#324: CCM Ladies of the Eighties

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #324, on the subject of CCM Ladies of the Eighties.

The number of people in Contemporary Christian and Christian Rock music back in the early eighties didn’t seem all that large, but as I’ve been working through those I remember I perceive that it will take a long time to get through even all those I think worth mentioning.  Thus I decided to do some conglomerate entries, naming and briefly recalling many who probably deserve more attention than I am offering but not from me.  There are a lot, and this article will be substantial because of that, but we’ll break them up, ladies first.

Melissa Manchester, 1975

We featured Evie Tornquist Karlsson when we wrote about Ralph Carmichael, as her version of Pass It On (linked there) probably made the Kurt Kaiser song famous.  Evie is one of several female vocalists whose career began when she was single who then married, kept the maiden name in the middle and added the married name.  Her first album, Everything Is Beautiful, had its US release in 1971 when she was fourteen years old, then was released in Norway two years later; she had four releases in 2007, but they appear to be compilations released in Norway.  She did mostly middle-of-the-road covers of contemporary hits from many artists, but also had a substantial Norwegian career.  Her husband was a Norwegian singer-songwriter.  I remember her for Give them All; my wife won’t take me to the local shopping center for fear I might break out singing Give the mall to Jesus.

Sandi Patty, sometimes Sandy, sometimes Patti, is another contemporary MOR vocalist who did mostly covers, but did them well.  I once characterized her as the Linda Rondstadt of Christian music–great range, fabulous voice with soaring highs, could have sung opera or pretty much anything she wanted.  This early live rendition of How Majestic Is Your Name demonstrates some of her talent.

Twila Paris came from one of those family gospel singing groups, and recorded her first album, Little Twila Paris, in 1965 when she was about seven years old.  She did not record another one until 1980.  She received numerous awards over the course of her career, but I confess I know her name but do not remember a single album or song.

Lilly Green was a singer-songwriter whose third and final album, I Am Blessed, was the only one I ever heard–but the fourth song, Crucify Him (this video has a bit of dead air at the beginning) quickly became a favorite.

Micki Fuhrman‘s third and final album, Look Again, came out in 1981, and I found a favorite song on it as well–so much so that decades later when I saw a cassette copy of the album I bought it to listen in my car.  The song is entitled I Stick With Winners, and is a clever take on why faithfulness.  There were several other good songs on that disc, but I’ve got a lot of girls to cover here.

Looking over Cynthia Clawson‘s discography I recognize nothing but one song, on an album I never saw–but I know it was released to radio stations as a single, under the title Take Us Home for Christmas, and it’s a wonderful Christmas song which at the time was something new and different.  I remember it decades later as one of those new Christmas songs that were worth the vinyl.

On that same subject, Pamela Deuel Hart made Always Christmas the title song of what appears to be her debut album, an otherwise undistinguished collection of familiar Christmas music.  Regrettably, this song, which recalls a notion from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, that it was always winter but never Christmas until He turned her life around so it is always Christmas and never winter, does not appear on a web search for videos.  She released several more albums, but I never heard any of them.

Kelly Willard was one of those artists whose name came into my head but to whom I could make no connection–until I looked up her discography and immediately recognized the title song of her debut album, Blame It On the One I Love, a light jazz-influenced contemporary hit.  Kelly is also known for a duet she did with the previously-covered Paul Clark, Woman…The Man That I Love.

Karen Lafferty released a few albums through Maranatha Music, but her best known song is not on any of them.  Rather, Seek Ye First appears in several multi-artist collections focused on worship music.  I remember it well, because it was used by one of our local ministries as the opening theme of their radio show.  It was one of the first popular songs in the worship music genre, at a time when evangelistic songs were still preferred but slowly fading and a lot of Christian music was moving toward exhortation.

Jamie Owens released two albums under her maiden name, Laughter In Your Soul and Growing Pains.  The latter included the song The Victor, which Keith Green heard and recorded, pushing Jamie to success in the field as the song was picked up by The Second Chapter of Acts and became a standard.  Then she married her producer Dan Collins as they were working on her album Love Eyes.  It, and all her subsequent albums, was released under her name Jamie Owens Collins.  During that time, she managed to write the song Daniel which appears on the album, and to produce it herself without his knowledge, and then arrange for the recording to be played when she walked down the aisle at their wedding.  Unfortunately, no video version of the song was found online.

There were a few albums in our radio collection by Janny Grein, and I recognize the covers for Free Indeed, Covenant Woman, He Made Me Worthy, and Think On These Things–what I don’t recognize is any of the song titles, but I do recognize that she was a Christian folk artist with a long career.

I remember Kathy Troccoli every time I hear another New York-style huge voice alto (think Bette Midler).  The chorus of the title song of her debut album Stubborn Love has stayed with me all these decades, with its lush broadway-style production and her powerful voice coupled with the uplifting message–if you’re not listening to all the linked songs in this article, you probably do want to listen to this one.

Every time I hear the name of Casting Crowns lead vocalist Mark Hall, I wonder if he’s possibly the son of a girl for whom we had two albums.  The first must have been Flying, because it’s the only album listed under her maiden name, Pam Mark, but by the time she released her second album, This Is Not a Dream, she was Pam Mark Hall.  I don’t remember any titles from either of those albums, but her album Never Fades Away has a familiar look and sound, with several familiar song titles on it.  These include Little Miss Much Afraid (with what sounds like Fireworks‘ Marty McCall supporting vocals), Lord of the Starfields, and others not available on video.

I recognize enough Reba Rambo album covers that we must have had a stack of them at the station, including her first, the 1969 release Reality, although I recall no titles from that.  She was more of a contemporary southern gospel artist, but borderline.  I remember the standard He Looked Beyond My Fault (And Saw My Need) from 1971’s Songs My Mother Taught Me, The Land of Oohs and Ahs/Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the title song from from 1977’s Lady, and a couple songs from The Lady Is a Child.  A few of the intervening albums don’t look familiar, but I remember the album Dreamin’.  It appears that her last release was 1982’s Lady Live.  In 1980 she married Dony McGuire, and they released several albums as a duo through 1987.

In creating this list I remembered the name of rocker Leslie Phillips, who later recorded as Sam Phillips and Sam Burnett.  Her album Beyond Saturday Night in 1983 pushed the envelope a bit for solo female CCM vocalists, as demonstrated by Put Your Heart In Me, and I vaguely remember the 1984 album, title song Dancing With Danger.

I’m adding one more artist to this list.  We never played anything, nor indeed had anything, of hers at the radio station, and I can’t vouch for her faith (which she cryptically attributed to the influence of, of all people, Paul Simon).  She was a member of Bette Midler’s backup band The Harlettes before launching her solo career, but Melissa Manchester recorded one song on her 1974 Bright Eyes album that was an expression of faith that most Christians never heard.  Oh Heaven (How You’ve Changed Me) (a slightly different arrangement from the album version, but well done live).  Although when I arranged it for my friend Sue Adams Kirkegard (RIP) I changed the words to the last line of the last verse (to “You’ve got to ask Him in yourself”), it’s still a great song that should be remembered.

That’s not all the girls–we already did articles on Honeytree, Amy Grant, quite a few ladies who were part of larger bands but had separate careers (Sandra Crouch, Tremaine Hawkins, the girls of 2nd Chapter of Acts), and we’ve got at least one more still on the list.  These, though, manage to cover a lot of those who deserve to be included but for whom I would be hard-pressed to remember enough to support a separate article.

I’ve got one for the boys coming up.


The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.
  29. #296:  Found Free Lost.
  30. #299:  Praise for Dallas Holm.
  31. #302:  Might Be Truth and the Cleverly-named Re’Generation.
  32. #304:  Accidental Amy Grant.
  33. #312:  Produced by Christian and Bannister.
  34. #315:  Don Francisco Alive.

#323: Verser Crises

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #323, on the subject of Verser Crises.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first five novels, Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, and Garden of Versers, in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I have posted the sixth, Versers Versus Versers,  I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

This is the second mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 12 through 22.  Previous entries in this series include:

History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.

Pagak Menara Indonesia Masjid Jawa Timur Malang

Chapter 12, Beam 44

The notion that the Amir would feed them brains and eyeballs came from a vague recollection of a documentary mentioning that the Queen of England was often served such delicacies when she visited Commonwealth countries, and had not only to eat them but to appear to enjoy doing so.  The conversation drifted from that.  I almost forgot to mention the beer and wine, but had thought previously that these should be included in the first discussion of the meal.

This was chapter 10 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 13, Brown 180

Pieces of the story were beginning to coalesce.  I had already established that Derek, as Morach, would be doing aerial recon over Beam’s party and be shot out of the air by Dawn.  I also knew that somehow Beam would become involved in helping Amir Laban Fassad find a way to bring down the Caliph of the Twin Rivers.  Now I realized that the way to approach this would be to have Beam confront the Amir concerning what he wants, the Amir express his hope to overthrow the Caliph and his efforts through using bandits to harass the border, Beam mentioning the definition of insanity, and suggesting that the way to bring down the Caliph is first to take out those Amirs who are supporting him.  He would then decide to begin by doing recon of the most distant one, the downstream Amirate belonging to Vashti’s father.  This puts Beam’s team in position for Derek to investigate.

That, though, meant that quite a bit had to happen on Beam’s thread for very little on Derek’s, and I was going to have to find a way to move Derek forward slowly while accelerating Beam.  Thus the trip down the river was the right place to start.  I discussed all this with Kyler, and we agreed on that much.

This was chapter 11 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 14, Slade 157

Mostly I was moving time a bit so I could get back to Beam and set up the next move, but I also thought it would be interesting to show that Slade is worrying about the wrong end of the problem here.

This was chapter 12 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 15, Beam 45

I had now worked out the first significant bit of action, and was moving the characters into that confrontation.  The difficult part was figuring out how to motivate Beam into fighting for Laban, but Beam has his greed working for me.

This was chapter 13 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 16, Hastings 175

The idea that Derek could call home was mentioned when he was a sprite, but he didn’t do it then.  (He did do it later in that book.)  It seemed appropriate now, and I wanted to mention the idea that when he returned Lauren would teach him magic, because no one expects he’ll be versed out before he can return, and I wanted to set that idea in the reader’s mind, that he is expected back at the Caliphate.

This was chapter 14 before the Takano chapters were integrated.

Chapter 17, Takano 3

I kept intending to include her effort to get signal on the cell phone and then forgetting it, so I used it to open this chapter, hoping that the fact that she had been otherwise occupied would distract the reader from the fact that this would probably have been the first thing she tried.

The decision to go find a centaur was partly inspired by the need to visit the Sorns in Out of the Silent Planet, probably partly by the notion of centaurs being wise in the Harry Potter books, and partly by the fact that being part horse they would travel more than satyrs and so would have to know geography better.

Again, although this was the right insertion point by count, it seemed good to break up the interacting chapters of the other characters by diverting to Tomiko here.

Chapter 18, Kondor 157

When I finished writing Hastings 175, I glanced at the outline of chapters and put Kondor’s name at the top of this one.  I think when I wrote that I had a rough idea what was going to happen in it, but it was late and I went to bed.  I could not think of what I was going to write the entire next day, and finally settled on something different, a direction I had always hinted but hesitated to follow–letting Lauren teach everyone some psionics.  The hesitation is because the more similar the characters are to each other the harder it is to write good different stories for them.  Yet it is obvious that they would teach each other, and particularly Lauren, so it has to be made possible.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 15.

Chapter 19, Brown 181

I faced a difficult construction problem at this point.  I needed to have interaction between Derek and Beam, and it was going to require that I bring both of them to the same place, have Beam take action that affects Derek, and have Derek describe the effect.  That, though, seemed to require two Brown chapters with a short Beam chapter between them, and I didn’t like that; it also didn’t make that much sense, and I was having trouble figuring out how to avoid several short chapters switching between Beam and Brown.  Finally I decided that whichever of them I moved first, the reader would realize that the other had already moved, so I would start with Brown and then do Beam.  It was already part of the concept that Derek would telepathically contact someone to give information about the situation, and in discussing it with Kyler he suggested that Lauren would be the person he most naturally contacted, and I realized he was right–in a panic situation, he would go for the contact that was easiest, and that would be her.

Most of the castle material was fill so the chapter wouldn’t seem to be overly focused on having Derek fly out for this investigation.  However, I knew that I was going to need to have Derek able to contact Vashti telepathically, and included that at this point.

Kyler thought this three-chapter stretch (19-20-21) was the best part of the book to date, although he confesses to being fond of Dawn.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 16.

Chapter 20, Beam 46

I knew most of what was going to happen in this chapter for quite a while.  I did not know it was going to happen this soon.  I also expanded it a bit by compressing the events that brought Beam here instead of putting them in their own chapter.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 20.

Chapter 21, Hastings 176

Originally I was going to narrate this from Derek’s perspective, but as mentioned I was having trouble figuring out how to integrate Derek with Beam here, and the notion that Derek was going to contact Lauren telepathically gave me an alternative and an opportunity for some dramatic uncertainty.

Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 18.

Chapter 22, Takano 4

I was not sure where this was going, but was at this point experimenting with the milieu.  I was going to have to find out whether people can digest the oats eaten by horses.  The answer seems to be yes, provided that the oats are soaked, and a good warm mash is generally oats with molasses soaked in warm water.

This chapter was inserted here to disconnect the preparations for departure of the team in the previous chapter from the arrival in the next.  It was the first time I broke from the regular pattern of every six chapters.

This has been the second behind the writings look at Versers Versus Versers.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind the writings posts for it.

#322: The Song “Voices”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #322, on the subject of The Song “Voices”.

I ranked this number 11 as far as best songs go, and number 7 on quality of recording and performance, and Tristan had it tied at thirteen, which brought it to number 7 on our combined list.  (The ranking system is explained in connection with previous web log song posts, linked below.)  I complain to myself that I omitted one voice part on the choruses, and that since I made this recording I added a third vocal to the bridge, but that’s a story in itself.  The recording is here.


It must have been around 1986.  I was out of work and getting a bit of money working with the husband of the sister of a childhood friend of my wife, who did mostly drywall and some painting.  I don’t recall whether it was drywall or painting we were doing, but it struck me as I was working that believers often speak of hearing God’s voice.  I have never heard the audible voice of God, but I have known some who have, and I do beleive that God has given me direction by less dynamic leading.  Still, when we say that God told us or God directed us, unbelievers have a reasonable right to question our sanity.

That was what was going through my head that day, that we–and not only believers–in a sense are hearing voices telling us what to do.  We see it in cartoons and comics, with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other arguing about what someone should do.  I thought I should capture that in a song.

I thought, though, that the song should having something of the sound of a crazy person, and as I wrote the chorus in my head I was chording it to create a melody that stepped out of key constantly.  I wanted weird, and my out-of-key chords and cascading tonality gave me something that I, at least, thought sounded like a crazy person.  I also included the background vocals from the beginning, because I wanted the juxtaposition of the soloist who “hears voices” and the voices that he hears.

The verses were considerably less crazy, but they do shift out of key and back more than once.

I wrote the bridge after most of the rest of the song was completed, and worked out the two parts that are on this recording.  We did the song, very like this although with one more vocal part on the choruses, in TerraNova in the mid 80s.  My wife said that the bridge was the most beautiful passage she had ever heard, which had two effects.  The first was that I added the instrumental verse (I played the part which here is done as a midi on a tenor saxophone) so that I could repeat the bridge.  The other was that in the years which followed I imagined a third vocal part for the bridge but did not record it because I didn’t want to ruin “the most beautiful passage” she had ever heard.  It turns out that long after I made this recording she heard me singing the third part to it, and liked it even more, but I no longer have the equipment to record.

As originally written the song ends with the vocalists repeating “ces-ces-ces….” as written below.  Jerry Kregger, lead guitarist and vocalist in TerraNova, was annoyed that several of my songs ended with variations on a fade–Time Bomb (linked below) notable among them, but I think he thought that the endings of Walkin’ In the Woods and Holocaust were fades because they weren’t hard cold endings.  Thus to please him I added the stinger at the end.  I still don’t like it, and I shouldn’t have included it in the recording, but it’s there.  I would omit it if I had another chance to record or perform the song.  I would also add some backup vocals to the last verse.

So here are the words:

I’m hearing voices, it’s crazy but it’s true,
I’m hearing voices, they tell me what to do.
One voice knows the way of light,
It tells me things I know are right,
So when I need to make a choice,
I listen for the voice.
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah) and you can hear them, too,
I’m hearing voices, voices, voices.

I’m in the drug store when the clerk is in the back,
Pickin’ up a paper and some candies off the rack.
They’ll never miss it if some candies disappear–
I look around, and I can see the coast is clear.
Although I’m sure that no one can see,
I hear a voice inside of me.

I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), it’s crazy but it’s true,
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), they tell me what to do.
One voice knows the way of light,
It tells me things I know are right,
So when I need to make a choice,
I listen for the voice.
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah) and you can hear them, too,
I’m hearing voices, voices, voices.

I meet my girlfriend for le rendezvous d’amour.
We’re secret lovers, it’s a true l’affaire des cour.
I hear those voices saying, “Take it all the way.
“Ev’rybody does it, just enjoy yourself today.”
But I hear one voice clear and strong–
I can’t explain, but I know it’s wrong.

I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), it’s crazy but it’s true,
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), they tell me what to do.
One voice knows the way of light,
It tells me things I know are right,
So when I need to make a choice,
I listen for the voice.
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah) and you can hear them, too,
I’m hearing voices, voices, voices.

Choose me now and you will find the way.
I will come to you, and I will tell you what to say.
Open up your eyes and see your part.
Give to me your soul, give me your strength, your life, your heart,
Your all.

Choose me now and you will find the way.
I will come to you, and I will tell you what to say.
Open up your eyes and see your part.
Give to me your soul, give me your strength, your life, your heart,
Your all.

I’ve found the answer to the choices I must make.
List’ning to the Shepherd, I can find the path to take.
I am His sheep, and so I recognize His voice.
He has got the answer when I need to make a choice.
So as I follow His command
I know my life is in His hand.

I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), it’s crazy but it’s true,
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah), they tell me what to do.
One voice knows the way of light,
It tells me things I know are right,
So when I need to make a choice,
I listen for the voice.
I’m hearing voices (Voices, ah) and you can hear them, too,
I’m hearing voices, voices, voices-ces-ces-ces-ces-ces-ces-ces.

I can only hope you benefit from the song in some way.  I will continue with additional songs in the future.


Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free”

Next song:  Mountain, Mountain