David de Sabatino
For more information on the Jesus Movement, order "The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource" - now available. By most accounts, the Jesus People Movement began in 1967 with the opening of a small storefront evangelical mission called the Living Room in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district. Though other missionary type organizations had preceded them in the area, this was the first one run solely by street Christians. Within a short time of these first stirrings a number of independent Christian communities sprang up all across North America. In Seattle, the Jesus People Army was born in response to a vision experienced by evangelist Linda Meissner, who had seen an "army of teenagers marching for Jesus." On the Sunset Strip, evangelist Arthur Blessitt opened the His Place nightclub and coffeehouse as a 24 hour way station for youth. At the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Jack Sparks and some other members of Campus Crusade decided to begin a countercultural outreach program called the Christian Liberation World Front (CWLF) directed towards reaching campus radicals. The ensuing groundswell of activity spawned a number of other developments as well. Realizing the need to open their churches to the hippie generation, many conservative pastors recruited hippie liaisons to their ministerial staff. Both Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel (in Santa Ana, California) with the recruitment of Lonnie Frisbee, and Lyle Steenis of Bethel Tabernacle (in Redondo Beach) with the recruitment of Breck Stevens found their churches radically transformed in the wake of their decisions. In order to proclaim the message of the gospel, hippie Christians simply adopted existing forms of communication. Mirroring the development of underground newspapers such as the Berkeley Barb, in 1969 evangelist Duane Pederson began publishing the Hollywood Free Paper as an evangelistic tool. Jesus papers with names like Right On!, The Fish, Street Level, and Cornerstone became a fundamental component of each street Christian community. [..............................................................] The following is an admittedly subjective list of Jesus Music albums. This list concentrates on roughly a 15 year period (1965 - 1980), so there are some collectible CCM lps that obviously won't be included. Albums were picked for both their quality and their market value. Thus, if your favorite album doesn't appear, please remember this reflects my personal tastes more than anything else. It is my hope that you will find some (or all. . . good luck) of these gems in your searching. They represent a formative time that many CCM fans know little or nothing about. I hope you are enriched by this music as I have been over the years. Maranatha! - David Di Sabatino Agape - Victims of Tradition (Renrut, 1972) I am admittedly biased on placing this one first (seeing as we are responsible for reissuing both of Agape's albums on CD), but it definitely deserves to be here. This is the 2nd of Agape's lps and is a more progressive lp than the first adding jazz keyboardist Jim Hess to the already tight musical lineup. Fred Caban on lead guitar and vocals, Mike Jungman on drums and Jim Peckhart on bass make up the rest of the band. Wilson McKinley - Spirit of Elijah (Voice of Elijah, 1973) The members of Wilson McKinley were saved as the result of the ministry of Carl Parks, one of the leaders of the Jesus People Army in Seattle. The Jesus People Army was the vision of Linda Meissner, a former staff worker of David Wilkerson's Teen Challenge ministry, who saw 'an army of young people marching for Jesus.' While on crusade through the Pacific Northwest, the members of the band wandered into a park to heckle Carl Parks' preaching. They ended up becoming Christians and becoming the JPA band. Though the quality is admittedly sub-par, the band has elements of the west-coast guitar scene. Randy Stonehill - Get Me Out of Hollywood (Phonogram, 1973) In this list because of its absolute scarcity. In 1973, or thereabouts, Randy left California to search out a recording contract in England. He recorded this over there and scrapped it just before release. The story is that most of the copies were destroyed, but a few survived and are floating around out there. Album includes the song 'Vegetables' which ended up being included in the Lonesome Stone Musical performed by The Sheep over in England as a part of Jim Palosaari's wandering Jesus People group. Good luck finding copies of this album. All Saved Freak Band - Brainwashed (Rock the World, 1975) Interesting story. This was a communal group of Jesus freaks from Ohio who revolved around the leadership of Larry Hill and included former lead guitarist for Pacific Gas & Electric, Glenn Schwarz. The group became intensely prophetic and apocalyptic, believing that their group was the sole remnant of Christianity. The band had 3 other albums, one of which also appears on this list. Out of Darkness - same (Key, 1970) English band sounding very much like Jimi Hendrix. A live CD of their music was just reissued by Plankton Records in England called the Celebration Sessions. Azitis - Help (Elco, 1971) The rumor is that this band won a music contest to record an album, but could only do so if they changed their lyrics to Christian themes. A really startling story because the content is very strong and seems to be penned by someone who is on the ball. Other than that, it is an excellent psychedelic album. Water Into Wine Band - Harvest Time Don't know a heck of a whole lot about this band or this album except that it is English folk rock and was sold solely at the first Greenbelt festival in 1972. It now sells for over $750. By virtue of its price alone it merits inclusion in this list. Yikes! Larry Norman - Street Level (One Way, 1971) One of the three albums he and Stonehill recorded with the money given to One Way by Pat Boone. There are two different versions of this lp (and numerous different label and numerical permutations). The more rare version is the 'Gold Label Underground Edition' which has songs from the musical 'Lion's Breath.' The more common version includes one side of a live concert recorded at Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church which ran a nightclub called the Salt Company. Larry got into some trouble with the hierarchy of the church after singing the song 'Right Here in America.' Harvest Flight - One Way (Destiny, 1971) Led by Evan Williams, who later went on to be in Phoenix Sonshine. Album includes excellent rendition of then popular 'One in the Spirit' (". . .and they'll know we are Christians by our love."). The Exkursions - same (custom, 1971) Chicago based psychedelic blues band with heavy fuzz guitar sound. Led by Mike Johnson who later went on to record solo projects and even earn songwriter of the year award. Band broke up because the other two members wavered in their faith. Since a number of sealed copies were unearthed last year, the value has gone down. Earthen Vessel - Hard Rock / Everlasting Life (NRS, 1970) Hard rock garage band with heavy fuzz guitar and female lead vocals. Wilson McKinley - Heaven's Gonna Be A Blast (Voice of Elijah, 1973) Their first real studio album after two earlier releases that were rather low budget. The group became Christians almost en masse when Linda Meissner's Jesus People Army troupe set up an evangelistic rally in High Bridge Park in Spokane. The group became the musical arm of evangelist Carl Parks' Voice of Elijah community. Last Call of Shiloh - same (Last Call, 1969) Affiliated with the Jesus People Army group out of Idaho. This release is among the earliest Jesus rock albums. Randy Stonehill - Born Twice (One Way, 1971) Released along with Larry Norman's Street Level and the Son Worshipers soundtrack on a very low budget. Three versions exist of this album. The most common one includes the song 'Christmastime' which is a cut tempo of the same song that Larry included on So Long Ago The Garden. The more rare version includes 'He is A Friend of Mine' instead of 'Christmastime' which is a lyrically altered version of a Byrds tune. The final and most rare version is a mispressing which has the same live concert pressed on both sides. The Sheep - Jeesus Rock (Finnlevy, 1972) The original Milwaukee Jesus People group split into three camps; the Jesus People USA (Resurrection Band), Bill Lowery's 'Christ is the Answer' ministry and a group that went over to Europe to evangelize. The Sheep were involved in the latter group and recorded this first album in less than 12 hours. Some songs are actually sung in Finnish. Very hard to find. All Saved Freak Band - My Poor Generation (Rock the World, 1973) Their first lp dedicated to two members of the Church of the Risen Christ community (Randy Markko and Tom Miller) who died in a car crash on the way to a concert. Vindication - same (custom, 1974) Trio of high school students doing what is referred to as 'monster rock.' A company in the Midwest is putting this album out on CD and reissuing it on vinyl. Agape - Gospel Hard Rock (Mark, 1971) Their first lp with a more straight ahead blues rocking feel. Only a trio at this juncture. Mustard Seed - same (Spectrum, 1971) Larry Norman - same (Starstorm/Rhema, 1977) This album is actually one of his that is worth the hunt. Released only in Australia (on either Starstorm or Rhema labels) it has different versions to some of the songs from 'So Long Ago The Garden' and a long version of If God is My Father. Phil Keaggy - Love Broke Thru (New Song, 1976) Jointly produced by Michael Omartian and Buck Herring it is a much more aggressive album than Keaggy's first release. The album contains the studio version of the most requested Keaggy composition entitled 'Time' and includes the first recorded version of the classic song 'Love Broke Through' which was penned by Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, and Todd Fishkind. Joshua - same (Impact, 1973) Good hard rock with some more mellow moments. Includes a great cover of Larry Norman's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready." Larry Norman - Bootleg (One Way, 1973) Double album with many various label colors and numbers. An odd collection of songs and interview sessions that capture the essence of the Jesus movement and Larry's role. The Sheep - same (Myrrh UK, 1973) Their second release, this group was one of the two bands to emerge from the Milwaukee Jesus People group (the other was Resurrection Band). The Sheep were under the leadership of Jim Palosaari's group which headed overseas to Europe to evangelize throughout Finland, Sweden, and eventually in England where they produced and performed the musical Lonesome Stone. Wilson McKinley - On Stage (custom, 1971) This album goes for a lot of money because of its scarcity, but its production quality is really poor. Apparently, unbeknownst to the band, their manager recorded the concert on a cheap tape recorder and later released it without any further mixing. Ron and Bill Moore - Lo and Behold (Martin, 1969) Included here because it is probably the very first indigenous Jesus music album ever recorded. Ron went on to record a number of his own albums on his homespun label Airborn. He also produced and helped a number of other artists get their start in Christian music such as Mark Heard whose original album was also released on Airborn. The Son Worshipers Soundtrack (One Way, 1972) This is the soundtrack for a movie piecemealed together by Bob Cording and Weldon Hardenbrook and distributed through Larry Norman's One Way label. It is a half hour documentary of the Jesus People Movement featuring interview footage, some great moments on campus at University of California at Berkeley, some Calvary Chapel scenes shot of the early days at Calvary Chapel. The movie includes footage of Jack Sparks (of the Christian World Liberation Front), Duane Pederson (of the Hollywood Free Paper), the preaching of Os Guinness, some interview footage of Jesus freak evangelist Lonnie Frisbee interspersed with some music. The soundtrack is taken verbatim from the movie and is not worth the money that people are asking, but it is somewhat collectible. Resurrection Band - Awaiting Your Reply (Star Song, 1978) One of the best releases from the Chicago based musical band of the Jesus People USA community. The band was originally called Charity but changed its name to Resurrection Band in the late stages of 1972 after the four-way split of the original Milwaukee Jesus People community led by Jim Palosaari. The JPUSA community still lives in Chicago doing very much the same things that they were doing back in 1972. Fraction - Moonblood (Angelicus, 1971) This is an absolute killer album! If you can get a hold of a taped copy you will absolutely be blown away. When copies come up for sale in collector's circles they go for over $1500. Overland Stage - same (Epic, 1972) A group of North Dakota Jesus freaks who were slammed by Rolling Stone in their first record review and were never heard from again. Jesus People - Live at the Hollywood Palladium (Creative Sound, 1972) Includes a couple of live tunes by JC Power Outlet and the Morning Star Gospel Rock Band. The concert from which some of these tunes were taken from was put on by Duane Pederson and the folks behind the Hollywood Free Paper. Arthur Blessitt and the Eternal Rush - Soul Session at His Place (Creative Sound, 1972) A kitschy album of rock music from the Eternal Rush (a band made up of ex-dopers) and sermonizing from Arthur Blessitt, the self-proclaimed minister of the Sunset Strip. Agape - Live in 1973 (Renrut, 1973) 8-track only Not too many people are aware that this even exists. . . but it does. If you got an 8-track player and you can find a copy, then you have something that not too many people own. Jeremy Spencer & Children of God (CBS, 1972) Former guitarist with Fleetwood Mac just up and left the band one night in Los Angeles. When the members finally found him, Jeremy had changed his name and joined the radical cult group who emerged from a Teen Challenge coffeehouse in Huntington Beach. Spencer still does all the group's music and has released number of COG projects over the years. Larry Norman - Only Visiting This Planet (Verve, 1972) The most popular of all CCM albums ever released. Low on this list because of its availability. All Saved Freak Band - Sower (War Again, 1980) The final record released by the ASFB although it was recorded much earlier. By 1980 the group's apocalyptic views had forced their retreat from any contact with mainstream society. In the commentary included with the album the group outlines the five visions that group leader Larry Hill had received between 1965 and 1971 about the impending end-time war which would come as divine judgment upon America because of her sins. By the release of this album, the group had disbanded due to internal conflicts concerning overly excessive child discipline and authoritarian leadership. Hill and a few remaining members are still located on the church's property in Orwell, Ohio. Paul Clark - Good to Be Home (Seed, 1975) This album just sounds like they were having a good time recording it. Includes Phil Keaggy. Larry Norman - Upon This Rock (Capitol, 1969) Reported to be the first Jesus rock lp in existence, but there are a couple of lps that predate it. It also must be stated that Larry Norman was not the only one doing Jesus rock at the time, but he did have the widest exposure because of his contract with Capitol. And, to be fair, his music effectively captured the essence of those days. The album stands as one of the great legacies of the Jesus People Movement. Because I Am - same (Clear Light, 1973) A various artist album including a band called the 'e' band which featured future Petra singer Greg Volz. The Everlastin' Living Jesus Music Concert Maranatha! Music, 1971) The Everlastin' Living Jesus Music Concert Maranatha! Music, 1971) The very first record that Maranatha! Music, a subsidiary company of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, ever released. Maranatha!'s first two recordings (The Children of the Day's first album being the other one) initially sold 25,000 copies propelling the company into worldwide prominence in the area of contemporary Christian music. Musically, many of the Maranatha! groups patterned themselves after the stylistic lead of Love Song which was laid-back country rock sound although there were some exceptions (i.e. the jazz-rock of Sweet Comfort or the unique sound of the Children of the Day). Maranatha! Music also stressed the equation of music and ministry as more of an emphasis than the exploration of artistic creativity. Love Song - Feel the Love (Good News, 1977) Double lp released after the band had broken up. Between 1971 and 1976 Love Song was the most popular of all the Jesus music bands obtaining a lot of exposure with their allegiance to Calvary Chapel.