Prodigal – Electric Eye – 1984

In 1982 I was a Junior in High School and had a subscription to Campus Life Magazine. One day I saw an ad for a brand new band called Prodigal that sported a very cool cover, which was a take off on Escher’s famous painting. But what was even better was that there was a pull out single for the band attached to the center of the magazine. These were all the rage during the 1970’s and often found included inside cereal boxes or even attached to the cardboard of those same cereal boxes. You had to take the very flimsy plastic disc, place it on top of a solid LP and then you could play the single. That was the first of three Prodigal releases, and all three made this list. That band was that damned good. probably better than we even realize. Prodigal is easily the most overlooked and unsung band in CCM history…PERIOD! The type of innovation already noted was what fans could expect from the band Prodigal during their short-lived three record existence. Their innovations also included being the first recipient of the Dove Award for “Video of the Year.” They were one of the few bands that continued to invest in the fledgling video marketing promotional support creating several videos per release. And even for the album in question there was what is called a “stop groove” at the end of the side 2 and a “hidden bonus track” of sorts which contained a computer code for the old Commodore 64 computer. Using a cassette drive a person could get bonus information about the album along with photos and lyrics. This may have become common with the invent of compact discs, but this was totally revolutionary in 1984. All three of their album covers were spectacular. But it was the content, both musically and lyrically, that set Prodigal above their peers for the time. Where other artist bemoaned the struggles, pain and realities of life on this spinning globe, Prodigal placed themselves within that reality and expressed those struggles from one who is intimately aware and experienced with those struggles. Where the first album stayed along the musical lines of Steely Dan and the Eagles, it was with “Electric Eye” the band became very current, and dare I say, cutting edge. Guitar driven rock and new wave synth pop merged to create a sound that was uniquely Prodigal while immediately familiar and memorable. Driving keyboard and bass that for some reason reminds me of the music from the “St. Elmo’s Fire” soundtrack. Also another unique feature is the use of three different lead singers with duties distributed according to musical style. The content on “Electric Eye” is beautifully portrayed on the album cover shown above. We have surrounded ourselves with so much to entertain us and consume our time that the difference between reality and artificial are not just blurred but rather the artificial begins to be more “real.” Note how the actual lightning through the window is faded and bland while the same lightning shown on the television set is vibrant and exiting. This is expressed in different ways on the album along with a host of other topics that are both poignant and eternal. Even the recording process was experimental. The album was recorded in an abandoned Catholic Girls school in Cincinnati using a mobile recording system built into a motor home. Band members would move from room to room to create a different acoustic sound to discover the best fit for a particular song. Lead vocalist and band leader Loyd Boldman told me that at the time the band (especially himself) was listening a lot to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and “The River” as well as Daniel Amos and Michael Omartian. These influences shade and nuance much of what makes this record so amazing. With the knowledge guitar parts, vocal styles and overall production results make sense. The goal was to create a larger, less polished and precise studio album that the debut was. In that area the band succeeded with flying colors.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Scene Of The Crime – 4:44
2 – Fast Forward – 4:43
3 – Masks – 4:05
4 – Just What I Need – 3:08
5 – Emerald City – 3:23
6 – Electric Eye – 5:00
7 – Bobby – 3:18
8 – Shout It Out – 3:25
9 – Neon – 5:15
10 – Boxes – 3:35

Arranged By – Prodigal
Artwork [Additional] – A.I.R. Studio
Bass – Mike Wilson
Design [Cover] – Dave Workman, Loyd Boldman
Design Concept [Cover] – Loyd Boldman
Drums, Vocals – Dave Workman
Effects [Special Sound FX] – Gary (Platinum) Platt
Engineer [Assistants] – Brad Kuenning, Paul Thompson, Rytt Hershberg
Graphics [Additional] – The Malone Group
Guitar, Vocals – Rick Fields
Keyboards, Vocals – Loyd Boldman
Mastered By – Mike Fuller
Mixed By [Additional Overdubs, Final Mixdown] – Gary Platt
Photography By [Back Cover] – Luther Blue
Photography By [Cover] – Gary Kessler
Producer – Jon Phelps
Recorded By – Greg McNeily
Sounds, Engineer [Concert Sound] – Paul Thompson
Written-By – Workman (tracks: A4, B5), Boldman (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B4)

Companies, etc.
Recorded By – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Mixed At – The Full Sail Dream Machine
Engineered At – Moonlight Sound
Mastered At – Criteria Recording Studios
Pressed By – Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Published By – Between The Lines Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Heartland Records Company
Copyright (c) – Heartland Records Company

Prodigal – Just Like Real Life – 1985

Throughout this exploration of the greatest music in Christian Music history, much has been said about the shame that it is one of CCM’s great realities: great bands don’t sell and disappear much too quickly. The greatest (worst?) example of this axiom if the band Prodigal. The great crime of CCM is that this amazing band only made three unbelievably impressive albums and then… …nothing! Their swan song was the impressive “Just Like real Life,” an album filled with so much great music and original concepts that any description will really not do it any justice. Ranging from hard “new wave” to American rock and roll there are ten fantastic tracks here. Production quality is through the roof fantastic for what was, I am sure, a minuscule budget. The vocals are as diverse as the music as three different lead vocalist shared the duties. the most notable is Loyd Boldman and his HUGE voice. Boldman always seemed to tackle the big rock numbers and so is often recognized as the lead vocalist though that is really not the case. It should be noted that quite often his songs are the most memorable. This is the case here. Future Now starts with a musical introduction that always reminds me of the soundtrack to movie St. Elmo’s Fire, especially the primary song, “Man in Motion.” “Safety in Numbers” starts off with a great guitar lick the harkens to Daniel Amos’ “I Love You #19.” Throughout the entire record great riffs and monster walls of sound permeate every song. What is truly impressive about the band, though, is their lyrical content. Not content to recite the normal CCM diatribes, Prodigal placed themselves directly into the songs and transparently admit their failings along with those around them. A constant theme is the alienation of the modern world and need for honest and actual relationships. Both with God and with one another.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Future Now – 3:55
2 – Push And Shove – 3:00
3 – Safety In Numbers – 2:52
4 – Answering Machine – 3:57
5 – Under The Gun – 3:47
6 – Jump Cut (Just Like Real Life) – 3:14
7 – Incommunicado – 2:50
8 – Next Big Thing – 2:44
9 – Burn It Up – 3:16
10 – The Big Sleep – 3:16
11 – Just Make Up Your Mind – 3:13

Loyd Boldman – keyboards and vocals
Rick Fields – guitars and vocals
Mike Wilson – bass
Dave Workman – drums and vocals
Executive Producer – Jon Phelps
Produced and Engineered by Gary Platt
Arranged by Prodigal and Gary Platt
Synthesizer Programming – Wes Boatman
Synth Solo on “Push And Shove” – Wes Boatman
Recorded at – Fifth Floor Studios, Cincinnati, OH, Boatman’s Ranch, New Richmond, OH, Starke Lake Studios, Ocoee, FL
Assistant Engineer – Carol Burkart
Assistant Engineer / Concert Sound – Steve Moller

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Heartland Records Company
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Heartland Records Company
Mastered At – Criteria Recording Studios
Pressed By – Hub-Servall Record Mfg. Corp.

Prodigal – (self titled) – 1982

Prodigal are a band out of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The vocals were shared by three members which was rather odd. Unfortunately vocalist and keyboard player Loyd Boldman has since passed away. The drummer Dave Workman was also a member of the early 80’s band Northbound.

This album is a notch up from easy listening with fairly strong guitar riffs on several tracks. This album was also re-released on CD in 2014 by the band who have somehow obtained the copyright to their own music. This is a pretty rare achievement in the music industry.

Track Listing:
1 – Invisible Man – 4:10
2 – Easy Street – 4:08
3 – Fire With Fire – 4:15
4 – Sleepwalker – 2:53
5 – Want You Back Again – 3:50
6 – Prodigal – 1:10
7 – I Don’t Know Who You Are – 2:35
8 – Need Somebody To Love – 4:02
9 – Busy Man – 3:40
10 – Hard Bargain – 4:00
11 – Prodigal (Part Two) – 0:46
12 – Sidewinder – 6:34

Keys and Vocals – Loyd Boldman
Guitars and Vocals – Rick Fields
Bass – Mike Wilson
Drums and Vocals – Dave Workman
Artwork – Loyd Boldman
Engineer – Dana Cornock, Paul Thompson
Engineer [Assistant] – Steve Moller
Executive Producer – Matthew Hunt
Layout, Design – Scott Waters
Mastered By – Ron Lewter
Mixed By – Gary Platt
Mixed By, Engineer – Andy Deganahl
Producer – Jon Phelps
Remastered By – Rob Colwell