This was Steven’s debut album. He was under contract to Sparrow records as a songwriter and was very successful so I guess Sparrow thought they would give him a studio band and see how he did. The album was very successful with the single track “Weak Days” which peaked at #2 on the CCM charts. I was actually a little surprised at this album as I had dismissed Steven Curtis Chapman as a worship album artist but this is actually a pretty good pop album. The sound would have been better suited as an early 80’s album but it wasn’t that outdated in 1987. This is one I ignored in the 80’s but I’m glad I tool the time to listen to it now.
Tracklist 1 – First Hand – 3:35 2 – Weak Days – 4:18 3 – Hiding Place – 4:58 4 – Run Away – 3:53 5 – Do They Know – 4:00 6 – Tell Me – 4:19 7 – Who Cares – 5:06 8 – Dying To Live – 3:35 9 – Said And Done – 5:08 10 – My Redeemer Is Faithful And True – 3:47
Credits Arranged By [Background Vocals] – Chris Rodriguez, Phil Naish, Steven Curtis Chapman Arranged By [Rhythm] – Phil Naish, Steven Curtis Chapman Art Direction – Barbara Catanzaro-Hearn Backing Vocals – Chris Rodriguez, Herbert Chapman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Wayne Kirkpatrick Bass – Mike Brignardello Coordinator – Cindy Wilt Design – Buddy Jackson Drums – Mark Hammond Engineer – Jeff Balding Engineer [Assistant] – Bill Whittington, Mike Clute Executive-Producer – Greg Nelson Guitar – Jon Goin, Steven Curtis Chapman Illustration – Beth Middleworth Keyboards – Phil Naish Mastered By – Denny Purcell Orchestrated By [Strings] – Alan Moore Photography By – Mark Tucker Producer – Phil Naish Strings – Carl Gorodetzky, The Nashville String Machine
This album is very tough for me. As readers of the original blog can attest, the Nashville music machine that put out very similar sounding, country infused, safe pop music was never in my wheelhouse. For decades the same singers, songwriters, record companies would put out similar sounding albums and then take home armfuls of Dove Awards. It was an industry that gave the “Rap Dove Award” to Carman! So, as a result, I came to this album very , very late. The first few Steven Curtis Chapman albums were so wrapped up in that world, that when “The Great Adventure” was released I just ignored it. I knew that hits that were incessantly on Christian radio and as a record representative that sold accompaniment cassettes, I knew virtually every song. But they meant very little to me. It wasn’t until I began the painstaking process of creating the original “Top 500” blog that I decided to familiarize myself with the album and tried to listen with new ears. It still did not make the original blog, but I did gain a higher level of respect for the singer/songwriter himself. I then saw Chapman in a solo acoustic concert several years ago where he performed several of the songs from this album with just his guitar, and even acapella. I started to discover the songs behind the processed production and my appreciation grew even more. But albums have to be judged according to their time and the way they were produced. And so the album is included here. But let’s be honest upfront…”Got to Be True” is just an awful, awful song! Most are very, very familiar with the bigger hits from the album like the title track, “Where We Belong,” and “Go There With You.” All are deserving of their success and I struggle to really be too critical here. For me the John Mellencamp ( or was he Cougar then?) inspired “That’s Paradise” is the stand out cut on the album. If Chapman only didn’t have such a pleasant voice, it could have been a mainstream radio single. Chapman also really shines here and throughout his career when accompanied by a more simple, sparse production as heard on “Don’t Let the Fire Die.” Chapman excels on simple ballads, especially when they are more focused on relational issues. “Maria” falls into the same category. Even this song has just too much going on musically. A stripped down acoustic guitar and nothing else would have been plenty. “Hearts Cry” is the very best example of what I am referring. No strings needed! With “The Great Adventure” Chapman truly broke as an artist. He had quite a bit of previous success, but this album was certified gold pretty quickly and brought previous albums along with it. It was from this point that the Gospel Music Association just backed up the Dove Award delivery truck to the Chapman estate annually. This isn’t the last album to be discussed here, but it is the one that fit the most securely in the Nashville Music Machine category, but worthy or more.
Contributor David Lowman – https://legacyccmsgreatestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Prologue – 2:37 2 – The Great Adventure – 4:35 3 – Where We Belong – 4:19 4 – Go There With You – 5:21 5 – That’s Paradise – 4:59 6 – Don’t Let The Fire Die – 4:48 7 – Got To B Tru – 4:18 8 – Walk With The Wise – 4:34 9 – Maria – 5:01 10 – Still Called Today – 6:00 11 – Heart’s Cry – 5:10
Credits Accordion – Jo-El Sonnier Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Steven Curtis Chapman Arranged By [Strings, Brass], Conductor – Don Wyrtzen, J.A.C. Redford Backing Vocals – Brent Lamb, Chris Rodriguez, Herb Chapman, Kip Raines, Lionel Cartwright, Mark Heimermann, Ricky Skaggs, Steven Curtis Chapman, Trace Balin Backing Vocals [Yells] – Chad Ballantyne, Chris Moore, Herb Chapman, James Isaac Elliott, Jason Cole, Marty Funderburk, Phil Naish, Steve Charles, Steven Curtis Chapman, Todd Robbins Bass – Jackie Street Contractor [Orchestra] – Carl Gorodetzky Design – Carol Bobolts, Red Herring Design Dobro – Scott Sanders Drum Programming – Mark Hammond Drums – Paul Leim Engineer – Ronnie Brookshire Engineer [Additional] – Carry Summers, Patrick Kelly, Steve Bishir Engineer [Assistant] – Carry Summers, John Kunz, Patrick Kelly, Todd Robbins Executive-Producer – Peter York Guitar – Dann Huff, Jerry McPherson Keyboards – Phil Naish Lap Steel Guitar, Dobro [Additional] – Rusty Young Mixed By – Bill Deaton, Ronnie Brookshire Orchestra – The Nashville String Machine Photography By – Frank W. Ockenfels Piano – Cheryl Rogers Producer – Phil Naish Rap, Guest – Toby McKeehan Soprano Saxophone – Mark Douthit Vocals [Duet] – BeBe Winans
It’s Christmas time so here’s Sparrows 1988 Christmas album. Highlights on this album are, White Heart – Little Drummer Boy, Steve Taylor – Winter Wonderland, and Geoff Moore & The Distance – Jingle Bell Rock.
1 – Bebe & Cece Winans – Silent Night, Holy Night – 5:43
2 – Margaret Becker, Steven Curtis Chapman, Geoff Moore, Bebe & Cece Winans, White Heart And Steve Camp – Home For The Holidays – 4:18
3 – White Heart – Little Drummer Boy – 4:12
5 – Michael Card – What Child Is This? – 2:47
6 – Deniece Williams – Do You Hear What I Hear? – 4:13
7 – Steve Taylor – Winter Wonderland – 1:56
8 – Margaret Becker – O Come, O Come Emmanuel – 4:52
9 – Steve Camp – O Holy Night – 4:09
10 – Tim Miner – The First Noel – 4:35
11 – Geoff Moore & The Distance – Jingle Bell Rock – 2:59
12 – Steven Curtis Chapman – Away In A Manger – 4:18
13 – Margaret Becker, Steven Curtis Chapman, Geoff Moore, BeBe Winans And White Heart – Angels We Have Heard On High – 3:31