Take Three burst onto the gospel music scene in 1972 with their hugely popular debut album, “Jesus, This Is for You.”
Their close vocal harmonies and distinctive guitar picking were soon a favorite on college campuses and churches across North America.
As Take Three, Steve Wallace, Bonnie Casey, and Lauren Smith began their musical partnership as student ambassadors for Pacific Union College (PUC), a private liberal arts campus nestled atop Howell Mountain and overlooking California’s spectacular Napa Valley.
Their program in those days was a blend of popular folk songs and traditional ballads in the style of Peter, Paul, and Mary. They filled college and high school auditoriums on countless Saturday nights before the age of iPods, cell phones, and the Internet. (TVs had been invented in those days, but were not allowed in dorm rooms!)
In the summer of 1972, PUC recruited Take Three as part of a team that crisscrossed California doing Christian outreach and public relations for the college. Almost overnight, Take Three needed a full program of gospel music. Their unanimous decision? No more covers of other people’s music. The trio pooled songs they had already composed and put their energies into creating even more. At the end of that summer, they recorded their first album, not in a studio but in a little church sanctuary, connected by cables to a mobile engineering studio parked outside.
In 1974 they released their second album of original gospel music, “Songs of the Morning,” to wide acclaim.
After college, in the late 1970s, with Take Three albums still showing strong sales and demand for concerts still high, Bonnie and Lauren joined forces with their friend Roger Stebner, a talented musician from Southern California. Together they produced the album “Maybe Soon,” featuring more original songs by the performers and their friends, along with some outstanding gospel favorites.
In their final musical transformation in the early 1980s, Bonnie and Lauren blended the soulful sound of Take Three with the lively musicianship of cousins Ron and Greg Evans. As Bonnie Casey & Daystar, this group produced an album of new and old gospel music that continued the tradition of Take Three while reinterpreting it for a new decade.
These four albums, embodying the best of the folk-gospel tradition, have now been digitally remastered as CDs and mp3 downloads for old fans who have worn out their records, cassettes, and eight-tracks (look it up, kids), and for a new generation seeking a unique musical expression of spiritual hope and longing.
Dryad Music is grateful to Record Rescuers for digitally remastering our well-worn vinyl recordings into CD format. The discerning listener will note that the quality of sound on Maybe Soon, Bonnie Casey & Daystar, and the single “Lord of the Dance” is less than perfect. Unfortunately, the master recordings for these albums are considered lost or destroyed. We are nonetheless pleased with what we present here, knowing it is the best that could be done.