Guardian was originally founded in 1982 using the name Fusion. In 1989 Enigma Records released Guardian’s first album FIRST WATCH. Oz Fox of Stryper produced it. Band members at the time were: Paul Cawley, David Bach, Rikk Hart, and Tony Palacios. In 1990 Guardian put out their second album, FIRE AND LOVE, with Jamie Rowe taking over lead vocal duties and Karl Ney playing drums. The band’s third album MIRACLE MILE (1993, Pakaderm/Word) reached the CCM Top Five Albums list. John and Dino Elefante, who also produced Petra, produced the album. Group members now were: Jamie Rowe (lead vocals), Tony Palacios (guitar and vocals), David Bach (bass and vocals), and Karl Ney (drums and vocals). In the liner notes of MIRACLE MILE the band writes: “Dedicated to our fathers and all men of good example”.
‘Dr. Jones & The Kings of Rhythm’ is a hard rockin’ story song about a man who offers spiritual life: “Townfolk wouldn’t hear the Doc and they drove him out of town/He’d shake the dust right off his feet and leave without a sound/But you know he spoke the truth to me/Gave me reason to believe/Tell it round the whole wide world/I’ll never be the same/Well, he took me to the mountain/But it was heaven’s love that set me free, yeah/Dr. Jones & The Kings of Rhythm/Dr. Jones, he’s a rhythm king/Dr. Jones & The Kings of Rhythm/Tearin’ darkness down with a ragin’ swing”. ‘Shoeshine Johnny’ is a bluesy rocker that waxes spiritual: “What gains a man to win the world but lose his very soul?/Riches of the promised land much better than silver and gold/Oh, how wise is he that makes the Lord his company/Fearless of the days to come/Knowin’ that the battles won”.
‘Long Way Home’ has a chorus that serves as a prayer: “Take me where I long to be/Pick me up and carry me/Oh, I need Your love/It’s such a long way home/Even though I fall sometimes/Nothin’ here can change my mind/Lord, I need Your love/It’s such a long way home”. John Elefante is a co-writer on ‘I Found Love’. It sounds like an 80’s hair metal love ballad: “All my days spent searching for that rainbow/I’ve spent some lonely nights trying to find a reason to live my life/Your love is pouring down on me like sweet summer rain/Your love is like the sweetest song/All of heaven sings Your Name/I’ve been around enough to know/I found love when You walked through my door/Since You came into my life/You took away my broken heart”.
‘Sweet Mystery’ is an acoustic love song penned by group member David Bach: “Looking back at my old school/I think of the things that I used to do/And I remember those crazy days gone by/Sometimes I wish I could go back in time/Be changin’ what was then/But after everything’s been said and done/I’m glad you are my friend/And it’s a sweet mystery that you love me like you do/Oh, it’s a sweet mystery to me”. ‘Let it Roll’ brings back the rock factor and offers these words of testimony: “Lord, Your truth is crystal clear to me/Forever is a highway/Lord, You bring me through/Take me down the road that leads to You.../You opened up my eyes to see the riches of Your majesty/Love is flowin’ down on me/Your peace is like a river runnin’ free”.
‘Mr. Do Wrong’ is a catchy heavy metal track that directly addresses the devil: “With the setting of the sun something wicked this way comes/Black on black, got a wicked stride/Hounds of Hell are by his side/Feeding on the lusts of man/Shake him off, but he’s back again/Promises and hidden dreams/Oh, how sweet your poison seems/You are the tempter of my soul/Do Wrong/Mister Do Wrong/Don’t you whisper in my ear tryin’ to sing your love song/I know it’s sweet, like honey on my lips/But I know who you are/Death is on your fingertips and everything you do is wrong”. ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’ warns against false religious beliefs: “Superstitions fill your mind/Don’t know where to draw the line/A religion of a different kind/Tellin’ futures with a card/Make a wish upon a star/Lady Luck is just a thin disguise.../You play with fire, you’ll get burned/Seems some people never learn/Curiosity killed the cat”.
‘Sister Wisdom’ is a rock song about discernment: “She sings a smoky torch song/She burns a candle in the night/And her ways of truth are so strong/She lifts me up as my life goes by.../In the light she comes to me/Takes the weight of the world from my shoulders/Turns my eyes to see the light in a dark world turning/Sister Wisdom shine your light on me”. ‘The Captain’ is an acoustic ballad that is a character study: “He told a story, sailed through storms/Painted a picture, lived in the scenes/Some say he was crazy, living in a dream/But he sailed with a reason out on a crystal sea/And what he did not fear didn’t hurt him/What he did not seek didn’t find/And he would not run from the answers/What he did not hear were the lies/Sail on/Captain, sail on/Let your guiding light lead you cross the ocean”.
‘You & I’ is a pop/rock song that celebrates romantic relationships: “You and I we belong together/Say a prayer and make it last forever/When you need a friend to lean on/I’ll be there/Winds of change bring the stormy weather/But in the end it only makes things better/You know I want to be your only one/I’ll be there.../When you hold me/I know that love is here to stay”. ‘Do You Know What Love Is’ muses about one of God’s most terrific qualities: “And all of your life I’ve been more than a friend/I was there from the start and I’ll be here till the end/Do you know what love is?/Can you feel what love is?/Do you know what love (2X)/Love is/Deeper than emotion/Comin’ stronger than all devotion/Do you know what love/Do you know what love/Love is/I want to show you one love that’s true/Won’t you open up your heart?/My love is for you”.
I was lucky enough to find an autographed used copy of MIRACLE MILE for a buck in a thrift store in downtown St. Thomas recently. Musically, it falls into the heavy rock and heavy metal genres, but also delves into acoustic based music. Jamie Rowe’s raspy lead vocals are spot on. Fans of Stryper, Whitecross, and Petra`s heavier material, will enjoy this album. The songs point to Jesus Christ as Lover of our souls and make it clear He will direct our lives if we let Him. I`m rating MIRACLE MILE 97%. For more info connect with the band on Facebook or visit: www.houseofguardian.com.