Keeping with the theme of 1988, it might be worth taking a gander at what might be one of Geoff Moore’s most underrated albums, A Place to Stand.
The album, the first of Moore’s to be released on the Sparrow label, was produced by Whiteheart founding member, songwriter, guitarist/keyboardist and producer (whew!) Billy Smiley. This wasn’t the first Moore release that Smiley had helmed, but was the first Moore album that was a band effort–his band was so named after his previous album, The Distance.
Smiley brings in the unmistakeable Whiteheart frontman Rick Florian for background vocals, and Petra’s John Schlitt surprises us with his cameo on the album’s title track, and is that Chris Rodriguez I hear on “Tender Hearts?”
Second on the album is the rollicking, yet lighthearted, “Go To The Moon,” which, according to how Moore introduced the song at concerts, was actually inspired in a fast food restaurant somewhere in central Ohio–and was not just part of the lyrics. Third on the album is the tender radio hit, “Heart and Soul,” which undoubtedly introduced Geoff Moore to a whole new audience at the time.
What is also noteworthy for this album is it’s Side 2 opener, “Come Out Fighting,” which was also recorded that same year by former Petra frontman, Greg X. Volz. Who had the better version? I’ll let you decide.
Overall, this album is a polished, yet rocking album with a tad John Mellencamp “heartland” influence–which is what we had come to expect from Geoff Moore–and was also a step forward in production. Having said that, this album holds up just as well after 30-plus years as it did the day I first bought it and popped the cassette into my mom’s car stereo. Looking back, A Place to Stand is arguably the best album from Moore during his 80s era, and his best release until his most popular project, Evolution, was released in 1993.