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englandashes
17-01-2018 21:50
In response to Cyrille Regis, BBC 2 repeat the Adrian Chiles documentary, Whites v Blacks, How Football Changed A Nation, unbelievable true story, worth watching

Explorer
17-01-2018 18:44
Review of the rather splendid `Hornal` album is in the works too.

gdazegod
17-01-2018 01:57
Dave and Jeff's best of 2017 wrap-up's just around the corner too.. computer work

gdazegod
17-01-2018 01:56
There is a three-part article coming up for E.L.O (Eldorado, A New World Record and Out Of The Blue). Look out for it soon.

Explorer
16-01-2018 08:52
Stoke fans have my commiserations.Und
er Lambert the Villa played some of the most boring, unimaginative football I`ve ever had the misfortune to witness.Relegation
?,yes I`d say so.

gdazegod
16-01-2018 00:59
Stoke City condemned 2 relegation. Who is the new manager? Paul Lambert.

englandashes
15-01-2018 22:09
Agreed Reyno about Clyde Best, further back is the story of Walter Tull which is quite heartbreaking, links to Northampton and lived in Rushden.

englandashes
15-01-2018 22:05
Big loss is Cyrille, only short time at Wolves, but I was at the Peterborough game where he scored the last minute winner, Cyrille and Laurie C, what a team.

reyno-roxx
15-01-2018 22:05
I think many people forget guys like West Ham's Clyde Best whenever the subject of the impact of black footballers in the English game crops up. He was just as good as the West Brom trio years b4

Explorer
15-01-2018 19:13
Cyrille was part of the ground breaking so called 'three degrees' who did so much to break down racial barriers in Football back in the late 70's.R.I.P

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Articles Home » Blogs » The Essential Series - 2018 CCM (Volume 1) by Gdazegod
 
The Essential Series - 2018 CCM (Volume 1) by Gdazegod



ARTICLE: The Essential Series, CCM Volume 1, by Gdazegod
YEAR: 2018
CD REISSUE: Reissue List

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:


Background
It's a popular category of music among followers of 80's melodic rock. It came with a message, and sometimes with a bible as in the case of Stryper. Whether it actually helped convert wayward and aimless teens back then to the ways of the Lord is conjecture to the tenth degree (and not commandment I might add), but it certainly was a colourful era if short-lived and perhaps ill-conceived in some parts too. You didn't have to be a religious zealot to like some of the music. I didn't care much for the message, even though my Dad was a Mormon for several years, in fact, it put me off the message even more. For me, it was the melody rather than the message, that won me over on many occasion.

The origins of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) springs from the 1970's Jesus Rock movement, which was a mixture of straight up rock bands delivering a message usually with a pastoral image, while other origins came from a folk rock backdrop, either as smaller singer/songwriter artists to a larger assembly of singers and musicians, the most famous being the Mormon based Mike Curb Congregation and the 2nd Chapter of Acts, which featured Matthew Ward. These were two examples of many assemblies playing across the hinterland of America during what I would call a carefree and naive outlook on lifestyle, one in which I grew up in and miss immensely. I loved being bought up in a carefree and naive world back then, more so than the socially engineered society in which we live today.

Christian rock was also prevalent in other countries too, including England, Sweden, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Sweden was a stronghold for CCM, and there are many releases which came out during the 70's and 80's from our brothers in the North.

Back to CCM, and the turn of the late 70's and into the early 80's, Christian rock began taking a more sophisticated approach to delivering music to the masses. Bands like Petra, Resurrection Band and the Sweet Comfort Band began leading the way, Nashville soon become ground zero for all the larger CCM record labels of the time, give or take one or two based over in California such as Frontline. We saw video and MTV starting to make inroads for Christian artists, and many took different tangents musically. Some went down the new wave/new romantic road, others went for the pure AOR path, while other continued a fusion of a country and folk hybrid. Others of course went down the heavy metal path (they called it white metal), which seemed at the time like a musical conflict of interest, but with bands like Stryper, Bloodgood, Whitecross, Deliverance etc, this sub-genre became very popular during the mid 80's.

CCM also had a wealth of male and female solo artists, many of them covered at GDM already. Some have proved to be long-standing and still perform to this day. Despite the sniggers from across the secular industry, CCM has proved to be quite robust, and is still a multi-million dollar industry well into the second decade of the 21st century. Which leads me onto my selection of favourite CCM albums. Most of them originate from the 80's, and I make no excuses for that, as that was the era in which these artists were popular. The selections drop into various sub-genres, so it provides a good cross-section across the overall CCM genre. Let's see what's on my list of 10.


The Songs


Joshua - 1988 Intense Defence
An incredible album really, and deserving of inclusion within this first volume. Joshua had some great players in his team during the 80's, which saw three albums released between 1983 and 1988. Admittedly, I don't care for the man's religious views or politics, having at one time being defriended by him on Facebook after I called Benjamin Netanyahu a terrorist, or words to that effect. As I wrote earlier, it's all about the melodies, not the message.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Sweet Comfort Band - 1982 Cutting Edge
The three albums by this band during the 1981-1984 period are superb examples of this genre. Of the three, 'Cutting Edge' is my pick of the bunch. Songs like 'Changed Hearts', 'Runnin' To Win' and 'What Have You Got?' still sound good today. The band did release an album in 2013, but unfortunately, sounds nothing like this gem. Oh, and what about those album covers? Wow!

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Margaret Becker - 1987 Never For Nothing
This woman has an impressive pedigree, and an amazing voice. Originally from New York, she settled into Nashville life and by 1987, had this debut album out on the market. Despite amassing many albums over the years, this is the one I go back to often. Especially with the presence of Dann Huff onboard.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Avion - 1983 Avion
Initially, I got a heck of a shock to find out this band were Australian, and from rural New South Wales to be exact. 'Diamond Eyes' was their first single, and was played often across Australian and New Zealand radio stations. When I acquired the album, it took me some time to register that they were a CCM band signed to a large 'secular' label. Their 1986 album 'White Noise' was pretty good too, though less rockier than this one.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Halo - 1990 Halo
I remember absolutely thrashing this album back in 1990, despite knowing very little about Scott Springer and Keith Mims and this band. From Alabama, the trio produced just two albums in their run on Pakaderm Records, and as you can expect with the Elefante production, this just smacks of high quality AOR and melodic rock.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Mastedon - 1990 Lofcaudio
From the Pakaderm Studios came Mastedon, all things elephantine from the brothers Elefante; John and Dino. This was Mastedon's second album, after the release of 'It's A Jungle Out There' during 1989. We know John Elefante's record as a solo artist and as a member of Kansas, but for me, this record is a highpoint in his career. Songs like 'Life On The Line', 'It Is Done' and 'People Of This Time' are all killer stuff.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



White Heart - 1992 Tales Of Wonder
I first cottoned onto CCM AOR legends White Heart back in 1989 with their 'Freedom' album. I was aware of their history, but steered clear of them until plucking the courage to take a shot, and what a revelation they were. I saw them live on their 'Powerhouse' tour, and by then, Eskimos could've sold me ice and I would've been none the wiser. Over the years, I have debated the merits of White Heart's discography. All their albums contain gems, but I think 1992's 'Tales Of Wonder' contains more than most. Tracks like 'Raging Of The Moon', 'Say The Word' and 'Where The Thunder Roars' are exceptional. It's an album I enjoy, but then again, I listen to the others quite a bit too.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Iona - 1995 Journey Into The Morn
Despite a strong Celtic/Irish connection, Iona are in fact from England, Manchester in fact. However, their music is some of the most ethereal on the planet. They first came to my attention after I caught them on radio with the single 'Treasure' from their third album, 1993's 'Beyond These Shores'. With 'Journey Into The Morn', Iona delved deeper into rock territory, and there are some astounding arrangements to be found here. From the poppy 'Irish Day' to the ambient prog of 'Encircling', there's a lot to like here.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Idle Cure - 1986 Idle Cure
This Californian band were one of the prized assets on the Frontline label during the mid 80's. They released several albums during their run, and this album featured Chuck King, who would later go on to join Ken Tamplin in Shout later in the decade. This is a short album by comparison, but contains some fantastic tunes, including the bombastic 'Overdrive'.

Refer GDM article: click here..



==



Rick Cua - 1992 The Way Love Is
People will remember Rick Cua as a member of southern rock kings The Outlaws. He went solo with his debut release 'Koo Aah' back in 1982. He was signed with a Christian record label, and was regularly releasing albums during the 80's. However, for me, his best came in 1992, with this album 'The Way Love Is'. There are some incredible AOR tunes on here, and at the time it surprised me no end, because I didn't think he was capable of such excellence. Take a listen to tracks like 'Better Than I Ever', 'No Other Love' and 'Walk On Through The Fire' for evidence.

Refer GDM article: click here..




In Summary
Like many of the other Volume 1 series I've written, there was enough to add a few more contenders to this list, such as Michael W Smith, Guardian, Stryper, Trace Balin and some rare stuff too. Enjoy what's on offer here, and as always, add to the comments below on any of the selections.



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Comments
#1 | melodiapositiva on January 03 2018 12:05:02
What a coincidence! last night i was listening to SCB "cutting edge" and what a great album it is .
I like a lot CCM artists ,firstly because being spanish i don´t understand the lyrics if i don´t focus my attention on them Smile,anyway as you said the most important thing is the melodies and these bands are experts on that .
And what about the great singers they have? clean,high and beautiful voices like Brian duncan ,rik florian,michael sweet,greg x volz ....
I agree with all your selection ,and i would add Stryper " to hell with the devil" (maybe the most famous ccm album ever?) and something from Petra (i love "beat the system"or "beyond belief" .Good work George ,waiting for part 2 clap
#2 | ThomasCoastline on January 03 2018 15:01:26
Thanks George, good work for sure.
#3 | jefflynnefan on January 04 2018 00:53:10
Nothing wrong with this list. I'm glad I'm not a betting man though because I would have bet that "Vision" by Chris Eaton would have been on George's list.
#4 | gdazegod on January 04 2018 08:23:00
True Chris, but I think Chris Eaton is already covered on the West Coast Vol 1 list,
#5 | Flo on January 04 2018 20:21:55
Thanks. I didn't know about this album by Rick Cua. Found it, not expensive.
#6 | jeffrey343 on January 16 2018 00:38:00
I listened to a fair amount of Christian rock in the early and mid 80s due to a good friend whose parents strongly discouraged him from what friends like me were listening to. Imagine me, a bad influence... And yet I managed to miss out on a lot of this. My loss, as the songs above are all quite good. I had heard Margaret Becker, White Heart, and Rick Cua (big fan of his first two southern-rock inspired albums, the second of which I reviewed a few years ago). And Petra was another one. Several of the track above were after I had 'corrupted' my pal, so there was not much of a chance for me to discover them...
 
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