Mark Heard – Stop The Dominoes – 1981

Mark Heard created a tradition of going the extra mile on his records. He wrote lyrics that had real honesty packed in tight, and yet he still managed drop some tongue-in-cheek one-liners. The effect was that when he was cheeky, you still had to take him seriously. Stop the Dominoes is a classic version of this.

He had a lot to say. The liner notes are incredible. CCM records routinely included all the lyrics printed out on the sleeve, but in addition, Mark included 2 full pages of small print, written from his heart to his fans. Mark had a passion for reality. You can hear it in his song lyrics, and these notes include some personal diary entries from his tour stops through Europe. It’s hard to imagine this kind of thoughtful writing being shared with fans now.

These notes were written on his travels, and later collated into this form, typeset and arranged, sent out to print, manufactured, distributed to stores, and then finally brought home to read. I hope a lot of people read them, but then again, I know. In 1982 when we bought records, we read everything.

There was no Twitter feed. The Internet didn’t exist in any consumer form at that time. Mark died in 1992, well before fandom was available online. Long before we would be able to follow someone’s thoughts as they had them.

Sure, we can follow people on social media now, but that’s a different thing. Online posts are so disposable because they are so temporal. Reading someone’s deliberate writing, something that they know they would have to work on, proofread, and only be able to publish to the world once a year – that’s special in a different way.

Mark Heard was one of the most thoughtful songwriters, and gone much too soon and much too young.

Track Listing:
A1 One Of The Dominoes 4:23
A2 Stranded At The Station 3:30
A3 You Could Lie To Me 4:02
A4 One Night Stand 2:52
A5 I’m Crying Again 3:29
B1 Stuck In The Middle 4:39
B2 Call Me The Fool 3:11
B3 I’m In Chains 3:25
B4 Lonely One 4:35
B5 To See Your Face 3:31

Credits:
Arranged By – Mark Heard
Backing Vocals – Dave De Coup Crank, Larry Norman, Leslie Phillips, Little Bobby Emmons, Randy Stonehill
Bass – John Patitucci
Electric Guitar – Tony Eisenbarger
Electric Guitar, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Mark Heard
Engineer – Jonathan David Brown
Fiddle – Buddy Spicher
Keyboards – Tom Howard
Percussion – Alex MacDougall
Producer – Mark Heard
Saxophone – Karl Denson
Steel Guitar [Pedal Steel] – Sonny Garrish
Written By – Mark Heard

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Leslie Phillips – Dancing With Danger – 1984

Leslie Phillips drew a lot of comparisons when her sophomore album, Dancing With Danger came out. This one was a lot more bold than her debut, and she stood out well.

Primarily she was tagged as the Cyndi Lauper of Christian music. Being a female redhead new wave artist with a poppy sound might have been enough.

Leslie’s songs were highly entertaining, but also addressed a few topics that her male counterparts were not going to go near. She clearly had a talent for creating memorable and enjoyable music, but also a desire to deepen the message. Leslie addressed the conversation around what we would come to know as ‘purity culture’ long before we were talking about in that way.

The song “Give ’em All You Got (Tonight)” is certainly what she did with every song.

Tracklist
1 – Dancing With Danger – 3:53
2 – I Won’t Let It Come Between Us – 4:36
3 – Strength Of My Life – 5:33
4 – Give ‘Em All You Got (Tonight) – 4:25
5 – By My Spirit – 4:42
6 – Hiding In The Shadows – 3:52
7 – Powder Room Politics – 2:38
8 – Light Of Love – 4:13
9 – Song In The Night – 3:51
10 – Here He Comes With My Heart – 2:46

Credits:
Arranged By – Dann Huff (tracks: A1, A2, A4), Jeff Lams (tracks: A3, A5, B1, B2, B4, B5), John Schreiner (tracks: B3)
Backing Vocals – Buddy Owens, Greg Volz, James Hollihan, Matthew Ward, Russ Taff
Bass – Nathan East
Concept By [Photo] – Bradley Grose
Design – Vigon/Seireeni
Drums – Carlos Vega
Engineer – Jeremy Smith
Engineer [Additional] – Bill Deaton, Bud Wyatt, David Schober, John Early
Engineer [Vocals] – Mike McClain
Executive-Producer – Brad Burkhart
Guitar – Dann Huff
Keyboards – Jeff Lams, John Schreiner
Mastered By – Mike Reese
Percussion – Victor Feldman
Photography By – Aaron Rapoport
Producer – Dan Posthuma
Vocals, Written-By – Leslie Phillips

Companies, etc.:
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Published By – Word Music (2)
Recorded At – Bill Schnee Studios
Recorded At – Studio Southwest
Recorded At – Goldmine Studio, Brentwood, TN
Mixed At – Eagle Audio Recording
Mastered At – The Mastering Lab
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – △26562

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Leslie Phillips – Black and White in a Grey World – 1985

Black and White in a Grey World was Leslie Phillips’ third of four albums on Myrrh Records, once again produced by Dan Posthuma.

The songs on this record sound just like her but a little older. She is more mature in music, in delivery, and with even deeper songwriting than on Dancing With Danger. There are still plenty of praise songs and messages of encouragement here. Later, Leslie would say that she felt a lot of pressure from the record company to record certain kinds of songs and that is why she eventually left to go to Virgin Records.

Leslie does a great job of pulling in the pop/new wave high energy sound into her her songs without watering down any message. This album is very well done and deserves even more critical acclaim than it got.

Tracklist
1 – Black And White In A Grey World – 4:20
2 – Tug Of War – 3:20
3 – When The World Is New – 4:31
4 – Psalm 55 – 3:48
5 – Your Kindness – 4:03
6 – The More I Know You – 5:00
7 – Smoke Screen – 3:37
8 – You´re My Lord – 4:13
9 – Walls Of Silence – 4:54
10 – You´re The Same – 4:14

Credits:
Backing Vocals – Tata Vega
Bass – Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus
Drums – Carlos Vega, John Robinson
Guitar – Dan Huff
Keyboards – Alan Pasqua
Mixed By – Bill Schnee
Percussion – Paulinho Da Costa
Producer – Dan Posthuma

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