Blood and Fire – Who Is It?

Blood and Fire
Who Is It?
1985 (no label)
Guildford, England, United Kingdom

Karl Allison – All vocals except 3, 6, 10
Harry – Guitars, keyboards (4, 10), effects, vocals (4, 6, 10)
Alvin Allison – Keyboards, vocals, effects
Simon Barnett – Drums, percussions, keyboards, vocals, drum programming
William Booth – Extract from “Through Jordan”
Simon Herbert – Bass

Side 1:

  1. This is the Noise
  2. Get the Grip
  3. I Should Have Known
  4. When the Bomb Drops
  5. Who is It?

Side 2:

  1. Everything I Need
  2. Disintegration
  3. Sight for the Blind
  4. Part Time Soldier
  5. Our Father

I’m not totally sure if I know what this band is going for. It’s kind of too punk-ish to be straight up rock. But the keyboards and pop-ish song structures keep it from being punk. And the keyboards are not really new-wave-ish, either. Also, none of those genres really go for 8-minute long songs. It seems like this is British rock with some alternative/punk leanings. I could see this band finding a home on Plankton Records. Also, I noticed that the spine has BAF 002 on it – probably indicating that this is their second demo. But I have no idea if there were others after this one.

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Manna – Open Up!

Manna
Open Up!
1985 (no label)

Alan
Jenny

Side 1:

  1. Open Up!
  2. True Love
  3. Show Me the Way
  4. People Listen Don’t Understand

Side 2:

  1. Trick or Treat?
  2. 4 A.M.
  3. Stick It Back Together
  4. Don’t Treat Me Like a Coat

I’m trying to place what this demo reminds me of. The sound is not hard rock or alternative or new wave – it’s really straight down the middle rock. But it feels like there are some influences of those three here and there, even though the music is kept from getting too extreme. But there are some good songs on here. Female and male lead vocals with male backing vocals – even though Alan and Jenny are the only names listed as contacts (Alan for concerts and Jenny for the newsletter). But are they in the band, helping the band, or the entire band? The tape says this is their second album. It seems there are several bands from the 1970s called Manna, but the only one that had a tape out close to this one is the one from Canada that released Calling You on Tunesmith in 1983. Not sure if this is the same band as that Manna had six guys in it, none of them named Alan.

Ben Okafor – Children of the World

Ben Okafor
Children of the World
1985 Ears & Eyes Production (EEC 047)
Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Ben Okafor – Lead vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
Neville King – Keyboards
Anthony Bartley – Bass guitar
Conrad Kelly – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. What Could It Be
  2. Why?
  3. Children of the World
  4. Who is Jesus

Side 2:

  1. I Love You
  2. Just As I Am
  3. Messiah Man
  4. Jah Man

Ben Okafor is fairly well-known in many music circles. If you haven’t heard of him, well… that is your fault. From what I can tell, this is possibly his first album that he recorded, which was not too long after he moved from Nigeria to the UK. He is a fan of Bob Marley, and Marley’s influence shows on this tape. Okafor continued to develop his own style after this. This tape was produced by early UB40 producer Bob Lamb, so you can hear that influence as well. This was also released on vinyl (and that version seems to be easier to find). This is African roots reggae at its finest. Okafor went on to have albums released by Plankton Records, R.E.X. Music, and many others.

Christ-Win’s Band – Smokin’ Crack

Christ-Win’s Band
Smokin’ Crack
1985 C-Wins Records (112)

Win Thompkins – Songwriter, producer, and ???
Troy Thompkins – Guitars
John Simcic – Tracks(?)

Side 1:

  1. Highest Praise
  2. From Rock to Rock
  3. Trading Rings
  4. He’s a Heroe

Side 2:

  1. Smoking Crack
  2. God is Every Good Thing
  3. Candidate for Jesus

With a band name and demo name like this, I was expecting something out there. Maybe a bad attempt at heavy metal, or even a humorous blues bar band or something. This is really mostly rock music with some electro-funk leanings here and there, as well as a slight reggae sound occasionally. Also a slight blues influence on the guitar solos. So I guess I had that part right. Also, there is some confusion over who did what on this tape. Are Troy and Win the same person, or different? If different, I assume Win also did the vocals? What does “Tracks” mean? Did John do all other instruments on a keyboard? Because it sounds like that might be the case. So was it Win on vocals (since the band is named after him), Troy on guitars, and John doing everything else?

Chariot – Tell the World

Chariot
Tell the World
1985 (no label)
Sharpes, Florida, USA

Paul Aviles – Vocals
Louis Filardo – Guitar, vocals
Jim Pappadeas – Bass
Bruce Fleming – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Constant Confusion
  2. Don’t Forget the Love
  3. I Can See
  4. One More for Heaven
  5. On and On
  6. Look
  7. Survive

Side 2:

  1. Go Tell the World
  2. For You

If you are a fan of underground Christian metal, you have probably heard of a band called Chariot that put out a demo called Step Into Light. When I saw this demo, I checked the Chariot bios online, but they didn’t list this one. Since the card inside says “Christian Rock” and not metal, I assumed it was not the same band and set it aside for later. But coming back to it, I checked the details and found that this, in fact, the same Chariot. So this seems to be an early unknown demo by the band. And when listening to this, it is heavy metal – kind of the classic rock influenced traditional metal of the mid-80s. Think somewhere between early Saint and early Daniel band. And they do a good job of playing and song writing as well.

Rama – The Plan

Rama
The Plan
1985 (no label)
Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, USA

Tome “Swing” Milnes – Lead guitars, vocals
Jerry Wiley – Guitars, vocals
Jeff Wiley – Bass, vocals
Jay Wiley – Keyboards, vocals
Harold “Dynamic” Laderer – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Jesus Loves Rama
  2. The Plan
  3. Follow Jesus
  4. Always
  5. Jesus in Me

Side 2:

  1. Roll Away the Stone
  2. Someone to Talk to
  3. Star
  4. Follow the Son
  5. It’s Not Too Late

I was expecting some kind of 80s music based on the cover, and they definitely have a lot of that on this album. The first song is about… well, how Rama (the band) will set-up their instruments, preach at you through music, and convince you that… Jesus loves Rama (the band) and that Rama loves Jesus. Then there is a call for believers to sing Hallelujah if they believe. All over the place lyrically – they could have used a lot of help with focusing on one main message per song. The sound is 80s keyboard rock music with slight new wave and pop leanings. Sometimes the vocal choices don’t work out, and several places the instruments fumble. But still enjoyable for fans of this era. Seems like this was a band of three brothers/cousins/etc?

The Smyrna Band – Raise Up the Standard

The Smyrna Band
Raise Up the Standard
1985 Lamb Records (LA-1211-C)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Side 1:

  1. Raise Up the Standard
  2. Red Line
  3. Straight for the Heart

Side 2:

  1. Hard Days
  2. Ask Me Now
  3. You Can’t Run

The Smyrna Band returns with their second EP. This one starts off sounding like they have gone lighter/more pop than their last album with the fist track, but then they change course on the next two songs. Both of those sound a bit heavier than their last EP. Then it is two more light pop rock songs, and finally a return to hard rock on the album closer. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first EP, but it was still a solid EP. I just need to find copy of their full length album to see where that one falls in the pop rock/hard rock spectrum. Also, it seems that the mystery of the label from the last EP was solved here – it really is the same Cherry Grove Records that put out Roy Suthard. The address for the band is now in Myrtle Beach, SC. It seems that decided to start putting out other music after the move?

Missing Information: who played what on this ep?