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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Imperials, The - 1982 Stand By The Power
Imperials, The - 1982 Stand By The Power

ARTIST: Imperials, The
ALBUM: Stand By The Power
LABEL: Dayspring
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Paul Smith, Armond Morales, Jim Murray, David Will - lead vocals

Guests: Steve Lukather, Dann Huff, Carlos Rios, Hadley Hockensmith - guitar * Neil Stubenhaus, Nathan East - bass * Carlos Vega, Jeff Porcaro - drums * James Newton Howard - synthesizer, piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stand By The Power * 02 Somebody New * 03 Part Time Servant * 04 This Heart * 05 Lord Of The Harvest * 06 Under His Reign * 07 Never Get Enough Of Your Love * 08 How Can You Live * 09 All For The Asking * 10 Because Of Who You Are


One of the most profitable periods in the history of long running CCM legends The Imperials was with Russ Taff as lead vocalist from 1976 to 1981. With Taff at the helm the band's music shifted ever increasingly to West Coast influenced AOR, miles removed from the traditional Christian leanings of the 60's (which included a stint with Elvis Presley). Taff left after the excellent 'Priority' in 1980 and believe it or not many questioned the future of The Imperials. But the band recruited Paul Smith and wouldn't you know it the result was surely one of the best CCM albums of the early 80's. Just a cursory glance at the session names above is all you need to know about the sheer class of this album, very much an AOR dream. The use of producer Bill Schnee was another clear statement of their intent, as they embraced AOR to the fullest extent.

The Songs
The album is a superb blend of outright AOR and softer West Coast fare, opening with the powerful title track written by Smith. The domination of melodic guitar fills and synth touches are always at the forefront and Smith's vocals are very much the equal of Taff's. With guys like Huff and Lukather providing guitar I don't need to tell you how superior it is here. The music of 'Somebody New' was provided by Frankie Previte and Blake Levinsohn which automatically qualifies it as excellent, given the roll Franke and the Knockouts were on in 1982 themselves. This is West Coast all the way, with the keyboards heard strongly here. 'Part Time Servant' is more of the same, with the bands collective vocals the key instrument throughout. The West Coast element hits its peak with 'This Heart' which is nothing short of a masterpiece, ranking with the very best of 1982. The chorus screams perfection, one for the record books, especially with Smith's marvelous AOR oriented vocal style. 'Lord Of The Harvest' toys with some quality melodic shifts in direction and even introduces some Kansas like string work to good effect. The parping synths of 'Under His Reign' mix with some funky bass work and this one was written by fellow CCM luminary Bruce Hibbard. Look out for a great guitar solo here. It's back to West Coast for 'I Never Get Enough Of Your Love' which sounds slightly like Earth, Wind and Fire, but is pure AOR to the core. This is the equal of anything by Nielsen-Pearson, David Roberts or John O' Banion. By the time the guitar kicks in near the end you'll wonder what hit you. This leads into a cover of Kerry Livgren's 'How Can You Live' which is comprehensively blown away by The Imperials version. This is probably the heaviest the band had ever played to this point, with the music reaching almost unattainable AOR levels on all fronts. The combination of the vocals and guitar work peak here without question, just a clinic by all concerned. But 'All For The Asking' follows well, this one in the Michael Sembello and Boz Scaggs mould, with the use of horns giving it that classic early 80's feel. Taking things out on a 'majestic' note is 'Because Of Who You Are' which is more religious in tone than most of the album.

In Summary
This lineup of the band would last until 1985 when Smith left although curiously he returned for 2010's 'Still Standing' which comprised three quarters of the 1982 version. Somehow I doubt it sounds anything like 'Stand By The Power' which cemented The Imperials as an AOR powerhouse. There were so many great CCM bands and albums during those years that it's easy to lose track, but along with Glad's 'Captured In Time' this is the best I've heard during that 1981-82 period. The Imperials moved forward with AOR to include the previously reviewed 'This Year's Model' from 1987. 'Stand By The Power' is a far more satisfying, pure AOR album to my ears and if you can find this album you won't be let down.

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#1 | kim_hp on April 18 2013 07:47:30
Surely one of the worst covers in AOR history, but as the saying goes 'never judge a book by it's cover'. This is pure westcoast ear candy of the finest sort, very accurate review.
You can get this and their other albums on CD from Big God Records relatively cheap. I think they are CD-R and the packaging is poor, but as far as I'm aware it's the only official CD pressing that exists of this.
#2 | Eric on April 18 2013 23:32:45
I don't think the covers THAT bad, just very early 80's CCM; clean cut, non-offensive, nothing particularly innovative, but solid pop rock.
#3 | Carl Noonan on April 20 2013 14:04:16
The cover is terrible. I listened to most of the tracks on Youtube and it's pretty good stuff but the live performance stuff is weird, it's 4 accountants getting onto a stage in a church service to do karioke with a live band.
#4 | Eric on April 20 2013 15:55:30
Nailed it Carl. I saw them once in an arena with Russ Taff, visually about as boring as you can get but vocally they were outstanding. I would never have paid to see them, but my ticket was free so I figured why not. The one thing I so disliked about Christian concerts and I'm sure still goes on today was the end with the 'call forward' to accept Christ. These shows were already predominantly Evangelical audiences so it was sort of preaching to the choir so to speak and dampened what should of have been an hour and half a great music.
#5 | englandashes on April 20 2013 22:24:37
Carl. I am an accountant!, how the hell (or should that be heaven?) do you know what I wear for work? Let it be know while I may look and wear the same clothes as this group, I have learnt to wear a tie! (at least get the elastic round my neck), but it makes a difference! wishes..
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