302. Never Turnin’ Back – Bruce Hibbard
NEVER TURNIN’ BACK (1980)
Several years before the great Christian jazz band, Koinonia, was formed the band members would routinely appear on top Christian albums as support, session players. On Bruce Hibbard’s CCM classic, Never Turnin’ Back, they make up a majority of the players. Harlan Rodgers, Hadley Hockensmith, Bill Maxwell and more all play through ten great pop tunes.
Hibbard’s voice a smooth, late 70’s style voice in the vein of Hall and Oates. Backing vocals were supplied by Swett Comfort’s Bryan Duncan and Randy Thomas as well as the irrepressible Kelly Willard, who shows up as a more prominent role throughout the album.
The style throughout is sometimes referred to a call jazz or California jazz. Artists like The Imperials would try and duplicate, but never quite so successfully. The Imperials try a cover of “Forgiven” found on this album. Perhaps the only other CCM artists to reach the same level were Roby Duke and Rick Riso. George Benson like guitar stylings, sweet, but never overpowering brass sections with an emphasis on melody.
The title track, You’ll Never Let Me Go, Forgiven and You’re So Good To Me would be huge hits on CCM radio and stay around for quite some time. Fans of early Sweet Comfort, Roby Duke, Hall & Oates and Matthew Ward will find quite a bit to like here.