Marc Catley – This is the Birth of Classical Acoustic Rock

Marc Catley
This is the Birth of Classical Acoustic Rock
1986 Plankton Records (PCN115)
London, England, United Kingdom

Marc Catley – Vocals, acoustic guitar on “Help Me”
Paul Donnelly – Keyboards, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, classical guitars, drum machine
Jeremy Cooke – Keyboards
Alison Donnelly – Vocals

  1. Love
  2. Write Your Will on My Heart
  3. Help Me
  4. Peace
  5. The Answer
  6. New Life
  7. Hosea

This is a rather rare tape by Marc Catley – apparently his first for Plankton Records. He would go on to do several eclectic/progressive/alternative collaborations with Geoff Mann, as well as his own various bands. As the title suggests, this is mostly acoustic music, with a few other instruments thrown in here and there. The only places this tape gets close to rock is in the upbeat songs “Love” and “Hosea” (this one with some cool spacey keyboards), or possibly the electric guitar-augmented “Help Me.” Otherwise, this tape appeals mostly to fans of folk/acoustic rock.

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The Electric Praise Band – The Electric Praise Album

The Electric Praise Band
The Electric Praise Album
1986 (no label)
Merritt Island, Florida, USA

Darrell Mansfield – Vocals on “Let Our God Be Magnified”
Kelly Williard – Vocals on “No Other Love”
Alwyn Wall – Vocals on “Wait on the Lord”
Malcolm Wild – Vocals on “O Lord We’ve Come to Worship You” and “King of All Creation”

Side 1:

  1. O Lord We’ve Come to Worship You
  2. No Other Love
  3. King of All Creation
  4. I Stand in Awe of You
  5. You Are Lovely

Side 2:

  1. Let Our God Be Magnified
  2. Wait on the Lord
  3. Let the Heavens Rejoice
  4. You are My King
  5. Holy is Your Name
  6. The Lord God Reigns

This tape kind of rides the line between demo and professional tape – it is a studio (non-live) praise and worship album (released on tape and vinyl) featuring some big name vocalists on a few tracks. It was well recorded and put together – all it is really missing is a record label logo. If you listened to Vineyard worship albums from this time frame, the sound is about the same. This is rock worship that is never hard rock, but also not afraid to rock out. Mansfield’s track sounds a bit like his blues hard rock, and Wall’s song sounds a bit new-wave-ish. Some songs like “Let the Heavens Rejoice” also work as a good rock song to listen to even if you don’t want to sing them as worship songs. There is a long list of players and vocalists that you can read above.

L.E.D. – Mother Goose as Boo

L.E.D.
Mother Goose as Boo
1986 (no label)
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Billy Sutherland

Side 1:

  1. This Ain’t the First Time
  2. I Really Like the Way You Dance
  3. Star Light Star Bright
  4. Sometimes

Side 2:

  1. On Top of the World
  2. Hooray for Hollywood
  3. Three

I wasn’t sure what to make of this tape until someone mentioned that the only person named on the tape was friends with Matrix/Bride back in the day. I should have recognized the style of the tape label – Matrix, Bride, White Ray, etc all looked like that. They must have all used the same service/person? The first song has a bit of a new wave/mod vibe until the raging metal guitar solo. The second song has the feel of a lighter ZZ Top song, with flourishes of hard rock. Overall, the songs bounce between alternative rock, rock, and hard rock. But they do a good job, and this style-jumping was a thing in the mid-80s. I would say this is overall alternative rock. No song titles are given, so I went with what is repeated most often in the chorus of each song. The faux Asian accent at the beginning of “Hooray for Hollywood” is painful, and would have been considered “racially problematic” even back in the mid-80s. Also just not sure what it adds to the song. Just a weird thing to do in an otherwise good demo tape.

Missing Information: Song titles, who played on this?

Ishmael – Ishmael’s Antique Collection

Ishmael
Ishmael’s Antique Collection
1986 Glorie Muzik
United Kingdom

Vocals – Ishmael and the male rent a rabble ensemble
Musicians – John Menlove, Doug Horley, Nevil Kiddier, Dave Engel

Side 1:

  1. Rum Gina and Cocktail
  2. The Grunting Club
  3. Glub Glub
  4. Chain Gang
  5. Bert’s a Cert
  6. Major Deedle Dee
  7. 2 Timothy 2

Side 2:

  1. A Steeple and 10 Veg, Please
  2. Ronald Robot
  3. Rumpug the Miser
  4. And So the Race Goes On
  5. Eli the Fly
  6. O.T.
  7. Ferguson’s Mule

So, yes, this is Ishmael from Ishmael United fame, most known for being an early example of Christian punk/power pop from the UK. This is more of a humor rock album, using piano and ragtime music to tell all kinds of zany and unusual tales. This may have even been intended as a children’s album? He was known for doing those, I am just not sure if this was meant to be one. Any ways, it is all British humor – that is not for everyone – and in some cases I think the meaning of some ideas were lost to the time period. If you are looking for the early punk sounds that Ishmael was known for before this, well, you won’t find that here. I would say there is some classic rock, some honkey-tonk, some do-wop, and some ragtime in the mix here. I enjoyed it, but I know this is not for everyone.

No Laughing Matter – It Bites K-Mart Shoppers

No Laughing Matter
It Bites K-Mart Shoppers
1986 (no label)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Stripe (Ted Worthless) – Songwriting, vocals, guitar, drill, bass, keys & more
Echo (Dave Baker) – Drums, vocals on “Living Lies”, misc.
Rick Hall – Keyboards
Mike Hustead – Vocals on “Eastern Theatre,” some bass

Side 1:

  1. King in a Stetson
  2. Romans 5
  3. Don’t Patronize Me
  4. Don’t Put Me in a Box
  5. Two Preachers
  6. Eastern Theatre
  7. Blue
  8. My Dead Lunch
  9. Living Lies

Side 2:

  1. With This Card and $1, You Can Get Away With 11 Murders
  2. Lonely Dog
  3. Eastern Theatre
  4. I Cor. 12:6-11
  5. Life is Like a Handful of Dirt
  6. Religion Sucks
  7. Disclaimer
  8. Colourwheel
  9. Ceiling Fan

Wow – didn’t expect to see this. The debut album by No Laughing Matter is pretty hard to find – it was for sale online for a little while, but I blinked and missed it. But here it appears in a stack of tapes to digitize. If it ever becomes available for sale again, and you like dark, weird experimental alternative – get it! This first tape finds an interesting mix of Ted Worthless’ experimental side and the band’s alt/goth rock leanings. Seems that in the future, Ted kept his trippy side to solo recordings and saved the dark rock for NLM. The only thing that Scott Roman is credited for on this album is songwriting for “Don’t Put Me in a Box.” Several songs on here are instrumental, and many songs have an improvised feel (probably because the liner notes say they were).

Latter Rain – Latter Rain

Latter Rain
Latter Rain
1986 (no label)
San Diego, California, USA

Jef Rising – Guitar, vocals
Shannon Bafford – Keyboards, bass
Ernesto Longoria – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Trapped and Engaged
  2. Holy of Holies
  3. Surrender the Pride
  4. Two Hearts

Side 2:

  1. So Many People
  2. Won’t Be Alone
  3. Are You Ready
  4. Satan I Resist

I thought I had heard this one, but then I realized I had heard a Latter Rain from 1976 that was early Christian rock. This demo was from 10 years later and is a different band and style. This is traditional heavy metal from the mid 80s. The first song is a lot slower than the typical mid-80s metal album opener, but the second songs kicks into gear more. The sonics are a bit rough and muffled, but you can still hear it mostly fine. Just turn up the volume a bit, right?

Ascension – Follow the Path

Ascension
Follow the Path
1986 (no label)
Streator, Illinois, USA

Gary Smith – Lead vocals, harmony vocals, guitar
Steve Stripling – Lead guitars, rhythm guitars
Greg Smith – Bass guitar, Taurus pedals
Mike Kondourajian – Drums, keyboards
Glen Smith – Acoustic grand piano, analog synthesis, digital synthesis, harmony vocals, lead vocals on “Tempted”

Side 1:

  1. Follow the Path
  2. Tempted
  3. The Lesson
  4. What’s Mine

Side 2:

  1. Tribulation Man
  2. Proverbs 1:7
  3. Wisdom
  4. Immortality

Pretty cool release. I would have said that it was prog rock based on the cover, but it starts off with two good early/mid 80s traditional heavy metal numbers. They kind of float between straight up rock, and even some alt rock / new wave sounds as the album progresses, but they seem to come back to the heavy metal umbrella. The lead singer just has a distinct heavy metal rasp that is hard to get away from. Not that this is a bad thing – I like this demo and the variety they bring in with the different sounds. Also of interest are the songs “Proverbs 1:7” and “Wisdom,” which are played as one song (with “Proverbs 1:7” as an instrumental intro). Just thought that was a cool songwriting idea.