Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Drive To Five: Anybody Out There?

We left off our recap of #PlatVnyl2 with the GRAC, and with the revelation that there was no Fallen Awards given out that year, there being no "scandal" in the industry. The Crossover potential of CCM was very strong with Jackie Evancho and The Civil Wars getting Album of The Year nominations in the inaugural year for that category.

In a first of sorts (as it has yet to be repeated), a multiple artist compilation, Music Inspired by The Story, was both a Perfect Album and nominated for Album of The Year. Folk Music struck platinum that year as Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars took home Album of The Year. The duo would make their return to the podium for #PlatVnyl4, but that is for another time.

The Folk/Folk Rock Split would last for a second year as The Civil Wars, in addition to winning Album of The Year, also took home Traditional Folk Album of The Year. The Folk Rock Album of The Year was won by Comeback Group Burlap To Cashmere, who first burst onto the scene with their debut Anybody Out There? way back in 1998. Burning Bright caused them to burn out and they left the scene until 2011, when they took home not only Folk Rock Album of The Year but beat out fellow nominee Miss Angie for Comeback Artist of The Year. That category doubled in size as well, going from 1 to 2 nominees.

When we next return we will move on to the Class of 2011, as I call the New Artists for the Year. It was a big class with a lot of staying power. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Drive To Five: Turning One With Two

As a one year old should be larger than a newborn infant, so the first year anniversary of the Platinum Vinyl Awards should be bigger and better than the inaugural awards. And so it was. The total number of awards exploded from 20 to 30 (okay, a minor explosion). The growth came from the addition of the Song of The Year Awards, as well as the creation of the Adult Contemporary/Inspirational Genre, which was split off from Pop Music.

In a related move, the award process was assisted with the creation of the Emerald Rating System, which awarded anything from 0 (nothing has ever been this bad) to 5 Emeralds, which is considered a "Perfect" album. Calendar year 2011 (of which 9 months were in #PlatVnyl2) produced 18 perfect albums, a number which has increased each year, owing either to an increased quality of music in CCM, or the fact that I am a push-over. As of this time 2014 has had over 40 perfect albums. Over twice the original list.

The GRAC/Clean Secular/Crossover section of The PVA's exploded in the second year with entries from The Civil Wars, Jackie Evancho, Blessid Union of Souls and Switchfoot. Fortunately none of these artists fell afoul of the industry, so there was no Fallen Award handed out in the second year.

All in all the field was very promising as we entered the second awards. As we continue through the week we shall see get into the meat of the second awards. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Drive to Five: Rise of The Fallen

Welcome Back to our continuing coverage of the first four Platinum Vinyl Awards as we make our way to #PlatVnyl5, which is sure to be a milestone at +The WENC Night Beat . From the start way back in 2010 we always had a broader view than most as to what constituted Christian Music. Back in the early days of Christian Rock we clung to anyone who remotely sounded spiritual, so among the selections played at WENC was some guys from Ireland called U2 and another band by the name of Mister Mister.

As the industry got bigger, it got a little too big for its britches. It soon started deciding, Walter Martin Like, on the spiritual bona-fides of artists. If an artist got a bit too critical of the industry and saying things like "I'm a Musician Who is a Christian, not a Christian Musician", well, we just couldn't have impudence like that in the industry, so they were Kicked Out Of the Kingdom. The first one I remember was Leslie Phillips, who left the Black and White In a Gray World CCM industry and recorded as Sam Phillips.

Our first K.O.O.K. of the Platinum Vinyl Awards was The Knappster herself, Jennifer Knapp. She came out and was kicked out, but she won a Fallen Award and Folk Rock Album of The Year. Nominations were also given out to crossover artists Evolett, though that wasn't enough to keep them around. And we also had the Clean Secular Rock/Cello artists Apocalyptica make an appearance.

That concludes our look back at our inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards. When we return we will go on to #PlatVnyl2. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Drive To Five: The Class of 2010

Welcome back to our look back to the first four Platinum Vinyl Awards as we begin the road to #PlatVnyl5. Today we will look at the Class of 2010 interpreted however you want to.  It was the year of The New, The Dying, and The Establishment. Debut artists came up winners in Modern Worship and Pop with wins by Rend Collective Experiment and Poema respectively. Debut artists receiving nominations included the two winners as well as Forever Jones, The Washington Projects, VaShawn Mitchell, Evolett, The Letter Black, Audrey Assad, Me In Motion, Kerrie Roberts and Heather Williams. The Class of 2010 did not have an easy road, and of the 11 newbies 4 of them (The Washington Projects, Evolett, Me In Motion and Audrey Assad) are no longer with us musically, with Assad leaving the industry completely, unable to reconcile faith and pop music.

The newbies weren't the only ones to say goodbye. 2010 was the swan song for several artists. Delirious was the only official breakup. (When you're nominated for your farewell show, it is pretty obvious). Though Addison Road broke up soon afterward. Caedmon's Call has not been heard from in years and Group 1 Crew, though still technically intact, has lost two of its three original members so it is very hard to say it hasn't broken up.

There is a pecking order in Christian Music, and it reaches even to The Night Beat. New Artist of The Year , the class of 2010 had to wait their turn in most cases. Jennifer Knapp, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, even industry favorite Michael W. Smith won in the inaugural award. We shall see how the rest fare.

In our next post we will discuss the Crossovers, The Kooks, and the Grac. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Drive To Five: The Pursuit of Platinum

Here at the Headquarters of the Platinum Vinyl Awards we are racing toward our 6th Awards. But just like they say about not looking past an opponent, we must not forget about the fifth awards this Spring. Still, as we prepare for the Fifth, I feel it is an appropriate time to look back at our humble beginnings.

The inaugural awards had 10 genre based awards and another 10 general field awards. It was a five hour blogathon. Growth was natural. Even before the ceremony we had to split Rock Album of The Year into Rock and Metal.

The original concept was for the Platinum Vinyl Awards to be a best of the year award with a Calendar Year eligibility period. The idea was soon scrapped and a October 1 - September 30 eligibility year instituted. We also set the perfect number of nominees per category at 7. Considering that only two genres (Folk/Folk Rock and Children's Music) fell short of the number it was a good choice. Those two genres were still awarded, however.

It goes without saying that the inaugural award would be full of "firsts", yet not all of them were welcome. Two of the album awards resulted in ties, a result as distasteful to this blogger as the neck ware, yet sometimes just as necessary. The first tie occurred in the folk music genre. You would think that a clear winner could be picked among only five nominees, but such was not the case. In a field consisting of Andrew Peterson, Sandra McCracken, Caedmon's Call, Jennifer Knapp and Carolina Story, it deadlocked at two finalists. Since each artist represented one half of the genre, so to speak, the solution was to split the baby. Carolina Story took home Traditional Folk Album of The Year for When The River Met The Sea and Jennifer Knapp took home Folk Rock Album of The Year for Letting Go.

A more traditional tie occurred with Alternative Album of The Year. No Solomon like wisdom needed here, we simply gave our two awards. Genre Creators The Choir, Burning Like The Midnight Sun after over twenty years, for sounding truly alternative, and Ivoryline with the more corporate sound, for Vessels.

We will continue our look back at the inaugural award with our next post. Until then I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Night Beat Rewind: November 2014

November is over. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. Though the industry has given me a few week break on the release schedule. That doesn't mean there is nothing to do, however. 

The end of November means a new edition of Night Beat Rewind, our second for #PlatVnyl6. It is the Christmas Music Season, so a lot of the releases are ineligible this time of year (15 entries this month), but I still give them a rating. Wouldn't want any of my friends to get stuck with an album full of grandma got run over by a reindeer.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

  • 7eventh Time Down - A Christmas Wish List 4.75 Emeralds
  • Cloverton - We Sing Joy 4.75 Emeralds
  • Everfound - Resolution: Christmas EP 4.25 Emeralds
  • Shaun Groves - Christmas, Vol 1 4.50 Emeralds
  • House of Heroes - Hark! The House of Heroes Sing 4.75 Emeralds
  • The Modern Post - Lowborn King 4.75 Emeralds
  • Rend Collective Experiment - Campfire Christmas, Vol 1 5 Emeralds
  • Solid State Records Christmas - Midnight Clear 4.75 Emeralds
  • Smalltown Poets - Christmas Time Again 5 Emeralds
  • Temple Veil - One Star 3.75 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Christmas Goes Gospel: Tis The Season 4.50 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - This is Christmas 4.50 Emeralds
  • Visible Music College Presents - A Visible Christmas, Vol 3  4.75 Emeralds
  • Kim Walker-Smith - When Christmas Comes 4.50
From the Christmas Music to Singles (songs that is), I am still working out how the song ratings will work, but there are enough releases to merit this section, so here goes.

The Singles Scene

  • Jason Bare - Christmas All The Time 4.50 Emeralds
  • Capital Kings - In The Wild 4.75 Emeralds
  • Mr. Del - When Men Worship on Dat 4.50 Emeralds
  • Family Force 5 - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 4.50 Emeralds
  • Ellie Holcomb - Hope Is Alive (Christmas) 4.50 Emeralds
  • Mat Kearney - Heartbeat 4.50 Emeralds
  • Aaron Ray - Beautiful ft Z.G. 4.75 Emeralds
  • Matthew West - A Christmas To Believe In 5 Emeralds
Now we go on to our regularly scheduled edition of rewind. We begin our album coverage with those albums that didn't make the cut for the awards. Maybe it is the season but there was only one, so I am going to mention it here instead of in List Format. Phillips, Craig and Dean did not impress with Above It All, and I gave it the maximum rating of 3.75 Emeralds. It just seemed like they mailed it in.

The next group surely didn't mail it in. This is the cream of the crop.

Pure Platinum Perfection

I don't usually give Best of collections perfect ratings, but this one from TFK was simply awesome. Ultimate is an understatement. Most of them are in the middle, however.

Semi-Precious Metal

  • Abandon - Love Prevails 4.75 Emeralds
  • Christ For The Nations Worship - Kingdom (Deluxe Edition) 4.50 Emeralds
  • Citizens and Saints - Join the Triumph 4.75 Emeralds
  • Copeland - Ixora 4.75 Emeralds
  • Day One Worship - From The Dust (Live) 4.50 Emeralds
  • The Digital Age - Rehearsals Vol. 2 4.50 Emeralds
  • Elevation Worship - Wake Up The Wonder [+video] 4.75 Emeralds
  • Brooke Fraser - Wake Up The Wonder [+video] 4.75 Emeralds
  • Ta Randa Green - Stronger 4.50 Emeralds
  • Group 1 Crew - #Stronger 4.50 Emeralds
  • Fred Hammond - I Will Trust 4.50 Emeralds
  • Hardie Avenue - Hardie Avenue 4.50 Emeralds
  • Japhia Life - The Profit 4.75 Emeralds
  • Jericho - Road 2 Redemption 4.50 Emeralds
  • Kutless - The Ultimate Collection 4.75 Emeralds
  • Toby Mac - Eye'M All Mixed Up 4.75 Emeralds
  • Andrea McCaffrey - The Push and Pull EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • VaShawn Mitchell - Unstoppable (Live) 4.50 Emeralds
  • J Moss - Grown Folks Gospel - 4.75 Emeralds
  • Newsboys - Hallelujah For The Cross 4.75 Emeralds
  • Reschad Oliver - Pharaoh 4.50 Emeralds
  • Ginny Owens - I Know A Secret 4.75 Emeralds
  • Passion - The Essential Collection (Live) 4.50 Emeralds
  • P.O.D. - The So Cal Sessions 4.75 Emeralds
  • Jackie Hill Perry - The Art of Joy 4.75 Emeralds
  • Andrew Peterson - After All These Years 4.50 Emeralds
  • Jessica Reedy - Transparent 4.75 Emeralds
  • Shuree - Be The Change EP 4.75 Emeralds
  • Silent Planet - The Night God Slept 4.50 Emeralds
  • Nathan Tasker - Man on a Wire 4.75 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Come Alive: Live From The Centric Worship Retreat 4.50 Emeralds
That does it for November. You all know the drill. I am forgoing links for the moment to get out the post. I am so behind it is not even funny. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Night Beat Replay: Beware of Small Business Saturday

(The Following Post was published in 2011 as I discovered Small Business Saturday. The Post is Satire. Shop at the Business You Want to Shop At. Even Wal-Mart was originally a Small Business. Are you angry when your Children Become Adults? Properly nourished businesses will grow. Enjoy)

Today I am compelled to pass on news regarding a diabolical plot by the multinational corporations to control the world. Now this information has been provided to me by the peaceful folk at Occupy Wall Street, so we can be assured of its reliability.
Like all diabolical plots, this one has an innocent name. It's called Small Business Saturday. It has an equally innocent slogan "When we all shop small, it will be HUGE!" I have found numerous examples to show just how huge.

In 1902 Real Estate Agent George D. Dayton opens Dayton's Dry Goods, a small retail store on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, MN

In 1962 Sam & Helen Walton open a discount retail store in Rogers, AR. Unable to find investors for their one little store, they are forced to put up 95% of the money on their own.

In 1965 Leonard Riggio establishes Student Book Exchange in Greenwich Village. The small bookstore is devoted to providing low cost textbooks to college students.

In 1971 English Teacher Jerry Baldwin, History Teacher Zev Siegl, and Writer Gordon Bowker start a small coffee shop at 2000 Western Avenue in Seattle, WA

In 1976, in a garage in CA., two hippie kids build a computer circuit board with a fruity name. It has a CPU of 1MHz, 8kb of Ram, and 1kb of VRam, and sells for the beastly sum of $666.66

In 1978, 25 year old college dropout John Mackey and 21year old Rene Lawson Handy borrow $45,000 from family and friends and open Safer Way, a small natural foods store in Austin, TX

Now these are all small businesses, the backbone of America, and deserve our support. You would think so, and people did support them, and look what happened. They turned into the monsters Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and Apple, responsible for destroying main streets across this land.

What about the last example? That is the worst of all, for only three years later, when they only had 19 employees, Gaia herself, in her infinite wisdom, attempted to wipe this great evil out by unleashing the worst flood in Austin in 70 years. Without insurance, Mackey and Handy, with nearly a half million dollars worth of damage, would have closed, except that neighbors and customers volunteered to help them clean up the store, and vendors and creditors gave them time to pay their obligations. This allowed them to reopen after only 28 days, and they became Whole Foods Market, responsible for shutting down small natural food markets everywhere.

I think it is obvious. I implore you, Do Not Support Small Business. It WILL Grow.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at The Night Beat

As you enjoy family, food, football and faith. Not necessarily in that order, just remember this. We celebrate a day in October 1621 When the Pilgrims (not the dour Puritan, these were real Elizabethan Englishmen) gave thanks, first to God, and then to the Wampanoags for their survival of the first year. Massasoit arrived with 90 of his tribemates plus 5 dressed deer and a dozen wild turkeys. There were also gun and arrow shooting contests in which both Wampanoag and Pilgrim participated. Plus foot races and wrestling contests. It lasted three days. And it paved the way for a treaty between the two which lasted for forty years. The Pilgrims were people of their word, unlike some of their descendants. So, if you see news items of protests against Thanksgiving, just remember, as is usually the case of anything in the MSM, it doesn't stand up to the facts of history. HAPPY THANKSGIVING everybody.

Of course we wouldn't want to leave you without something to watch other than football. Here is the full Charlie Brown's Christmas
We will see you all on Monday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Music Video Monday: Psychosocial

Welcome to our Thanksgiving Week edition of Music Video Monday. Due to the magic of scheduling I should be able to create a full week of posts. We begin with our video tour. Things are slowing down, but it looks like I can avoid the Christmas Videos until next week, which is the plan.

Our first video comes from +brooke fraser. This is Psychosocial, from her latest release Brutal Romantic. 

Up next we have +Ginny Owens one of the best voices in Pop Music. This is No Borders. It's about love, not illegal immigration. 
Finally, we have a video Gospel legend Fred Hammond. This is I Will Trust.
That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Enjoy the turkey, be thankful, and I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, November 21, 2014

No More Meltdowns Goliath

The ratings system of the WENC Night Beat isn't exactly a closely guarded secret, but that doesn't mean that it's haphazard. One of the biggest factors, however, is expectations. With a debut artist, expectations, you would think, would be non-existent, but that really isn't true. In that case I judge them against the standard of what I feel would be the "Perfect Album" for the genre that they are in, or at least resemble for most of the album. Now in the case of an established artist, while I still have that perfect album in my mind, I also judge the album against what I feel is my expectations of a perfect album BY THAT ARTIST. Now sometimes an artists tries to make life difficult by promising never to make two albums that sound alike, like Project 86, but usually even there you can catch some similarities.

Now with a comeback things can get kind of crazy. And when an artists hasn't recorded an album in over 20 years. People change. But still, you can come up with something fairly accurate, as I did this past year with Sweet Comfort Band, which hadn't recorded in 30 years.

Speaking of crazy, it usually helps if the artist is certifiable, like Randy Stonehill or in this case Steve Taylor. After all age and maturity may pass, but crazy is forever. Goliath  is the title of Taylor's return to the music industry. No longer saddled with just Some Band, he has finally found the Perfect Foil. 

Now this isn't your daddy's Steve Taylor by any means (his heyday was between 1983-1987). The synthpop is gone. He never thought it aged well. Of course since I love techno and synthpop I have always begged to differ. There is no meltdown on this album or any tricks like Am I In Synch. A few throwbacks exist. Sympathy Vote has a distinct Whatever Happened to Sin vibe, but the sound is more mature. Mature sound, but the sarcasm (some might say venom, but it isn't) is still thick on tracks like Double Negative or Comedian ("I'm sick as a dog but I still fetch" is a new classic). The title track, a spin on the David/Goliath story in the Bible, has a video out. This is one mean little bunch.

I'm handing out candy here at +The WENC Night Beat as the Holiday Season approaches. Actually I seem to do it all year long. How else can you wind up with 30 or so perfect albums. I'm going to do it again, as I'm going to give Goliath a perfect 5 Emerald Rating. It's good to have the Clone Prince behind the mic again. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Righteous Babe Set Free

The Platinum Vinyl Awards is celebrating it's fifth birthday, and as we move into that season and collect entries for #PlatVnyl6 we have come full circle, and with a somewhat bittersweet remembrance.

Christendom in general and the Christian Music Industry in specific has had a really tough time violating Romans 14:4. For the Biblically Uninformed that verse reads "Who are you that judge another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand". Whole ministries have been founded on the basis that they alone would decide who was a Christian and who was not (the late Walter Martin and his ilk). As such I have always had a very prized place in my music heart for the K.O.O.K.s (that's Kicked Out Of the Kingdom). It goes at least to Leslie Phillips, at least in m recent memory. However Evanescence was the one who got the last laugh on the industry, and so in the inaugural Platinum Vinyl Award I created the Fallen Award, which honored the K.O.O.K.s in Christian Music.

The first award went to a Folk Rock Legend, the original Knappster. +Jennifer Knapp pretty much created modern Folk Rock, and the babe from Kansas grabbed a entire generation of Rockers who thought that RSJ could be a tad too tame. She burned bright for a while and then, burned out by the industry, she retired at the top of her act. She returned in 2010 after a 9 year hiatus with Letting Go (2010). Though the album was initially embraced and promoted by the CCM industry, like Fallen before it, soon information "leaked out" that Knapp announced she had come out of the closet. The only thing the industry didn't do was burn her at the stake. Musically however, there really wasn't that much difference between Letting Go and her "Christian Work". Letting go won (actually Split) the Folk Album award.

The gorgeous Kansan returns now with Set me free [+digital booklet] . Now 40 (my how time flies), this could be her best work yet. It is almost pure Folk, but she does Rock out on Remedy and Why Wait, which show she's still the Top Dog. There is also a song called What Might Have Been, which is probably the most beautiful song on the album. Actually the album most resembles Kansas, her debut. She is coming back home, and let me welcome her with 5 Emeralds. This Righteous Babe (her label, love it) has set the Folk Bar for #PlatVnyl6. 

The Knappster is also an author. She has written her story, appropriately titled Facing the Music: My Story . I would label it a must read. Until next time at the Night Beat Candy Store, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Video Monday: Cathedrals

Welcome Back to Music Video Monday everyone, we are somewhat on schedule this week. Just a quick post this time. We begin our video tour with Bluegrass/Rap group +WHOSOEVER SOUTH and their latest Music Video, Down Here. 
We continue with another Perfect 5 Emerald Rating band, +Tenth Avenue North. This is We Are Cathedrals.
And finally, we conclude our video tour on a Hard Note. We crank up the volume for Project 86. This is the title video for Knives to The Future.
That does it for this edition of Music Video Monday. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flashback Friday: Return of The Clone Prince

No I didn't spell the title wrong, the word is cloned. No, this isn't a Bob Dylan Post. Don't worry, things will become clearer soon. I could have used Send in The Clones or A Clone Again (Naturally).

Earlier in our Flashback Friday journey we met Randy Stonehill, someone whom, while a great musician, also had a fairly warped sense of humor, and has been the counterbalance to the often over serious CCM Universe. While Uncle Randy may have been Christian Music's Clown Prince, our latest subject excelled not in humor but in biting satire.

Roland Steven Taylor was born December 9, 1957 in Southern California, the son of a Pastor. The family soon up an moved to Denver Colorado. Maybe it was a mis-wiring of the brain, maybe it was the lack of oxygen in Denver. Whatever the reason, it is quite obvious that Steve (aren't you glad he didn't go by Roland) Taylor doesn't think like the typical Christian, and while the Industry may have rued the day he was born, Christian College Students and DJ's loved him.

One of the few Academic Elites of Christian Music (alright, alright, he was a Music Major). He started his adult career as a Youth Minister and Janitor at his father's Church. Musically he says The Clash, specifically London Calling "saved his life". While at Colorado University he recorded a few demo songs, and he went to Southern California after graduation to try to get signed by a mainstream label. He was unsuccessful, but one man, Jim Chaffee, was impressed and got him a job as assistant director of The Continentals.

Anyone who knows of Taylor's music knows he wasn't anything like the continentals. Chaffee got him another job, this time with Chuck Bolte's Jeremiah People, a Musical Comedy Troupe with heavy doses of satire. I remember them back in the 80's. They were great. Of course for pure comedy value Isaac Air Freight was superior.

Chaffee's Cheer leading finally paid off when he convinced Tayor's first boss, Cam Floria, founder of The Continentals, to give Taylor a two song slot at his Christian Artists Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Maybe it was the home crowd, but the Crowd Acclaim convinced Billy Ray Hearn, President of Sparrow Records, to sign Taylor as he came off the stage.

Clone Wars 

I Want To Be A Clone (1983) was a hit. The Six Song EP sold 85,000 copies, and in an industry dominated at the time by The Imperials, that was quite a showing. Christian Kids everywhere were introduced to attitude. Taylor launched his sarcastic wit directly on the Church, as Clone focused on the Christian Churches penchant for turning out cookie cutter Christians. Churchianity as it is called. Let Taylor tell you in his own way.

 Taylor's Meltdown

Meltdown (1984) was Taylor's full length debut, and anyone worried that he couldn't find enough targets to fill an album needn't have worried. The title cut focused on our celebrity obsession, and was sparked by a trip to Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum. He saw the statues and wondered "What would happen if someone turned up the heat". Kids, remember, he only THOUGHT it. Due to clone's success he decided to form a permanent touring band. He raided the studio musicians from clone to do it, and lest we forget who was the real star, he named them Some Band, as in Steve Taylor and Some Band. Meltdown was Taylor's first Music Video, and it also "starred" Lisa Welchel (The Facts of Life) in a supporting role as a TV Reporter.
Two memorable songs came out of Meltdown. While the title cut focused on our obsession with celebrity, the other song targeted bigotry in the Church, and apartheid as well. This is We Don't Need No Color Code Taylor was on a roll, and he kept up a pace of an album a year. Taylor's fertile mind, 80's Pop Culture, and the budding Televangelism Scandals, provided plenty of material for Taylor's Wit to focus on. For On The Fritz (1985) Taylor, in a most memorable "Fashion" turned his satire on the Public School system and the practice of teaching "Values Clarification". to the young skulls full of mush. For the song "Lifeboat" and its accompanying Music Video, Taylor enlisted the support of Mrs. Aryan "the world's ugliest woman". See if you agree. Even though I went to Public School, I seem to have missed out on the Lifeboat game. That's not saying I had to fight liberal indoctrination. Even though I wasn't tasked with deciding who lives and who dies, I did hear about "situational ethics". You know the drill "In certain situations Lying, Stealing, Cheating, etc is the best thing to do. People's feelings will be hurt or worse if you told them the truth. For the poster boy of the teaching, look no further than our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton.

1986 brought Limelight, a filler EP recorded in London during the 1985 Greenbelt Festival. 1987 Gave us "I Predict, 1990, an album which was more controversial than successful. It was attacked for its cover by some who thought that there were images of Tarot Cards on it (there weren't). Jimmy Swaggart included an entire chapter of his book Religious Rock and Roll, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing on Taylor, and even the NOW gang was outraged when they protested against the song I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good. Considering that Taylor's forte was Satire, that meant that the NOW gang actually was protesting for bombing, since Taylor was saying it was wrong. Tayor Retired soon after I Predict, 1990, but soon resurfaced as frontman of the MCA band Chagall Guevara (don't be ashamed if you can't pronounce it). This is Violent Blue Taylor returned for one more album, Squint in 1993. This is Cash Cow.

Taylor has had a very busy retirement. He has produced 5 Newsboys albums, as well as Guardians Buzz and Bottle Rocket, among others, and his Label Squint Entertainment brought both Sixpence None The Richer and Chevelle to the limelight. That's a nice ending Cash Cow-Hat's off to the bull.

Recently Taylor has turned to the Movies. He is the Director of Blue Like Jazz, which came out this year. Of course his fans wish, even now, that he would make another album. We need his satire more today than ever. After all there is only one Steve Taylor. We can't clone him.
UPDATE 2014: The Clone Prince Is Back. He's still working with Peter Furler and Guardian and the like, but like a true artist, he just cant stay retired. His latest band is called Steve Taylor and The Perfect Foil. The Debut album, and its video is called Goliath. That is it for this week. I Am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Night Beat Rewind: October 2014

The 6th Platinum Vinyl Award Eligibility Year is under way. I am really excited about this year. It is quite obvious by looking at the new releases that things are taking off. I mean, I have four Perfect 5's this year already. We're on pace for 48 perfect 5's in the non holiday variety. We begin with the Holiday releases however, for such is the season. Though if you could hold off on the music on the radio until after Thanksgiving, I would be grateful.

Christmas Music (Non-Eligible)

  • 1 Girl Nation - A Merry 1 Girl Nation Christmas 4.50 Emeralds
  • Carolyn Arends - Christmas: Story of Stories 4.75 Emeralds
  • Chris August - The Christmas EP  4.50 Emeralds
  • Peter Furler - Christmas 5 Emeralds
  • Wayne Haun - Sentimental Season 5 Emeralds
  • Salvador - Hope Was Born 4.75 Emeralds
  • Aaron Shust - Unto Us 4.50 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Gotta Have Gospel Christmas: O Holy Night 5 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Silent Night Carols 4.75 Emeralds
Though 3 releases among the Christmas Music are Perfect 5's, since we don't have a Christmas Music Category, they are not counted among the Perfect 5's for award or best albums of the year. Just an honest opinion of the music.

We move on to the song releases. Singles have always been a mainstay of the music industry from the days of the 45. It's just a little easier with mp3's.

The Singles Scene

  • KIDD - Bellavia 3.75 Emeralds
  • Silent Planet - Firstwake 4.50 Emeralds
  • Project 86 - Genosha - 4.75 Emeralds
Always love Project 86. They always say that if any two albums sound alike, they have failed. That might disappoint some fans, but not this one. On to the albums, and, as always, we begin with those releases which

Missed The Mark

  • Seth Condrey - Worship Sessions, Vol 1 3.75 Emeralds
  • Jamie Nunnally - God is With Us 3.75 Emeralds
  • Teleosong - God's Glory 3.50 Emeralds
Except for Teleosong, which seemed to be an album without a direction, these were pretty good, except for the fact that they won't be award worthy. These next releases, however, are more than worthy. They are, in fact

Pure Platinum

There is not much to say here. Some may disagree with Kings Kaleidoscope because they are disappointed that the Songs from Live In Color were redone. Still, it is not enough to tarnish the Platinum.
We finish with the in betweens, the 

Semi-Precious Metal

That does it for October. We are off to a flying start. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.