223. No Sham – Bill Mason Band

NO SHAM (1979)

Bill Mason Band

In early 1981 I got my first job at a Christian bookstore in Orange, CA. Before the days of computerized listening centers or even tape decks with headsets you had to listen to something on the stores overhead system. Suffice it to say, considering the age and demographic of the average Christian bookstore shopper, there were few chances to hear anything like the Bill Mason Band album. In fact, the demo album had never been opened and the store owner let me buy it for a buck!

That one dollar bought an album that has been played more often over the years than any LP I own except maybe Zionic Bonds. Though it has been released on CD I have yet to get a copy. I sometimes wonder if the pops and clicks that are son ingrained in my mind will disrupt the listening of a pristine CD version.

As for the album itself, it is cleary an AYSO! Punk rock that is still so very cool to listen to. Touches of ska are here and there, but for the most part it is a Clash like rock version of punk with Elvis Costello’s pop sensibilities. Completely British, raw and irresistible. Produced, surprisingly, by John Pantry, the album had a cup of coffee in the US through a limited release on Star Song.

The band stands out on the faster cuts like Billy and the Rotas, Stand Up and Be Counted and radio. The latter is a personal favorite and some 30 years later there still “ain’t no God on that radio.” Another favorite is “Get Inside,” a longer song at nearly 5 minutes that builds and builds into a raucous finish. I always wanted to hear Mike Roe cover the song.

The album is actually pretty well produced, especially for the time and sounds great today. It is the definitive punk classic for Christian music from the 70’s. The reader must remember this preceded Undercover, Lifesavors and the Altar Boys by a few years. There was literally nothing else like it.

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    December 2, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I have the CD release and I’m pretty sure it is a direct rip from the LP, not a digital re-issue. There are plenty of pops and pings.

  2. September 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    The CD version is taken from the Master Tapes that I own. (me, Bill)
    to those interested BMB reformed in 2010 to do a charity gig organised in England by Si Hawthorne . We are playing again October 21st in Manchester. See you tube for video’s of 2010 concert which was with After the Fire. It was recorded and is available in the UK only as a two set CD.

    Bill Mason

  3. Greenchili
    December 2, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Nice! Thank you Mr. Mason.

    Listening to it now. Definitely liking it. Definitely amazing production for a 1979 album.

    Sounds ike that UK two set CD is worth a purchase. Any website link for us?

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