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The Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda List

April 25, 2012 63 comments

Here is the famous (infamous) list of albums that in hindsight should have been included. Some were left off by pure and simple oversight while others were left off and, after further consideration, should have been included. Some were even missed because of being lost while cutting and pasting from several different compiling lists. Some will just be listed; others will receive more detailed explanation.I will also list where the album may have appeared.

The list is longer then anticipated originally.

100% PROOF – 100% Proof (1981) – Recorded in the late 70’s and finally making it’s way to record shelves (or at least the bands trunks at concerts), this debut rocked with a Southern groove that few other bands touched. More Molly Hatchet and Lynard Skynard than AC/DC (the band they are most often compared to), this debut was just really cool and actually had guitar solos. A real highlight is the rock ballad about the life of AC/DC’s late lead singer, Bon Scott. (High 400’s)

2ND CHAPTER OF ACTS – IN the Volume of the Book (1975) – One the groups best and most “rockin'” albums with Yaweh, Now That I Belong To You and hey Watcha Say. A young Phil Keaggy sounds really nice on many of these tracks. (Mid 200’s)

THE 77’s – Drowning with Land In Sight (1994) – As if Mike Roe was not represented enough, the hardest and most blistering rock record of the bands history was left off. The Zeppelin cover that kicks off the album should have been enough to force inclusion. For me, though, the real treat is Snowblind. Roe’s penchant for hooks can be found on the beautiful Film at 11. (Low 200’s)

ADRIAN SNELL – Firelake (1975) – How I missed this is totally a blow it on my part. Britain’s biggest selling CCM artist had two albums that easily should have made the list. His debut here is wonderful and fans of jesus Music will find much to enjoy. (Mid 300’s)

ADRIAN SNELL – The Passion (1980) – Combining classical, Jesus Music, Church Music and CCM, this musical look at the final week of christ’s life was a predecessor to many that would follow. (Low 400’s)

AGAPE – Gospel hard Rock (1971) – As one of the very first “hard rock” albums in CCM history, the album deserved inclusion for that fact alone. WAY ahead of the curve here. But the record itself is also quite good and combines a soulful jazz with the late 60’s blues rock. (High 400’s)

THE ALARM – Eye of the Hurricane (1987) – The bands most pop oriented release is still filled with enough great songs that I should have included it. Oddly enough, it is the album I listen to the most over 20 years later. (Mid 400’s)

ALBRECHT, ROLEY & MOORE – Take it to the People (1981) – The supergroup of sorts released a few albums and this one was leaps and bounds above most of the straight ahead pop music in CCM at the time. (High 300’s)

ANDRAE CROUCH – Soulfully (1972) – Should have been included. Period! (High 100’s)

ANDRAE CROUCH – Keep on Singin’ (1975) – A Gospel classic that also contains one of the Top 50 greatest songs of the CCM era with My Tribute. (Low 100’s – maybe higher)

ANDRUS BLACKWOOD & CO. – Following You (1978) – One of the truly first CCM albums. Very current for the day with touches of Chicago, the Commodores and Earth, Wind and Fire. The title track is awesome. (High 300’s)

ASHLEY CLEVELAND – God Don’t Never Change (2009) – Shawn is right. This should have been included. perhaps when i started the list it was just too fresh. No excuse, though. (Mid 200’s)

BJ THOMAS – Home Where I Belong (1976) – The first real crossover (at least from mainstream to CCM) album. It is filled with several songs that were just as good and memorable as any Thomas had as a megastar in pop music. The silky, soulful tones of Thomas’ voice is pure gold. The Pat Terry penned title track is a real classic.(Mid 300’s)

BARRATT BAND – Playing in the City (1981) – I had lost this album while doing the list and completely missed it. I have since tracked down a copy and believe it deserved to be there. Barratt is one the finest guitarists in CCM history. He passed away last year. (High 400’s)

BE BE & CE CE WINANS – Heaven (1988) – The brother-sister combo released more than a handful of very successful records. This was their best. It has Keith Thomas production written all over it. The album reached number one on the Billboard albums chart. (Mid 200’s)

BELIEVER – Extraction from Morality (1989) – Of all of the hard core, speed metal albums left off this list…this is one of them. Actually quite good and displays better musicianship than most. (Low 400’s)

BILLY CROCKETT – Carrier (1984) – As mentioned in a response elsewhere this album was one of two Crockett albums I had on the original list. the lead track is just a monster hit. (Low 400’s)

BILLY CROCKETT – Watermarks (1998) – Released as Crockett’s career was waning, it was his best. Wonderfully crafted, brilliantly and passionately performed. these are the best songs in Crockett’s repertoire. (High 200’s)

BOB AYALA – Joy By Surprise (1976) – better than most CCM for the time. Very well produced and finely crafted songs. In the style of John Denver, Harry Chapin and Dan Fogelberg. Ayala was one of the bridge artists from Jesus Music to CCM and his music was superior than most. (High 300’s)

BOB DYLAN – Modern Times (2006) – Was on my original list. Not sure where it went. A collection of 6 minutes tunes that are the most obvious expressions of faith since Infidels. (Late 200’s)

BRUCE COCKBURN – Salt, Sun & Time, The Trouble With Normal, Night Vision, Inner City Front, Joy Will Find a Way – Let’s be honest, pretty much everything Cockburn has done could have been included.

BRYN HAWORTH – The Gap (1980) – This is one of a few that should have been included. But this one was DEFINITELY on the original list. Best slide guitarist in CCM and a brilliant singer-songwriter. The Gap was the one album that truly made it across the pond. (High 100’s)

DANIEL AMOS, TERRY SCOTT TAYLOR, LOST DOGS & SWIRLING EDDIES – Everything Ever Recorded! (Will that satisfy everyone?) OK…if anything should have been added it would be Bibland and the self-titled debut.

DAVID CROWDER BAND – Church Music (2009) – My penchant for hating nearly everything called “modern worship” music kept this masterpiece off the list. It deserves inclusion. (Mid 200’s)

DAVID MARTIN – Stronger Than the Weight (1985) – This great pop album was on the list until the very last cut. In hindsight this fine songwriter deserves to be recognized. (Late 300’s)

DAVID MEECE – 7 (1985) David Meece deserved more than one album on the countdown. Not being a fan of his Gino Vanelli oriented later material it is clear that “7” is one of his best and should have been included. (Late 300’s)

DEGARMO & KEY – No Turning Back (1989) – In hindsight i should have blown off my “no live album” rule for this album. Not only one of the best Christian rock live albums, simply one of the best live albums ever. the extended jams on Jericho, Long Distance Runner and Emmuel make this a real treat. The band proved they were a collection of some of the finest musicians assembled in CCM. (50-100)

DEITIPHOBIA – Clean (1994) – One of my rules is that I had to own the album and have it in my possession to honestly review and include it. I had lost my copy and, therefore it did not make the list. It would now. (Low 300’s)

DENNY CORRELL – How Will They Know (1980) – One of CCM’s best voices deserved more than one album included. This title would be the best shot at making it. (Low 400’s)

ELI – Second Hand Clothes (1999) – Now the News could just have easily been included as well. What a great songwriter. this is one of those examples of losing a title in the cut and paste world. (High 200’s)

FARRELL & FARRELL – Portrait of Us All (1979) – This MUST have been a cut and paste loss. I had this ranked quite high. It is one of the best examples of taking Jesus Music into the CCM world with VERY current music, great production and songwriting that was not trite or silly. Several real classics can be found here. Possibly one of the 10 most important albums of the time. (Mid 100’s)

THE FRAY – How To Save a Life (2005) – I went back and forth about whether to include this album or not. I should have. Though not as blatant as other “mainstream” releases that were included, the faith of the band members is rather common knowledge and their content is smart and creative. (High 100’s)

GEOFF MOORE & THE DISTANCE – Foundations (1994) – Uh…duh! Should have been there. The cover of Lone Justice’s “I Found Love” is great and the whole albums Springsteenesque rock and roll was spot on for the times and still sounds good today. (Mid 200’s)

GLAD – Captured in Time (1982) – A group as original and ground breaking as Glad deserved more recognition. They did tend to suffer from having several good song on average albums. This album, though, was solid throughout. It also closes with one of the most beautiful songs of the CCM era, Be Ye Glad. (Low 300’s)

GLENN KAISER & DARRELL MANSFIELD – Trimmed and Burning (1990) – Another victim of cut and paste. Should be a top 100 contender, but most likely would have fallen somewhere in the mid 100’s. The first of several great acoustic blues album from both artists.

GREG AND REBECCA SPARKS – Field of Your Soul (1994) – This is one of the most embarrassing oversights. There is not a single tune not worthy of repeated listens. Though not a fan of Rebecca’s voice in the pop world of Bash-n-the-Code, this is real, stark and honest rock and roll, and the voice works…perfectly. Carve a Tunnel alone is worth including this album. That song will appear quite high in the Top 1,000 songs countdown. If this song does not send chills up and down your spine…you are dead! (Low 100’s)

GREG X VOLZ – The River is Rising (1986) – The omission of this album was based solely on my dislike of Volz’s vocals and some personal run-ins over the years. that should not have been enough to have the album excluded. (Low 400’s)

HARVEST – Only the Overcomers (1986) – The best album from a group that put out consistently really good releases. (Low 400’s)

IMPERIALS – Let the Wind Blow (1985) – The best of the later, more pop releases from the group that has had more personnel changes than any other CCM group. But there was no missing of stride here. Paul Smith took a more front and center position on this album, giving a much more contemporary sound. The title track was musically quite a stretch for the group and it worked quite well. (Late 300’s)

JOE ENGLISH – Held Accountable (1982) – For several years Joe English was the toast of the CCM world. Former drummer of Paul McCartney & Wings, any artist with mainstream success was given red carpet treatment in the CCM market. he did make several very good and one great album. He know claims to have not been a Christian at the time and an alcoholic and drug user during this era. Many people have refuted this part of his current testimony and believe he has been brainwashed by a cult. Seriously. It’s very odd. (High 400’s)

JOHN FISCHER – Johnny’s Cafe (1978) – In all honesty about 5 John Fischer albums probably deserved placement on the list. I did not own all of them until recently. One I did own that should have been included was this one. (Mid 300’s)

LIFEHOUSE – No Name Face (2000) – The proof that cutting and pasting can be dangerous is that no Lifehouse album made the list. Uh…not only would this album chart, so would Lifehouse (Mid 300’s) and Who We Are (Mid 200’s). This would be a Top 100 release without a doubt.

M. WARD – Hold Time (2009) – Probably would have caused a little stir if included, so i left it off. In retrospect it deserves inclusion if similar releases like Mercy Seat also made the list. (Mid 200’s)

MAD AT THE WORLD – Boomerang (1991) – serving as the transitional album from the Euro synth first two releases, Boomerang rocked with a pretty ferocious attitude. Isn’t Sex a Wonderful Thing along should have been enough to have the album included. (Low 400’s)

MALCOLM & ALWYN – Wildwall (1974) – Should have been included no doubt. (Mid 400’s)

MATTHEW WARD – Armed and Dangerous (1987) – Released nearly a decade after his debut the wait was clearly worth it. The album’s closing track, Love, is just stunning. (Mid 400’s)

MERCY ME – Almost There (2001) – I Can Only Imagine is probably enough to have included this album. Not a great record as much as a strong selection of individual songs. (High 400’s)

MICHAEL ANDERSON – Love is the Hardest Part & Saints and Sinners – Clearly both should have been included. the first in the low 400’s and the second in the high 100’s. Cut and Paste victim…had to be.

MICHELE PILLAR – Michele Pillar (1982) – Pillar’s CCM solo debut (after her masterpiece release with Erick Nelson) proved to be a real gem. Filled with great pop and smart lyrics. (Mid 300’s)

MO LEVERETT – For the Benefit of Desire (1993) – One of the first Storyville releases and one of the best. Edgy and challenging acoustic rock. For a bluesy Bruce Cockburn fan. (High 300’s)

PAUL FIELD – Restless Heart (1982) Easily one of the best pop rock releases of the early 80’s and was only not included because I had lost it. I recently found a copy and have no doubt it would rank amongst the best of its era. Field has written several hits for Cliff Richard and Rebecca St. James. A clear AYSO! (Low 100’s)

PHIL & JOHN – Pick one…doesn’t matter. Actually I originally had two albums included on the list. Carnival of Clowns was in the 200’s and Don’t Look Now was in the low 300’s.

RANDY STONEHILL – The Sky is Falling (1980) – I clearly let my general dislike for the album impact the fact that it probably deserves being listed. But my general dislike would not let me rate it higher than the low 400’s. The good songs are really quite good, but songs like bad Fruit and the seemingly never ending Through the Glass Darkly and Venezuela make it rough to listen to regularly. Someone could have used a little editing in the studio.

REBECCA ST JAMES – God (1996) – St. James most likely deserved to have some representation on the list. this would be her best effort. (High 300’s…maybe?)

RICHIE FURAY – I’ve Got a Reason (1976) – Seriously? I left this off? Moron! Former Poco front man put together a legitimate country driven progressive rock album for the ages. It was originally released on a secular label and featured Love Song members Truax and Mehler as well as help from Michael Omartian. Not a single “miss” on this. Deserved high placement. (Low 100’s)

SAM PHILLIPS – Martinis and Bikinis (1994) – Possibly the best “Sam” album (High 100’s)

SEAWIND – Light the Light (1979) – One of the last albums to be excluded from the list. My bad. In retrospect the sheer musical presence is overwhelming and deserves a placement on the list. (Low 300’s)

SEPTEMBER – SEPTEMBER FIRST (1981) – Would have easily made the list if I still owned a copy at the time of compiling the list. I lost it over the years (I’m guessing Shawn has it). I have tracked down a digital copy and it is even better than I remember it. Imagine Servant as an AOR and borderline progressive rock back in the vein of Styx with much more melody and more ballads. It is progressive for its musical diversity and changes within a single song. the opening track is a great example. An AYSO. (High 200’s)

SHADES OF BLUE – Shades of Blue (1994) This acoustic jazz project headed up by guitar god Lanny Cordola slipped through the cracks to most CCM fans. But it is really delicious. Cool and soulful. (High 400’s)

STEVE SCOTT – Lost Horizon (1989) – Possibly the most discussed omission. I really struggled with whether to include the album given just how much of the album appears on other projects. probably should have been listed. (High 100’s)

TONIO K. – Ole (1997) – What was I thinking? (High 200’s)

TWILA PARIS – Kingdom Seekers (1985) – In 20 years when someone decides to actually make hymnals again, there will be several songs from this album included. Lamb of God and he is Exalted are truly classics in the most authentic use of the word.

VIGILANTES OF LOVE – Blister Soul (1995) & Welcome to Struggleville (1994). Another artist that many complained was not represented enough (4 releases). If other albums were to be included I would say both of these easily qualify. Blister would be in the mid-300’s and Welcome in the high 200’s.

WES KING – The Robe (1998) – Should have been Top 100. Total cut and paste loss…my bad big time!

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Have fun!