Gary E. Grant, Jerry Hey, Lawrence L. Williams
Keyboards, Piano – Bill Purse, Keith Thomas, Michael W. Smith
Percussion – Paulinho Da Costa
Photography By – Mark Tucker (7)
Producer – Brown Bannister
Programmed By [Fairlight] – Rhett Lawrence

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Santa Barbara Sound Design
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – The Bennett House
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Mixed At – Mama Jo’s
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.

Imperials – Stand By The Power – 1982

Album #29 from the Imperials is a little more uptempo at times than their previous work. I attribute this to producer Bill Schnee stepping in for this album. This was the first album without Russ Taff and instead we got to hear Paul Smith who stepped in to the group starting on this album. The album spawned 3 singles with “Lord Of The Harvest” peaking at #3 with 28 weeks on the charts. “Somebody New” also did well peaking at #9. and “Because Of Who You Are” peaking at just #37. For a change they did not win their usual Dove award for this album being beaten out by Amy Grant’s “Age to Age”.

Tracklist
1 – Stand By The Power – 3:33
2 – Somebody New – 3:52
3 – Part Time Servant – 3:44
4 – This Heart – 4:26
5 – Lord Of The Harvest – 4:37
6 – Under His Reign – 3:26
7 – I Never Get Enough Of Your Love – 4:07
8 – How Can You Live – 3:46
9 – All For The Asking – 3:49
10 – Because Of Who You Are – 3:31

Credits
Arranged By [Horns Arranged By] – Bob Wilson (tracks: B4)
Arranged By [Strings Arranged By], Piano, Synthesizer – James Newton Howard
Bass – Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus
Drums – Carlos Vega, Jeff Porcaro
Engineer [Assisted By] – David Schober, Scott Hendricks, Skip Moon
Engineer [Engineered By], Producer [Produced By] – Bill Schnee
Guitar – Carlos Rios (2), Dann Huff, Hadley Hockensmith, Steve Lukather
Percussion – Lenny Castro
Photography By [Album Back Photo] – Allan Messer
Photography By [Album Front Photo] – Michael Borum
Production Manager [Production Coordinator] – Susan Pyron

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab

Imperials – Christmas With The Imperials – 1980

This 1980 release from the Imperials features a selection of traditional Christmas Carols sung in a traditional style. Sorry no Rock & Roll here.

Tracklist
1 – Child Of Love – 3:52
2 – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear – 2:51
3 – Mary’s Boy Child – 2:41
4 – Immanual – 3:30
5 – O Come All Ye Faithful – 2:02
6 – Christmas Praise – 2:49
7 – Silent Night – 2:47
8 – What Child Is This? – 2:38
9 – O Little Town Of Bethlehem – 2:22
10 – O Holy Night – 3:57

Imperials – Live – 1978

This Live album features the most recent hits (in 1978) from the Imperials. Some of the versions were spruced up for the concert and some of them tamed down. The selection of songs and styles didn’t really work well in my opinion but I wasn’t at the concert so maybe it worked better in person. There’s one thing on the album that annoyed me. They introduce the song “Your First Day In Heaven” as being how they sounded in 1964. The song however is not from 1964 and appears to have been released the same year at this album (feel free to correct me). Why do a song in the old style when you could just pick and old song and do it the way it was originally done. This moment was just sort of strange to me. All that said if you love the early Imperials this live album is for you. The production quality is excellent and the song choices were overall good choices.

Tracklist
1 – Sonshine Day – 2:34
2 – Bread Upon The Water – 3:16
3 – Bread Upon The Water (Reprise) – 0:52
4 – New Creation – 5:47
5 – Your First Day In Heaven – 1:39
6 – Lead Me Gently Home Father – 3:17
7 – I Love The Way You Love – 4:09
8 – He Touched Me – 3:53
9 – Sail On – 5:03
10 – How Great Thou Art – 2:40
11 – The Old Gospel Ship – 3:07
12 – The Old Gospel Ship (Reprise) – 1:42

Credits
Bass, Electric Guitar – Dave Hollihand, John Lutz
Drums – Mike Kinard
Engineer – Gaston Nichols, Max Moseley
Piano, Electric Piano – Bill George
Producer – Armond Morales, Buddy Huey, Chris Christian
Trumpet – John Lutz
Recorded Live: First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas The Kingsland Theatre, St. Louis, Missouri.

Imperials – Priority – 1980

This was the final album from the Imperials with Russ Taff leading the group. A lot of fans believe he was the best the Imperials had to offer and among those people this album is generally thought to be his best. This album was actually fairly uptempo for the Imperials and personally I hadn’t listened to this album in 30 years so I was pleasantly surprised how good it actually was. It’s not my style but this is a good album. Most of the songs were written by the Omartians and Taff. Strangely the track “Into My Life” was written by Beeb Birtles (Little River Band) and appeared on his album released the same year.

Tracklist
1 – The Trumpet Of Jesus – 3:46
2 – Finish What You Started – 4:05
3 – I’d Rather Believe In You – 3:37
4 – Any Good Time At All – 4:02
5 – Be Still My Soul – 3:51
6 – There’s No Time Till You Take It – 4:09
7 – Pieces – 4:06
8 – Into My Life – 4:42
9 – Seek Ye First – 5:00

Credits
Artwork By [Layout] – Bob Anderson
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Marti McCall, Myrna Matthews, Stormie Omartian
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Congas – Alex Acuña
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer, Remix – John Guess
Guitar – Martin K. Walsh
Keyboards – Michael Omartian
Leader [Concertmaster] – Assa Drori
Mastered By [Mastering Engineer] – Ken Perry
Other [Production Coordinator] – Yvonne Garcia
Photography – Bob Anderson
Producer, Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Saxophone – Jackie Kelso, Kim Hutchcroft
Trombone – Dick Hyde, Lew McCreary
Trumpet – Chuck Findley, Steve Madaio
Vocals – Russ Taff
Written By [Lyrics] – Stormie Omartian (tracks: A1 to A4, B1, B2, B4)
Written By [Music] – Michael Omartian (tracks: A1 to A4, B1, B2, B4)