The ¡Alarma! Chronicles Volume One
1981 NewPax Records
Produced By Daniel Amos & Thom Roy for Rebel Base Productions
Re-issue produced by Tom Gulotta and Eric Townsend for Stunt Productions
1. Central Theme (Taylor)
2. ¡Alarma! (Taylor)
3. Big Time/Big Deal (Taylor)
4. Props (Taylor)
5. My Room (Taylor)
6. Faces To The Window (Taylor)
7. Cloak & Dagger (Taylor/Chamberlain)
8. Colored By (Taylor)
9. C & D Reprise (Taylor/Chamberlain)
10. Through The Speakers (Taylor)
11. Hit Them (Taylor)
12. Baby Game (Taylor)
13. Shedding The Mortal Coil (Taylor/Cook/Chamberlain)
14. Endless Summer (Taylor/Chamberlain)
15. Walls Of Doubt (Taylor)
16. Ghost Of The Heart (Taylor)
1. Little Things (demo)
2. Off My Mind (demo)
3. As Long As I Live (demo)
4. No Spaceship (demo)
5. Out Of Town (demo)
6. Only One (demo)
7. Central Theme (demo)
8. My Room (demo)
9. Faces To The Window (demo)
10. Colored By (demo)
11. Through The Speakers (demo)
12. Hit Them (demo)
13. Endless Summer (demo)
14. Walls of Doubt (demo)
15. Props (Vocal mix)
16. Big Time/Big Deal (Alternate Mix)
17. Shedding the Mortal Coil (Alternate Mix)
18. Ghost of the Heart (Alternate Mix)
19. ¡Alarma! (Instrumental)
20. Colored By (Instrumental)
21. ¡Alarma! Reading by Malcolm Wild
All songs 1981 Paragon Music Corp./ASCAP except:
"No Spaceship" and "Out Of Time" 1991 Twitchen Vibes/ASCAP
Recorded and Mixed at White Field Studios, Santa Ana, California
Rehearsals and Arrangements Recorded at Rebel Base Studio, Santa Ana, California
Engineered by Thom Roy
Mastered at MCA Whitney by Steve Hall
Re-mastered by J Powell at Steinhaus
1980 4-Track Demos recorded at the Rebel Base.
Mixed by Doug Doyle and Terry Taylor at Cap'n Doug's Minute Mix (Digital Brothers), Costa Mesa. California - September 1991 ("arr!") Alternate Bonus Mixes by Eric Townsend
Cover Concept: Daniel Amos
Photography: Scott Lockwood, Newport Neach, California
Other photos: Alex MacDougall
Graphic Design: Karen Knecht
Airbrushing: Stephen Nichol Price
Re-issue layout: Tom Gulotta and Eric Townsend
¡Alarma! Text read by Malcolm Wild
Alarma! Chronicles Book Text Written by Terry Taylor, with special thanks to Viann, Phillip, and "Doc" Thomas for your suggestions.
Thanks to Bob MacKenzie and Pelle Karlsson for the Lifesavors.
This album is for Phillip, with our depest love.
Terry Taylor: Rhythm Guitars and all Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Jerry Chamberlain: Lead Guitars and Backing Vocals, Percussion on "My Room"
Marty Dieckmeyer: Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals on "Props," Percussion on "My Room"
Ed McTaggart: Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Alex MacDougall: Congas on "My Room" and Marimba on "Alarma!"
Karen Benson: Female Vocal on "Ghost Of The Heart"
Live Sound and Road Coordination: Wes Leathers
Although it was released scant hours after DA’s third release – Horrendous Disc – the three years since the Beatlesque music that had thrilled fans on the “Amos & Randy (Stonehill) Tour” was recorded had changed the band. Keyboardist Mark Cook and second drummer/percussionist Alex MacDougall had left the group, and the music world had turned on to punk. Early records by bands like Talking Heads and Elvis Costello had turned the world onto a raw & edgy, quirky & crunchy sound with literate approaches to rock & roll lyrics that no doubt inspired new directions for Taylor & Co.
The quartet appears to make a major sonic leap with ¡Alarma!, but once you get past the more open and sparse arrangements you can still hear Taylor’s familiar melodic voice and artful lyrical reflections. And, if anything the stripped back arrangements make the rhythm section of drummer Ed McTaggert and bassist Marty Dieckmeyer more crucial to the song’s construction and thrust Jerry Chamberlain’s inventive, hair-parting guitar solos all the more to the fore. At the time, DA fans were a bit overwhelmed by the dramatic shift in sound and tone, but all these years later, they have been vindicated by this albums continued relevance and musical vibrancy. It rocked then, and it rocks still!
Of course, the contrivance of a 4 album “¡Alarma! Chronicles! (we see your trilogy and we’ll up you one),” and a written story line were a curiosity, but ultimately what makes !Alarma! work is the sound of the band working together and the songs themselves. Oh, there’s a bit of playful reflection on their own artistic aspirations on “Big Time/Big Deal,” and a goofy bit of nonsense in “Props,” but the record moves quickly to its lyrical point – a warning to those who live hidden away in their churches (“In My Room”) surrounded only by folk who agree with them (“we harmonize”) and avoid all contact with the real world, with its poor and broken who press their “Faces to the Window.”
“Cloak & Dagger” warns against duplicitous “double dealers” who make promises they have no intention of honoring (I’m quite sure this song is not about any record producer or music company exec), while the desire to experience the “real thing” can be “Colored By” the perspective and tradition down at the little church where they “all wear hats” or have some other spiritual fetish.
As they move into side two (you used to have to turn the CD over), Taylor produced some of the best pop/rock songs of his career, a serious of reflection on his role as a Christian communicator who wants to share the “good news” in a way that it can be received as news that is truly good. As a rock singer, he knows it has to come “Through the Speakers,” but it’s requires tenderness, you can’t hit them over the head with the book, but “God can have his way when you hit them with love.”
And on and on it goes… “Endless Summer” finds Taylor and Chamberlain continuing the tribute to the Beach Boys (and their unique brand of end times theology) that they began on “Tidal Wave.” “Walls of Doubt,” one of my favorite DA songs, captures the struggle to believe with the promise that “love puts to rest some of the questions,” while “Ghost of the Heart” leaves room for the Spirit to “shed the light on me.” A compelling blend of music and ideas that continue to haunt this listener all these years later, it was the best Christian rock release of 1981, IMHO, and it remains in this writer’s top ten of all time.