243. Danger in Loving You – Tom Howard
DANGER IN LOVING YOU (1981)
Though several years later Howard would be recognized and gain popularity for his instrumental piano work similar to George Winston on the popular “Colours Records” imprint from Maranatha Music, during the late 70’s and early 80’s Howard was instrumental in creating some of the best CCM music available. Both as a performer and songwriter and as an arranger and instrumentalist, Howard worked with Larry Norman, Daniel Amos, Mark Heard, Bill Batstone, Randy Stonehill, Pat Terry, Phil Keaggy and a host of others.
During that time he wrote, recorded and released two very strong pop albums for the burgeoning CCM market. The second release, Danger in Loving You, is the subject of this review. The album was released on New Pax Records, the same label Daniel Amos would release “Alarma” and at roughly the same time.
The album starts with an instrumental track that initially is similar to the instrumental piano albums that would follow, but eventually becomes a more progressive rock influenced tune that merges right into the first vocally driven song, Shine Your Light. This song, like many from this album and the previous would be covered by Larry Norman. A great pop number with a huge hook in the chorus.
A more jazz pop, Bruce Hibbard sounding song follows with House of the Father. I remember working at KYMS four years later and still playing this song and others from the album. Run the Race features a Steely Dan type verse and chorus structure. In fact, Steely Dan is not a bad point of reference for the musical experience.
Strong Love (another Norman would cover) is much stronger here. Great arrangement and killer chorus featuring a choir of friends, many mentioned above. Power Play could have been on Louis McVey’s “Coming Attraction” album.
The album’s closer and title track is an incredible progressive finisher. Starting with just piano and vocal the song builds and transforms into a strong classic, progressive rock song. Great arrangement and Howard’s strongest vocals propel the song and, as a result, the entire album to whole different artistic level.
Howard passed away from a heart attack in early 2010. He will be missed as not only was he an amazing musician and arranger, he was genuinely one of the nicest, most loving and humble men in the industry and I never recall ever hearing a bad word said about him.