Russ Taff – Medals [1985]

RussTaff1985

After recording several albums with The Imperials, Russ Taff started a solo career in 1983. Taff is one of the most recognizable voices in Christian music. His trademark rich, emotion-drenched vocals were formed since his teens. “Medals” is his second album and the best. With this recording Russ entered in the secular charts, thanks to the quality of the material on offer and the neutral lyrics. The ‘who’s who’ of the L.A. top session musicians is here: Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Nathan East, Robbie Buchanan, Tommy Funderburk, Bill Champlin…

There’s no weak song on this typically ‘contemporary’ eighties album. The awesome “Vision” opens with a synth path which maintains the track until the great chorus arrives. This song was later recorded by Chris Eaton for his album of the same title. The outstanding “I’m Not Alone” is penned by canadian songwriter genius Paul Janz (and later recorded by himself as a semi-ballad with the title ‘Close My Eyes’). Ruff’s version is typically mid ’80s, being the single of this album. Love It.

Title track has a poppy AOR feel so ’80s, with a climatic aura and synthetic sound, reinforced by the clean guitars and the keyboards. There’s a rockier approach on “Not Gonna Bow” (great guitars) and the melodic and catchy “Rock Solid”. We have room for emotional ballads with “Here I Am” and the beautiful mid-tempo “Silent Love”. On “I’ve Come Too Far” Ruff goes pop mixed with a bit of funk and gospel. Check the short but terrific guitar solo by Michael Landau.

“Medals” won the Contemporary Album of the Year Dove Award and was Grammy nominated. Expect tons of great harmonies here, superb performances and top notch production. This album is not so hard to find, but maybe yes the Japanese edition of 2001.

Band Members
– Russ Taff – Vocals
– Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Paul Jackson Jr. – Guitars
– Robbie Buchanan – Keyboards
– Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus – Bass
– Paul Leim – Drums
– Lenny Castro – Percussion
– Larry Williams – Saxophone
– James Newton Howard, Rhett Lawrence – Synths
-Tommy Funderburk, Bill Champlin, Carmen Twitty, Tata Vega, Harry Browning, Lynn Nichols, Tamara Champlin – Backing Vocals

Tracks
01. Vision
02. I’m Not Alone
03. Medals
04. Not Gonna Bow
05. Here I Am
06. I’ve Come Too Far
07. Silent Love
08. How Much it Hurts
09. Rock Solid
10. God Only Knows

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