Vinyl Dynamite #34: Jesus Music

Newsflash: Some of the best music to come out of the seventies was actually Jesus Music.  For many of you (and I include myself in this mix) this is actually a hurdle to get over.  Not that I have anything against Christianity, I don't - but IMHO, Christian music of any kind has largely sucked for the past thirty plus years.  So, unfortunately, when I hear the label "Christian Music", I am automatically starting off on the wrong foot.  It's sad but true.

I won't use this post to go off on any religious tangents; however, I will give a single statement that encapsulates my feelings on the subject:

The so-called "Jesus Movement" may be the closest mankind has come to actually practicing the teachings of Jesus.

It was a brief moment in time where all the pieces finally fell into place.  It was non-judgmental (i.e. devoid of hate), with a strong emphasis on living the "simple life" and helping your fellow man.  It didn't take long for the movement to become hijacked, and its positive qualities were soon warped beyond recognition (ex. the emphasis on Love was quickly transformed to mean sex without consequence).  

But I think this is where I'll step off the pulpit.  That's a topic for another post.  This one's about some kick ass Jesus Music. So, no matter what your creed, it's time to get our groove on....

Artist: Deliverance
Album: Give It a Try
Description: Solid gold combination of  Hammond organ, lysergic acid, and space guitar.  Pretend Rupert Holmes joined the band Spirit and they decided to write the soundtrack to the sequel of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Lyric: "Now they made You popular and everybody's high"

Artist: Justin Robert and Advent
Album: Eight Days: A Personal Journey
Description: Emerson and Lake put a bullet in Palmer, disposed of his body and replaced him with Gandalf, who just so happens to be a big fan of Sammy Hagar and Judas Priest.

Artist: Under New Management
Description: Fuzz guitar infused elevator music; badly sung even by Holiday Inn standards.  However, there's an unexplainable charm here that is exponentially enhanced by cannabis and sleep deprivation.

Artist: Tedd Smith
Album: Smash & Grab World
Description:  Petula Clark sings compositions scrawled on human skin and rolling papers written by a depressed madman who lives at the bottom of a well. 

Lyric: "High on grass or speed or acid. Try to find a world that's placid."


  1. Oh boy, you're right about the music sucking. While I do believe in God, I believe even He/She gets ticked off at the modern Christian Rock. 50 lyrics that are all exactly the same. Reminds me of cult brainwashing chants.

  2. I'm Jewish as is Jami but she may be too young.
    Every time I hear "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum. I hear a little old lady with a Bronx/Yiddish accent saying, "Norman Greenbaum!...Norman Greenbaum, how could you? A nice Jewish boy like you singing such a song."
    I'm converted so I don't know who she is or how she got in my head but she's there for sure.

  3. Ah, remember that '70s Jesus movement. A get-together called "Jesus (fill in a year, like Match Game '74)" happened for 3-5 years about a mile from my house. My brother and I once went on a high hilltop and looked at the layout; not a huge gathering, but pretty big.

    The back of the Eight Days LP says the performers are Austin Roberts and Advent: the same Austin who used to sing on the Scooby Doo TV soundtrack and later had the hit records "Something's Wrong with Me" and "Rocky".

  4. I actually never knew the name of the guy singing that, Snidely. However, I do think that whenever Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, or Barbara Streisand put out a Christmas album.

    Not that I can talk. I'm practicing some Christmas songs (and a few Hanukkah ones) just incase someone wants me to sing at their Christmas party.

    When I finally do make it into the music business, I'm going to have it in my contract that I'll put out a Christmas album only if I'm allowed to also put out a Hanukkah one - that's all in English because I don't know any Hebrew and I can only say things like "Oy vey" in Yiddish. LOL

  5. Not all Christian music is "50 lyrics that are all exactly the same." Listen to Adam Again or The Choir.

    There's some great blogs on Jesus music.




  6. Okay, those all have a variation of "old" in the title so I'm assuming those are not the modern ones I'm complaining about. I'm talking about ones like the ones that go "You better talk to the one who made you" and "You raise me up" that repeat the same lyrics forever and a day. I'm talking about TODAY'S Christian music, not the good stuff. I'd rather listen to something like All Things Bright And Beautiful then that stuff they advertise on tv.

  7. I do have to say that Gilligan's descriptions are much more entertaining than those blogs, good as they are.

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  9. When I was growing up in Indianapolis, there was one band for which we would stop the educational day, and all four classes were herded into the gymnasium to see the concert. What band could cause such a disruption of our taxpayer-funded education? Why, it was Under New Management, of course!

    They'd come out and play some current hits of the day before they started to make the most subtle references to... You Know What.

    Nonetheless, for their first 5 or 6 tunes, you could clap your hands and pretend that you were at an actual rock concert instead of a religious indoctrination rally. Our school’s Principal, Jimmy Head (I kid you not) could be seen in the front row of the bleachers, nodding his head along with “Long Train Runnin’” or “Joy to the World”, happy that his young charges were getting filled with The Good Stuff, while the kids could enjoy the convincing conga playing and the very, very fuzzed-out guitar. Love those tuck-and-roll Kustom amps, too!

    I think they gave a show 3 of the 4 years I was in high school, with no apparent protest, or even a whisper of controversy.

    Thanks for this amazing flashback! I never thought I'd hear of those guys again.

  10. Awesome comment, Mark G. What's even better is your principal's name was Mr. Head.... my principal's name was Mr. Cherry - I kid you not.

    And I get what you're saying Jami - it's exactly what I'm saying. 70s Jesus music rocked; whereas, contemporary stuff (even 80s Stryper type shit) is straight up awful.

  11. I was only 6 when the 70s ended, but that doesn't mean I wasn't "blessed" with a couple of albums of Christian music! My mother's mother was a televangelism junkie, and among the many "premiums" she got for her donations to PTL was TWO Tammy Faye Baker children's albums. They weren't just her singing though, no way! It was her using the voices for whatever puppet show she was putting on. The album I can remember (I had to look up the title) was called "Building on the Rock" and had the puppets on the cover. I even got my own record player! Unfortunately, I left the album in the car and it got warped. But I did like that album!

  12. I was "born again" for about 15 minutes in the '70's. The big Christian group in those days was LoveSong. I think they are still together and touring.

  13. It's nice to see the albums you mention, and to me reminded of that time. I disagree with you about Stryper though. I always liked them and saw them just this past March in Nashville. They're still active and recording new material that sounds good to me.


    Just this man's musical opinion though - to each their own.

    Thanks for the memories that many of your blog posts take me back to.

  14. I've got to agree with way Christian music is today. It all sounds the same, much like the popular music of our time. I got into the church in the late '70's so I missed out. But my best friend's older brother turned me on to a lot of the original Jesus Rock artist. Yeah, I said Jesus Rock. It wasn't Contemporary Christian music. I like Churiousg's comment about LoveSong. They rocked. I had a double live album of theirs that I literally wore out. My absolute fave though is Mylon Lefevre's first solo album, backed by the future Atlanta Rhythm Section and produced by the great Allen Toussaint.

  15. "God"! I was preparing the same article on my blog!
    Well I guess I can steal you some ideas and develop into "French Jesus 70s music".
    Good article! Can't wait to hear the music (I read it at work)