Tom Belt and the God Unlimited Singers: The Agape Factory

GIA M/S-142 (1971)

God Unlimited’s earliest works were a hard act to follow.  A group that, in some ways, set the pace for Episcopal/Catholic folk music sounds more “mainstream” than creative in this work.

Part of that was the inclusion of a set of “Mass ordinaries” (use of the term “Mass” wasn’t quite according to Hoyle in the Episcopal church of the day.) And those ordinaries showed that they were “in the groove” of the trial liturgies of the day and not the official 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  As a result they’re more in sync with Roman Catholic efforts than, say, The Winds of God.  It’s not the best Mass out there, and the multi-part harmonies almost guaranteed that it seldom saw daylight at the parish level.

The rest of the album is a good effort but a little of a let-down from their earlier heights.  The title track is an allegory of the “Jesus Music” era.  Unfortunately after the 1970’s most of American Christianity went back to making only grey bricks, with the disastrous result we have today.

The musicians:

  • Mavis Brechan
  • Jim Dumbauld
  • Tom Belt
  • Betsy Belt
  • Cindy Hofman
  • Robbie Bethancourt
  • Todd Sorensen

The songs:

  1. Kyrie Eleison
  2. Glory To God
  3. Creed
  4. Holy, Holy
  5. Our Father
  6. Lamb Of God
  7. The Agape Factory
  8. Light The Day
  9. Israel
  10. Free To Live
  11. I Am Here Lord
  12. This Is My Song Alleluia

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5 Replies to “Tom Belt and the God Unlimited Singers: The Agape Factory”

  1. I wouldn’t call it an allegory about Christian music. I always heard and understood it as an allegory about the Christian faith… make the foundation solid, but don’t keep practicing your faith in the same-old, same-old ways. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s creativity in your life. Get the message out in creative ways. Live with a splash of color so that others aren’t bored to tears by your religious ways — so they can understand the real Life that has transformed you from a miserable sod with no hope to someone who will rejoice in suffering knowing that we are being transformed into the image of the Son through the hardships… and that joy is not dependent on circumstance. I could go on, but hopefully you get my drift.

    1. Perhaps I need to clarify. I have no doubt that God Unlimited didn’t purposefully intend this to be an allegory of the “Jesus Music” era. However, if we look at much of that music, it embodies all of the characteristics that you mention. When, later in the decade and certainly in the following one, conventional Evangelical Christianity and commercialism took over, we were back to grey bricks.

      Seen in that light, it’s tempting to call it prophetic, but that’s probably too strong of a word.

  2. First of all gongragulations for your site and these great music pages!
    I would be grateful if you recommend and present more albums and artists of marvellous “Jesus Music” era.

  3. I wish I could get a CD of this record. We had Tom and the choir at our church and Beth staid at my home. We were into that music and movement in the 70’s I miss it now.

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