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Ephraim - 1979 Ephraim

ARTIST: Ephraim
ALBUM: Ephraim
LABEL: Tri Art Productions
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Dean Nelson - bass * Rick Taylor - drums, percussion * Tim Oberg - electric & acoustic piano, synthesizer, organ, harmonica, percussion, background vocals * John 'Woody' Manias - lead & rhythm guitar, percussion, lead & background vocals * Daren John Hastings - lead & background vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic & classical guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Long Hard Ride * 02 Round Like A Donut * 03 He Loves Me * 04 Closed On Sunday * 05 He's The One * 06 Night Life * 07 The River Song * 08 The Lone Ranger * 09 Breakdown * 10 Psalm 117

Ephraim were a suburban Minneapolis Christian rock band signed to the Bismarck, North Dakota based studio label Tri-Art which is a little odd as usually it was the other way around. North and South Dakota bands historically flocked to the Twin Cities for studio availability and its extensive gig circuit although there must have been something attractive about Tri-Art as John Denver who was based in Minneapolis years earlier utilized the studio for his 1974 album 'Back Home Again' and once more in 1979 right around the same time Ephraim were laying tracks for their sole LP. Tri-Art it seems was a state-of-the-art facility, despite its geographical remoteness.

The Songs
With striking cover art, this is considered to be one of the better Christian independents from the golden era 'Jesus rock' movement and I'm inclined to agree. Ephraim mix classic pop styles with Pure Prairie League country rock and early Sweet Comfort Band matched by the pristine 'for its time' production, tight arrangements and for the most part, quality songs including the bright and sunny opener 'Long Hard Ride' which recalls 'Two Lane Highway' era Pure Prairie League and 'He's The One' with a beautiful chorus and memorable Beatlesque hooks reminiscent of the late great Liverpool Express. Side two's 'Night Life' adds a little reggae and a touch of Sad Cafe although 'The River Song' is the album's hands-down winner in my opinion with its light percussion, watery electric guitar and gorgeous Bread influenced harmonies. Ephraim were not your run-of-the-mill church basement dwelling weekend warriors; but a talented and seasoned rock band which is more than apparent on the pompy closer 'Psalm 117' sounding like both lightweight Styx and Starbuck if you can imagine that.

In Summary
There are some duds to be found in-between the goodies including 'He Loves Me' and the awful 'Closed On Sunday' but overall this is a very good album that lives up to its collectible reputation.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 25 2013 09:58:01
Really nice album cover. Thumbs Up

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