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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Lyrix - 1982 Songs From The Earth
Lyrix - 1982 Songs From The Earth

ALBUM: Songs From The Earth
LABEL: Star Song
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Mark Williamson - lead & background vocals, bass * Chris Eaton - keyboards, background vocals * Rob Marshall - lead & rhythm guitars, background vocals * Mark Millin - drums, background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Turn Your Back On Jesus * 02 Midnight Diamond * 03 All Very Well * 04 Susanne * 05 Dance * 06 Rising * 07 Somebody Told Me * 08 I Would Have Listened

Here's a record that's been labeled one of the greatest Christian rock albums of all-time. Not sure I agree but I'm certain most record buyers who trotted down to their local Bible bookstore to secure a copy were blissfully unaware that this was essentially a compilation of an earlier British AOR album from the Mark Williamson Band. Hopefully that name rings a bell? It should as Williamson was one half of Bridge 2 Far; the west coast/hi-tech pop duo who released a classic self-titled disc in 1989 that should have made its way into everyone's collection. Released at a time when Christian rock in the UK was coming into its own with the rising popularity of the Greenbelt Festival and acts like Sheila Walsh, Bryn Haworth and the Barratt Band while making serious headway in the U.S. thanks in large part to 'Jesus rock' pioneer Larry Norman; 'Songs From The Earth' fit perfectly in the grand scheme of things. Re-tooled and re-modeled by Norman; Mark Williamson Band became Lyrix for American audiences and featured seven songs from their first album 'Get The Drift?' released in 1980 and one cut from Williamson's 1979 solo 'So Far So Good'.

The Songs
I'm not going to proclaim 'Songs From The Earth' is better than 'Get The Drift?' although Larry Norman who gets top billing on the album sleeve does beef up the band's sound with greater emphasis on harmonies and a more American radio-friendly vibe. 'Don't Turn Your Back On Jesus' opens the album with a spikey new wave-inflected track and strong comparisons to After The Fire although 'Midnight Diamond' does nothing for me and is the weakest cut here. 'All Very Well' has a rather tasty Sad Cafe feel while the ballad 'Susanne' which was pulled from the aforementioned Williamson solo could almost pass for a long-lost Le Roux or Benny Mardones track or any other AOR lesser-light from the turn of the decade. Proof positive tinkering with a three year old album isn't always a great idea and 'Dance' is definitely the album's sore spot offering up a mild pop-disco cut three years too late. Knowing the Christian scene back then, the industry was always more than a little behind the times and the dated quality of the track probably went un-noticed, but now thirty years later it's just plain aggravating. Two ballads in a row with 'Rising' and 'Somebody Told Me'; both floating by anonymously before the album's closing and finest track 'I Would Have Listened' takes the listener down a very different musical path with a perfect blend of AOR and melodic progressive rock highlighted by Chris Eaton's spacey keyboard work and heavenly choir-like vocals. More of this and 'Songs From The Earth' could very well have stood with the best of Christian rock, but as such doesn't quite make the cut with far too many average songs and too few memorable moments.

In Summary
One more Mark Williamson Band album followed with 1984's 'Missing In Action' which I believe was also released in the U.S. although from here the band's story grows cold as to when or how they called it a day. Guitarist Rob Marshall and drummer Mark Millin have resurfaced from time to time in a variety of projects while Chris Eaton returned in 1986 with an excellent CCM/west coast release 'Vision' and followed up with two further discs in the mid-90s. Mark Williamson briefly joined smooth jazz outfit The Rippingtons, released a 1994 solo disc and formed TRW with former Bridge 2 Far partner John Robinson and guitarist Michael Thompson putting out a solid album on Frontiers in 2007.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Lyrix 
#1 | gdazegod on January 03 2013 10:14:28
That 'Missing In Action' album is really very good. It was released on both sides of the Atlantic during 1984 by the Myrrh label. My review to follow..
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