Once the Circle Slide tour was complete there were some pretty serious changes for The Choir. First and foremost the band either finished their contract with Myrrh or it expired. I’ve read the story both ways. The band also split up with Steve Hindalong going on to the production side of the industry. Dan Michaels produced a solo project and Derri Daugherty went on to form Lost Dogs. The band came back together in 1992 to record this album at Daugherty’s brand new Neverland Studio in Cerritos, California. The band released it as an independent release and apparently only 6300 copies were made between CD and Cassette. The album has a 90’s Rock sound and was well received by critics but I have heard it wasn’t as well received by fans. I think it would have been better received if fans had been able to buy it a little easier but that’s just one man’s opinion.
Tracklist 1 – Gripped – 4:25 2 – Amazing – 3:49 3 – Kissers And Killers3:00 4 – Weather Girl – 6:00 5 – Yellow Skies – 3:54 6 – Grace – 3:13 7 – Let The Sky Fall – 3:32 8 – Love Your Mind – 5:12
Credits Art Direction, Photography By – Leiza Schmidt Bass Guitar – Tim Chandler Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Steve Hindalong Guitar, Lead Vocals – Derri Daugherty Layout [Art Layout], Design [Assistance] – Gene Ray George Mixed By – Jr. McNeely Producer – Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong Recorded By, Mixed By – David Hackbarth, Derri Daugherty Saxophone, Lyricon – Dan Michaels
Companies, etc. Recorded At – Neverland Studios Mixed At – Neverland Studios Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios Mastered At – Digital Brothers Published By – Never Say Never Songs Glass Mastered At – Nimbus, Virginia
Has it seriously been over 20 years since this amazing album was first released? It feels and sounds just like it was yesterday. It is really both staggering and sad to consider the amount of time that has passed and how, in some ways, things have stayed the same despite the changes going on around us.
After a popular response to The Choir’s more pop laden “Wide -Eyed Wonder,” the band returned with what many consider their finest outing. I am in the camp that believes “Chase the Kangaroo” is the bands finest moment and that album will appear much later, but I leave not doubt to the fact that “Circle Slide” is a brilliant masterpiece and one of the finest the industry has ever produced.
After the more upbeat and positive approach taken on “Wide-Eyed Wonder” (having a child will do that to you). Circle Slide returns to a darker, foreboding and introspective approach, both musically and lyrically. The struggles, difficulties and depression that were relatively absent from the previous album return here with an album full of real problems and pains.
This album may be all too real for many readers and, in some cases, make the listener very uncomfortable. For those married and struggling with the inter-personal relationship demands, this album is both a refuge and a rebuke. All the while the band was also suffering turmoil. Just one album after the much heralded arrival of female bassist Robyn Spurs, she left in the midst of recording this album. Daugherty replaced her in the studio while former bassist, Mike Sauerbrey, makes an appearance on the album’s closer. David Miner also makes a guest appearance.
This internal tension coupled with songwriter and drummer Steve Hindalong’s apparent personal strife’s make the album what it is. Stark, real and ever so inviting. These songs of loss, pain and struggle are so universal that the album remains one of the most personal and honest albums in CCM history.
I don’t know if the tensions lead to the more experimental sounds that fill the album, but one must consider how a musician may find solace in their instrument and guitarist and vocalist Derri Daugherty is at his most expansive and atmospheric on this release. The 7 minute opening title track is evidence of this while the more aggressive sounds found on “If I Had a Yard” also illuminate this possibility, especially having saxophonist Dan Michaels play through a wah-wah pedal to create an utterly unique musical expression.
The title track opens the album with over seven swirling and whirling minutes. Daugherty’s guitar not only creates a melody, but a mood, feeling and image. Michael’s subtle sax found way back in the mix, then brought forward later to build the mood, adds to the imagery that matches the album artwork perfectly. The song just sounds like Fall. But it’s here we find some of Hindalong’s most pointed lyrics where we find a golden crown the savior wore. Yet there is a sense of detachment between those who claim the name of Christ in their most personal and intimate relationships.
“If I Had a Yard” looks at the struggles within marriage by using the metaphor (even reality) of desiring something more of our residence. Money is tight and one can only afford what they can afford, but that does not keep us from believing that our relationship would improve if only our circumstances were different or, seemingly, better. Anyone who is married and struggling with finances can understand the rift and pressure these type of situations place on a relationship.
Yet with “Sentimental song” we find a man who truly loves with an earnest and forthright love the one God has given him. Hindalong not only writes a great song here but also plays some of his best drums on the album.
“Merciful Eyes” is one of the most beautiful attempts to reconcile the eternal struggle within man to understand how a righteous and perfect God can loves a wretched and sinful man and why He puts up with us. His mercy knows no bounds and this song attempts to describe this great mystery.
“Tear for Tear” is the much too short (a complaint about the whole album by many) love song that blends directly into the more commercial rock sounding “About Love.” This may be the happiest song on the album. The recognition that it is God that provides the love we desire through human relationships (especially within marriage) is matched by Daugherty’s more pop musical expression. there are love songs and songs about love; this is both.
“Blue Skies” returns to a more brooding and introspective content and musical expression. A combination of dreamlike images and stark realities created a song with layered textures message wise. This starkness is matched by the limited instrumentation during many parts of the song, with some moments possessing only drums.
The album closes with “Restore My Soul,” easily one of the best songs by The Choir. This Psalmists lament is a stunning display of combining a message and the musical medium it is swaddled within. The pain and ache for the restoring work of God is so universally real that it is inescapable. The longing and desire for fulfillment is so beautifully portrayed and is the perfect closing for this amazing project.
The Choir remains one of those bands that seemingly can do no wrong. They have been a model of consistency and artistic integrity for nearly 30 years! They have few equals and if there is ever to be a real CCM Hall of fame they would and should be amongst those included in its freshman class of inductees.
Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/
Tracklist 1 – Circle Slide – 7:23 2 – If I Had A Yard – 4:16 3 – A Sentimental Song – 5:01 4 – Merciful Eyes – 4:55 5 – Tear For Tear – 1:22 6 – About Love – 4:04 7 – Blue Skies – 4:05 8 – Laugh Loop – 1:45 9 – Restore My Soul – 6:23
Credits Art Direction [Associate Art Director] – Roz Roos Art Direction, Design – John Flynn Co-producer [Co-produced By], Recorded By – David Hackbarth Executive-Producer – Tom Willett Lyrics By – S. Hindalong Management – Snyder & Emery Mastered By – Steve Hall Mixed By – Steve Griffith Music By – D. Daugherty, S. Hindalong Photography By – Susan Goines Producer [Produced By] – Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc. Copyright (c) – Word, Inc. Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Recorded At – Neverland Studios Mastered At – Future Disc Published By – Never Say Never Songs Published By – Word Music
Many Choir fans don’t consider this their best work. Hardcore fans loved it but casual fans were looking for a fun follow up in the style of “Diamonds And Rain”. I admit the first few times I listened to it I found it to be disappointing. That said I came around as I listened to the lyrics. The album is much better written but I don’t think people could get past the dark feel the album had and I will admit that while I like the lyrics I don’t think this was a musically strong album. It is said that it took 6 month to record the album and I almost wonder if they didn’t over think the album. There is a point in any recording that you have to say “I think that’s it”. If you keep going you can actually over think the songs and I believe that is exactly what happened here. More evidence of this is even the thought process of the album cover. The CD, vinyl, and cassette all have slightly different covers which are based on the same picture. I don’t know if they were trying to imitate Amy Grant’s Unguarded but to me it’s just another example of over thinking things. The CD version of this release has 5 bonus tracks which further proves my point. Some of these tracks were obviously destined for the cutting room floor but they had probably invested so much energy into them they felt they had to release them. Now that I have criticized this album I will step back and say there is some real good tracks on this album. It is by far their best produced album up to this point and lyrically it is probably their best. In the end it’s just a little dark for my liking.
Tracklist 1 – Consider – 4:08 2 – Children Of Time – 5:10 3 – Clouds – 7:00 4 – Sad Face – 7:14 5 – Cain – 5:18 6 – The Rifleman – 3:43 7 – Look Out (For Your Own) – 3:28 8 – Everybody In The Band – 1:36 9 – So Far Away – 5:07 10 – Chase The Kangaroo – 4:10 CD Bonus Tracks 11 – Fade Into You – 3:59 12 – 15 Doors – 3:05 13 – More Than Words – 2:36 14 – Tears Don’t Fall – 3:49 15 – All Night Long – 5:03
Credits Artwork [Additional Graphic Assistance] – Phillip Foster, Stewart Ivester* Artwork [Art Direction & Coordination] – Tim Alderson Artwork [Cover Concept And Design] – John Joseph Flynn* Artwork By [Additional Graphic Assistance] – Ed, June, Marcella at Slides And Print, Canoga Park, CA Bass – Tim Chandler Directed By [Choir Direction] – Brian Martin Drums – Steven H.* Executive-Producer – Tom Willett Guitar, Keyboards, Lead Vocals – Derri* Lyrics By – Steven H.* Other [Tried To Keep Peace Among The Brethren] – Bill Batstone Photography By – Stewart Ivester* Producer – Derri Daugherty, Steven Hindalong* Producer [Additional] – Gene Eugene, Steve Griffith Recorded By – Dave Hackbarth, Derri Daugherty, Gene Eugene, Mark Heard, Steve Griffith Recorded By, Mixed By – Mike Mierau (tracks: 11 to 15) Saxophone, Lyricon – Dan “Buck” Michaels*
Companies, etc. Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc. Copyright (c) – Word, Inc. Manufactured By – Word, Inc. Recorded At – Neverland Studios Mixed At – Neverland Studios Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios Mixed At – Pakaderm Studios Manufactured By – JVC Designed At – OZ Graphics Designed At – Slides and Print
Diamonds and Rain is the second studio album from The Choir, and the first after a name change from Youth Choir. Myrrh Records promoted this album heavily with ads that stated, “The Youth Choir has grown up!” I for one found this comical and probably the dumbest promo for a band ever though I did agree with the name change. With producer Charlie Peacock coming on for the album it had a much more commercial appeal. It has a solid new wave feel and at times I could swear I’m listening to a Simple Minds album. While I may be better known for my love of a Rock & Roll sound this is my second favourite style of music and this album is great in my opinion. As the story goes the band hated the colour album front, they wanted it to be black and white like the rear. Trivia point, the album was supposed to be titled Love and Fear but a name change came about after Myrrh wanted a more positive title.
1 – Fear Only You – 3:52
2 – Render Love – 4:42
3 – All That Is You – 3:21
4 – Black Cloud – 3:40
5 – I Painted Mercy – 4:05
6 – Kingston Road – 3:39
7 – Listen To Her Eyes – 3:20
8 – (You Do That) Triangle – 3:17
9 – Love Falls Down – 3:12
10 – When The Morning Comes – 4:30
Art Direction – Roland Young
Backing Vocals – Bill Batstone
Backing Vocals [Additional] – Jerry Chamberlain
Bass Guitar – Tim Chandler
Drums, Percussion – Steve Hindalong
Engineer – Mike Mierau
Engineer [Assisted By] – Paul Abajian
Guitar, Vocals – Derald Daugherty
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Charlie Peacock
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Mixed By – Martin Heyes
Other [Choir Direction] – Brian Martin
Photography By – Nancy French
Producer – Charlie Peacock
Woodwind – Dan Michaels
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Pakaderm Studios
Mixed At – Surrey Sound Studios
Mastered At – Bernie Grundman Mastering
Manufactured By – JVC
I have to honestly say that this is not my favourite Choir album. I believe the quality of the album is good and it actually has some great lyrics. That said I found the album to kind of have no flow and I have a difficult time even describing the album. The vocals are good and actually it’s a pretty good album overall but I just didn’t like it that much, I’m not really too sure why. Strangely there is a cover of a George Harrison tune, “Behind That Locked Door”, which is OK I guess. I didn’t like the original but this version is an improvement if for no other reason than Mark Heard played the autoharp. I just find it doesn’t fit on the album that’s all. Another point of trivia is that three members of Adam Again also appear on the album. It is rumoured that they were recording in a neighbouring studio.
1 – Someone To Hold On To – 3:48
2 – To Cover You – 2:31
3 – Robin Had A Dream – 4:17
4 – Spin You Around – 4:10
5 – When She Sees Me – 4:11
6 – Wide-Eyed Wonder – 3:35
7 – Happy Fool – 3:30
8 – Car, Etc. – 6:21
9 – Behind That Locked Door – 3:01
10 – To Bid Farewell – 4:39
11 – Car, Cont. – 1:02
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Robin Spurs
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Steve Hindalong
Executive-Producer – Tom Willett
Guitar, Electronics [Treatments], Lead Vocals – Derri Daugherty
Lyricon, Saxophone – Daniel Michaels
Mastered By – Steve Hall
Mixed By – Mark Heard
Producer – D. Daugherty, S. Hindalong
Producer [Additional] – David Hackbarth, Mark Heard
Recorded By – David Hackbarth
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Word, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Word, Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Produced At – Neverland Studios
Mixed At – Neverland Studios
Mastered At – Future Disc
This is the introductory album from Youth Choir, later known as Choir.
They were one of the many great bands that came out of Calvary Chapel in Orange County, California in the 80’s. The band featured Derald Daugherty of Lost Dogs fame along with Steve Hindalong, and Mike Sauerbrey.
This album has a pure new wave sound with hints of U2. The single “Someone’s Calling” was well received and received regular airplay in Christian radio.
Point of trivia is that Steve Hindalong was credited with playing drums but the drums on the album are completely electronic.
1 – Someone’s Calling – 4:27
2 – Wounds Of A Young Heart – 2:38
3 – Dreams – 3:48
4 – Another Heart – 3:32
5 – Why Are All The Children Crying – 4:31
6 – Another World – 3:54
7 – Here In The Night – 4:17
8 – Alright Tonight – 2:54
9 – Anyone But You – 3:34
10 – A Million Years – 3:41
Bass [Uncredited] – Mike Sauerbrey
Design [Sleeve] – Ed McTaggart
Design, Layout, Artwork By [Photo Illustration] – Kevin Short
Other [Crewed By] – Bob Salcedo, Tim Curiel
Other [Live Sound] – Dave Hackbarth
Percussion [Uncredited] – Steve Hindalong
Photography – Scott Lockwood
Photography [Back Cover] – Linda Baley
Producer, Engineer – Thom Roy
Vocals [Uncredited], Guitar [Uncredited] – Derald Daugherty
Written-By, Performer – Youth Choir
This album was a sampler from the record label “Ministry Resource Center”.
It features some known bands but there are a few bands on the album which never released an album. There are also some songs that were previously unreleased. All in all a must have album.
1 – Undercover – One Of These Days – 2:24
2 – The Proclaimers – Rejoice – 2:10
3 – Stephen Crumbächer – It Don’t Matter – 4:00
4 – Youth Choir – It’s So Wonderful – 1:56
5 – Altar Boys – Go For It – 2:14
6 – The Lifters – Listen Children – 2:15
7 – The Omega Band – Idols – 2:43
8 – Sharon McCall – From The Grave – 3:50
9 – Malcolm And The Mirrors – Apathy – 4:00
10 – CIA – Your Choice – 2:30
11 – Stephen Crumbächer – It Don’t Matter (Reprise) – 1:02