Achor: A Door of Hope, The Wine of Lebanon, and End of My Day

Achor was a church-based group from London. They produced (AFAIK) three albums, all of which are available on this page.

A Door Of Hope (Dove 18, 1975)

The first of the albums, a very folksy production more in line with the Fisherfolk/Word of God axis. Part of that includes singing in the Spirit, which one can hear on “Holy Father.” Their adaptation of American music styles sometimes borders on the hilarious, but overall it’s a very nice production.

The songs:

  • Valley of Achor
  • Jesus, How Lovely You Are
  • Father I Place
  • He Alone
  • We Are Never Alone
  • Great Grace
  • Make A Joyful Noise
  • Father, Your Love
  • Fear Not
  • Come Walk With Me
  • Lord I Feel
  • Holy Father

The Wine of Lebanon (Dove 46, 1976)

For this John Pantry production Achor centred on the vocals while getting some assist from others in the instrumental backup, which does give the album a lift.

The songs are uneven; some are very good while others uninspiring. But the “cockney” rendition of John 17 on “Lord Please make your people one” is absolutely priceless.

The performers:

  • Vocals: The group Achor, consisting of Claire White, Sue Martin, Irene Wilkie, Mavis Ford, Ann Smith, Chris Head, Alan Woodruff and Martin Lever
  • Acoustic Guitars: Chris Head and Claire White
  • Electric Guitar: Mo Witham
  • Chris Head and Gerry Page
  • Drums: Keith Entwhistle
  • Congas: Bernard G. Shaw
  • Flute/Clarinet: Robert McKay
  • String synthesizer/piano: John Pantry
  • Synthesizer: Joe King
  • Flute/Clarinet arrangements: Joe King
  • Vibes: Fred Chedgey

The songs (which can be downloaded individually:)

  1. Wine of Lebanon
  2. I will never leave you
  3. Changing
  4. Ask and it shall be given unto you
  5. Holy Nation
  6. I am completely discouraged
  7. Lord Please make your people one
  8. Fallow ground
  9. The House of Jacob
  10. You can hasten
  11. Father the time has come

End of My Day (Cedar 1) 1978

Is this the best or the worst of the Achor albums? That’s a matter of perspective. Certainly it’s the most polished of the three in terms of its production, instrumentation, etc. Vocals don’t necessarily follow; they don’t much have the hang of multi-part harmony. Somehow, it falls flat overall, it’s not a bad album, but it lacks the spontaneity and freshness of the earlier works while not quite advancing the quality of the music or lyrics as far as one would like.

The songs (which can be downloaded individually:)

  1. Have You Read The Papers
  2. His Kind Of Love
  3. Love Has Taken Me
  4. There Are Moments
  5. You Are The Christ
  6. Poem
  7. Misty Morning
  8. The End Of My Day
  9. Vision Of Your Kingdom
  10. I’m The Person-Father’s In His Sanctuary
  11. His Glory

For more music click here


54 Replies to “Achor: A Door of Hope, The Wine of Lebanon, and End of My Day”

  1. Valley of achor was my favorite song back in my mid teens. Used to sing at the Friday night fellowship
    I went to in Leigh on sea Essex. I have sang fragments of the song ever since!

  2. The ‘holy father’ song I have rediscovered on your site …thankyou, thankyou thankyou. It was inspirational as I started out singing in tongues and in other ways in a ‘non religious’ style. I was moved again by its beautiful simplicity. Thankyou my friend.

  3. Thank you for reviewing these albums……I’m Claire White and wrote many of the songs etc Hearing them again and that folks are still blessed or even interested reminds one that nothing is wasted…ever!

    1. Thanks for your comment. No, nothing is ever wasted like this. Ministry can be very “trendy” but I think the general trend in Christian music has been downward lately, hence the enduring interest in music such as Achor’s.

      I actually ordered the Wine of Lebanon from the UK when I lived in Texas, at a time when doing this was a little out of the ordinary. It has blessed me ever since. My wife is fond of the first album.

      I’ve been reading Frank Bartleman’s eyewitness account of the Azusa Street revival. They had singing in the Spirit then and the music wasn’t as “jazzy” as it became later in Pentecostal churches. We really were living the Book of Acts.

    2. Hi Claire, I am really happy to know of the Dutch song “Heer, U leidde mij”. It has taught me of the story on Achor, which I would not have known if I didn’t know that song. Unfortunately I do not see it in this list. At first I thought it was translated, but I suppose it is written in Dutch only (as this link claims
      Am I correct on this? If not, I’m really interested in the English version.

      1. I did not know that it had ever been translated into Dutch……wonders never cease! The English version is I believe on the website that you found me on……….hope you enjoy

    3. My Dear Claire, the anointing over the Valley of Achor album is phenomenal…….it’s so strong and weighty with the deep sense of God’s presence….I’ve never known of any other Christian or spiritual music that has carried that kind of anointing over it after all these years later!!….please write more songs…we are so hungry in the Body of Christ for His presence….Thank You so much!!

      1. We were all aware that something special was being created. It was beyond our understanding but we felt impelled to write and sing. Quite what the message was, was unclear even to our church leadership…kudos to them they let us do it……glad you are enriched.

        1. Hi Claire,
          I thought you might be interested in a review I wrote for “End of my day” back in 2007. I still feel exactly the same way !

          I think this is a great album and as I’ve felt that way for over 20 years, it’s hard to see anything that could change that now. I remember the first copy I had was on a cassette, bought from this obscure little bookshop well off the beaten track. It had probably been in the shop for close on 10 years and it was in such bad condition with stains all over it and the tape was such that when you played one side, you could hear the other side faintly playing backwards !! Far out ! And until I bought the LP some 14 years later, this was my copy of it. I really had concentrate on the side playing.
          But right from the start, I loved the album.That ’86 -’87 period was a groove for me as I discovered many wonderful christian artists and much of it was hit and miss, with virtually no guidance, save for a couple of obscure books, one of which was rather innaccurate. But there was a thrill of the chase that was often surpassed by the results of the chase and this was one of them.
          I remember thinking at the time that it was so very English sounding. Even though I had a few LPs by English artists (Adrian Snell, Cliff, Stewart &Kyle, Paul Field, Bryn Haworth, the Wall Band, Barrett Band etc) only Snell and Stewart & Kyle seemed to have avoided being swamped in Americana (not that this was a bad thing ! No USA, no popular music, simple.) But Achor seemed to deliberately parade their Englishness. Years later when I bought the LP, I discovered that the nucleus of the group were from a wing of the church up in Finchley in North London which made me smile as I grew up a mile from there and even now live pretty close to there. They seemed very local to me, a fact that I was unaware of in 1987.
          Anyway, that first rubbishy copy that I lived with for 14 years could never get in the way of my enjoyment of the album. Right from the kick off I was struck by the male vocalist; he truly reminded me of Syd Barrett of early Pink Floyd. Speaking of vocals, I have always found there to be a delicious three way balance between male and female and massed vocals. Rarely ( I think only on “Father’s in his sanctuary”) do the massed vocals carry an entire tune. What generally happens is that a lead vocalist carries one part while the mass vocals carry what amounts to a chorus or hook. I do think it works really well.
          Some of the rhythm section ( I’m sure it’s the keyboardist, bassist and drummer, almost certainly the latter two) had, along with guitarist Norman Barrett, been part of Alwyn Wall’s group, the Wall Band who, the year before this LP came out had recorded “The prize”, which for me is one of the seminal British Jesus rock albums, ever. Those fellas were on a roll and although none of them are outstanding on this album, they are indispensable. They certainly beef up the Achor sound and it’s a tougher sound than on their previous recordings. There is a lovely ubiquitous acoustic guitar all the way through but the playing is never twee unlike their other albums. There’s also some interesting use of flute and saxophone – indeed the sax element was wholly unique and original to me. It’s always been a feature of the album and that’s saying something as it’s only used on three of the twelve songs. To be honest, though I’ve heard the saxophone family on hundreds of songs and LPs, the way it’s deployed here has always seemed to stand on it’s own. Until I heard a great album ( it’s one of the earliest ones on Heavenly grooves) by a group called The Last day that is. There, they use the saxes of the great ‘lost’ jazz saxophonist, Don Lanphere to great effect and infinitely more than Achor do. But I can’t help wondering if the band had listened to “The last day” because the similarity of feel and entwining within the overall sound is, at least to these ears, striking.
          More extensively used (five tracks) yet less striking is the synth. It’s used in an almost mellotron type way as a cute melodic wash and though it’s not my favourite sound of all time, in it’s favour is that it rarely gets in the way. Another interesting instrument, it all but consigned the mellotron to the scrapheap for 25 years and threatened to do likewise to not only the organ, but just about every keyboard that had been around since the 60s and even string sections were in danger of going the same way as the dinosaurs. But then a funny thing happened. The likes of Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Jan Hammer, Chick Corea, Keith Emmerson, Michael Omartian and Rick Wakeman stopped using the synthesizer to try to emulate other instrument sounds and concentrated on giving it it’s own voice. It took a while but ultimately it worked (some would lament synth driven pop !! ). Achor’s use of it here demonstrates them caught between two stalls, really. Had the album been recorded six years earlier, they may well have used a real string section. By ’78 a synth was cheaper and didn’t look down on the music as many classical session musicians were prone to !
          There is a lovely tension on “End of my day” between quiet introspective reflection, biblical storytelling, imagination and sheer exuberant joy. I even like the untitled spoken word over acoustic guitar piece. I call it “Like apples”. My highlights are ‘Have you read the papers’ (the line that starts “it’s not an intellectual excercise” always brought my Dad to my mind and still does) with it’s dry, laconic Syd style vocal, ‘There are moments’ ( the lines “in his love I find my harmony” have long been die hard reality for me and have attested to a firm love that’s kept me sane, many a time), ‘You are the Christ’ (it opens with words that for me are so true – “I heard of you from a friend of mine..” then it gets even more autobiographical as it deals with fear yet speaks of the equal reality of not being able to let go of Christ) and one of the deepest, most real and exuberant cries of joy from the heart, ‘Vision of your kingdom’ which interestingly always went down well with the church musicians of a former fellowship but was too challenging for everyone else, it seemed.
          But in truth, I love them all. And credit must go to one Claire White who wrote the songs and also did some singing. The band as a whole were magnificent on this but Claire provided them with high quality raw material to fashion into top notch product. I’ve had Lps where a band makes a great job of substandard material and also where a band squanders the great material to hand. When both come together, however, it is both powerful and immensely satisfying.

          1. Tagbo, thanks for stopping by, remember you as a frequent commenter on The Ancient Star Song and Heavenly Grooves. Always enjoyed your reviews. Heard from diakoneo recently. I can’t say I’m up to either of these blogs, but with events the last three years I do what I can. God bless.

  4. It’s so nice to hear that people are still blessed by what we did. We had such fun and were so aware of His Presence with us when singing. I still have all the albums and can remember most of the songs and even the harmonies!! Must have been the hours we spent singing!

  5. I agree! We had all three albums back in the 70s, on vinyl of course, sadly long since gone. So it’s absolutely great to listen to the music again. Not just a trip down memory lane either, the songs to my ear at least are as fresh and relevant now as they were (gulp!) 38 years ago. Thank you Achor, and “Me”.

  6. Hi I’m Alan Woodroffe. I live in Canada now.I wrote and sang the “cockney”version of “Lord please make your people one” Not sure whether the definition of priceless is positive or negative but I have chosen to construe it as positive :)… Sue and Claire, add me on your facebook, Pastoralan Woodroffe ..

    1. It’s positive. On this side of the Atlantic, it’s just very distinctive (as you’ve probably found out living in North America), but adds to the charm of the album. The only downside is that Our Lord’s prayer in John 17 is, as of yet, unfulfilled. But perhaps sharing this music will, in a small way, move that forward.

      1. Well here is a late reply lol.. Thanks for your response to me. Sftr I worked on the floor of the London Stock Exchange for 10 years, they knocked most of my cockney accent out of me… Shame.. Take care and God bless… Alan 🙂

  7. It is so encouraging to see these songs re-emerging for general access again. I studied physics in London with my friend (who became my best man) Chris (with bobble hat; Claire, Sue and Alan will know him also) and I used to visit Chingford for the monthly worship/teaching gatherings. I still have all the records, and wondered whether the fourth “Hosanna to the Son of David” had been digitized? Also I have copies of the four Cloud titles – another friend was a member of that group and “free to fly” was recorded in St. Paul’s Onslow Square (SPOS) where I was also involved, now part of Holy Trinity Brompton.
    The Lord was/is doing a lot in London at that time both quietly and in more obvious ways; one day we will know, for now the prayer goes on.

    Many thanks for gathering the information.

    1. Music blogging has been a rough ride this past year, even with the encouragement we (and there are others who are doing/have done this) have received from people such as you.

      I’m aware of “Hosanna to the Son of David” being out there (it was featured on the Ancient Star-Song in April, but they don’t post the albums any more) and am certainly open to posting it; just go to the contact form and we can figure something out. Same for the Cloud albums; as you can see, I almost missed it on The Resting Place.

  8. There was also the album ‘Draw near to God’ that we did as well as ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’. I think I still have both. My son discovered that our albums are popular amongst the Japanese cos they’re ‘folksy’ and selling for £60 an album! But they think we were a girl band!! Sorry Alan and Chris! I had to laugh though. Who would have thought, during the long night hours in the studio in Eastbourne when we had such fun, that the Japanese would one day discover us? And as for End of my Day being best or worst? Half the group had laryngitis as I recall so the vocals are particularly rough in places but its never been one of my favourites.

    1. I’ve had a similar experience as you regarding the audience for the albums. Evidently East Asia prefers a folksier sound, because I’ve gotten a fair amount of traffic from China. Think about that for a while.

    2. “And as for End of my Day being best or worst? Half the group had laryngitis as I recall so the vocals are particularly rough in places but its never been one of my favourites.”

      Interesting. I’ve always thought there was a vocal “roughness” on the “End of my day” album that wasn’t on the two that preceded it – but those vocals contribute towards the edge that the album has and prevent it from sounding a little twee and ‘Fisherfolky’ for want of a better term.
      Looking back on British Christian rock/pop from the 70s, there aren’t many albums that I would count as masterpieces, but along with The Living Stones’ “Jesus music” {a great example of how the sheer strength of the songs can overcome the limitations of the playing and production}, Adrian Snell’s “Fireflake” & “Something new under the sun”, The Wall band’s “The Prize”, Kevin Gould’s “Let’s join together” and Stewart and Kyle’s “Yours ever”, Achor’s “End of my day” rates in that category.
      Given that there was virtually no Christian record industry at the time or that mainstream labels didn’t know about these obscure artists or take them seriously if they did, then “End of my day” is a pretty gutsy album for the time, even if the mainstream was headed in a punk/disco/new wave direction. As a result, it has a isolated ‘purity’ about it, as something recorded in a vacuum but from the heart, kind of whatever came out, came out.
      Obviously, I’m biased. I just love that album. It succesfully insinuated itself into my consciousness very early on and has never departed !

      1. A couple of other great 70s British albums that I would add to that aforementioned roster of masterpieces would be Parchment’s “Hollywood Sunset” and Caedmon’s self titled debut.

        I remember reading Fred Caban of the American late 60s /early 70s Jesus rock outfit Agape, saying that when he became a Christian, he wasn’t aware of any other believers putting the Christian world view into their music. In fact, a number of artists like Wilson McKinley and Hope that became believers after their bands had already formed have said very much the same kind of thing. Larry Norman and the guys in Rainbow Promise and Earthen Vessel said pretty much the same thing. All these artists playing, writing and recording in a ‘vacuum’……
        All of which leads me to wonder how aware of a}the early American “Jesus rock” outfits and b}the British Christian rock/pop outfits many of the early British pioneer groups like Achor were at the time they made their albums. One can detect all kinds of “influences that might be” but it would be interesting to know who, for instance, Achor actually were influenced by, if anyone.

        1. If I pause to reflect on musical heritage it would be Gilbert and Sullivan operettas/ light classical music continuously played in my home weekly from when we first obtained a record player at about the age of 8yrs. My first deliberate choice of music……like actually buying an album…..was Dusty Springfield which graduated to Carly Simon……continued interest in classics and, due to family involvement, shows like Oklahoma, Carousel and Annie get your Gun. Peppered with the Baptist hymnal and remember this……Come Together. Quite a rich potpourri, add a bit of Sargent Pepper and Thomas Talis motets and stir. That’s the backdrop to my input, a real “host of witnesses” for sure!

          1. Fascinating, truly.
            I long suspected that there was a fascinating mish mash of tastes at work there. Most of the artists I admire have very diverse tastes and a fascinating musical background that combines at various times in unexpected ways to produce whatever comes out at that moment.
            There are many wonderful things about the “End of my day” album but one of the things that really grabbed me from very early on was the strength of the songwriting. The quality, scope and breadth of ideas really puts it on another level for me. It’s therefore fascinating to ponder of the diversity of tastes that was flowing in the chief writer at the time.

          2. Another thrust that should be mentioned was the elixir of expectation that God was up to something new………the heightened state of emotion that believes anything is possible. The lyrics were, from my part, attempting to display a God who could pop the box! I was in no way establishing the status quoi, I was reaching beyond into uncharted territories. That is where I clashed with “authority” and had to regroup to find a place for women who had something to say. Ended up in South Africa and experienced the nitty gritty of developing past the euphoria of just a vision. Taught in Bible Schools ministered in churches developed skill with prophetic song and produced two more albums. I am the Bride and Distinctions Vanish. Taking the new nature to ridiculous wonderful extremes.

          3. Hi Claire, you may not remember me at NLCC, but I’ve been following the conversation and found your last comments very exciting and relevant to what God is up to today. Is there anywhere one can get to hear the two songs you named? So glad to hear you’ve continued to write.
            Gill Turner

          4. Gill good to hear from you….im working on making these songs available on line…..I’m presently in the USA running a rehab,,,,,you may wish to view our website……..yes I’ve come a long way since the house church days and had to leave many a dogma and tradition behind…….a continued journey into newness!

  9. Just an FYI: apart from the first and last tracks, all the individual tracks for Door of Hope are mixed up– the titles shown don’t go with those tracks.

    1. The only album here I digitised myself (using, I might note, a good deal of English equipment) is The Wine of Lebanon, which I had ordered from MGO in 1977. The others came from The Ancient Star Song. I’ve had this problem with some of their other albums; I’ll be glad to straighten things out if given some guidance.

  10. How lovely to see Gerry Copas’ illustrations again! I enjoyed the cover of The Valley of Achor almost as much as the music – it opens out to double the size, I recall. 🙂
    Thanks so much for making it possible to listen again. May God bless your blog!

  11. I and my family were so blessed by Valley of Achor in the 70’s, also the four Cloud records. Now only have snippets on cassette tape. Does anyone know if it is possible to get hold of Achor and Cloud on CD? In my opinion there is no christian music to compare with these and I would dearly love to hear them again properly.

    1. As I’ve said before: if any album you see on this blog is on CD or iTunes, I’ll link to it. Unfortunately AFAIK that’s not the case here. CD’s can be made from the files you see here.

      1. Actually, there still is this one song I wrote about in one of the other threads on Achor, which I cannot find on any of the four albums. The title is similar to, but not exactly “the valley of Achor/door of hope”. I have only heard this song in Dutch and I would so like to have the English lyrics and if possible, even the original music to it.

        @Audrey, would you happen to know this song? If I translate the lyrics myself, it should probably go like this (or can you listen to this on youtube, please?–IDACQ&usg=AFQjCNEKch-6DEtN1obT6y1DQcypxo3QYg&sig2=WlrkoMO5QXSm5hD4ZonX_g&bvm=bv.61965928,d.bGQ


        Lord, You leadeth me in the wilderness through the valley of Achor
        and once again You spoke to my heart

        There I shall sing as in the days of my youth, in the valley of Achor my song sounds

        1. Thank you for replying to me. I do not know of the Dutch song and have listened on utube but don’t recognise the tune. Sorry, I can’t throw any light on it.

  12. This is Alan Woodroffe, loved reading this blog and seeing that people are still blessed by the words and music… And who knew about the Japanese interest… Amazing.. it was a privilege writing some of the songs and singing on these albums 🙂

  13. Hi Alan – many of us are still blessed by Achor (and Friends). It has been too many years since we last made contact. Tried to add you to Facebook but you have reached the 5000 limit!

  14. Hi, I’ve just been told about this page by Claire White. I’m the Chris Head from Achor. I played guitar and bass, arranged vocals and also produced ‘End of My Day’. When I get some time, I will hopefully post some detailed background to both Achor and the subsequent albums that came out of the Achor period. I went on to produce several albums for Kingsway and Word UK – including recording/producing Spring Harvest albums from 1994 to 1998.

    1. Hi Chris, Jeff and I remember you and Jackie from NLCC days with appreciation of your musical talents. We look forward to reading your post when you have time for it, maybe with a hint of what you are up to nowadays? Blessings, Gill Turner

      1. Gill, Good to hear from you. Rather than fill up this thread with personal chat, can we contact you via e-mail of Facebook? I’m listed as Chris Head. Look forward to hearing.

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