348. Stop the Dominoes – Mark Heard
STOP THE DOMINOES (1981)
There may be no more important artist in the history of Christian Music. There is no greater songwriter in music. Period. There may never be another one like him. Mark Heard died in 1992 after suffering a heart attack on stage at the famed Cornerstone festival.
During his three decades creating music he was responsible for more of the highest quality music than anyone, with the only exception being possible Terry Scott Taylor. Even the records that do not rank amongst the finest of his career are superior to the vast majority of music created within the walls of CCM. Yet he remained in virtual obscurity, though possessing possible CCM’s most ardent and enduring fan base.
Stop the Dominoes was Hark Heard leaping from being a James Taylor-like folk artist to being a rocking singer-songwriter icon. After spending most of the 70’s living off acoustic driven folk music Heard was finally signed to a major Christian label (Chris Christian’s Home Sweet Home) and created the first in a series of exceptional stunning electric album and one acoustic gem discussed previously (Eye of the Storm). The contract lasted for five album and was, by all accounts, a miserable experience. He was given artistic freedom with no oversight, but the company seemed lost on how to market and distribute his music to the masses.
“Stuck in the Middle” is the theme song for the album and for Heard’s entire career. He laments, “I’m too sacred for the sinners/ And the saints wish I would leave.” That sentiment seemed to last his entire career. Despite creating some of the most brilliant music in CCM he never received the recognition of financial satisfaction his art so readily deserved.
The album also features a collection of Heard’s closest friends that read like a who’s who for the time. Tom Howard, Larry Norman, randy Stonehill and a very young Leslie Phillips.
The album itself is filled with wonderful Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) tinged rock and roll and his trademark James Taylor like ballads. The title track is a great example of the former while the album closer, “To See Your Face” represents the latter. And in between is an amazing collection of poignant, powerful and fully accessible songs that are serious must owns.
Every Mark Heard album as an AYSO!