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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Love Chapter Band - 1980 City Of Refuge
Love Chapter Band - 1980 City Of Refuge

ARTIST: Love Chapter Band
ALBUM: City Of Refuge
LABEL: Tunesmith
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Dave Russell - lead vocals & background vocals * Doug Buss - lead vocals & background vocals, bass * Barb Buss - lead vocals & background vocals, piano, keyboards * Ken Torrance - lead vocals & background vocals, guitars, percussion * Ed Liu - drums, percussion * Tracy St. Laurent, Donna Mae Henkel, Trev Lindberg - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 It's Your Friends * 02 Don't Get Caught * 03 What Does It Take * 04 Don't Pull That Trigger * 05 Just When * 06 Stepping Stones * 07 Give It Up * 08 Learn To Lean * 09 City Of Refuge

The groundbreaking Tunesmith label took Christian music kicking and screaming to a new level by focusing on the AOR and hard rock market, something the middle of the road focused companies like Myrrh, Word and Sparrow had all but ignored. Part of a brace of imprints brandishing their wares under the Praise Group based in Vancouver, Tunesmith's four to five year run was impressive and included soon to-be-classic albums from Servant, Amaziah, Stronghold, Barnabas, Oracle and British Columbia's Love Chapter Band. Like Eternity Express and so many like-minded outfits in the late '70s; Love Chapter Band were attached to a missions program, in this case sponsored by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. In other words, the music was secondary to their real goal of saving souls. Their first album 'Livin' In The Sonshine' released in 1979 was a standard Jesus rock affair, and included both cover tunes of the Christian variety and originals. An average album, it did include some rocking moments which foreshadowed their second of three albums 'City Of Refuge'.

The Songs
Housed in a beautiful gate fold sleeve, the inside photos of the band are not as complimentary, and includes an ill-advised picture of the Love Chapter van which could have easily been mistaken for the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. Yikes! Apparently led by husband and wife Doug and Barb Buss, the group was clearly more than just another bunch of long haired missionaries. There's a southern progressive feel similar to Sea Level on 'It's Your Friends' and really much of the album with a little Marshall Tucker Band makes its presence known on 'Don't Get Caught'. Barb Buss takes over on vocals for the ballad 'What Does It Take', a sweet little cut which recalls The Boones and their 'First Class' album, but the softness is short-lived with 'Don't Pull The Trigger' which offers up a terrific AOR rocker and the album's best song in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, side two slips into some seriously tragic sing-along Jesus rock on 'Stepping Stones' that includes hand claps and a smarmy sunshine and rainbows chorus. Way too close to the gooey Xian pop of Swedish singer Evie, I'm running for the aspirin at this point and 'Learn To Lean' does nothing to relieve my pain although hope is not lost and the set is saved with the title track; an all out up-tempo progressive rocker featuring sizzling guitar work from Ken Torrance giving the feel of the 1979 self-titled album from Citadel.

In Summary
Despite its inconsistencies 'City of Refuge' is worth hearing and still easy to find although I have yet to come across a copy of 1983's 'Aiming For The Heart' and I'm interested to hear what direction they took on their final album. Like so much from the early Christian scene, the Tunesmith catalog is ripe for reissue and other than the first two Barnabas albums, I'm not aware of anything from the imprint making its way to CD. This record would make a fine start for any reissue label up to the challenge.

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#1 | gdazegod on September 20 2010 02:18:32
I agree Eric, some of the Tunesmith catalog is well worth investigating!
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