Kenny Marks – Right Where You Are – 1984

In the world of Christian pop music more than a handful of artists bounded on the scene without the songwriting credentials, artistic acumen and lyrical insight…and they sold a ton of records. Other like Kenny Marks made a name for themselves and sold a decent amount, but never attained the popularity their quality work deserved. Often favorably compared to Bryan Adam and Richard Marx, Kenny Marks was a singer-songwriter that plied his trade in the CCM world and should have done much better. His songs combined the popular and common themes of mainstream CCM with a twist or difference that set him apart. he would also deal with subjects either taboo or poorly communicated in other settings. He may be most noted for his trilogy of songs that surrounded the relationship between a Johnny and a Jeannie. Two High School sweethearts that date, marry, have a child and divorce. Though a later album would bring Johnny back as a character, it is the three songs on three records in a row that are of most note. That trilogy started here with “Growing Up Too Fast.” The albums biggest hit was the title track, a stirring ballad about God’s undying love and forgiveness. “One Small Voice” reminds the listener of God’s attempt to speak to us in the small things in a busy and loud world. “Single-Minded Love” addresses the loneliness and difficulty of being a single adult within the walls of the Church. Marks had a decent little career, but it should have been stronger and lasted longer. There were three of four fantastic albums released throughout the mid-80’s that still deserve repeated listening.

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

Tracklist
1 – Right Where You Are – 4:11
2 – One Small Voice – 3:17
3 – Prisoner – 4:57
4 – It’s Incredible – 3:21
5 – Gift From God – 4:10
6 – Growing Up Too Fast – 4:00
7 – Single-Minded Love – 3:45
8 – Still Be Believing – 3:20
9 – You’re The Best – 3:40
10 – Sing For Joy – 3:11

Credits
Art Direction – Bill Brunt
Backing Vocals – Denny Henson, Kenny Marks, Pamela Marks, Patti Leatherwood, Randy Guidry
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Dennis Holt
Engineer – Kyle Lehning
Engineer [Assistant] – Doug Sarrett
Engineer, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Guitar – Jon Goin
Mastered By – Hank Williams
Percussion – Terry McMillan
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Keyboards [Mini Moog Bass], Backing Vocals – Keith Thomas
Saxophone – Mark Douthit

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Mixed At – Gold Mine Studio
Mastered At – Mastermix
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

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Kenny Marks – Follow Him – 1982

After Marks graduated from Messiah College in Philadelphia in 1971 he began to perform with Billy Graham’s Afterglow Concert Series and actually did so for almost 10 years. In 1981 he participated in a project/album called “Premiere Performance” by Myrrh Records. The album was actually a fan vote project where fans would vote for their favourite artist and that artist would get an album deal. Kenny won that competition with the song “You Don’t Have To Try To Be Somebody”. That song appears on this album and I actually don’t find it to one of the stronger tracks on the album but it was 1981 and I was listening to Resurrection band at the time so my taste wasn’t exactly aimed at Kenny’s music. Kenny apparently wrote the whole album and while the writing was good it was not the strong writing that he had on later albums. The album had all the best CCM studio musicians of the time but the one odd inclusion was Dan Huff who was at the same time working on the introductory WhiteHeart album. I find it kind of surprising that there wasn’t a CCM charting song on this album. Given that it was 1982 there are several tracks that could have comfortably sat on the charts.

Tracklist
1 – Lean On Him – 3:37
2 – Lovin’ Me For Myself – 2:55
3 – You Need Love – 3:06
4 – You Don’t Have To Try And Be Somebody – 3:13
5 – In The Middle Of The Night – 3:34
6 – He’ll Finish What He Started – 3:11
7 – Follow Him – 3:23
8 – I Give It All To You – 4:35
9 – Ringin’ The Bells – 2:52
10 – When I Least Expect It – 3:10

Credits
Arranged By – Don Hart
Backing Vocals – Diana DeWitt Hanna, Doana Cooper, Keith Thomas, Pamela Marks, Patti Leatherwood
Bass – Jimmie Lee Sloas, Mike Brignardello
Drums – Bob Gelotte, Mark Hammond, Tommy Wells
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Guitar – Brent Rowan, Dann Huff, Jon Goin
Harp – Cindy Reynolds
Keyboards – Keith Thomas
Percussion – Mark Hammond, Terry McMillan
Piano – Bobby Ogdin
Producer, Keyboards – Keith Thomas
Saxophone – Dennis Solee
Vocals – Kenny Marks
Written-By – Kenny Marks

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.

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Kenny Marks – Attitude – 1985

This was Kenny Mark’s third album and was kind of a breakthrough album. Mark’s first two albums received very little airplay as the lyrics and style went a little to far for Christian radio. However this album got heavy radio play in part due to it being better material and also in part to Christian radio was finally growing up and allowing more upbeat pop songs. The album produced 3 singles. Soul Reviver spent 9 weeks on the charts peaking at #35. Heroes was on the charts for 17 weeks peaking at #27 and Friends made it to #21 and was on the charts for 8 weeks. However the best song on the album “The Party’s Over” received no airplay as the JPM count was too low (Jesus Per Minute). Anyway, it’s a great Pop album and the music video for The Party’s Over was excellent.

1 – Life After High School – 3:57
2 – Attitude – 2:53
3 – It Doesn’t Hurt That Much – 4:51
4 – Heroes – 4:28
5 – It’s A Good Thing – 3:33
6 – The Party’s Over – 4:27
7 – Heart Trouble – 4:28
8 – Soul Reviver – 4:33
9 – Friends – 3:40

Credits
Art Direction – Keith Hunter (2), Thomas Ryan Design
Concept By [Cover Concept] – Pamela Marks
Engineer [Additional Engineering] – Willie Pevear
Engineer [Assistant] – Alan Henry, Chris Hammond
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Producer – Bubba Smith (2)
Recorded By, Mixed By – David Schober

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Various – Rock of the Ages – Rock & Roll From The Third Dimension – 1983

This sampler is relatively unremarkable in that all the songs on it were very well known. The only thing that stood out about the release was that the album cover was 3D and the album came with 3D glasses so you could enjoy it.

Tracklist
1 – Leslie Phillips – Put Your Heart In Me (Beyond Saturday Night) – 4:00
2 – Randy Stonehill – The Glory And The Flame (Between The Glory And The Flame ) – 3:10
3 – Imperials – How Can You Live (Stand By The Power) – 3:46
4 – Maria Muldaur – Keep My Eyes On You (There Is A Love) – 4:01
5 – Kenny Marks – He’ll Finish What He Started (Follow Him) – 3:11
6 – Amy Grant – Too Late (Never Alone) – 3:15
7 – White Heart – You’re The One (White Heart) – 3:56
8 – David Edwards – Anything But Love (Get The Picture) – 3:34
9 – Dion – I Put Away My Idols ( I Put Away My Idols) – 3:08

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Various – The ’50s in the ’80s – 1988

This is a very rare release from Dayspring Records and as far as I can tell it only came out on cassette. It is basically a collection of various artists that had a 50’s sounding track. Some of the choices are kind of a stretch but it works out pretty good for the main part. Most of the tracks we’ve heard on their original albums but their are a few tracks which while not exclusive to this album, are relatively unknown. The 2 stand out tracks are Kenny Marks – Bon Appetit, and Carman – Spirit-filled Pizza.

Tracklist
01 – New Song – Say Yes
02 – Dion – You Need A Love
03 – The Sharrets – Smile
04 – Randy Stonehill – American Fast Food
05 – Solveigl – My Starlight
06 – Daniel Winans & The Second Half – The American Way
07 – Kenny Marks – Bon Appetit
08 – Allies – It’s Never Easy
09 – Dion – Another Saturday Night In Heaven
10 – The Latinos – The Party’s Over
11 – Carman – Spirit-filled Pizza
12 – Randy Stonehill – Modern Myth 2

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Kenny Marks – Make It Right – 1987

This is the 4th album from Kenny Marks and by this point he had perfected his pop rock sound.

While this album has a decidedly 80’s sound it really has a feel that makes it an album that still plays well today.

The track “Good News” (a Randy Stonehill cover) shows us Kenny’s rock and Roll side and “Bon Appetite” gave us some variety in the form of a 50’s style rock tune.

Track Listing:
1 – Holy Eyes – 3:38
2 – Never Been A Stranger – 3:57
3 – White Dress – 4:52
4 – Promise Me – 3:25
5 – Make It Right – 4:26
6 – Bon Appétit – 3:11
7 – I’d Do It All Over Again – 3:26
8 – Say A Prayer For Me Tonight – 4:43
9 – No Compromise – 3:32
10 – Stand – 4:32
11 – The Party’s Over (The Video Mix) – 4:37
12 – Good News – 4:27

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Chris Harris (2), Chris Rodriguez, Kenny Marks
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Bass Harmonica – Buddy Greene
Dobro – Jerry Douglas
Drums – Chad Cromwell
Electric Guitar – Jerry McPherson
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – George Cocchini
Electric Piano [B-3 Organ] – Phil Madeira
Executive-Producer – Neal Joseph
Keyboards – Phil Naish
Mastered By – Hank Williams (2)
Percussion – Bubba Smith (2)
Producer – Bubba Smith (2)
Recorded By, Mixed By – JB (12)
Saxophone – Mark Douthit

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