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De Garmo And Key - 1978 This Time Thru



ARTIST: De Garmo And Key
ALBUM: This Time Thru
LABEL: Lamb & Lion
SERIAL: LL-1037
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1992, Forefront Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Ed DeGarmo - lead & background vocals, keyboards, piano, hammond organ * Dana Key - lead & background vocals, guitars, harmonica, percussion * Ken Porter - bass, percussion * David Spain, Max Richardson - drums * Carl Marsh, Joe Hardy, William C. Brown, Mary Wethington, Phyliss Duncan - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Emmanuel * 02 Addey * 03 Only The Meek Survive * 04 (Gone, Gone, Gone) Too Far, Too Long * 05 Alleyways Of Strife * 06 Sleeper * 07 Wayfaring Stranger * 08 In The Days Of Thy Youth * 09 Chase The Wind * 10 This Time Thru

WEBLINKS: www.myspace.com/thedegarmoandkeyband


Background
Although DeGarmo & Key became wildly popular in the 1980's, including some hard-fought success on MTV; the duo's first two albums are where it's at for this scribe. Big players on the early and often bland CCM scene, 'This Time Thru' and 1979's 'Straight On' mix and matched countrified southern rock with progressive sounds pulled straight from the first three Kansas albums around the same time the boys from Topeka were splitting apart at the seams in a come to Jesus moment of their own making.


The Songs
Almost always topping the best Christian rock albums of all-time lists, there are a couple very good reasons 'This Time Thru' charts so high. The first is Memphis based and former Stax records producer Ron Capone who could be heard more often than not twiddling the smoky knobs for decidedly Southern fare such as Black Oak Arkansas, Don Nix and Ruby Starr and does an excellent job here. The second and more importantly is the songwriting and with the exception of two compositions co-written with drummer Max Richardson, the bulk is exclusively credited to Ed DeGarmo and Dana Key. Eagles influenced soft dusky acoustics blended with Middle America prog rock was not exactly innovative for the time, but one listen and it's easy to understand the albums many accolades. DeGarmo's vocals are a main street Greg Allman and there's some Allman Brothers flavour on cuts like 'Sleeper' and jazzy 'Wayfaring Stranger' amidst the California styled ballads, but for the most part it's an album that progresses to the dusty end of Kansas' wind blown workouts. '(Gone, Gone, Gone) Too Far, Too Long', the instrumental 'In the Days Of Thy Youth' and the brisk 'Chase The Wind' should more than satisfy followers of the Kansas debut and 'Masque' while the title track adds some flighty Yes-styled harmonies for a rockin' ending that puts the majority of Christian albums of the period to shame.


In Summary
Their follow-up 'Straight On' was equally stellar but I've never been too hot on 1980's 'This Ain't Hollywood' or later albums 'Commander Sozo and the Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Streetlight' where the band were far too pop rock and hi-tech for my delicate tastes. Reissued on CD in 1992 on the Forefront label, 'This Time Thru' is hopelessly out of print which makes me wonder what the heck is going on in the Christian music biz that would let a renowned classic fall by the wayside.


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Comments
#1 | code4 on October 13 2015 00:27:07
I will have to check out the early DandK stuff sometime soon. As far as christian AOR goes the album 'Streetlight' for me contains some of the best golden era hi-tech AOR style music i have ever heard. The songs that open each side of the record ('Every Moment' and 'Don't Throw Your Love Away') are anthemic melodic treasures to my ears. Both have me uncontrollably pressing the plus button on the volume control of my stereo remote every time i play them, but then so does most of that superbly produced cd. The heavier 'War Zone' is another smash. Lyrically about the plight of the homeless this tune musically reminds me of Kevin Raleigh at his rocking solo album best (in fact indeed the song 'The Art of War' from that album is the exact reference point i am thinking of to describe the style and also production sound of this tune) . 'Don't Stop The Music', an upbeat guitar driven rocker lyrically against elements of the church who at the time were denouncing christian Rock as satanic, has a clever key change at the break (where the guitar solo is slotted) which ought to send a nice warm shiver up your spine. Needless to say the late Dana Key is a monster guitar player and i suspect that most guitar freaks will enjoy Streetlight. Just check out that gorgeously poppy solo on 'Video Action'- an upbeat pop rock piece told through the eyes of a christian renting out 'blue movies' at the video store and feeling both a tad guilty yet mischievously excited and even ultimately contented about it all. The sweet thing here is the blue movies in question are James Bond (when in his mind or perhaps according to his church or faith, he should technically only be renting out stuff like Sherlock holmes!). Yikes! I like also the tongue in cheek crude lyric 'Is that Jane Fonda in the window? Makes me want to do some excercise'. In the end i see the song as both a celebration of the video shop era and also making light of the fact christians are human beings as well. The album does get a little more serious and faith heavy at the end with songs such as 'Up on A Cross' with it's somewhat predictable lyrics and 'Inside Out'. Musically these songs while not as good as the best of the album for me, still do not bring it down. They fit the puzzle so to speak. Some other good to very good tunes here like 'Soldier Of Fortune' which has slight AD vibes to it to my ears, and while the tune 'Addey' (a remake of an earlier DandK recorded tune i believe) is not one of my favourites (i find it's message to a prostitute about getting out of the job, just slightly cringey) i guess musically it is quite good. You know what else too? It reminds me musically of the Pulp song 'Common People'. Yes. Listen to the verses. Is it just me or can anybody else hear a similarity with the verses of that song? Anyhow, I may not know a great lot of 80's ccm releases but 'Streetlight' could be the most radio ready, brilliantly produced piece of christian hi-tech AOR from it's time that i can think of. Strongly recommended. Now, sorry for storming your thread/ review eric. Much enjoyed the review and hopefully somebody can in the future add more comments about this particular old DandK (like i say i look forward to give a listen to their earlier stuff myself in the near future). Cheers.
 
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