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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Steve Richardson-You Gave My Life a Song

If there was an United Pentecostal Music Hall of Fame, another inaugural songwriter added to such an honor would have to be Steve Richardson.

I do not recall the first Pentecostal record I listened to, but I do know it wasn't until the album "Wings" by the Gaither Vocal Band that I heard the song "Daystar (Shine Down On Me)." It was four years later I got to meet Steve and hear him perform that signature song and more in church. He always struck me as a humble, warm, and loving person. Never pretentious, and as approachable as the least of these.

For many years, it was those poorly recorded church tapes that kept me connected to the majority of his music. When I found this record for sale (and still sealed!) in a used record store one day, I was shocked. I had no idea he ever released this record.

If there was an United Pentecostal Music Hall of Fame, Steve Richardson would naturally be nominated for inclusion. I get the feeling, however, if the honor came during his life time, he would have laid it down at Christ's feet and given the glory back to God.

A man as humble as he would never have boasted of this accomplishment, that is for sure. And he shares credits on this record with well known names such as Bill Gaither and Rick Powell. But when you met Steve Richardson, you were meeting him, not an ego that rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in Christian music. I got the feeling that he treated everybody the same when he met them, and surely he let God's love shine through him in the night.

So, no, I don't recall the first Pentecostal music I listened to. Or even the first Pentecostal CD or tape I purchased. But I do remember the first Pentecostal vinyl record I purchased. From that humble beginning to this blog...

You can download this classic record HERE.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lance Appleton-I'm A One God, Apostolic

Now here is a solo male Pentecostal artist that should be a name you know if you don't already. If there was a United Pentecostal Music Hall of Fame, Lance Appleton would be among the first added.

There are only a few songs that stand the test of time for Pentecostal signature songs. CA Nelson's "It's Real" is arguably a gold standard.

I've written before about Bill Gray Family's song "Buttermilk Bend Baptism." The Christian Life Center Mass Choir's song "I'm Pentecostal" is a more up-to-date example of this.

But perhaps the gold standard of gold standards is "I'm A One God Apostolic" by Lance Appleton. It is undeniably his greatest hit.

Bro. Appleton lived in Columbia, MO, not too far from me. Sadly, he passed away Feb. 18, 2015 at the age of 62. Far too young, for sure. I am sorry to say I never got to meet him.

While he recorded a total of eight albums, this album remains what he's best known for.

He attended the Gateway College of Evangelism, where he met and married Merna Hochstrasser. After graduation, they moved to Columbia and started a campus ministry that led to a 30 year long full time international ministry.

You can download this classic album HERE.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Zane Isaacson-Rapture Ready

Continuing a look at solo male artists in the United Pentecostal Church, I am trying to choose men who, as far as I know, never performed with a group. (I realize the previous entry didn't meet that goal as Hal Kennedy did perform and release records with The Dixie Echoes.)

From Rock Springs, WY, Zane Isaacson brought his unique blend of ministry and music to the United Pentecostal Church after he was saved in early 1982. He answered the call to ministry in 1983 and became licensed in 1984. He's not exactly a household name among UPC musicians. I am only aware of two albums by him (this one and I'm A Fanatic, but my copy of that is long lost.)

He currently pastors in White Hall, AR.

This album came out in 1992. Zane plays all the instruments on this release. He also sings on all the tracks except for "Cast All My Cares." His daughter, Katrina, takes vocal lead on that song.

He also wrote all the songs except "Cast All My Cares" (written by Kelly Willard) and "I've Been Delivered" (written by Carman). However, he did add verses to both songs.

You can download this classic album (hard to believe it's already 25 years old! How do these records get older and I stay the same age? Hee hee!) HERE!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hal Kennedy-Shoutin' On the Hills

This month I am going to feature albums by male solo artists. I have already done two months worth of female solo artists and realized I hadn't yet focused attention on the men who brought their music ministry to many.

Not that there is any shortage of men in Christian and Gospel music. The contrary, in fact. But it seems most of the records I have that feature men as the lead singers are group collaborations, quartets, trios, or family records, as I featured last month.

I do not know if there are fewer male solo records in Pentecostal music compared to the former mentioned releases or if it's just that I haven't found many of them yet. Most of the former records are found by general online searches, not for specific names. That is how I come across the wonderful lesser known records I share. And unless a solo record features one of those general search terms, I may have overlooked many of them. It's also easier to spot a Pentecostal record on sight by the women and their PhD's! It's harder to spot Pentecostal men on a record cover on first glance.

So if you know of any solo male artists I have not listed in the labels list, let me know! I would appreciate it! Leave a comment or drop me an email!

On to the first selection this month...

There are a few United Pentecostal musicians who achieved moderate fame beyond the walls of their church, the camp meetings, and took their music ministry into "mainstream" to appeal to listeners across many denominations.

Lanny Wolfe and Dottie Rambo are two that immediately come to mind.

While not as a big of a name as those two, there is also Hal Kennedy, who is still celebrated to this day among fans of Southern Gospel music. He is well known for performing with The Dixie Echoes. As far as I know, the other members of The Dixie Echoes were not United Pentecostal, but his involvement with the group certainly spread his ministry to many ears across the nation.

This is Hal's third record. I chose to make it the first to share with you because, as with the records by the Jellisons and the McCools, this record also fell prey to using public domain artwork that appeared on several other releases.

Not this particular pressing, that is. This record was re-released several years later as "He's Life To Me."

This is interesting to me for a few reasons:

1) "He's Life to Me" isn't even a track on the album. So where does the title come from?

2) The record label on the re-release is exactly the same as the original release. So when people bought this reissue, they were buying "He's Life to Me" but opened the record and saw an album with the title "Shoutin' On the Hills." What kind of quality control was there over this release?

3) The return of the public domain album artwork, this time a stock photo of a church. This stock photo has appeared on many other records, none of which (as far as I know) released by Pentecostal records. Really, is there any other genre guilty for doing this? How was this even allowed? Even if it was a small record label, wouldn't they want their records to stand out from others in a store? This phenomenon continues to amaze me.

I am glad to share this wonderful record with you. You can download it HERE!

Also, to add a note: For now I have free downloads available. But it has been decided that if the blog becomes more popular and I exhaust the standard 200 free downloads Bandcamp gives each month, then we will go with a "pay what you want" option. From what I understand, people will still have an option to not pay and download for free. But if you decide to make a small donation, then all the proceeds will just go back in to this blog. I toyed with the idea of donating the money to a charity, but that would get sticky legally. I wouldn't be able to provide tax receipts for donations, and I don't view the blog as a charity. I view this more as a public service. And if/when we go with a pay what you want option, then whatever money is collected may go back to purchasing new records for the site or upgrading my Bandcamp page to Bandcamp pro. So any money generated from this will benefit others. Any money generated would not go back into my pocket. But, for now, the downloads remain free.

Also, a reader reported problems posting a comment. I did not realize that the settings were only allowing registered users to post comments. I changed the settings to where anybody can post comments. But the comments will wait for moderation before they post. That's just to prevent spam replies. I hope it's now easier for people to comment on my posts.

Thank you for reading and listening!