Read All About It Sheila Walsh Revealed;by Philip Mayabb
Sometimes I debate whither I enjoyed certain things more before the internet or now that we have it, and I have yet to come to a definitive answer. Gone are the days when you had to stand in line for concert tickets, or when you would have to drive to a retail outlet to get your favorite artist's brand new record or tape, which I miss, but at the same time, there is now a wealth of information about any subject you wish to look up, which I not only like, but has came in quite handy this week.
How does this tie in to Vinyl Revival? Well I must admit that I am not a bastion of knowledge when it comes to Sheila Walsh, the artist on our weekly LP, which incidentally is 1985's Don't Hide Your Heart. I heard her on the radio when I was a teenager and early twenty-something, and I obviously have some of her albums in my personal collection (otherwise, you would be listening to her this week), and I enjoy her music, but outside of knowing her as a CCM artist during the 80s, and as a co-host of the 700 Club in the 90s, I really don't know a lot about Sheila Walsh as a person, so I did the only thing I could...I hit the internet trying to pick up some extra information for this blog, so we wouldn't just have my thoughts on the record itself (which I will get to in a moment). I didn't find anything explosive about her as a person, but I did get some nice general knowledge about Sheila...she is a native of Scotland, which you can generally tell as you listen to her sing. She began her singing career in the late 70s after graduating from London Bible College. She worked with the British chapter of Youth For Christ until 1981, when she was signed to recording contract by Sparrow Records, and released her first album, titled Future Eyes. Her first U.S. tour was an impressive gig, opening for guitarist extraordinaire Phil Keaggy, after which she became well known on both sides of the Atlantic, in the U.S. and the U.K. Her next three albums, Nobody Loves Me Like You, War Of Love (Drifting if you're in the U.K.), and Triumph In The Air solidified her position as a fan favorite in both countries, which takes us to the aforementioned year 1985, and her fifth album Don't Hide Your Heart.
So now we are to the meat and potatoes of this blog...the album. If you are a fan of that European Techno pop sound that permeated the Top 40 airwaves in the mid 80s, you will love this album. Lots of synthesizer, electronic drums, and all the bells and whistles that accompanied the style will be heard on each track of this LP. That means that this album is dated (duh), but even now it's still a lot of fun to listen to, and mostly stands up well when compared to other CCM albums from 1985 (the year of classics such as Medals by Russ Taff and Unguarded by Amy Grant). Sheila's voice had a bit of an edge to it, compared to other female vocalists, and she uses it well on this album. Don't Hide has less of the new wave sound of her earlier work, although some of the songs on this record are a noticeable throwback to her musical roots. There are danceable songs, such as Alpha Omega and Light Across The World, with grooves that makes your feet want to move. You have hard hitting songs, like Under The Gun which references the cold war, and the threat of a nuclear strike, and Thief In The Night which speaks of the imminent return of Christ, complete with scripture from the book of Revelation. Incidentally, this same track was on last week's Vinyl Revival LP by Sir Cliff Richard, although his rendition of the song is not as dramatic as the one on this album. Speaking of Sir Cliff, he is featured on a duet called Jesus Call Your Lambs, which was also one of the album's radio singles, and he sings background vocals are most of the songs on the record, along with another British singer/songwriter named Chris Eaton. I would say the song on the album that sounds different from the rest would be We're All One, and the main reason it sounds different is because it was produced by Michael Omartian, and recorded in the United States, whereas the rest of the album was cut in Great Britain. The American influence is quite pronounced on this one, although it still fits in well with the rest of the LP.
Although a majority of the songs on Don't Hide Your Heart are upbeat, there are some ballads on the album as well, to balance out the variety of the music, which as I stated before is really good. This is one of the CCM albums from the 80s that you can put on from time to time and think, man, I forgot how much fun it was to be a CCM fan back then. I have enjoyed getting reacquainted with this disc as I got it prepared for airplay this week, and I really do think that each of you who listen to CCM Classic will enjoy it as well. Obviously there are differences between the music of European and American artists, but the one thing that is always the same no matter what, is the message, and when it comes to that, we really are one, as the song on this album proclaims. This is an album that Sheila Walsh could really be proud of, however she no longer wishes to talk, or give interviews about her involvement in Contemporary Christian Music, in fact there are absolutely no references to her career in CCM on her website, which is devoted to her current endeavors, which are mostly writing books, and speaking at various women's conferences. While she is probably not the only former CCM artist who does not wish to reminisce about their singing career, it is unfortunate, because there are fans all around the world who still enjoy listening to her music, and it would be nice if she would give a shout out to the fans of her music from time to time (that's a personal opinion from me). We all know that after she left the full time singing career behind in the early 90s, Sheila Walsh spent several years co-hosting The 700 Club with Pat Robertson, and according to her website, she still co-hosts a show called Life Today.* According to some reports online, Sheila Walsh is a very successful writer, having sold over 5,000,000 books to date, which is very impressive.
While she may no longer wish to address her years as a CCM artist, Sheila Walsh will never escape the fact that her music touched many people during her career, and as long as there are programs such as Vinyl Revival, it will continue to be played for folks to enjoy for many more years to come, so in closing, I want to invite you to spend some time with us this week, and enjoy Sheila Walsh's 1985 LP Don't Hide Your Heart.
Side 1 -
1. Don't Hide Your Heart (G. Kendrick)
2. Under The Gun (Rushing / Martin)
3. Jesus Call Your Lambs (Duet With Cliff Richard) (Teri DeSario)
4. Alpha Omega (Chris Eaton)
5. You'll Never Be The Same (Chris Eaton)
Side 2 -
1. Light Across The World (P. Fields / D. Cooke)
2. We're All One (B. Haworth)
3. It's All For You (G. Kendrick)
4. Not Guilty (G. Kendrick)
5. Thief In The Night (P. Field)
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