I met Chris Newman back in the summer of '80 or '81 (it's all starting to blur together) when he and I (and his brother Jeff) all worked as ride operators for the log flume at Silver Dollar City (soon to become Dollywood). At that time Chris wanted to be an R & B singer. We kept in contact (the two brothers played on my rec league basketball team for a couple of seasons) and a couple of years later Chris asked me if I would help him record some demos. He showed up at my house with a handful of country songs that he wanted to record (so I sent the Motown rhythm section home). Using the sound on sound function of my Teac reel to reel we put together a 4 or 5 song demo tape for Chris to use to shop for gigs, etc. At some point circa '85 or '86 I played one of the songs on my Blast From The Past show on WUTK-FM (I claimed it was a lost Byrds-era country-rock hybrid).
I got kind of musically busy by the mid 80's and only sporadically had contact with Chris. Eventually we ran nto each other and he slipped me a cassette and this single. Chris had hooked up with Nashville gospel producer Joel Gentry and his Skylite label to create a series of southern-style gospel recordings.
I can't find the cassette any more, but I recently uncovered a stash of local 45s, including this one from Chris. To my ears, the A side is the uptempo winner. The B side is good as well, but marred by the anti-science/anti-evolution portion of the lyrics (as well as a weird vocal tic that I have never heard him use on any other recording. Maybe it's something that his producer suggested).
Chris, if you're out there, gimme a shout!
Chris Newman - Singin' Shoutin' Praises To The Lord/Undivided Attention