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

The 77s – Tom Tom Blues – 1995

A lot of stuff happened between 1984’s All Fall Down and Tom Tom Blues. Six other albums in fact, so the fact that this one stands stark against their 1980s style isn’t that strange. However, here at Real 80s CCM we really like the 80s stuff so I have to talk about it. I first discovered this album in the used CD bin at a local record shop in the mid-90s. I think someone else must have bought it expecting that cutting, pop-new wave and found something else instead. Not that this isn’t a good collection of songs, but it required seriously resetting some expectations. Having said that, I don’t like it as much as some of their other work, such as their self-titled album in 1987. This 1995 release isn’t what I would call grunge, but it came from the grunge era and in retrospect, that is probably the most noticeable influence on the sound. 77s do not really excel at the grunge sound. The lead track, Rocks In Your Head comes on strong, and may be the most memorable one here. Throughout the album there is a lot of rumbly bassline and gutsy guitar. It did make me think back to Ping Pong Over the Abyss with the guitar sound. If there is such a thing as new wave grunge, maybe this is it.


1 – Rocks In Your Head – 3:37
2 – Honesty – 6:21
3 – You Still Love Me – 5:22
4 – Outskirts – 4:42
5 – Flowers In The Sand – 4:51
6 – Don’t Leave Me Long – 4:21
7 – Gravy Chain – 3:17
8 – Five In The Nave – 1:01
9 – Earache – 6:06
10 – Deliverance – 8:53

Band [Seventy Sevens Are], Bass, Backing Vocals, Other [Bottom] – Mark Harmon
Band [Seventy Sevens Are], Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Other [Everything In Between] – Bruce Spencer
Band [Seventy Sevens Are], Guitar [Guitars], Lead Vocals, Other [Top] – Michael Roe
Cover, Illustration – Rachel Thornton
Design Concept [Art Concept By], Design – Seventy Sevens
Engineer [Engineered By] – Craig Long, Kirt Shearer, Scott Reams
Engineer [Engineered By], Mixed By – Guy Niosi, John Flanagan
Executive-Producer – Gene Eugene, Ojo Taylor
Featuring, Percussion, Other [Cool Vibes] – Cary Avery
Illustration [Inside B/W Illustration] – Kathryn Garcia Smith
Mastered By – Michael Romanowski
Photography By – Pat Johnson
Producer [Produced By] – The 77’s
Songwriter [All Songs Written By] – The 77’s

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Brainstorm Artists International
Copyright © – Brainstorm Artists International
Distributed By – Diamante Music Group
Recorded At – Paradise Studios, Sacramento, CA
Recorded At – Plaid Jacket
Mixed At – Plaid Jacket
Mastered At – Rocket Lab
Pressed By – Disctronics USA – 138314
Published By – 7 And 7 Is Music

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Inside 1
Inside 2

Altar Boys – Altar Boys – 1984

Altar Boys’ self titled debut album came out in 1984. This California style punk was typical of what punk was at the time, although now we seem to have a lot of splinters of types of punk – melodic, thrash, pop, hardcore, metalcore, screamo, and more. A lot of punk was poppy at the time, modelled after The Ramones, and sounding like a precursor to MXPX or Green Day. Starting to play together around 1978, musicians that would later form the bands Undercover, Lifesavors, and Altar Boys (in that order) all came out of the same scene. Mike Stand and Ric Alba ended up in Altar Boys along with Jeff Crandall and Steve Pannier, while Mike’s brother was in Undercover, and Ric had previously done some playing with Lifesavors. Ric also played with Undercover before Altar Boys. In the spirit of punk rock, these songs are all high energy and a lot of fun, a hallmark of Altar Boys from start to end.

Track Listing:
1 – Alright! – 2:24
2 – I’m Into God – 2:52
3 – Have A Clue – 2:36
4 – Where’s It Gonna Lead You – 2:24
5 – You Found Me – 3:46
6 – Take In The Son – 2:44
7 – Well O.K. – 2:36
8 – Good Life – 3:31
9 – Oh, Oh Nancy – 1:33
10 – We Love Jesus – 2:40
11 – It’s Up To You – 3:07

Art Direction – Alex McDougal
Backing Vocals – Ojo
Backing Vocals, Drums, Vocals – Jeff Crandall
Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals, Guitar – Mike Stand
Bass, Keyboards – Rick Alba
Cover, Design – Debby Edwards
Engineer – Derald Daugherty
Engineer, Producer – Joey Taylor
Executive Producer – Bradley S. Hamilton
Guitar – Steve Pannier
Photography By – Oh Oh Nancy
Saxophone [Sax] – Bill Walden
Written-By – Annis

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center
Recorded At – Sound Affair
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mixed At – Sound Affair
Mixed At – Whitefield Studios
Published By – Oh Oh Nancy Music
Published By – Maranatha! Music

Ojo – Relative – 1988

Strangely of all the work Ojo did over the years this is his only solo album. Considering his name is on so many Christian albums I found this surprising. He put this album out while still working with Undercover and I’m a bit surprised he found the time. Also strange is that Michael Knott (Lifesavers) sang lead vocals on the track “The Witch Hunt” which some consider the proper single to the album though “Give Your Children Wisdom” was the official single. A side note that “The Witch Hunt” is not a cover of the Petra song by the same name. Also vocally interesting is that Terry Taylor sang lead on the “He Fell In The Water” track. I guess this is as good a place as any other to state that Ojo has left the faith and is now a Agnostic Professor. sigh Anyway this is a great New Wave album and sounds similar to what Undercover was doing at the time.

1 – (Give Me) A Moment Of Your Time – 5:55
2 – Animals And Trees – 4:30
3 – Sha Nu Mi – 5:20
4 – Box Of Treasures – 4:06
5 – The Fire Rising – 2:46
6 – The Witch Hunt – 3:56
7 – Give Your Children Wisdom – 3:38
8 – The Dance Of The Secret People – 5:04
9 – He Fell In The Water – 3:53
10 – Love In Wonder – 4:43

Art Direction – Norman Fog
Artwork By [Drawing] – Benjamin Taylor
Backing Vocals – Dave Hackbarth (tracks: 6), Gary Olson (3) (tracks: 3, 6, 7), Gene Eugene (tracks: 2, 9), Inki Svensson (tracks: 1 to 3, 6, 7, 9, 10), Joey-Jon Taylor (Squid) (tracks: 9), Marie McGilvray (tracks: 1, 3, 7, 10), Mark Krischak (tracks: 7), Riki Michele (tracks: 1, 2, 7, 10), Skylar (7) (tracks: 1)
Congas – Nathan Alford, Jr. (tracks: 8)
Drums [Hand Drums With Joey] – Nathan Alford, Jr. (tracks: 4)
Edited By, Mastered By – John Matousek
Engineer [2nd Engineer] – Dave Hackbarth, Glenn Holland
Engineer [Engineered By] – Gene, Joey
Guitar – Gene Eugene (tracks: 9), Greg Lawless (tracks: 1 to 4, 7 to 10), Joey Taylor* (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Guitar [Including The Lead] – Marky Schrock (tracks: 6)
Percussion [Additional] – Nathan Alford, Jr.
Photography By – Brian Ray
Recorded By [Congas] – Mike Mierau
Shaker, Bells [Jingle Bells], Percussion [Assorted Percussion] – Nathan Alford, Jr. (tracks: 3, 4, 6, 8)
Written-By, Arranged By, Producer [Produced By], Performer [Performed By] – Joey Taylor

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Broken Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Neverland Studios
Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios
Edited At – Hitsville
Mastered At – Hitsville
Pressed By – Discovery Systems
Published By – B-1 Music

The Lifters – The Lifters – 1983

This EP came out in 1983 from another great group of guys from the MRC group over at the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. Their Rockabilly style was like nothing else in CCM at the time. In an era where the Stray Cats were popular this album filled a gap in Christian music. These 6 short fun tracks will leave you tapping your foot and even singing along. I have a love of the rockabilly style so I have to admit I was pretty excited when I saw this album. I knew from the cover it was something I was gonna like. The EP must have been popular as the Band came out with a full album (also great) in 1985. Point of trivia is that Darrell Mansfield supplied the harmonica track for “Bucket of Blues”. Also trivia worthy is Ojo Taylor also played some piano and assisted with song writing.

1 – Living Water – 1:51
2 – Baby Left Me – 2:20
3 – Bucket of Blues – 3:10
4 – Eternity Bop – 1:41
5 – I’m Yours – 2:52
6 – He’s My Lord – 2:07

Antwan Adams – Horns
Chris Brigandi – Songwriter, Guitars, Lead Vocals
Eddie Espinosa – Songwriter, Guitars
Dave Hackbarth – Horns
Kass – Bass Fiddle, Electric Bass, Background Vocals
Mark Kirschak – Songwriter
Michael Knott – Songwriter
Darrell Mansfield – Harmonica
Brian Ray – Songwriter, Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
Ojo Taylor – Songwriter, Piano
Bill Walden – Horns
Dan Willard – Producer

Undercover – God Rules – 1983

The second album from Undercover proved they weren’t just a one off but instead were something new and fresh in the CCM scene. The second album picked up where the first left off. At this point their first album was gaining traction so people were ready for a second album. The timing was perfect. The album continued the punk/new wave/pop sound of the previous one but I think it leaned more pop in places. That said the title track will likely go down as the best Christian punk song of all time.

1 – New Creation – 2:40
2 – Closer To You – 3:03
3 – He Takes Care Of Me – 3:00
4 – I Still Want You – 2:16
5 – I Never Knew – 2:28
6 – Jesus Girl – 2:10
7 – His Love – 1:59
8 – Jesus For Me – 1:38
9 – Jesus Is The Best – 1:49
10 – I Am The Resurrection – 2:26
11 – God Rules – 1:01
12 – Wait A Minute – 1:57
13 – I Love God – 4:04

Arranged By – Undercover
Art Direction – Al X.
Design [Album Design & Foto Tints] – Gary Delacy
Drums, Backing Vocals – Gary Olson
Engineer – Dan Willard
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Gym
Illustration – Camille Krischak
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Bass, Backing Vocals – O-Joe
Lead Vocals, Tenor Saxophone – B
Mastered By [Runout Etching] – KPG
Photography By [Back Cover Pictures] – Wes Covina
Photography By [Sleeve Picture] – Scott Lockwood
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Typography [Lettering] – Joe Christian

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&S Records
Copyright (c) – A&S Records
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – Δ25957
Published By – Maranatha! Music
Published By – F.E.L.
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios

Various – The Broken Christmas – 1988

In 1988 some of our favourite Broken Records groups and singers came together to produce this upbeat Christmas album. We are familiar with all of these performers with the exception of House Party who never had an album. So put this on your Christmas playlist to spice it up.

1 – Riki Michele – The first Noel
2 – Undercover – O Come All Ye Faithful
3 – Level Heads – Born In A Stable
4 – J.C. & The Boyz – Rudy Red
5 – Ojo – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
6 – 4•4•1 – What Child Is This
7 – Adam Again – Angels We Have Heard On High
8 – The Reign – O Holy Night
9 – The Holidays – Silent Night
10 – House Party – Follow The Star
11 – Gene Eugene , Riki Michele, Ojo – O Come, O Come Immanuel

Art Direction – Brian Ray
Edited By, Mastered By – John Matousek
Engineer [Second Engineer] – Scott Macklin
Painting – Michael Gerard Knott
Producer, Engineer – Gene Eugene, Ojo Taylor
Recorded By – Alan Hill

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Neverland
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Recorded At – Lakeshore Sound
Edited At – Hitsville
Mastered At – Hitsville

Undercover – Undercover – 1982

This is the debut album from Undercover, one of the early and influential pop punk bands to come out of California in the early 80s. Incubating alongside Altar Boys and Lifesavors.

I consider Undercover to be the forerunner to MXPX, although not their sole influence. MXPX managed to merge Green Day, Ramones, Undercover and other ideas into a cohesive, long standing package.

The style of this album is now referred to as pop-punk, or even California-punk. In 1982 though, it seemed like the division of punk styles wasn’t so defined and it just was what it was.

This was a great alternative, or at least an addition to the musical diet for anyone addicted to The Ramones at the time.

Note the names. Joey Taylor on subsequent albums becomes Ojo Taylor, and Jim Nicholson becomes Gym Nicholson.

From the 1988 CD release “Volume 1” we receive this explanation in the liner notes:

Once upon a time, a long time ago in the 1970’s, there were two bands aimlessly wandering around a small town in Southern California called Yorba Linda. The name of one of those groups was J.C. Rose and the name of the other, Boaz. Jim Nicholson and myself, best friends since high school, were members of J. C. Rose along with Dave Hackbarth, who has been a priceless catalyst to a great many records and Artists since. The members of Boaz were Chris Winber, Danny Pavlis, Ray Hersom and Rick Alba among a few others. After a year or two of fruitless effots, the two groups disbanded, to form two new groups. Jim and I sayted together and added Danny Pavlis on Drums and Rick Alba on bass and started Undercover. Chris Winber and Ray Hersom went on to form Lifesavors. Undercover started rehearsing in a greenhouse owned by Danny’s parents and after a couple of months, had our first concert along with The Lifesavors (also their first concert) and another group, The Chosen Ones, consisting of Chris Pavlis (Danny’s brother) and Brian Doidge (who would later join The Lifesavors).

(the story is continued in the liner notes…)

The 1988 CD release “Volume 1” includes the two first albums from Undercover, plus an additional bonus track written by Taylor, and attributed to the debut album, “Dying In Love.”

Track Listing:
A1 Excuse Us Written-By – Walden, Alba 2:45
A2 Heal Me Written-By – Taylor 2:15
A3 I’ll Be A Fool Written-By – Taylor 1:15
A4 Francine Written-By – Alba 2:45
A5 It’s Official Written-By – Taylor 2:20
A6 Turn Your Head Written-By – Nicholson 2:45
A7 Look It Up Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B1 Read It In A Letter Written-By – Nicholson 2:05
B2 Daddy-O Written-By – Walden, Taylor 1:15
B3 Tonight Written-By – Nicholson 1:47
B4 Stop Written-By – Nicholson, Taylor 2:50
B5 He’s In Love With You Written-By – Alba 2:45
B6 I.C.U. Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B7 He Gives We Have Written-By – Taylor 2:25
Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

1 – Excuse Us – 2:45
2 – Heal Me – 2:15
3 – I’ll Be A Fool – 1:15
4 – Francine – 2:45
5 – It’s Official – 2:20
6 – Turn Your Head – 2:45
7 – Look It Up – 2:40
8 – Read It In A Letter – 2:05
9 – Daddy-O – 1:15
10 – Tonight – 1:47
11 – Stop – 2:50
12 – He’s In Love With You – 2:45
13 – I.C.U. – 2:40
14 – He Gives We Have – 2:25
Bonus Track
15 – Dying In Love – 4:29

Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Mastered By – KPG
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth
Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – B-1 Music
Mastered At – The Cutting System, Inc.
Recorded at Rapture Repertory Theatre’s Warehouse and C.C.C.M. on Tim Pinch’s Mobile Recording Studio except for A7, recorded at Whitefield Studio

The Holidays – Restless Heart – 1989

I have struggled to learn anything about this band. This was their second and last album. Like their first album this one has a strong New Wave sound and hits on all cylinders. I find it odd that a band that were this good with two albums have no history anywhere I look. This album was Engineered and produced by Ojo Taylor so you think it would have been better known. Bottom line it’s a good album.

1 – Tear The Curtain – 4:13
2 – Two Times Two – 5:07
3 – Round And Round – 4:23
4 – Touch Me – 4:40
5 – Should I Tell You – 3:25
6 – Sunshine – 3:33
7 – Promises – 4:03
8 – It’s A Fight – 2:45
9 – Color Me White – 3:19
10 – My Love – 3:31
11 – The Lines Of Time – 3:51

Art Direction, Layout – Darin Beaman, Timothy Wu
Band, Drums [Loud Drums] – Rich Michaels
Band, Guitar [Guitars], Vocals – Marky Schrock
Band, Lead Vocals, Bass – Mini Mendez
Engineer [Second] – Dennis Murphy
Keyboards, Lyrics By [Additional], Percussion – Ojo
Lead Guitar – Don Ulrich (tracks: 6)
Percussion – Super C
Photography By – Bruce Heavin
Producer [Produced By], Engineer [Engineered By] – Ojo Taylor
Vocals [Additional Vocals Primarily By] – Dennis Murphy, Inki Svensson, Roger Mantel
Vocals [Also Singing] – Chris Mantel, Gary Olson, Terry Eutsler, Tricia Tyme

Crumbächer – Incandescent – 1985

Though often assumed to be a German band Crumbächer was actually a U.S. band whose lead singer’s name was Stephen Crumbächer.

Incandescent was their first album. I was supposed to be an EP, but upon the record company hearing it, they requested the band cut a few more songs to make it a full length album.

Crumbächer were probably the first synthpop band in the CCM genre. There’s really not much to say about this album, it had a German synthpop sound and was actually quite good for this style of music.

Point of trivia is that the album was produced by Ojo Taylor from the band Undercover.

Track Listing:
1 – Understudy – 3:25
2 – Infrared/X-Ray Eyes – 4:16
3 – Glowing In The Dark – 5:12
4 – So Strange – 5:41
5 – It Don’t Matter – 4:45
6 – Jamie – 4:46
7 – Sweet By And By – 3:29
8 – Track You Down – 5:16

Backing Vocals – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Jimmy Wisner
Drums – Jimmy Wisner
Guitar – Dan Hohulin
Keyboards – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer
Producer – O-Joe Taylor
Vocals – Stephen Crumbächer