Mark Farner – Just Another Injustice – 1988

This is Mark Farner’s first solo album after the dissolution of Grand Funk Railroad though he did have 2 solo albums while the band was still together. It was released on Frontline Records and left no argument that it was a Christian album. This is a great Rock & Roll album which plays to the patriotism of it’s mainly American audience. I’m not entirely sure who to compare the album to but there are a few songs on the album that Huey Lewis could have felt right at home singing. My favourite track is Come to Jesus which took me back to Sunday School but with a huge Rock & Roll upgrade. One cool thing on the album is a guest appearance from Phil Keaggy.

Tracklist
1 – Airborne Ranger – 3:57
2 – Judgement Day Blues – 4:46
3 – Isn’t It Amazing – 4:35
4 – Come to Jesus – 3:58
5 – Give Me the Works – 3:25
6 – An Emotional Look at Love – 3:16
7 – Workin’ for the Winner – 3:40
8 – Just Another Injustice – 3:55
9 – The Writing on the Wall – 4:30
10 – Only You – 3:43

Credits
Lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass – Mark Farner
Keyboards – Tim Heintz
Drums – David Huff
Guest guitars – Phil Keaggy
Additional bass – John Patitucci
Additional bass – Kirt Shearer
Guest backing vocals – Bob Carlisle

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Phil Keaggy – The Master and the Musician – 1978

Phil had released a number of albums by this point, and with this one he switched to a new label, New Song Records. It’s all instrumental and has a pleasant jazz sound emanating from his intricate guitar work.

The album comes with a story in the liner notes, and it is a must-read while you listen to this album. Press play and keep reading.

Side One

Music, especially instrumental music, evokes many images in the mind of an attentive listener. I have set below an account of the images which have been called up for me by The Master and the Musician, not as any final word on meaning or intent, but as a vantage point, if you will – a place from which you may consider this series of musical pieces before you do some exploration on your own.

We begin by listening to a dream, for at first the sounds are clearer than the sights. A young man’s voice, distinct and persistent. Then that of an older man, measured, balanced tones. Now they come into view: The seated old man leans against his high-backed chair, listening attentively. His eyes crinkle with hidden amusement at the young man’s insistence. Heavy, white eyebrows are occasionally raised as his eyes widen, echoing his initial surprise at the young man’s visit. A slender, long-fingered hand is brought to the side of his face. His fingers frame an eye, as one hand rests against his cheek, his clear eyes never straying from the face of the man across from him.

His younger visitor leans forward again, intent on explaining a request he barely understands himself. He is a young musician, and yet he shows the strain and wear of travelling, pressed by that fame which demands strenuous performance. The old man smiles, and for a brief moment glances at the worn wooden surface of an instrument hung upon his wall. Sensing a rapport which he had never though could exist, the young man leans forward and repeats his request:

Pilgrim’s Flight

“Teach me,” said the young musician. “Old man, you have seen much. You were Master Musician in your time, playing in the great halls. Your fingers, once young and lithe, filled the hearts of kings with music which changes the soul. Where did you learn music? It is said that you have even played before He who is not to be named. Teach me,” said the young man, his eyes intent upon purpose, “I want to know that music.”

Agora

“Young man, what have you to do with me? Your gift is in the marketplace, not playing in royal halls.” The old man smiled and shook his head. “How they dance when you play! The young women sway, and their eyes dart with fiery love at your tones. To play where I have, you must leave the marketplace behind, you must cease to play in the palaces of pleasure, and find your joy in other pursuits. Are you willing? Are you able to leave all of that behind?” The young man’s lips tightened. His eyes held the old man in unwavering gaze as he softly nodded his head.

The Castle’s Call

Deep in a sun-flooded valley it stood. Beyond the outcroppings of bare rock at the summit, the wind-blown trees along the steep slope, in the midst of the small forest on the valley floor. Open ground swelled up to meet its moat. White stone, hewn long ago from the valley itself, washed by aeons of the water of pre-history, formed its battlements and towers topped with dark green slate. The early afternoon sun bathed its walls in yellow brilliance. The drawbridge was down, and smoke curled from the chimneys of the great hall.

Hidden, yet apparent, the castle in his mind’s eye drew the young musician to its entrance, and called him to an as yet uncontemplated fate.

Wedding in the Country Manor

Wedding day! The village has been polished clean. Clear summer sun and unsullied sky. Who has seen a groom like this, strong and silent, dark and light? Clear eyes flash with joy, anticipating his lady’s gentle appearance.

She walks upright and unafraid, her lace veil blowing in the summer breeze.

Her gaze is neither timid nor bold, yet it holds the strength of her lord’s without wavering.

They kiss… A brilliant jewel between them sparkles, showering the guests with light and laughter. Then silence, as the meaning makes its home.

The children, unaware of grownup solemnity, dance out joy with unencumbered feet, whirling and giggling, giggling, and whirling away their summer joy. One by one, the grownups join them, bride, groom, and guests, until all fall from exhaustion, laughing at dignity and foolishness alike.

Suite – of Reflections

“This is the room where we must begin,” the old man said, “sit down – over there. Hold your instrument so. A thousand have sat as you have. Listen.” The old man played out the story of the room, asking all the age-old questions of the entrance.

The young man sat in silence. Then answered his every question one by one – considered, unwavering, sure of what he would find. His heart soared as each question was answered, anticipating the fulfillment of the promise each one held. Now tears of joy are flowing from his cheeks. He holds his instrument away so as not to spoil the strings. The old man smiles. The younger weeps: All I have lived for is here. The joy of new beginnings settles in his mind, as the old man sets down his instrument and opens up the door: “You must meet the King,” he said, “you must meet Him face to face. No, no -” the old man answered the unasked question: “You must go alone. You won’t come to harm; I will even meet you along the way. But – for now – you must go alone.”

Golden Halls

Golden halls to walk down; flowing, gentle gold. Everything exudes yellow light. The young man looks at himself in a mirror. The hard creases etching the lines of his worry have been smoothed over. His cheeks fill with the youth of his years – once made long from the marketplace. Forever, he thought. I have never known its meaning. I shall live here forever, in golden light.

Side Two

Mouthpiece

Now that the hot lights of the pleasure palace stage glare into his eyes, He steps up to the roar of a crowd bent upon his music, and all that it has brought to them. Then silence. He sings – no, soars with joy. The crowd no longer presses forward, but holds itsbreath at music it has never heard. His fellow players stand mute.

Follow Me Up

“Follow me up,” he cries, as they begin to understand. The marketplace reverberates with music of life. The young women, no longer dancing, cry with joy at the truth they have always known but were seeking to hide. Young men look for the source of his strength. “Follow me up,” he cries, again and again. They will remember this night forever, and never know why.

Jungle Pleasures

Along the castle’s golden halls, the sight of a long and narrow passage has stopped him. At the end, a single door gleams in green light: The stage door of the pleasure palace. It was unmistakable, and jarringly out of place. What music drew him down to open the door and gaze into his own face, bathed with sweat and green light, playing out the pleasures for adoring admirers? The young man in the room swayed and bent, his instrument playing out in twisted genius the stories of his lusts. The young man gazing at him drew back in disgust and horror of the truth. He slammed the door and ran back to the golden hall, his heart racing him to a finish.

Deep Calls Unto Deep

The old man sat in the great hall, his fingers resting lightly upon his instrument. One hand lifted, to silently indicate the young man’s own instrument, lying in the only other chair. The young man shook his head, no longer willing or able to play. He opened his mouth to explain, but could not speak. The old man began, as the younger stood before him in silence. The presence of He who cannot be named filled the hall. Never had he heard the old man play like this. His cheeks flamed crimson at his own inability. An unseen instrument answered the old musician, who raised his head slightly to acknowledge its presence. The younger walked as in a trance to his chair. He sat, and fingered the instrument. Unwillingly, he began to play, and himself was answered. His concentration was set upon his fingers, which played from some unrecognized but familiar depth. He never noticed the old man’s disappearance. The Presence lifted. Alone, the young man sang of a thirst quenched by water and salt.

Medley

The next room was lined in oak; leaded windows looked out over green forest at the setting sun. The young man sat in a window casement, and played down the sun to a half-remembered hymn. The sky became green and deep gold. Slowly, all turned cold – the stars came into a dark, black night. Since the old man’s disappearance, the young man had been incapable of calling back the Presence. The night turned darker, and the young one began to cry, not for loss, but lack. Oblivious to his surroundings, he bent his head and sobbed. His tears ran saltily upon his instrument, dripping from the strings. They can be spoiled now, he thought, what does it matter? I cannot play.

“I too was alone,” said a voice, “I too could no longer play the Music.” The young one bit his lip and looked up. The King was before him, not as a king, but as the young man himself, his heart empty. Royal robes hung over one arm. “Wear these,” said the king, “for they are yours.”

The King gazed at him as a bridegroom at his bride, and the young man played; joined, not by an instrument, but by the voice of the Presence itself. The King was lifted up and out of sight, golden walls illuminating His departure. Still the young man played, for the Presence was greater than ever. He sang with It, It sang with him. Voices called cross to one another; all led upward. A joy far deeper than his own emotions held him in its grasp. It would not let him go.

Epilogue

The high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose Name is holy,
He dwells in a high and holy place
And with him are the lowly in spirit,
In order to revive their hearts.

 

Track Listing
A1 Pilgrim’s Flight 2:22
A2 Agora (The Markerplace) 3:26
A3 The Castle’s Call 0:47
A4 Wedding In The Country Manor 3:20
A5 Suite Of Reflections 5:45
A6 Golden Halls 5:13
B1 Mouthpiece 1:18
B2 Follow Me Up 4:05
B3 Jungle Pleasures 0:55
B4 Deep Calls Unto Deep 3:52
B5 Medley (7:05)
Evensong
Twilight
Forever Joy
B6 The High And Exalted One 1:48

Credits:
Classical Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass, E-Bow, Synthesizer [Arp Bass], Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Producer, Arranged By, Mixed By, Composed By, Sleeve Notes – Phil Keaggy
Engineer – Gary Hedden
Engineer, Mixed By – Mal Davis
Illustration – Claude Schuyler
Lyrics By [Story Written By] – Stuart Scadron-Wattles
Photography By – Chris Maggio (3)
Vocals – Bernadette Keaggy

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Phil Keaggy – Ph’lip Side – 1980 / 1982

Ph’lip Side generally doesn’t get a lot of mention by fans but it honestly deserves to.

The set up of the album is novel in that one side is acoustic guitar and the other electric. The album jacket represents this by having an acoustic guitar on one side and an electric on the other. A novel approach and idea for an album which I like.

Keaggy’s guitar work is flawless as usual and this album gives us examples of his varying styles. The original album was released in 1980 and then re-released in 1982 with a substitute song as well as the order being changed. The 1982 release has stickers on the jacket to represent the changes. Piece of trivia – Greg X. Volz and Matthew Ward both do some backing vocals on this album.

Playlist Includes “Send Out Your Light” courtesy of Elisha Belcher

Track Listing:
1 – Just A Moment Away – 4:00
2 – Sunday School – 4:32
3 – A Royal Commandment – 5:46
4 – Pulling Down – 5:28
5 – A Child (In Everyone’s Heart) – 3:55
6 – Little Ones – 4:27
7 – Spend My Life With You – 4:13
8 – I Belong To You – 4:10
9 – In Your Keep – 3:28

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Dan Collins, Greg X. Volz, Jamie Owens-Collins, Matthew Ward (2)
Bass [Electric Synthisized] – Leon Gaer
Coordinator [Production] – B. Charlyne Hinesley
Drums – Paul Leim
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Phil Keaggy
Engineer – Jack Joseph Puig
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Piano, Piano [Rhodes], Synthesizer – Richard Souther
Producer – Dan Collins, Phil Keaggy

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John Mehler – Bow and Arrow – 1982

This was the first solo album from John Mehler. John cut his teeth in the music industry playing with 70’s Jesus Music band Love Song.

Side note Chuck Girard was also in Love Song. This album is a mix of praise songs and Rock & Roll. It’s kind of disjointed in my opinion, but the quality of music is very high.

Phil Keaggy supplied lead guitar for the album so that definitely helps its quality. Mehler is a very accomplished drummer and you can hear his talent on Little Drummer Boy. All in all a pretty darn good album.

Tracklist
1 – Trust In The Lord – 3:57
2 – Just Like You – 2:55
3 – His Love For You – 5:19
4 – Bow And Arrow – 3:39
5 – Be Strong In The Lord – 5:55
6 – Alright – 4:08
7 – Little Drummer Boy – 4:00
8 – The Seventh Seal – 2:32
9 – My Strength – 4:10

Credits
Bill Batstone Songwriter, Arrangements, Bass
Wayne Brasel Guitar
Bill Cobb Engineer
Katherine Davis Songwriter
Steve Hall Mastered
Phil Keaggy Guitars
Jim Lacefield Bass
John Mehler Producer, Songwriter, Arrangements, Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Lynda Mehler Songwriter
Randy Mitchell Guitar
Henry Onorati Songwriter
Harry Simeone Songwriter
Chuck Smith Executive Producer
John Vestman Co-Producer, Engineer, Mixed, Percusion, Violin, Guitar, Background Vocals
Rob Watson Keyboards
Dan Willard Mastered

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2nd Chapter of Acts

This album from 2nd Chapter Of Acts is actually a compilation of songs from their albums In The Volume Of The Book, and With Footnotes.

These two albums were released in 1974 and 1975 respectively. I really have no idea why this album was released instead of re-releasing the original 2 albums. But then again record company decisions have always baffled me.

2nd Chapters of Acts were/are the quintessential Jesus Music band. The inclusion of Phil Keaggy and Michael Omartian makes this a superior album in the Jesus Music genre.

Track Listing:
1 – Which Way The Wind Blows – 4:58
2 – Easter Song – 2:20
3 – Last Day Of My Life – 3:08
4 – Psalm 63 – 1:51
5 – Prince Song – 3:27
6 – Hey Whatcha’ Say – 3:20
7 – Yaweh – 3:07
8 – Morning Comes When You Call – 3:10
9 – Love Peace Joy – 2:38
10 – He Loves Me – 5:07
11 – The Son Comes Over The Hill – 3:23

Credits:
Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Bass – David Hungate, Emery Gordy, Michael Been. Joe Osborn
Drums – David Kemper, Jim Gordon, John Guerin, Michael Omartian
Engineer – Buck Herring
Guitar – Jay Graydon, Larry Rolando, Phil Keaggy, Al McKay, Art Munson, Mike Deasy
Guitar, Soloist – Phil Keaggy
Organ – Danny Timms, Michael Omartian
Percussion – Anne Herring*, Michael Omartian
Photography – Joel Strasser
Piano – Anne Herring*, Michael Omartian, Danny Timms, Tom Keene
Producer – Buck Herring
Strings, Arranged By – Michael Omartian
Synthesizer [Aarpvark] – Michael Omartian
Written-By – Anne Herring, Buck Herring, Matthew Ward, Richard Souther, Jesse Cosio, Nelly Ward, Ed Overstreet

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Matthew Ward – Toward Eternity – 1979

Toward Eternity is Matthew Ward’s debut album. It has a decidedly 70’s sound but the guitar work of Phil Keaggy (yes that Phil Keaggy) gave the album some appeal to those of us more interested in an 80’s sound.

This album is a who’s who of CCM music. Appearing on this album were, Phil Keaggy, Michael Omartian, as well as Keith Green.

A rather stange appearance on the album was Ray Parker, Jr. of Ghostbusters fame. Writing credits went to several people in addition to Matthew.

Point of trivia on this album is that 5 of the songs were written by Matthews sister, Anne (Ward) Herring and the album was produced and engineered by Buck Herring, Anne’s husband, Matthews brother in law.

Track Listing:
1 – It’s All Right – 2:34
2 – Soft Spot – 3:42
3 – Noah’s Song – 3:56
4 – Till The Walls Fall Down – 2:29
5 – Gotta Do Better Than This – 3:23
6 – Your Love Came Over Me – 4:07
7 – Hold On – 3:10
8 – Angels Unaware – 2:26
9 – Summer Snow – 3:36
10 – The Vineyard – 2:18

Credits:
Vocals – Matthew Ward
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums – David Kemper
Guitar – Phil Keaggy
Percussion – Michael Omartian
Piano – Tom Keene
Design, Illustration – Larry McAdams
Lacquer Cut By – KPG
Photography By – David Pavol
Producer, Engineer – Buck Herring

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Phil Keaggy with Glass Harp – A Song In The Air – 1977

This 1977 release from Phil Keaggy and Glass Harp is actually a compilation album of Keaggy’s work with Glass Harp in the early 70’s.

Glass Harp was one of the early bands Keaggy was a member of. The album is very easy listening but does highlight Keaggy’s excellent guitar work.

Track Listing
1 – Song In The Air – 2:35
2 – Can You See Me – 6:25
3 – One Day At A Time – 3:40
4 – Song Of Hope – 4:21
5 – The Answer – 2:38
6 – David & Goliath – 2:50
7 – I’m Going Home – 2:40
8 – Do Lord – 4:22
9 – Let’s Live Together – 3:50

Credits
Design, Artwork – George Werth
Lacquer Cut By – KP
Mastered By – Ken Perry
Performer – Dan Pecchio*, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy
Producer [Associate], Engineer – Bill Culhane, Dick Shapiro, Gordon Shaad, Ralph Moss, Tom Lubin
Producer [Original Recordings] – Lewis Merenstein

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