Mark Heard – Demo Stuff

Mark Heard
Demo Stuff
1989? (no label)

Mark Heard – Vocals, guitars, other instruments?
(others?)

  1. Lonely Road
  2. House of Broken Dreams
  3. Nobody’s Looking
  4. All She Wanted Was Love
  5. Look Over Your Shoulder
  6. It Will Rise
  7. Our Restless Hearts

Kind of a mysterious release. What you see on the cover was all there was to it. No year, no track names, no list of who played on it, nothing. Listening to it, these are well-recorded demos with Mark’s excellent song writing shining through beautifully. Thankfully, Mark also has massively devoted fans – so it was easy to find the names of most of the songs on this demo since all of his lyrics are online. Most of these songs were released in 1990 on Dry Bones Dance, except for “Look Over Your Shoulder” which was released on Second Hand and “It Will Rise” – which doesn’t seem to be on any other albums that I can find. If they are demos, then they could have been recorded anytime between 1987’s Tribal Opera and 1990. I am guessing 1989 just because it seems logical. But I could be wrong. Also, it sounds like some of these songs were recorded live to tape – meaning there were other people than Heard playing at least bass and drums. The versions on this tape are similar to the ones later recorded, but there are noticeable differences, or even new instruments added on the official released versions. Still pretty cool for that one unreleased song (if it really is that and I am not missing something).

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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.