A.W.S.M. Presents

A.W.S.M. Presents
1988 (no label)
Orangevale, California, USA

  1. First Strike – Runnin’
  2. The Blitz Band – No Party in Hell
  3. Final Chapter – White Horse
  4. Inside Track – 18 Inches

This is basically a compilation demo by the Associated Writers, Singers, and Musicians group. I really hadn’t heard most of these except for “No Party in Hell.” I thought it was a 77s track, but here it says The Blitz Band? Turns out, it was a 77s tune written by Mark Proctor that was going to be on All Fall Down until Mark Proctor left the band. He encouraged them to still record it, but they didn’t. So he formed The Blitz Band and recorded it. Apparently they have about 10 other songs on demos out there somewhere. The sound is heavily AC/DC influenced. I had never heard the First Strike song, either – turns out it was on a final demo of theirs I have never heard called 1990. Need to track that down. This song seems more melodic and less metal than their 1987 demo Crank It Up! First Chapter is probably the closest to traditional heavy metal on the compilation. Inside Track is a female-fronted keyboard drive alternative-ish rock band. Not sure what became of A.W.S.M. (doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue), but this was a decent sampler of bands.

The Strait Tapes – Volume 3

The Strait Tapes – Volume 3
1985? (no label)
London, England, United Kingdom

Side 1:

  1. The 77s – The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes, and The Pride of Life
    (demo version, eventually released on The 77s, 1987 Exit Records)
  2. Talking Drums – You Do Cry a Lot
    (from Reassembly, 1985 Sticky Music)
  3. Maldwyn Pope – Reunion of the Heart
  4. Bryan McGlynn – Soul Doctor
    (from The Vital Spark, 1985 Sticky Music)
  5. The Good Guys – Still a Mistake
    (from A System of Grooves, 1984 Atypical Records)
  6. Charlie Peacock – Down in the Lowlands
    (from Charlie Peacock, 1986 Exit Records)
  7. Trade Secret – With or Without You
    (from upcoming release Trade Secret, 1987 Edge Records)
  8. One A.M. – Over and Over
    (previously unreleased)
  9. Mike Starkey – I Became a Johnson’s Baby
    (from The Rhythm Method compilation, year unknown)

Side 2:

  1. Vector – America
    (from Please Stand By, 1985 Exit Records)
  2. Denice Williams – Straight Ahead
    (from So Glad I Know, 1986 Sparrow Records)
  3. The Refuseniks – Quiet Time
    (unreleased, unrecorded, and just a few seconds of silence apparently)
  4. Terry Scott Taylor – Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour
    (from Knowledge and Innocence, 1986 Shadow Records)
  5. Bruce Cockburn – Wondering Where the Lions Are
    (from Dancing in the Dragons Jaw, 1979 True North)
  6. Steve Scott – Not a Pretty Picture
    (from the unreleased Emotional Tourist album, 1986 Exit Records)
  7. Jump the Nile – Proud to be a Warrior
    (unreleased demo)
  8. First Strike – Power
    (unreleased label demo version)
  9. Bryan McGlynn – Stranger at the Party
    (from The Vital Spark, 1985 Sticky Music)

From what I can tell, this is the third and final Volume of the Strait Tapes. It follows in the foot steps of Volume 1 and Volume 2, – a collection of well-known and underground Christian music artists. The date is also harder to pin down exactly here. Some songs, like the Talking Drums track, are listed as being from and “upcoming” album that ended up being released in 1985. Other tracks, like the Terry Scott Taylor track, are listed as if they are already released… but the tracks came out in 1986. I did some digging, and it seems that Taylor’s track was mixed in mid 1985, but not released until early 1986. Since there are obviously some other tracks that were included as early previews from the label (like the First Strike song), I am guessing that the 1986 tracks on here are early previews as well. Because they refer to 1985 albums as still “upcoming” in the liner notes, I will go with 1985 as the release date. Some notes on some of the tracks listed above:

  • The 77s track is listed as an unreleased demo, but it was later released on their classic self-titled album
  • The Maldwyn Pope track is listed as unreleased, but part of an untitled upcoming release. It seems that versions of this song were released much later by Pope, but it also had been recorded by other artists before this as well.
  • The Good Guys track is kind of an oldies rock sounding song with a bit of ska horns.
  • The Trade Secret track is a hard rock track that almost borders on punk here and there. It was later released on a hard to find self-titled album by the band.
  • The One A.M. track is only on this compilation as far as I can tell. It is a commercial rock track that fits pretty well with the 80s, but I have no idea who this band is.
  • The Mike Starkey song was released on a hard to find compilation – it is an experimental spoken word-ish over drums track. Or performance art? Strangely interesting.
  • The Refuseniks song isn’t actually a song – it is just a few seconds of silence. I think it was a joke about a band that didn’t get a song finished by the deadline for inclusion?
  • The Jump the Nile song is another unreleased track from this band from a former member of After the Fire. They had another track on Volume 2 of this series and a 7-inch single, but that appears to be it.
  • The First Strike song was unreleased at the time this comp was out, but was later released on their 1987 demo Crank It Up!, as well as the Heaven’s Metal Cool Tunes comp. However, this is clearly an earlier demo version with different lyrics and lower vocal range.

Missing Information: confirmation of the exact release date.

The Strait Tapes – Volume 2

The Strait Tapes – Volume 2
1985? (no label)
London, England, United Kingdom

Side 1:

  1. Garth Hewitt – Oscar Romero
    (from Alien Brain, 1985 Myrrh Records)
  2. Mark Heard – Victims of the Age
    (from Victims of the Age, 1982 Home Sweet Home Records)
  3. Daniel Amos – Home Permanent
    (from Vox Humana, 1984 Refuge Records)
  4. Sheila Walsh – Send Me
    (from Don’t Hide Your Heart, 1985 Sparrow Records)
  5. Randy Stonehill – Love Beyond Reason
    (from Love Beyond Reason, 1985 Myrrh Records)
  6. Paul Field – Valley of Dry Bones
    (from Visions, 1985 Myrrh Records)
  7. Larry Norman – Iron and Steel
    (from Quiet Night, 1984 Phydeaux Records)
  8. The Fat Band – Kansas City
    (from The Fat Band 7-inch, 1983 Stret Tunes)
  9. Steve Scott – Sound of Waves (12” mix)
    (special 12” mix not available elsewhere)

Side 2:

  1. Passion Polka – Fighting Alone
    (extended dance remix of an unreleased track)
  2. Charlie Peacock – Lie Down in the Grass
    (from Lie Down in the Grass, 1985 Exit Records)
  3. Phil and John – The Wasted Years
    (extended remixed version of a song from Count Me Out, 1983 Kingsway Music)
  4. Xtras – Don’t Look Back
    (previously unreleased)
  5. Pieces – Robot System
    (from Face 2 Face, 1985 Pila Music)
  6. Leslie Phillips – Give’em All You Got
    (from Dancing with Danger, 1984 Myrrh Records)
  7. The Front – It’s Hard to Take
    (from The Front, 1985 Benson Records)
  8. Avalon – Flags
    (previously unreleased)
  9. First Strike – Loneliness Kills
    (from Rock of Offense, 1984 Exit Records)

Volume 2 of The Strait Tapes continues where Volume 1 left off, with well-known and rare Christian music that leans towards the rock and alternative end of the music spectrum (with a dip of the toe into metal on this volume). No date is given on this tape (like the others). However, there is more detail on each song here, so I can more confidently place this as a 1985 release. Tracks from Garth Hewitt, Randy Stonehill, Leslie Phillips, The Front, etc speak of them being released later in 1985, while other tracks (like the Charlie Peacock song) are listed as already released (and those albums are mostly from 1985 or earlier). What I don’t know for sure is if all three volumes were released at once, or at different times. Volume I has 6 songs on each side, and less detailed notes on each song, while Volume 2 and Volume 3 have nine songs on each side and more details. What is mostly likely the case is that these are tapes that were sent out to people that bought or subscribed to Strait Magazine with each bi-monthly issue. The design didn’t change enough for them to be from different years, but there was some variation within each one to indicate they were not released as a set at the same time. But who knows? As with Volume 1, there are also many rare tracks here. Some notes on some of the tracks listed above:

  • The Fat Band song is a rhythm & blues cover of the Leiber and Stoller song, from a hard to find 4 song 7-inch single.
  • The Steve Scott song is listed as the 12” mix of the song, but it is shorter than the other 12” versions of the song.
  • The Passion Polka song claims to be an extended dance remix of an unreleased europop track from about 1982 or 1983.… but that track was released in 2011 and it is a lot longer than this version. Opps!
  • The Xtras track is an unreleased new-wave-ish track, and I can’t find anything on them anywhere.
  • The Pieces track is an alternative rock track bordering on hard rock, that the notes claim is unreleased, but it is actually on their Face 2 Face album from 1985.
  • The Avalon track is a hard rock track with 80s keyboards that border on metal – I also can’t find anything about them anywhere.

Missing Information: confirmation of the exact release date.