Undercover – God Rules – 1983

The second album from Undercover proved they weren’t just a one off but instead were something new and fresh in the CCM scene. The second album picked up where the first left off. At this point their first album was gaining traction so people were ready for a second album. The timing was perfect. The album continued the punk/new wave/pop sound of the previous one but I think it leaned more pop in places. That said the title track will likely go down as the best Christian punk song of all time.

1 – New Creation – 2:40
2 – Closer To You – 3:03
3 – He Takes Care Of Me – 3:00
4 – I Still Want You – 2:16
5 – I Never Knew – 2:28
6 – Jesus Girl – 2:10
7 – His Love – 1:59
8 – Jesus For Me – 1:38
9 – Jesus Is The Best – 1:49
10 – I Am The Resurrection – 2:26
11 – God Rules – 1:01
12 – Wait A Minute – 1:57
13 – I Love God – 4:04

Arranged By – Undercover
Art Direction – Al X.
Design [Album Design & Foto Tints] – Gary Delacy
Drums, Backing Vocals – Gary Olson
Engineer – Dan Willard
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Gym
Illustration – Camille Krischak
Keyboards, Synthesizer, Bass, Backing Vocals – O-Joe
Lead Vocals, Tenor Saxophone – B
Mastered By [Runout Etching] – KPG
Photography By [Back Cover Pictures] – Wes Covina
Photography By [Sleeve Picture] – Scott Lockwood
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Typography [Lettering] – Joe Christian

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&S Records
Copyright (c) – A&S Records
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co. – Δ25957
Published By – Maranatha! Music
Published By – F.E.L.
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios

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Various – The Broken Christmas – 1988

In 1988 some of our favourite Broken Records groups and singers came together to produce this upbeat Christmas album. We are familiar with all of these performers with the exception of House Party who never had an album. So put this on your Christmas playlist to spice it up.

1 – Riki Michele – The first Noel
2 – Undercover – O Come All Ye Faithful
3 – Level Heads – Born In A Stable
4 – J.C. & The Boyz – Rudy Red
5 – Ojo – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
6 – 4•4•1 – What Child Is This
7 – Adam Again – Angels We Have Heard On High
8 – The Reign – O Holy Night
9 – The Holidays – Silent Night
10 – House Party – Follow The Star
11 – Gene Eugene , Riki Michele, Ojo – O Come, O Come Immanuel

Art Direction – Brian Ray
Edited By, Mastered By – John Matousek
Engineer [Second Engineer] – Scott Macklin
Painting – Michael Gerard Knott
Producer, Engineer – Gene Eugene, Ojo Taylor
Recorded By – Alan Hill

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Copyright (c) – Brainstorm Artists International Inc.
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Neverland
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Recorded At – Lakeshore Sound
Edited At – Hitsville
Mastered At – Hitsville

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Undercover – Undercover – 1982

This is the debut album from Undercover, one of the early and influential pop punk bands to come out of California in the early 80s. Incubating alongside Altar Boys and Lifesavors.

I consider Undercover to be the forerunner to MXPX, although not their sole influence. MXPX managed to merge Green Day, Ramones, Undercover and other ideas into a cohesive, long standing package.

The style of this album is now referred to as pop-punk, or even California-punk. In 1982 though, it seemed like the division of punk styles wasn’t so defined and it just was what it was.

This was a great alternative, or at least an addition to the musical diet for anyone addicted to The Ramones at the time.

Note the names. Joey Taylor on subsequent albums becomes Ojo Taylor, and Jim Nicholson becomes Gym Nicholson.

From the 1988 CD release “Volume 1” we receive this explanation in the liner notes:

Once upon a time, a long time ago in the 1970’s, there were two bands aimlessly wandering around a small town in Southern California called Yorba Linda. The name of one of those groups was J.C. Rose and the name of the other, Boaz. Jim Nicholson and myself, best friends since high school, were members of J. C. Rose along with Dave Hackbarth, who has been a priceless catalyst to a great many records and Artists since. The members of Boaz were Chris Winber, Danny Pavlis, Ray Hersom and Rick Alba among a few others. After a year or two of fruitless effots, the two groups disbanded, to form two new groups. Jim and I sayted together and added Danny Pavlis on Drums and Rick Alba on bass and started Undercover. Chris Winber and Ray Hersom went on to form Lifesavors. Undercover started rehearsing in a greenhouse owned by Danny’s parents and after a couple of months, had our first concert along with The Lifesavors (also their first concert) and another group, The Chosen Ones, consisting of Chris Pavlis (Danny’s brother) and Brian Doidge (who would later join The Lifesavors).

(the story is continued in the liner notes…)

The 1988 CD release “Volume 1” includes the two first albums from Undercover, plus an additional bonus track written by Taylor, and attributed to the debut album, “Dying In Love.”

Track Listing:
A1 Excuse Us Written-By – Walden, Alba 2:45
A2 Heal Me Written-By – Taylor 2:15
A3 I’ll Be A Fool Written-By – Taylor 1:15
A4 Francine Written-By – Alba 2:45
A5 It’s Official Written-By – Taylor 2:20
A6 Turn Your Head Written-By – Nicholson 2:45
A7 Look It Up Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B1 Read It In A Letter Written-By – Nicholson 2:05
B2 Daddy-O Written-By – Walden, Taylor 1:15
B3 Tonight Written-By – Nicholson 1:47
B4 Stop Written-By – Nicholson, Taylor 2:50
B5 He’s In Love With You Written-By – Alba 2:45
B6 I.C.U. Written-By – Taylor 2:40
B7 He Gives We Have Written-By – Taylor 2:25
Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

1 – Excuse Us – 2:45
2 – Heal Me – 2:15
3 – I’ll Be A Fool – 1:15
4 – Francine – 2:45
5 – It’s Official – 2:20
6 – Turn Your Head – 2:45
7 – Look It Up – 2:40
8 – Read It In A Letter – 2:05
9 – Daddy-O – 1:15
10 – Tonight – 1:47
11 – Stop – 2:50
12 – He’s In Love With You – 2:45
13 – I.C.U. – 2:40
14 – He Gives We Have – 2:25
Bonus Track
15 – Dying In Love – 4:29

Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork [Cover And Sleeve] – Milton R. Sue
Bass Guitar, Vocals – Rick Alba
Drums, Performer [Kindling], Vocals – Danny Pavlis
Engineer – Dan Willard, Thom Roy (tracks: A7), Tim Pinch (tracks: A1 to A6, B1 to B7)
Guitar [All Guitars], Vocals – Jim “Nuclear” Nicholson
Lead Vocals, Alto Saxophone – Bill Walden
Mastered By – KPG
Musician [Additional] – Giggles – Benjamin Taylor, Chris Pavlis, Dave Hackbarth
Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals – Joey Taylor
Photography By [Cover] – George Zaferes
Producer – Dan Willard, Joey Taylor
Rhythm Guitar [After Tracks] – Ray Hersom

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – Ministry Resource Center
Copyright (c) – B-1 Music
Mastered At – The Cutting System, Inc.
Recorded at Rapture Repertory Theatre’s Warehouse and C.C.C.M. on Tim Pinch’s Mobile Recording Studio except for A7, recorded at Whitefield Studio

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Undercover – Boys and Girls Renounce the World – 1984

Boys and Girls is the third album from Undercover and their style matured a bit. Personally I say this album leans far more New Wave than punk. This was Bill Walden’s last album with the band and in fact he did not tour in support of the album quitting shortly after it was recorded. In the recording sessions for this album there were actually some songs recorded that would later end up on Branded but the vocals were redone by Sim Wilson but Ojo says he has versions of these songs with Bill singing. The single for the album was “Boys And Girls” and strangely the album version had Bill singing but the 7″ for the song had Sim doing the vocals. I also noticed that Derri Daugherty (The Choir) actually helped Ojo mix the album.

1 – Boys And Girls – 3:37
2 – Talk To God – 2:49
3 – Holy, Holy, Holy – 1:45
4 – One Of These Days – 2:23
5 – Three Nails – 3:23
6 – The Anthem – 2:24
7 – He Lets Me Know – 2:00
8 – Glorified – 2:38
9 – Is Anyone Thirsty? – 3:05
10 – I’d Rather Stay – 3:05

Arranged By – Undercover
Artwork By – Debby Edwards
Backing Vocals – Undercover
Drums – Gary Olson
Engineer – Dan Willard, Gord Driver, O-Joe Taylor* Ron Leeper
Guitar – Neel Down
Keyboards – Turner Burn
Lead Vocals – Bill Walden
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Mixed By – Derri Daugherty, O-Joe Taylor
Photography – Ken Baley, Linda Dillon Baley
Producer – O-Joe Taylor
Saxophone – Bill Walden
Trumpet [Additional] – Dave Hackbarth

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Maranatha! Music
Copyright (c) – Maranatha! Music
Phonographic Copyright (p) – A&S Records
Copyright (c) – A&S Records
Recorded At – Sound Affair
Recorded At – Whitefield Studios
Mastered At – A&M Studios

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The Fourth Watch – Dare To Be The One – 1986

What happens when Undercover meets the Altar Boys? The Fourth Watch is what happens. Apparently Bill Walden (Undercover) and Steve Steve Pannier (Altar Boys) were working together from 84 to 87 along with drummer Bill Lawrence, and bass players, Kevin Elling and then Mike Cowden. In 1986 they released this album and what an album it is. It has a decidedly New Wave/Rock sounds that screams 80’s. I hate to do this but there are several tracks that have an intro that has me waiting for Bono vocals to kick in. Too bad this was their only offering as I would have liked to hear more.

1 – Dare To Be The One – 4:39
2 – You Can Change The World – 3:43
3 – Chase Away The Darkness – 4:08
4 – Holy – 4:25
5 – Slipping Thru Your Fingers – 3:22
6 – One Truth – 4:50
7 – I Will Sing – 3:00
8 – On Fire For You – 4:18
9 – Burning Hearts – 5:06

Backing Vocals – Bill Batstone, Warren Ham
Bass – Kev • X
Drums – Bill Lawrence
Engineer – Gord Driver
Guitar – Steve Pannier
Keyboards – Jeff Lams
Layout – Ed McTaggart
Lead Vocals – Bill Walden
Mixed By – Gord Driver
Percussion – Bill Lawrence
Performer [The Fourth Watch Is] – Bill Lawrence, Bill Walden, Kev • X, Steve Pannier
Producer – Jeff Lams
Written-By – The Fourth Watch

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – Regency Music
Mastered At – Future Disc

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Undercover – Branded – 1986

Branded was a turning point album for Undercover. It has a mature sound but it certainly leaves behind some of the elements that set Undercover apart in their early days.

Their first album featured Ric Alba on lead vocals, then on the follow up Bill Walden took over, as Ric had moved on to Altar Boys. Bill recorded lead vocals on two albums for Undercover before this, their fourth where Sim Wilson took over the mic.

The mature sound is very dark compared to the original upbeat, peppy happy-go-Jesus songs on their first two albums. The third record started to get more serious, but not brooding like Branded is. Sim’s vocals are powerful and booming, begging you to take seriously everything he says, ensuring you that the drama is all worth it.

Most of the band did stick together, so they still have some signature sounds, although this could have been a different band. The band obviously didn’t see it that way because on this, their fourth album they labelled the record “side 7” and “side 8.” Maybe that was apologetic.

There are a lot of introspective tracks such as “I’m Just A Man,” “Cry Myself To Sleep,” and “Come Away With Me.”

1 – I’m Just A Man – 3:24
2 – The Fight For Love – 3:00
3 – Where Can I Go – 3:13
4 – Tears In Your Eyes – 2:05
5 – Pilate – 3:00
6 – Build A Castle – 3:25
7 – Cry Myself To Sleep – 2:31
8 – Prelude – 1:55
9 – Darkest Hour – 3:26
10 – Interlude – 0:35
11 – Come Away With Me – 4:44
12 – If I Had A Dream – 5:02

Arranged By – Undercover
Engineer – Mike Mierau
Engineer [Second] – Bobby Saucedo, Paul Abajian
Keyboards, Bass – Joey
Mastered By – Bernie Grundmann
Mixed By – Dino Elefante
Producer – Joey Taylor
Vocals – Sim Wilson
Vocals, Drums – Gary Olson
Vocals, Guitar – Gym Nicholson

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MRC Sampler – What’s Shakin – 1984

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.

Track Listing:
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

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Altar Boys – (self titled) – 1984

Altar Boys’ self titled debut albut came out in 1984.

This California style punk was typical of what punk was at the time, although now we seem to have a lot of splinters of types of punk – melodic, thrash, pop, hardcore, metalcore, screamo, and more.

A lot of punk was poppy at the time, modeled after The Ramones, and sounding like a precursor to MXPX or Green Day.

Starting to play together around 1978, musicians that would later form the bands Undercover, Lifesavors, and Altar Boys (in that order) all came out of the same scene. Mike Stand and Ric Alba ended up in Altar Boys along with Jeff Crandall and Steve Pannier, while Mike’s brother was in Undercover, and Ric had previously done some playing with Lifesavors.

Ric also played with Undercover before Altar Boys. In the spirit of punk rock, these songs are all high energy and a lot of fun, a hallmark of Altar Boys from start to end.

Track Listing:
1 – Alright! – 2:24
2 – I’m Into God – 2:52
3 – Have A Clue – 2:36
4 – Where’s It Gonna Lead You – 2:24
5 – You Found Me – 3:46
6 – Take In The Son – 2:44
7 – Well O.K. – 2:36
8 – Good Life – 3:31
9 – Oh, Oh Nancy – 1:33
10 – We Love Jesus – 2:40
11 – It’s Up To You – 3:07

Art Direction – Alex MacDougall
Backing Vocals – Jeff Crandall, Mike Stand (2), O-Joe*
Design [Cover Design] – Debby Edwards
Engineer – Uncle Dave Hackbarth* (tracks: 12 to 15), Derald Daugherty*, Joey Taylor*
Executive-Producer – Bradley S. Hamilton
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Bass, Keyboards – Rick Alba*
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Drums, Vocals – Jeff Crandall
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Guitar – Steve Pannier
Performer [Altar Boys Are], Guitar, Lead Vocals – Mike Stand (2)
Photography By – Oh Oh Nancy
Producer – Joey Taylor*
Recorded By – Dan Willard (tracks: 4)
Saxophone – Bill Walden

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Crumbächer – Incandescent – 1985

Though often assumed to be a German band Crumbächer was actually a U.S. band whose lead singer’s name was Stephen Crumbächer.

Incandescent was their first album. I was supposed to be an EP, but upon the record company hearing it, they requested the band cut a few more songs to make it a full length album.

Crumbächer were probably the first synthpop band in the CCM genre. There’s really not much to say about this album, it had a German synthpop sound and was actually quite good for this style of music.

Point of trivia is that the album was produced by Ojo Taylor from the band Undercover.

Track Listing:
1 – Understudy – 3:25
2 – Infrared/X-Ray Eyes – 4:16
3 – Glowing In The Dark – 5:12
4 – So Strange – 5:41
5 – It Don’t Matter – 4:45
6 – Jamie – 4:46
7 – Sweet By And By – 3:29
8 – Track You Down – 5:16

Backing Vocals – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Jimmy Wisner
Drums – Jimmy Wisner
Guitar – Dan Hohulin
Keyboards – Dawn Wisner-Johnson, Stephen Crumbächer
Producer – O-Joe Taylor
Vocals – Stephen Crumbächer

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