Steven Curtis Chapman – More To This Life – 1989

Well I’m definitely going to piss some people off with this review. This is Steven’s third album and it was wildly successful. It had four number one hits, “More To This Life”, “I Will Be Here”, “Love You With My Life”, “Treasure Island”, as well as a number 6 track, “Waiting For Lightning”. This is all according to CCM magazine. I think it was about this time in history that CCM magazine completely lost the plot. I was never particularly happy with their chart decisions but really this album was ridiculous. If you listen to all of the singles on this album they sound like they were written by AI. This is the same drivel that is coming out of the Christian music scene today. In fact you could release this album today and it would sound like everything else on Christian radio. I can imagine that Sparrow records is still rolling in the royalties from thousands of worship services that use these songs. I’m sorry Steven, you are a fantastic artist but this kind of music is what ruined CCM music for everyone. Now I know plenty of you love this album and there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean Steven is a great artist and in fact a couple tracks on this album that didn’t single are pretty good but they don’t follow the worship style that the industry was turning to. I quite liked his previous albums but this one just sounded too industry oriented for me.

1 – More To This Life – 5:11
2 – Love You With My Life – 3:23
3 – Waiting For Lightning – 3:40
4 – Living For The Moment – 4:47
5 – I Will Be Here – 4:24
6 – Who Makes The Rules – 3:33
7 – Treasure Island – 4:46
8 – Way Beyond The Blue – 5:43
9 – In This Little Room – 3:36
10 – More Than Words – 4:28
11 – Out In The Highways – 4:54

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Jon Goin
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Arranged By [Rhythm] – Steven Curtis Chapman
Arranged By [Strings], Conductor – Don Wyrtzen
Art Direction – Barbara Hearn
Backing Vocals – Chris Harris, Chris Rodriguez, Herb Chapman, Mark Heimermann
Bass – Jackie Street
Design – Brenda Whitehill
Drums – Mark Hammond
Engineer [Additional] – Ronnie Brookshire
Engineer [Assistant] – Barry Ray Dixon, Carry Summers, Howard Levy, Steve Bishir
Mandolin – Mark O’Connor
Mastered By – Denny Purcell
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer, Keyboards, Arranged By [Rhythm] – Phil Naish
Production Manager – Cindy Wilt
Recorded By, Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Slide Guitar [Acoustic] – Don Potter
Strings – Carl Gorodetzky, The Nashville String Machine
Violin – Mark O’Connor

Companies, etc.
Record Company – Nineteenth Street Productions
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Distributed By – Christian Marketing Canada, Ltd.
Pressed By – Capitol Jax
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Recorded At – The Pond
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Recorded At – Studio 55, Los Angeles
Mastered At – Georgetown Masters
Record Company – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Designed At – Hipke, Inc.

Steven Curtis Chapman – Real Life Conversations – 1988

This is the second album from Steven Curtis Chapman. Its a pretty pop oriented album but there a few tracks that lean towards light rock. I had not listened to this one before and I was pleasantly surprised when I finally did. While it’s certainly not Rock it is pretty good and there are a few tracks here that will go in my regular rotation. The album was very successful with 2 #1 CCM chart hits, “His Eyes” and “My Turn Now”. “For Who He Really Is” also made it to #4, and “His Strength Is Perfect” to #10. “His Eyes” also won the Dove award for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song Of The Year and “His Strength Is Perfect” for Inspirational Recorded Song Of The Year. Steven also won the Dove award for Songwriter Of The Year on the heels of this album.

1 – Faithful Too – 4:00
2 – Tuesday’s Child – 4:05
3 – For Who He Really Is – 5:03
4 – Consider It Done – 3:43
5 – His Eyes – 3:33
6 – The Human Race – 3:44
7 – Wait – 4:14
8 – Truth Or Consequences – 5:00
9 – My Turn Now – 3:27
10 – His Strength Is Perfect – 4:38

Arranged By [Strings Arranged By] – Alan Moore
Arranged By [Tracks And Background Vocals Arranged By], Guitar, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Steven Curtis Chapman
Art Direction – Barbara Catanzaro-Hearn
Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Geoff Moore, Herb Chapman, Phil Naish
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Design – 5 Penguins Design, Inc.
Drums – Mark Hammond
Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Carry Summers
Guitar – Jon Goin
Mandolin, Mandola – Mark O’Connor
Mastered By – Denny Purcell
Mixed By – Jeff Balding
Photography By – Mark Tucker
Producer [Production Manager] – Cindy Wilt
Producer, Arranged By [Tracks And Background Vocals Arranged By], Keyboards – Phil Naish
Recorded By – Ronnie Brookshire
Recorded By [Strings Recorded By] – Bob Clark
Strings – Carl Gorodetzky, The Nashville String Machine
Vocals [Guest Vocal] – Geoff Moore

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Distributed By – C.M.C. Distribution
Mastered At – Georgetown Masters
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Gold Mine Studio
Recorded At – Downstage Studio
Recorded At – Great Circle Sound
Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia

Steven Curtis Chapman – First Hand – 1987

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.

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

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

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Pressed By – Capitol Jax
Designed At – Jackson Design
Engineered At – The Bennett House
Engineered At – OmniSound Studios
Engineered At – Hummingbird Studio, Nashville, TN
Engineered At – Gold Mine Studio
Engineered At – Center Stage Studio
Engineered At – Downstage Studio
Mastered At – Georgetown Masters

Steven Curtis Chapman – The Great Adventure – 1992

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 –

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

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

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright ℗ – The Sparrow Corporation
Copyright © – The Sparrow Corporation
Made By – EMI Jax
Produced For – NT Productions
Recorded At – Studio At Mole End
Recorded At – Nightingale Studio
Recorded At – Quad Studios
Recorded At – OmniSound Studios
Recorded At – Skylab Recording Studio
Recorded At – Great Circle Sound
Mixed At – Studio At Mole End

Sparrow Christmas – 1988

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.

Track Listing:
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