351. Illustrations – Parable

ILLUSTRATIONS (1977)

Parable

One of the often overlooked “Maranatha Bands” of the 1970’s was Parable. They recorded two albums before disbanding. Parable was lead by Chuck Butler, who had previously been a part of the band Country Faith, one of the great Jesus Music bands to never have recorded a full album despite great responses for the songs they had recorded on many different samplers.

The first album, More Than Words, was more folk-rock with a country feel. Imagine The Eagles with a male and female lead vocals. the album was very well received. After The Way disbanded guitar virtuoso John Wickham joined the band for this second album and added a significantly more rock sound with some amazing guitar work. Stylistically the band went more pop with a rock emphasis and may remind some readers of early Servant and Petra. But it was really the guitar work that set the album apart along with very strong writing with very memorable hooks.

There’s a reason and Come Untangled kick the album off with a strong rock emphasis and straight ahead evangelical messages before “The City” slows things down, at least initially. Sounding similar to a The Eagles or Chicago ballad before kicking into gear and finishing with one of the best guitar solos in Christian Music to that point. The only other albums at that time with such great guitar work were those by Phil Keaggy and Paul Clark.

Female vocalist Lisa Faye Irwin takes the reins on several songs including “A Friend,” a song very reminiscent of Servant from the same era. The album is very consistent and memorable throughout, though side 2 is noticeably mellower than side 1,  with very impressive production for the time, and far superior to most of the music coming out of Maranatha Music at that time. Both albums have been re-released on CD be the group and is still available as best as I can tell.

 

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 26, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Lisa Irwin became Lisa Wickham and she and John soon became parents to Evan and Phil, both noted worship artists. Evan is strictly indie and more obscure but possibly better than popular sibling, Phil.

  2. David
    November 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Phil plays often at my church. Evan is a worship leader. I prefer Phil. I saw Parable at a reunion concert just last week. All members from the 1997 incarnation were there. Chuck’s vocal’s were still pretty good. Lisa was having a bit of trouble. John, however, ruled on guitar. Awesome player. The City is my fave Parable track and I could be found playing it full tilt as I drove around in the late ’70’s. Now that it’s on CD I can play it again, but not so loudly these days. This album should have been a bit higher in the list.

    • low5point
      November 2, 2010 at 9:54 pm

      You are probably going to grow weary stating that certain releases should be higher. I prefer Bob Bennett’s response that just being included was humbling and impressive to him. Just wait til he sees how high Matters of the Heart end up 🙂 … Trying to place different projects from over 40 years and some 5,000 plus albums was hard. I’ve even continued to move some around and even added about 20 and deleting another 20…

      • David
        November 3, 2010 at 8:57 am

        You’re right. I’ve come across a few others so far that I thought should be a little higher or lower, but this one in particular has been a favorite since it was released. Myself, I never would have attempted to even make such a list. Thanks for doing it. I’m finding many albums I missed or had forgotten about.

  3. David
    November 2, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I should have said ‘1977 incarnation’.

  4. Daen robbins
    April 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Where can I find the parable album with a prayer on it? this song reminds me of my childhood and I have looked everywhere for it. Please help. Thanks.

    • David
      May 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      parabletheband.com or iTunes

  5. Greenchili
    September 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Definitely see some “Servant” similarities here.

  6. November 14, 2011 at 1:02 am

    If you have Spotify you can find both albums.

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