Category Archives: Music Pages

Christian music, mostly from the 1960’s and 1970’s, the “Jesus Music” era.

The Advocates

Dovetail DOVE 1 (1973)

Inaugural album on the UK’s premier Christian music label of the 1970’s.  As Ken Scott observes, by the time it was released the music is a little behind the times; it’s more of a 1960’s “British Invasion” kind of record in an era when the country was putting out albums that inspired this kind of thing.

This album has two strong points.  First, it’s a fun album, especially now that the “behind times” problem is pretty much moot.  People who want that 1960’s UK sound, with organ, are going to love this album.  The group members were associate evangelists with Youth for Christ, and I’m sure they put on a much livelier performance than their Maranatha counterparts in the U.S. (and I went to a couple of those.)  And it’s an album that expresses the simple joy of loving Jesus and meeting him for the first time that much Christian music that has come after it has sadly lost.

The songs:

  1. Take A Good Look At Yourself
  2. Rise Shine
  3. His Name Is Jesus
  4. No-Man’s Land
  5. Just Jesus And Me
  6. Jumping Jeremiah
  7. Emmanuel
  8. Revolution
  9. Miracle
  10. Alive
  11. Blind Eyes
  12. Rebels Song

The musicians: Dave Kitchen, Stuart Bell, John Hindmarsh and Keith Howard.

DL

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Senovia

Emmanuel L.P. 3000  (1975)

Most rock groups were pretty compact: four or five members, but they put out the defining sound of the era.  Large groups with choral leanings were exceptional, even among Christian groups.  We’ve featured large groups like Cloud, with their ethereal sound and very Anglican harmonies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in every sense of the word is this group, from East Los Angeles and almost entirely Hispanic.  This album moves and rocks in a way that’s a sheer delight to listen to.  From their hard-driving cover of “I Am the Resurrection” onward, the vocals and instrumentation work very well.  For those of us who spent much of the 1970’s wishing that someone would “cut loose” it’s too bad it took this long to find a group that did just that, but Senovia does.  The closest thing to this album posted is God Unlimited, but although their work is excellent their result is restrained by comparison.  This is an album that has been forgotten, but it shouldn’t have been and shouldn’t be now.

The Songs:

  • I Am The Resurrection
  • Follow Me
  • Salvation Song
  • Christian Man
  • Glory Land
  • New Creation
  • United By Love
  • Children
  • The Lord
  • My Name Is Peace

The Musicians:

  • Ken Brokamp, Director, Guitar
  • Ron Rios, Bass Guitar
  • Esther Puente
  • Jesse Galenos, Guitar
  • Vic Valverde, Harmonica
  • Cenovia Madero, Maracas
  • Gloria Guzman
  • Rudy Pacheco
  • Gil Fierro, Congas
  • Dave Hidalgo, Drums
  • Olga Castelianos
  • Ofelia Balt-Liovera
  • Rosa Colorado
  • Maron Valadez, Guitar
  • Ricardo Yanez Electric Guitar

DL

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Kathy Kanewske: These Days

Mayim MM 1001 (1976)

Texas Catholicism made some magnificent contributions to the “Jesus Music” era, including this, this and thisThese Days is yet another contribution to that roster.  From the Community Of The Well in Austin, this delight is a well produced, well instrumented production with excellent vocals and a variety of styles, from the country style of “Jesus was a Carpenter” to the Jewish overtones of the “Song of Joel.”   Unlike most other Catholic productions, it does not have a particularly long section devoted to strictly liturgical music.  I suspect that the obstacle to wider acceptance of this music for liturgical use was that most parishes didn’t (and don’t) have the musicians up to performing it, but that’s a reason a great deal of great liturgical music written during this time ended up on the shelf.

Kathy Kanewske is still active producing Catholic music.  Albums like this, however, are a reminder that the Lord’s Prayer really says “on earth as it is in Texas.” 😉

The songs:

  1. Jesus Was A Carpenter
  2. Song Of Joel
  3. Do You Know What It’s Like
  4. They That Sow In Tears
  5. Jesus Riding Into Jerusalem
  6. Lamb Of God
  7. We Have Seen A Great Light
  8. Blessed Is The Man
  9. Eternal God
  10. Caring
  11. When Thou Passest
  12. Christopher Stephen

DL

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People of Praise: Come, Lord

P/P 7601 (1976)

After the food fight I got into with my posting of the one Word of God album I did, I became reluctant to post another Catholic Charismatic community album.  I think, however, that the genre needs to be remembered and available when possible, and this production of the People of Praise in South Bend, Indiana is a good example of it.

Although the People of Praise wasn’t a small community, they brought in (yes, they did) Jim Cavnar from the Word of God community in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to produce the album.  It’s safe to say that there wasn’t that much difference in the worship styles of the two communities to start with, but with Cavnar’s presence it would be difficult to tell this album blindfolded from its Word of God counterparts.  The downside to that is the flat style, tambourines being the only percussion allowed, and heavy on the acoustic guitars.  The upside is that it was easy for a congregation to sing to (which is more than I can say for a lot of the current praise and worship music) and no worse than much of what OCP has produced over the years.

The style may be the same, but most of the songs are different from the Word of God repertoire.  One exception is “We See the Lord,” based on Isaiah 6.  It’s an old favourite of mine and was of my prayer group leader, who worked for the Southern Railroad.  It’s one of several songs with Protestant origins, common in the repertoire of communities and prayers groups of the era.

In her book Which Way for Catholic Pentecostals, J. Massyngberde Ford depicted the Ann Arbor-South Bend connection in a way that reminds history buffs of the Berlin-Rome axis.  (I guess that throwing in Dallas’ Community of God’s Delight makes a Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis.)  But Ann Arbor’s leadership had fallings out, first with South Bend and then with Dallas, over the Sword of the Spirit.  For all the similarities of the three groups, that suggests that Steve Clark and his SoS people overplayed their hand, which contributed to the breakup of the 1970’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The Songs:

  1. Come Lord
  2. Mission Hymn
  3. My Heart Stands Ready
  4. We See The Lord
  5. Jesus Is the Light of the World
  6. Make Music to Our God
  7. Revelation 21
  8. O Living Water
  9. But We See Jesus
  10. I Know the Lord Laid His Hands on Me
  11. Christ is the Lord of All
  12. When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
  13. Every Time I Feel the Spirit

DL

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Kell Street Camp Meeting: Dinner and Joy on the Ground

Paula Records LPS 2211 (1972)

“Revival” recordings (audio and video) are common in Christian music.  For Southern Gospel, the best known ones are the “Gaither Homecoming” series, which they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s.  Their idea was to get many of the famous Southern Gospel artists–who were passing away–to perform their music, which made a tremendous impact on American Evangelical Christianity.

You’d think that the urge to do this wasn’t too strong in the 1970’s, when albums such as this were being produced.  The “Jesus Music” featured on this site was little threat to “traditional” Southern Christian music.  Evidently, however, some thought so, and this album was a response to that, although the motivation behind it is not the same as, say, the Gaithers.

This album is a “revival” album in every sense of the word.  The songs are framed in a small Texas town revival, right from building the brush arbor (depicted on the cover) to the altar call and revival closing songs.  In between are some classic hymns.  If they wanted to replicate the uneven, nasal vocals of small Southern congregations, they completely succeeded.  OTOH, although the narration wants to invoke memories of a rural revival, one thing that the “brush arbor”  would need is a good-sized generator: the instrumentation is electric and the drums are prominent, which would have elicited a “tsk tsk” from many Southern evangelicals, rural and urban.

But I suspect that there were other “tsk tsk” moments with this group.  Revival albums are done for two reasons: to keep a style of music and worship so that it stays alive in the church, and to “document” an era that has passed away, both musically and doctrinally.  I get the impression that this is the latter; in fact, the way they do some things both spoken and sung, it borders on satire.  At the end of the album, the narrator laments that his children will never see revival such as this, but that’s more due to this problem than the music having gone out of fashion, or he having moved to town (which Texans did by the droves after World War II.)

The closest thing already on site to this is Glide Memorial’s Bobby Kent, which I prefer because it’s more towards Black Gospel than Southern Gospel.  But if you’re looking for something more on the Scots-Irish side, the Kell Street Campmeeting (that’s the way we’d spell it in the Church of God) should “suit your fancy.”

The songs:

  1. Revive Us Again
  2. Kneel At The Cross
  3. The Great Speckled Bird
  4. Farther Along
  5. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  6. I Shall Not Be Moved
  7. If We Never Meet Again
  8. Precious Memories
  9. Oh! Why Not Tonight
  10. God Be With You

DL

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Paul Quinlan: Run Like a Deer

FEL  S-092 (1967)

The ink (printed or handwritten) had barely dried on the Second Vatican Council’s documents when Catholic composers and artists began to write songs for what we call the “old folk Mass” but what was revolutionary then.  Leading the pack (in quantity at least) was Paul Quinlan, S.J., who produced an enormous number of songs that resonated in many Catholic churches during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Most of the songs on this album are drawn from the Psalms, which was a favourite well for Quinlan to draw from.  It’s hard to expect even output from someone as prolific as Quinlan, but some of his songs are very memorable; I know that my group at Texas A&M made good use of “Song of Thanks.”

As far as his style is concerned, it’s a very sparse, mid-60’s folk style.  That will go down well with some people but many who came after him performed his work in a richer style.  An interesting comparison can be made with his “Glory to God,” which appears (albeit in rehearsal mode) on this recording.

As the 1970’s wore on and NALR’s productions slowly came to dominate the folk Mass scene, much of Quinlan’s work fell by the wayside.  Today of course we have the #straightouttairondale people who ban the folk Mass altogether, but this album is a nice reminder of what people can do when they start with a “clean slate.”

The songs:

  1. Lord You See Me (Ps 139)
  2. Run Like A Dear (Ps 11)
  3. Glory To God (Ps 122)
  4. O Praise The Lord (Ps 150)
  5. Glory To The Father (Ps 92)
  6. God Arises (Ps 68)
  7. Clap Your Hands (Ps 47)
  8. The Lord Is My Shepherd (Ps 23)
  9. Not To Us O Lord (Ps 115)
  10. Come Let Us Sing (Ps 95)
  11. Song Of Thanks (Ps 118)
  12. Father Bless This Work (Jn 17)
  13. Halay! When To God I Send A Plea (Ps 4)

DL

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Reflection: Sounds of Salvation

Reflection RL 310 (1974)

If there’s one genre that’s mostly AWOL from the “Jesus Music” era, it’s prog.  To a great extent that’s still the case; a major exception is this dance troupe, which sets their Christian dance to some very good prog music.  We’ve featured prog on this site (especially this.)  But at the top of the heap, without a doubt, is this masterpiece, from the UK.  It not only sets the standard for what progressive Christian music should sound like; it’s one of the most memorable productions ever undertaken in the era.

Commissioned by the Methodist Church, if their objective was to product a Christian album to appeal to a secular audience, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.  It goes from its noisy start to the hard-driving “Overseers” (which is probably what my students think of me) to a visit to Hell in “Many Regrets” to what is one of the nicest musical representations of the new birth in “What’s That I Hear.”  And that’s just the first side.

It’s an album that has to be experienced.  There’s an entire blog (something of a stub) about it.  This posting is based on the conclusion that the “distribution” that has been out there for a long time is a “needle drop” operation; there are also rumours afoot that same operator has passed on.  If this is not the case, let me know; I’d love to point to a full re-release of this monumental work.

The songs:

  1. Montage & Because My Mouth
  2. Jesus Is The Rock & Overseers & Psalm 94
  3. Who Am I
  4. Many Regrets
  5. For An Instant & In The Dark
  6. What’s That I Hear
  7. People I Live With
  8. Love III
  9. Kumbaya & Prayers
  10. What Is It Like, Lord
  11. Lonely
  12. For A Little Freedom
  13. Prayers
  14. Salvation Hymn
  15. Because My Mouth (reprise)

DL

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Jack Miffleton: With Skins and Steel

World Library  WLSM-36-SM  (1968)

Jack Miffleton started out at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.  That shouldn’t be strange to regulars on this blog: it was also the starting point of the trio who produced Songs for the Masses.  It’s a pedigree that has largely been forgotten.  And that’s sad; this is a good folk production that needs a revival.

The title wouldn’t pass muster in this obsessive day of ours, but the “skins” part refers to percussion, something that didn’t always pass muster in a day when percussion was thought in some quarters to be secular at best and pagan at worst.  But Miffleton and his musicians make good use of it; the album is reminiscent, more than anything else, of God Unlimited, although some of the pieces echo The Keyhole as well.  There are some very powerful pieces on the album (“Cry Alice.”)  The Mass propers are at a minimum here.

If you’re looking to break out of the #straightouttairondale mould fashionable these days, this is an album you should consider.  The recording is out of distribution but the sheet music is definitely available and can be found here.

My thanks to Dennis for this music.

The songs:

  1. Well, It’s A New Day
  2. The Wind Blows
  3. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
  4. Yours Is The Kingdom
  5. Cry Alice
  6. Alleluia Response
  7. I’m The Good Shepherd
  8. Alle, Alle
  9. Lord, I’ve Come To Your Garden
  10. I Am The Bread
  11. Up To Jerusalem
  12. There Are But Three Things
  13. It Is My Faith
  14. But Then Comes The Morning
  15. I’m Ready To Follow

DL

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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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Ed Gutfreund: From an Indirect Love

Epoch VII EG100 (1974)

“The old folk Mass” has become the phrase used by teary-eyed, nostalgic Catholics (and some who left the Church) for the liturgical events of the 1960’s and 1970’s, when the organ gathered dust and the guitars–six and twelve string–were unpacked for the celebration of the sacred mysteries.  But was it really folk music?  Or was it just music done in a folk style and instrumentation?

Falling into the first group is this album.  Ed Gutfreund, familiar to many old NALR aficionados, is a real folk musician who put out this, a real folk album.  He’s best known for his rendition of the Baptist classic “How Can I Keep From Singing,” which introduced this to many Catholic churches. That alone made him memorable, but many of his other songs deserve much more play and performance than they get these days.

Gutfreund, in some ways like Sebastian Temple, is an upbeat composer and performer. That contrasts him with the more moody, minor key style we see in, say, a Roger Smith, and that should have made him more popular as a liturgist.  The problem, however, may be that, as a true folk musician, his work is harder to perform than many of those who simply use folk instrumentation.

And it doesn’t take much for Gresham’s Law to work in Catholic music.  Gutfreund, like many other good Catholic composers and musicians (like fellow folk musician Juliana Garza) got thrown under the OCP bus during the pontifical reign of John Paul II.  Coupled with the liturgical translation changes, much of the “old folk Mass” is pretty much history. And that’s a pity.

Note: this album is unusual in one other respect in that the music specifically for the Mass is interspersed with the other songs, as opposed to the time-honoured practice of putting these pieces at the end of Side 2.

The songs:

  1. Good Morning, Zachary
  2. Lord, Have Mercy On Us All
  3. Alleluia, Praise To The Lord
  4. When We See
  5. Back And Forth
  6. In The Day Of The Lord
  7. How Can I Keep From Singing
  8. When We Gather We Proclaim
  9. The Children Of Sunlight
  10. Your People Of Faith
  11. The Lights Of The City
  12. From An Indirect Love

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