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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Free the Fire (1988)

Updated: Feb 23

Free the Fire is the 32nd studio album by the Christian music vocal group The Imperials. Released in 1988, this is their third and final album on Myrrh Records. Overall, they would leave Word Records after more than a decade on the label.

The album's sound has scaled back to their pop/adult contemporary sound leaving behind the rock and funk of This Year's Model.

The Imperials signed with Star Song Records for their next album. This is also the final album to feature Jimmie Lee Sloas as the co-vocalist. Ron Hemby stuck around for one more album Love's Still Changing Hearts. Sloas left the group in 1989 to focus more behind the scenes as a bass guitar player, producer and songwriter and would go on to form the Christian Rock band Dogs of Peace with former White Heart guitarist and vocalist Gordon Kennedy.

It was a reunion of sorts as The Imperials reunited with Bill Schnee who produced their 1982 album Stand by the Power and the husband and wife team of Michael and Stormie Omartian (One More Song for You, Priority) providing music and lyrics on the title song "Free the Fire in Me." A 25-second sample of the classic song "I Just Came to Praise the Lord" is heard, as if hearing it on a cassette tape, before "Free the Fire in Me" jumps in. The full version is heard at the end of the album. Baritone singer David Will sings lead on the Cliff Richard track "Better Than I Know Myself" from Richard's 1981 album Wired for Sound. Free the Fire debuted and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.

Track listing

1. Free the Fire in Me (Michael and Stormie Omartian) -5:10

2. Wild Geese (Jon Sweet, Rod Trott) -4:07

3. City in the Sky (Jimmie Lee Sloas, Bill Schnee, David Martin) -4:55

4. You (Jimmie Lee Sloas, Robbie Buchanan, Randy Goodrum) -4:55

5. The Boss (Jimmie Lee Sloas) -5:16

6. Higher Things (Tommy Sims, Chris Rodriguez) -5:10

7. Rest in Your Arms (Ron Hemby, Tom Hemby) -4:16

8. Let It Go (Jimmie Lee Sloas, David Martin) -4:15

9. Better Than I Know Myself (Dave Cooke, Judy MacKenzie) -4:08

10. Touchin' Me (Jimmie Lee Sloas, Ron Hemby) -4:02

11. I Just Came to Praise the Lord (Wayne Romero) -1:58


The Imperials:

Armond Morales -bass, vocals

David Will -baritone, vocals

Jimmie Lee Sloas -tenor, lead vocals

Ron Hemby -tenor, lead vocals

Radio singles

1988 "Free the Fire in Me" -#1 Christian CHR for 4 weeks, #2 Christian AC

1988 -1989 "The Boss" -#1 Christian CHR for 6 weeks, #2 Christian AC

1989 "You" -#6 Christian CHR, #24 Christian AC

1989 "Rest in Your Arms" -#18 Christian AC

Previous release: This Year's Model (1987)

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