Monday, December 6, 2010

20 Albums - Musical Memories

There was a game on Facebook a few years ago where everyone was supposed to name 15 albums, CDs, or LPs (if you're over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life (Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, etc.)  Okay, I couldn't stop at 15. I did 20 - so sue me. And it was hard to stop at 20! I love plenty of artists and songs that are not mentioned here, but these are some specific albums as "albums" that stand out in my memories for various reasons. I never got around to posting the list on the blog, so here goes.
1. Bible Story Albums. My parents had a set of Bible story recordings done in the early 60's that I listened to as a child. I don’t remember who made them or what they were actually titled. However, I know these records did more to burn the stories of Noah, Samson, David in my mind and spirit than most Sunday School classes. Bible stories are powerful things.

2. “The Monkees” by The Monkees. Make fun of me all you want. Every girl in my 5th grade class was “in love” with Davy Jones or Mickey Dolenz. This was the first LP I ever bought when I was about11 years old. No matter what anyone says, I still think “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Not Your Stepping Stone” were great rock songs. I recently heard the 63 year old Dolenz singing on CMT television, and he can still sing great (even if he is bald).

3. “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor This was a very popular album among my closest friends when I was a 14 year old high school freshman in Hawaii circa 1971. I’ve loved Taylor ever since and to this day “Fire and Rain” and “Country Road” make me feel 14 or 15 years old and remind me of Hawaii.

4. “Tapestry” by Carol King for the same reasons as said above about James Taylor. Everyone seems to consider this a classic, and for good reasons.

5. “Keep on Singing” by Andre Crouch and the Disciples. I remember when there wasn’t any Contemporary Christian Music - I mean nothing! This black gospel and rock fusion was one of the first Christian albums I could get excited about. Was the first Christian album I purchased circa 1971. “I’ve Got Confidence” and “My Tribute” were and are great songs. Saw Andre in concert in 1977 and he was still a great performer.

6. “Maranatha 1: The Everlastin’ Living Jesus Music Concert.” Released in 1971, this was the very first of the Maranatha CCM/Jesus Music anthologies coming out of the Jesus Movement and Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA. Featured songs by Love Song, Children of the Day, Debbie Kerner and others. Songs like "Little Country Church" and "For Those Tears I Died." I listened to it for hours upon hours

7. “Upon this Rock” by Larry Norman featuring “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation” and “I Wish We’d All been Ready.” First Norman Album I had - bought in 1972 -and always one of my favorites.

8. “Love Song” by Love Song. Featured “Little Country Church,” “Two Hands,” “Welcome Back” - Great Songs, great vocal harmonies. Loved the Lines in “Brand New Song” “Sing unto the heavens with a brand new song- the one that we’ve been hearing’s been a hit too long - the lyrics sound confused as if they don’t belong -so sing unto the Lord and sing with feeling.”

9. “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver. I know some of his later stuff is considered kind of bubblegum by many, but this was a great album. I was listening to it the first winter after leaving Hawaii and experiencing cold weather for the first time in four years. This album always has a winter feel to it for me. Loved “Season Suite” and the title cut. Still like to listen to it.

10. “Maranatha III” came out around 1973, featuring “I’m So Happy in Jesus” by Mustard Seed Faith. I always loved the album cover with the little cartoon hippy Jesus Freak Character and the singing mountains and Hand-clapping trees. I listened to that a lot when I was a high school senior.

11. “What a Day” by Phil Keaggy. Keaggy’s first Christian album. He did everything - every instrument and vocal was him. I recently found a pristine copy at a little nick-nack store in Canton MS - Felt like finding priceless gold.

12. “How the West Was One”- Phil Keaggy, the 2nd Chapter of Acts and A Band Called David. Came out while I was a senior in college. Great live concert album that I still listen to today.

13. “Hand to the Plow” by Paul Clark. I loved Paul Clark’s work back in the 70's. This one in particular stands out because Colleen and I got the music for our wedding from this album. “Woman,” “The Man That I Love” and “As For Me and My House” were all sung at our wedding in 1980. Before we were engaged I caught Colleen with her eyes closed singing along with “The Man that I Love” - and I know then that something was up!

14. “The Courts of the King” - Ted Sandquest, Nedra Ross and Phil Keaggy. The first Christian Rock n’ Roll praise and worship album circa 1977. “Lion of Judah,” “My Sun and My Shield,” All That I Can Do Is Praise You” - Great stuff. Plus, Phil Keaggy inviting us to “join the chorus line that won't sing the blues!”

15. “The Lord’s Supper” by John Michael Talbot. Former Rock artist Talbot (from the band Mason Profit) became a Catholic monk, and wrote this eclectic rock and classical mix version of the Roman Catholic mass. Nothing has been done in 30 years to top this for a beautiful combination of guitar, orchestration and spirituality.

16. “Lord I’m Keeping My Eyes” on You by Twila Paris. In 1980 newlyweds Barry & Colleen met a teen-aged girl traveling with a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) mission team who shared with us her dream of becoming a recording artist. About 2 years later I heard a beautiful song on the radio and realized it was the same girl. Her recordings dominated Christian radio in the 80's and Twila is now considered by many to be one of the greatest hymn writers of the past three decades.

17. “All Around the World” -Tim Hughes, Matt Redman. Great rock praise and worship CD from the late 1990's, featuring an up tempo remix of Redman’s “Holy Moment.”

18. “Dwell”-Vineyard Music. One of the best worship albums from the past decade featuring the classic title song, "Dwell in the midst of us, come and dwell in this place.."

19. “License to Chill” by Jimmy Buffett. This was the country influenced CD Buffett did about six years ago. You know you are somebody special when your backup singers are Alan Jackson, Clint Black, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith! Because of this album I started listening again to all his old stuff and became a true Parrot Head.

20. “The Road to Here” by Little Big Town. Great example of modern pop-country with great guitar picking and vocal harmonies. Considered the Fleetwood Mac of Country music.

I didn't have room for Chuck Girard, The Way, Randy Stonehill, Pam Mark Hall, Keith Green, Fireworks, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Scott Wesley Brown, and so many other early Christian favorites.  My MP3 player currently has quite a collection of 70's oldies - CCR, The Eagles, Chicago, The Doobies, Carly Simon, Steve Miller, America,  etc.

What do you listen to?