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11. All Fall Down – The 77’s

ALL FALL DOWN

The Seventy Sevens (The 77′s)

When I was 16 years old and got my first job at the wonderful little Christian Bookstore with the funny little name (the Pink Lady) I worked in the music department – obviously. Once a month a company would send out demo tapes for our listening center that would contain one minute segments of each song from the albums that were coming out so customers could hear new music and make buying decisions.

One such tape was “Ping Pong Over the Abyss” by the Seventy Sevens (The 77′s). Even though each excerpt lasted less than a minute my friends and I would listen to those one minute clips over and over and over. In fact, due to a delay in the release of the album the “demo” tape actually ended up wearing out before the album hit the stores.

“Ping Pong” was easily the most anticipated release for me in 1983. I was a going to become a huge fan of Exit Records and what they were doing with releases from the 77′s, Vector, Steve Scott (who missed this countdown by one slot) and even Thomas Goodlunas and Panacea. One of my favorite memories was the famed first Exit Festival (at Citrus College I believe) on an absolutely hot and muggy day. But I, and the thousands like me, was there for the 77′s.

They rocked!

I also recall going to a Calvary Chapel Saturday Night Concert with The 77′s and someone else that I don’t remember though I think it was Undercover. What I do remember was seeing Michael Roe in concert for the first time, spitting, flaying, falling and crawling and thinking, “they’re never gonna let him back in here again!”

I was right.

I also remember while working for KYMS that none of the other DJ’s ever wanted to introduce the metal, rock or alternative bands at the local amusement parks so I always got to, and on one particular night the stage I was given to do the introductions for had the Resurrection Band and The 77′s. How cool was that?

This was around the time of “All Fall Down” and Mike had this huge main of hair that required cans and cans of aerosol hair spray. While back stage I remember Wendi Kaiser (Resurrection Band) – also known for quite a head of hair – and Mike borrowing hair spray from each other.

But the most memorable part of the evening was during the very extended version of “It’s Sad” in which Roe would wrap himself in a black blanket of sorts and writhe on the ground as the song slowly built to a crescendo. Mike would then begin ripping himself out of his self-made cocoon. Finally after rolling and falling around the stage for the final minutes of the song Roe collapsed in heap at the front of the stage replicating the “All fall Down” album cover.

I can’t say as a kid in my late teens at the time that I totally understand the symbolic gesture the spastic performance was imagining, but I can tell you the performance kicked butt!

My favorite show was at the Roxy in LA sometime around “All Fall Down” serving as a showcase for The 77′s, Charlie Peacock and Robert Vaughan and the Shadows (who missed this countdown by 4 slots). At the end of the show, I remember Mark dropping his guitar and pounding it lightly on the ground to increase feedback and bassist Jan Volz and Mike yelling something to him. Mark picked up his guitar and went all Pete Townsend on it just pounding and pounding it until it broke into pieces.

I spoke to Jan after the show and asked him why he and Mike told Mark to break his guitar. Jan laughed that he kept yelling at Mark to not break his guitar. “I kept yelling ‘don’t smash it, don’t smash it’ and Mark thought I was yelling ‘smash it! smash it!’”

The 77′s simply rocked!

Plain and simple, they were not a punk band, alternative band, new wave band or any other kind of band except ROCK band. No other band could rip through a Talking Heads type world music driven rhythm and follow with a Led Zeppelin cover. I am still amazed when I read reviews that call The 77′s an alternative band or that the debut album was a punk record.

Even when they formed in the late 70′s as the Scratch Band with Roe on guitar and vocals, Volz on bass, Mark Proctor on drums and Mark Tootle on keyboard and guitar, they were a band that rocked. The line-up stayed in tact for several years and with a name change in the early 80′s they became The 77′s and recorded their debut on Exit Records, a label based out of the Warehouse Church in Sacramento, a Church the band members attended.

The 77′s debut, “Pink Pong Over the Abyss” was also the debut record for Exit Records and would remain the cornerstone of the label during its short but impressive tenure. A wonderful collection of songs written primarily by Michael Roe with a little help from Steve Scott, there is more depth to simple themes than on most albums, let alone a debut project.

“Different Kind of Light” sounds more like Tom Petty than the punk label the band was saddled with early on and looks at the influences of “worldly” lights in relation to the Biblical one. Roe yearns, “Don’t want the usual merchandise recycled in a new disguise.” Futile worldly love is the topic in “How Can You Love.”

It would be the odd, keyboard and bass driven “It’s Sad” that would become a long time live classic. Borrowing from everywhere from Quickflight to the Talking Heads, the song builds and builds over it’s 5 minute run. The vain philosophies of the world are confronted by the truth of the Gospel but with a real touch of Lamentations. Roe laments here, “You drink good whiskey, you smoke good pot…20 more years what in hell have you got?”

Much of the album deals with the philosophies of man and their failings. Songs like “Renaissance Man” and “Falling Down a Hole.” In the entire career of a band you will seldom find discussions on Buddhism, Islam, Fatalism, Solipsism, Evolution, Spiritualism, Humanism and more, but with the latter song they are all included in under 4 minutes.

The title track, though, is the highlight. Relentless, pounding, aggressive and passionate from the first to the last. It is set apart from much of music for combining the ferocity of punk rock with the precision of progressive rock, with changes and progressions.

The was a live radio special that I received from Mary Neely of Exit Records that had some live cuts of what was then the Scratch Band performing “Ping Pong” but referring to it as “Reverse Your Lever” but that has either been forgotten or denied. The title itself comes from Allen Ginsburg’s poem, “The Howl.” The album was produced by Steve Soles who, along with being connected to T-Bone Burnett and Bob Dylan, also recorded two strong Christian albums, the best being “Walk By Love.”

But forever etched in my musical psyche is 1984′s “All Fall Down.” Produced by Charlie Peacock and the first to have drummer Aaron Smith this album is filled with 10 no-miss songs. There is never a time where I push “next” on the CD player when this album is one.

It is difficult to talk about this album in order when the album and CD are in different orders. The album was originally released with the song “Ba Ba Ba Ba” kicking off what “side one” when the band originally wanted that side to be “side two.” So, when the CD came out several years later the band returned to the original placement of the songs. I recently asked Roe about that decision and he confirmed the story, but now wonders if Word’s orginal decision was the better one. What is important to note is the the album contains two distinctly different sides, so the order is not as important as keeping the sides of the record in tact.

I have often conjectured that the reason behind Word’s decision was that the “Ba Ba Ba Ba” side was decidedly more “Christian” in subject matter where the “Caught In a Unguarded Moment” side was more secular and controversial, with songs dealing with pre-marital sex in very plain terms and a song about abortion that more than implies the sexual activity as well.

This theme was not knew for Roe as songs on several albums including the debut addressed the issue, but none quite as graphically as the songs on “All Fall Down.” I will stick with the CD version only because it is the bands original concept despite the current misgivings about the change. But when taken as a whole the album does make good sense to start with “Caught In an Ungraded Moments.”

I was shocked when then Program Director of KYMS Greg Fast agreed to add “Caught” to the station but was more than pleasantly surprised at the response of listeners as the song became a huge hit. All drums and acoustic guitar to start the song tells the story of several young people who though they had their whole lives ahead of them but were prematurely cut down. No one knows at what hour their lives will be require of them and song proclaims that warning.

I saw a young girl fly Over a rocky mountain brink 
She had had too much to drink She did not have time to think 
But it was far more than just her car That flew out of control 
She had gone over the edge Long before she'd lost her soul 
And she was Caught in an unguarded moment Her fate was inappropos 
But she was Caught in an unguarded moment She's been a pleasure to know 
But she was Caught in an unguarded moment She made a brief cameo 
But she was Caught in an unguarded moment Something she could not foreknow 
And she was Caught in an unguarded moment All fall down like dominoes And now she's
 Caught in an unguarded moment Eternal sorrow and woe

Not the normal lyrical setting for a CCM hit, but the song connected and became a hit. So did the reworked version of “Someone New.” The same song appears on the debut but with a decidedly different approach. More dance driven drums on this version one must note the influence of Charlie Peacock here. There would also be an extended version available for all this kids down at the dance club. I actually own the 12 inch version.

The song itself is a rather simple expression of faith with an evangelist call. Couched perfectly behind “Caught” the song calls out to those same people before it’s too late.

Someone new got ahold of me 
Someone new took control for me 
And what I blew It won't be held against me 
Someone new is looking out for me 
Someone who's got real love for me 
But what's it to you 
Are you gonna be the last to know 

The controversy would begin with the song that follows, “Something’s Holding On.” The song tells the story of a self-absorbed boyfriend whose selfish, sexual desires are all that drives his relationship. This shows itself not only in the sexual act but also the physical demands he places on the girl to remain beautiful and visually appealling.

You really whet my appetites 
Ohhhhh and stimulate my glands 
As long as what you wear 
looks right Ummmmm and you keep to the shape I choose

The sexual content is not hidden or alluded to but bluntly stated for the sheer power of shocking reality. But here the song does not wrap up with a nice bow that boy gets saved and starts holding a Bible Study with his girlfriend. Rather the selfish and self-seeking sexual love is proven to be the only point of contact and intimacy and losing it would doom the relationship in a sad or horrible end. Here the confusion between sex and love are made obvious. Set to a 60′s, almost Beach Boys type melody, the song expresses the dangers of this kind of living.

Something's holding on Something's holding on 
Must be love that's holding on 
But if you cut off all my fun I'll be telling you 'so long'

The song segues perfectly into the song regarding abortion, “Your Pretty Baby.” With even more of a 60′s or early 70′s musical influence nne imagines the woman in the song above is now caught in a moment she never dreamed of and is left with an agonizing decision. The many “excuses” and rationalizations are personalized in the song.

And when your time comes 'round 
And he's nowhere to be found You wait for colour red 
And when the ring you get Is not the one you want 
Then you begin to plot somebody's death Thinking 
Oh, your pretty baby won't know Oh, Your pretty babe

Roe shows his keen songwriting skills here using creative phrases to get to the point even finding a way to express the point of intercourse found in the first verse. But like the rest of the album thus far the selfish lifestyles and decisions are made as the impact on another life is not considered.

You couldn't bear this thing To save your life 
Suppose you start to show So you call the doctor 
But who's gonna nurse away 
The little voice inside when it cries You'll curse this day

The first side ends with the ultimate results of the selfish lifestyles of the characters introduced previously but then adds those who spoke of faith and grace but turn their backs on Christ to pursue their own self-filled lives. Here in “Another Nail”  Roe alludes to the Biblical parable of the sower and the seeds.

Waiting for a message I know it will never come 
Even with the ninety nine I feel the loss of even one 
No need to keep us in suspense The seed has died through indifference 
And now we'll reap what you sowed I'll take my tears and let you go 
Everyday another nail is hammered

The song also contains “picking” style of guitar work that Roe would employ with great success over the years. The style would be a mainstay and separate Roe as an accomplished musician with varying styles mastered quite well.

The other side starts off with “Ba Ba Ba Ba,” a not so subtle poke at popular cults, most notably Mormonism. The popular apologetic of the Mormons at the door with the “burning in the bosom” is addressed here.

Ba-ba-ba-ba Ba-ba-ba-ba We believe, we believe 
Cuz we felt it burning in our hearts 
Ba-ba-ba-ba Ba-ba-ba-ba 
And it's true, yes it's true 
If it gets us all thru the night 
For the rest of our lives

The song is much more keyboard and pop driven than most songs in The 77′s catalog, which again one must assume is as the result of the influence of Charlie Peacock. But here it works both musically and lyrically and Peacock should be commended for adding the more artificial and techno sound to a lyric that is about false religions and ideologies. There are also great Beach Boy type harmony vocals as the song closes with a recording of a man speaking in a “backward masking” format. The great irony of using backward masking to ridicule televangelist in a song about cults is not lost on this reviewer. His words when deciphered are “like lambs led to the slaughter” or something to that effect.

The two most aggressive songs on the album follow immediately and return The 77′s to the style they originated on the debut. “Under the Heat” tells the story of the bombing of a building housing military personnel. The story relates to the individual in how one responds under the most difficult situations and how those situations reveal the truth as to who we really are.

Reaching through this Curtain of fear 
My arms are stretched Beyond the limit I take the heat from 
Streaming tears To bear the cold and Walk out in it 
Walk out in it My plans for the future Are a frozen picture 
That has fallen and Shattered and melted Under the heat 
All our lives changing Under the heat

“Mercy, Mercy” follows with the same aggressive and frenetic pace as the previous song. The song would remain a live favorite for many years with extended version lasting 10 to 15 minutes in concert. This plaintive call for mercy also serves a warning of those idols that can replace God as our only true God, but all with the understanding that God’s mercy is complete and not contingent on our works.

Love to go far On my guitar 
Love when she sings 
Love when she stings 
But if I bow Down to her notes 
When death comes 'round That's all she wrote 
Then I say Lord Have mercy on me I say Lord Have mercy 
Complete Forgiving Chastening Embracing Unearned Undeserved 
A total work

I still think U2 ripped off this tune a few years later…

“You Don’t Scare Me” is a Psalm of sorts that deals with how the man of God does not fear the Devil, his plans or even death. To live is Christ to die is gain. This 6 minute blues song would also show Roe’s subtle vocal performance and the trademark 77′s style of building songs slowly ending in great crescendos. God’s providence and protection are duly noted.

Why should I go the wrong way Down a one way street 
Against the Heat When in one moment you could 
Turn my up-to-date to obsolete And your indiscreet 
And you don't repeat And you're beat beat beat 
You're so beat Yea though I walk 
Through the valley Of your shadow so near I will fear no man 
I will fear no woman I will fear no pain 
I will fear no thing Cuz you don't No you don't scare me 
I'm gonna show you a mystery 
You'll be swallowed in victory Where's your stinger
Where's your sting

The slow build as the song continues is just simply intense. Finally the final two lines are literally screamed in a defiant tone worthy of the content. The song then speeds up, faster and faster until a wild and flourishing finish of drums, bass, guitar and harmonica.

The album closes with “Make a Difference Tonight” a song about the struggles of daily routines and trials that keep us from the important things like God.

Bells buzzers sirens and horns 
Ringing in my head Bills budgets savings and loans 
Always in the red Times schedules deadlines and forms 
I think I'll go crazy 
Wish I could remember what it was Like to be lazy 
I'm always running out of time 
I'm always standing in a line 
I'm always spending every dime

Again Roe here is actually pointing to the story of the sower and the seeds as he is the seed whose faith was planted amongst the thorns and weeds. All the while he is crying out to someone to make a difference in his life and in turn teach him how to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Thorns thistles thatches and tares 
Tangled up in me Gonna take much more than a man 
To set me free 
Why won't somebody tell my how to 
Make a difference tonight

By personalizing the song Roe makes a stronger impact then simply pointing out the fault in others. This would be a common strain found throughout all of The 77′s works as each song comes across as more personal and autobiographical. This is probably why many 77′s fans feel a deep connection to the band. When Roe personalizes universal struggled he puts himself into the seat of the listener, making his point more applicable.

The 77’s are the only artist with two albums in the Top 20 (sort of) and have the highest ranking two albums to be included. This is a testament to amazing legacy the band and Roe has left in CCM. Roe appears 8 times on this list, second only to the many incarnation of Terry Scott Taylor. He is that important and impressive. He is that damn good!

 

Few “rock” bands have run the gamut of diverse style with such aplomb and success as The 77′s. Few bands have also ever been able to merge deep, thoughtful and intense lyrical theme with a musical quality of the depth and stature of The 77′s. This was never more true than on “All Fall Down.”

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  1. Charles H
    November 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    This LP is still a regular listen of mine, along with “Ping Pong Over the Abyss” and “The Seventy Sevens” (the original, not “Pray Naked”). I keep all three of these LP’s in regular rotation. Mike Roe has had some bad luck with distribution companies folding, record labels folding, and other bands (U2 to name a major one) releasing records at the same exact time for the same label, which, unfortunately, relegated Roe’s work to the back burner.
    I never get tired of hearing the songs on this LP. “All Fall Down” will always be one of my all-time favorite albums.

    • low5point
      November 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      I may need a little break 🙂

  2. Captain Kevin
    November 18, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Pink Lady…The 77’s…and David Lowman…oh Yeah!!!

  3. Paul Pedersen
    November 18, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I can confirm that it was Undercover who played with the 77’s at Calvary. A friend and I walked there from Fountian Valley and got to watch the bands practice before the show.

  4. Paul Pedersen
    November 18, 2011 at 6:34 am

    “Somethings Holding On” is what got the album banned at Calvary’s bookstore when I worked there.

  5. Tim
    November 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    A brilliant and unforgettable album, though I still buy into the “alternative” label for these guys as they sounded nothing like any mainstream rock sound I had heard at the time.

    Steve Scott and Robert Vaughn both had albums that made the list. Could it be that the text is from your Top 50 countdown instead? Or are there other albums of theirs that missed the Top 500 by 1 and 4 spots, respectively?

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      November 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      When Dave is able to throw out 7 new entries in one day, I’d think it’s fair to guess he used the already established reviews from the other list for selections that are in both countdowns. I think Matters of the Heart and Love Broke Thru are new.

      • low5point
        November 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        True…I have edited previous reviews as long as they were quite detailed. I added any missed or skipped songs and have added artists insights from those I have contacted

  6. Andrew
    November 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    “The 77′s are the only artist with two albums in the Top 20 (sort of). . .”

    So, wait, there aren’t two Norman albums left?? And there aren’t two Heard albums left??? There aren’t two Resurrection Band albums left (well, I guessed that you’d be leaving Rainbow’s End off this listing as perhaps an oversight)? And you mentioned the brilliance of Keaggy’s Revelator, but it won’t make the top 500??? I’m a bit flummoxed here.

    • low5point
      November 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Revelator is included previously in Crimson and Blue

      I love Rainbow’s End, but found it way too uneven and the production was really. There are five amazing songs on that album and several not so amazing. Rez will be represented, Mark will be as well.

  7. Shawn McLaughlin
    November 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I think we (you and I David) have discussed this, but while I am probably every bit as big a Roe/77;s fan as you are, I don’t think they have made as many great “albums” as other “geniuses” in the countdown.Oddly, I consider them as more of a singles band and, undeniable, a terrific live act. Of course, I still think at least 3 of their albums should be in the top 50 so we aren’t far off, but this one didn’t hit me the way it did you. By the time I first heard it, It already sounded a little bit dated, musically. The songs are fantastic, though, and as great as Harmon, Leonhart and Spencer are, I have always preferred the Tootle, Volz, Smith line-up the most. I think what gets over-looked with them is the pop quality of the songwriting – really fine and the reason I always perceived them to be “singles” oriented even though they certainly weren’t a charting band in the CCM kingdom.

  8. Bob
    November 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Hopefully in your Top 10: Petra – Not Of This World, Michael W. Smith – I 2 (Eye)

    • Andrew
      November 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Prepare to be disappointed, Bob.

      • low5point
        November 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        Prepare to be disappointed, Bob.

        🙂

  9. Shawn McLaughlin
    November 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Bob, there is not a lot of “commercial” CCM in the upper reaches of this countdown. Those were two extremely successful albums but I am guessing you are going to be a little bit disappointed.

  10. aarjayaitch
    November 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    When I first got the CD of this, I tried listening to it in the band’s intended order. But I just can’t do it; the LP order is too ingrained in me, and I think that Another Nail makes a fantastic closing song.

  11. Greenchili
    November 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Interesting.. most petra fans rank “More Power To Ya” and “Beyond Belief” as their top 2.. To me “Not Of This World” is more like an extension of “More Power To Ya”.. kinda almost like a part two..

  12. Adam
    November 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    The band’s intended order doesn’t work, for the same reasons aarjayaitch said: Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba is a terrific opener, and Another Nail is a great finisher. The director’s cut isn’t always the best one 🙂

    This was an amazing album. This and Daniel Amos’ “Vox Humana” and “Doppelganger” never left the cassette rack in my car all through high school

  13. Don
    November 27, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Hard for me to pick a favorite 77’s or Seventy Sevens cd. The first three are great, 7+7is and Sticks and Stones are wonderful, a couple other strong ones. I have the latter day offerings but don’t remember them as well. Field of Crows? Tom Tom Blues and Drowning were great. Hard to pick only one for the top 50.

  14. Don
    November 27, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Any comments on:

    Safe As Milk 1995
    The Boat Ashore 1996? (or earlier)
    EP 1999
    Late 2000
    A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows 2001
    Direct 2002
    Holy Ghost Building 2008

    ?????????????

  15. Don
    November 27, 2011 at 4:19 am

    And:

    It’s For You 2000

  16. Don
    November 27, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Wikipedia’s listings (not including seventy sevens or lost dogs)

    Studio albums
    1995 – Safe as Milk (released as a 9-song “curdled” version and a 12-song “uncurdled” version)
    1996 – The Boat Ashore
    2002 – Say Your Prayers
    2009 – We All Gonna Face the Rising Sun
    2010 – Michael Roe

    [edit] Live albums
    1999 – Safe as Milk Live: Live at Cornerstone 97
    2000 – It’s for You (double CD; additional tracks from this 1997 solo tour can be found on The 77s’ Late compilation [2000])

    [edit] Fan club releases
    2003 – Roesbuds

    [edit] 7&7iS
    1989 – More Miserable Than You’ll Ever Be (numbered collector’s edition box set; features Michael Roe solo tracks and demos/outtakes from The 77s)
    1990 – More Miserable Than You’ll Ever Be (features Michael Roe solo tracks, demos/outtakes from The 77s’ self-titled album, and unreleased material from The Magnets (Michael Roe & Larry Tagg); a remastered version was later re-released under The 77s moniker)
    2004 – Fun With Sound

    [edit] Instrumental albums with Mark Harmon
    1999 – Sleepwalk (authorized bootleg of Unison Music’s Daydream)
    1999 – Daydream (uncredited on this official Unison Music release)
    2002 – Daydream (Fools of the World re-release)
    2002 – Orbis

    And from Mike’s website:

    Just in time for Christmas! Pick up
    Mike & Derri Daugherty’s new duo project Kerosene Halo,
    the rerelease of Mike’s 2001 solo project Say Your Prayers, and
    the reissue of the rare Roesbuds fan club release –
    (all now available and shipping! Also coming soon) –
    the double disc live collection Its For You.
    http://www.michaelroe.com/main.html

  17. harvey_d
    November 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Okay… trying to figure out the “two albums in the top 20” (note that 1-4 at this point haven’t been uploaded). The “sort of” I’m guessing refers to Daniel Amos/Swirling Eddies, and the 77’s self-titled album is in the top 4?

    • don
      November 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Lost dogs I think.

  18. Don
    November 29, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Let me try to ask this again – with less reading:

    Any of these Roe/77s albums below that anyone recommends? I have the other ones not on this list.

    1999 – EP
    2000 – Late (contains all of EP)
    2002 – Direct
    2002 – Say Your Prayers
    2008 – Holy Ghost Building – (samples on Amazon sound good – hard blues)
    2009 – We All Gonna Face the Rising Sun
    2010 – Michael Roe
    2011 – Kerosene Halo – (with Derry Dougherty)

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      November 30, 2011 at 1:32 am

      Direct is very mature, somewhat experimental pop. Songs are long and loose….not pop oriented yet the melodies are still strong. Late is a hodgepodge of EP, unreleased and bonus tracks that still holds together very well. EP is quite rock oriented with a hard edge. Say Your Prayers is acoustic Mike. Definite troubadour feel. “Lutheran Hymn” is one of my all-time favorite Roe tracks. Holy Ghost Building is a fabulous, rocking blues record. 9 covers of gospel blues classics and 1 original that doesn’t fit all that well. This was my favorite rock record of 2008. Each cut recasts blues classics in a rock & roll setting. You can hear shades of Roe’s favorite groups, like the Stones, Byrds, Elvis and Roy Orbison. Favorite cut here is “(I’m Gonna Run) to the City of Refuge”. We All Gonna Face the Rising Sun is an acoustic look at more gospel blues classics. It is definitely more subdued than HGB. I have no idea what the 2010 Michael Roe album is. Kerosene Halo is singer/songwriter nirvana. One original by Derri and 9 covers by the likes of Richard Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Phil Madeira and Terry Scott Taylor. “Dimming of the Day” is my favorite.

      • don
        November 30, 2011 at 1:35 am

        U da man. Thanks!

      • Don
        November 30, 2011 at 3:05 am

        On Amazon someone described We All Gonna Face… as an attempt at old gospel – and not that good.

        I agree on Late – thought it sounded pretty good and even the retreads sounded different.

        Holy Ghost Building sounded very good on the amazon samples.

        I am thinking 2010 “Michael Roe” doesn’t exist – it ain’t on his website

        How about “Echos O’ Faith (Played Naked)” – live album?

        Thanks again

      • November 30, 2011 at 8:42 am

        I Found “Michael Roe”. It is a 14 song acoustic release that was made to correspond with his solo tour last year. It is acoustic versions of several of his (solo and with band) songs.

        Echoes of Faith is a VERY good live album. Trio with Harmon and Spencer, I think, but Leonhart might be on the disc, too.

  19. Kit
    November 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    The 77s are easily the best band in Christian rock (although I’d consider an argument for Daniel Amos as well). So, I have no problem with 2 of their albums being in the top 20. In fact, I would probably have at least 3. Those would be the 1987 self titled, Sticks and Stones, and Pray Naked.

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      November 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      I don’t disagree, but would add The Choir and Adam Again as legitimate contenders for the imaginary crown as Christendom’s best rock band.

      • Don
        November 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm

        “imaginary crown” – I like it.

  20. Eric
    November 30, 2011 at 12:43 am

    This list is a joke, right? I’m going through this list and thinking a lot of these artists aren’t even Christian. #335 New Gold Dream by Simple Minds: great album and great band, but they have about as much to do with Christianity as McDonalds has to do with health food. Apparently sticking a cross on your album cover is all it takes to be labeled Christian. And get Lone Justice off of there and stick on Aleixa “Honey Lake” or “Disfigured” instead. There are far more deserving artists who didn’t get the chance to be heard that should be on this list, not to mention being a much stronger case for CCM. The less said about T Bone Burnett the better…

    • low5point
      November 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      I believe you will find yourself quite alone in these statements. I noted in the very first blog that the range was expansive. It’s nice yo know you are the Holy Spirit and know the heart of a man. Congratulations.

      The more said about T-Bone the better!

      • Don
        November 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        Dave – is Eric actually you writing as a straw man to underline your previous statements?

        I believe the golden rule applies here – he who has the gold makes the rules. Low5point paid for this blog (or at least has the rights to it) so he gets to go by his definition of Christian music. I don’t know how Eric knows whether Jim Kerr and T-Bone are Christians or not, perhaps he lives next door to both of them? And Eric prefers we all use his definition of Christian – which is – I am unclear – being on a Christian label? Having at least one praise song on each album? Maybe he has a better definition than that.

      • Don
        November 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm

        Eric – I apologize for my tone in the above paragraph. You are entitled to your opinion. I guess I disagree.

      • Eric
        November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm

        First time I ever posted on WordPress, and foolish me, I thought this list had something to do with CCM magazine! So, you’re entitled to your list, but like everyone else, I am never alone. Speaking of T Bone, I like mine done well, and I prefer sour cream with my potato with NO bacon bits.

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      November 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Wow….way to ingratiate yourself to an online community. No offense, man, but maybe you can gain credibility on this blog by not projecting your own beliefs as pure gospel and demeaning a year and a half of hard and loving work by David.

      I disagree with a lot of this list. Who wouldn’t? Everyone brings their own experience and biases into the listening experience. David was moved by the more subtle spiritual messages in the music of Simple Minds, Lone Justice, Mike Scott, Karl Wallinger, etc. I believe there are ample biblical examples of God using the foolish to confound the wise and even further his purposes (Nebuchadnezzer is a good example, Hosea another). It is just plain incorrect to assume that SImple Minds can’t speak truth into the life of a young man. They didn’t into yours….that is pretty clear. You know who hasn’t spoken much truth into mine? Casting Crowns…Mercy Me…..Carman……Matthew West. I can’t abide crummy, vapid art from people who claim to worship The One who made creativity possible. It is completely counter-intuitive. But that doesn’t mean they don’t speak to others who have different criterion for what moves them. Your contributions are definitely welcome here, if respectful to the community. All opinions matter. But if you disagree so vehemently that you can’t be civil….well….there is room on the internet for you to start your own blog.

      • Eric
        November 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

        Hey man don’t sweat it. It’s all cool and no disrespect to low5point, but I really didn’t plan on staying here long. I listen to more secular music than Christian, but I like my Christian music Christian and my secular music secular. That’s just me

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      December 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      In the context of Dave’s list, I would switch out Shelter with Lone Justice’s first, self-titled record. Low JPM quotient but TONS of biblical imagery and one song (You Are the Light) that could EASILY be co-opted as a worship song. Shelter is just WAYYYYY too slick for me and I don’t think the songwriting is any stronger. However, “I Found Love” is awesome.

  21. Eric
    November 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Don, I read an interview with Jim Kerr where he stated he was an atheist. This was some time ago like back in the late 90s. He waffles back and forth to different things so not sure where he is now. He’s had some not-so-good things to say about Christians in the past, and the SM song “Happy is the Man” sort of ridicules Christians. Whatever, I still like Simple Minds and will continue to listen to them, but I think it’s safe to say they are not a Christian band.

    • Don
      November 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      point taken.

      T-Bone has said he is a Christian.

      Thanks for the clarification.

    • Shawn McLaughlin
      November 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Eric

      I have read the same thing about Kerr and am very dubious of Karl Wallinger (World Party) as well. Personally, if I were doing the list, it wouldn’t contain general market releases IF I were calling it a list of CCM’s greatest albums.

      But, I believe it is entirely possible for someone to be convicted of God by art that is made by non-believers. God can and often does use anything. Rich Mullins once said at a summer festival “God once spoke to a man through his ass….and He continues to use men who speak through their asses to this day!” Of course, he never got asked back to that festival but it was a point well made.

      Sorry for getting a little protective earlier.

      • Eric
        December 1, 2011 at 2:49 am

        Shawn, that’s ok, sorry if I was a little snippy there myself. I agree with everything you said although I had to laugh when you wrote God once spoke to a man through his ass. Maybe the festival people misconstrued what Rich said lol.

      • Shawn McLaughlin
        December 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

        I think it was the last part of Mullins’ “zinger” that offended the festival organizers. If he had stopped after the initial reference to Balaam and his donkey, things would have been fine! ; )

  22. J Hanson
    April 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Don’t remember if I got the first 77’s album in 83 while in DFW or after I moves to Pasadena in 84. Missed seeing them in concert while I lives in SoCal (or the Sourhland as they called it sometimes) for 5 years. Have the island lp.

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