Mark Heard – Mosaics – 1985

Mosaics is another folk-rock sounding album from Mark, a style he settled solidly into after releasing some softer, almost country albums and a few rock albums. This blend suited his creativity well. After this album he had a five year gap before putting out another one. Mark recorded few songs that were not his own writing, so this album stands out with a version of T Bone Burnett’s “Power Of Love.” It’s a pretty close cover of the original on T Bone’s 1980 album “Truth Decay.” An interesting coincidence with the T Bone cover is the appearance of David Mansfield playing lead guitar on four of the tracks on this album. However, David is not credited on “Power of Love” despite having played with T Bone on his albums, as well as their work together in Alpha Band and on Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. As always, Mark was able to attract top level musicians to his project. It seems like everyone wanted to work with him and the results suggest the reason why. Leslie Phillips (aka Sam Phillips) appears on backing vocals on a few tracks, Tom Howard plays keys on several tracks, and John Mehler adds his drumming to make this another all-star cast project.

Tracklist
1 – With Broken Wings – 4:23
2 – Schizophrenia – 3:48
3 – All Is Not Lost – 3:05
4 – Heart On The Line – 4:08
5 – He Plays The Game – 3:20
6 – The Golden Age – 4:08
7 – The Power Of Love – 3:42
8 – I Want You – 4:04
9 – It Will Not Be Like This Forever – 4:18
10 – Miracle – 4:58

Credits
Arranged By – Mark Heard
Backing Vocals – Dave de Coup-Crank (tracks: 2), Dori Howard (tracks: 10), Leslie Phillips (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Mark Heard
Bass – Bill Batstone (tracks: 4)
Cover [Front Cover Concept] – Tim Alderson
Design, Illustration [Computer Art] – Mark Heard
Drums – John Mehler (tracks: 1-6, 8, 9)
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass, Lead Vocals – Mark Heard
Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – David McSparran (tracks: 7, 9)
Engineer, Mixed By – Mark Heard
Harmonica – Buddy Rufus Greene (tracks: 3, 6)
Lead Guitar – David Mansfield (tracks: 2, 4, 8, 9)
Organ – Barry Kaye (tracks: 9)
Percussion, Electronic Drums [Simmons Drums] – Harry Stinson
Photography By – Stewart Ivester
Producer – Mark Heard
Synthesizer – Tom Howard (tracks: 2, 3, 6)

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word Ltd.
Printed By – Shorewood Packaging Co. Ltd.
Recorded At – Fingerprint Recorders
Mixed At – Fingerprint Recorders

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Leslie Phillips – The Turning – 1987

“The Turning” is a fitting title for this album for several reasons. This 1987 release was Leslie Phillips’ last CCM recording. After this she signed with Virgin Records and released a few albums with then husband T Bone Burnett, whom she married after recording this album with him as producer. The Turning was the only one of her four CCM releases produced by T Bone and it has a very distinctively different sound. The acoustic sound familiar to T Bone’s work replaces all the the 80s glitz that Leslie had been doing an excellent job of until now. Leslie’s deep songwriting continued under the folk influence of the music on The Turning. However, she managed to squeeze out some pop sounding folk on a few songs, particularly “Libera Me”. In “Down”, Leslie addresses some of her “Turning” directly: “Shattered convictions I thought were offending you” suggests she has experienced a shift in her relationship with God, in a way that probably gives her more room as an individual. Bookended with two cheerfully haunting sounds at the lead track “River of Love” and the closer “God Is Watching You” this album brings a deep echoing sound that matches Her lyrics perfectly. It was an unexpected turn from the upstart who was hailed a few albums ago as the CCM version of Cyndi Lauper, but under T Bone’s influence, any artist seems to turn ahead of the curve.

Tracklist
1 – River Of Love – 2:43
2 – Love Is Not Lost – 3:57
3 – The Turning – 3:36
4 – Libera Me – 3:09
5 – Carry You – 4:18
6 – Beating Heart – 2:56
7 – Expectations – 3:15
8 – Down – 3:25
9 – Answers Don’t Come Easy – 4:10
10 – God Is Watching You – 3:50

Credits
Bass – Jerry Scheff
Drum Programming – Ralph Forbes, Ralph Forbes, Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett
Drums – Mickey Curry
Executive-Producer – Tom Willett
Guitar, Producer – T-Bone Burnett
Harmony Vocals – Dawn O’Hanlon, Peter Case, Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Tonio K.
Mixed By – Tchad Blake
Percussion – Alex Acuña
Recorded By – Bill Jackson, Bobby Hickey, Judy Klapp, Larry Hirsch, Stephen Shelton, Steve Ford, Tchad Blake
Recorded By [Assisted By] – David Knight, Mike Kloster
Remastered By – Steve Hoffman
Synthesizer – John Schreiner, Leslie Phillips
Written-By – Leslie Phillips, T-Bone Burnett

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Myrrh Records
Copyright © – Myrrh Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Word Music
Copyright © – Word Music
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – Black Tent Music
Copyright © – Black Tent Music
Manufactured By – DCC Compact Classics Inc.
Marketed By – DCC Compact Classics Inc.
Recorded At – The Sound Factory
Recorded At – Sunset Sound
Recorded At – Mad Hatter Studios
Recorded At – Mama Jo’s
Recorded At – Eagle Audio Recording
Recorded At – Capitol Studios

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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

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

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