Hippie Jesus Music

Written: 14 April, 2000

This week, I was walking up to my local comics store (which is quite a trek) and to escape from the cold for awhile (don't know why it was cold...might have been a little sprinkly wet out or something), I decided to stop in a thrift re-sale store on the way. I'd been in there before, and had once bought some used books in there last year, some used magazines like a few months-old Time issues back around 1993, and also had looked through their used records section, which was mostly junk.

But this time when I was casually looking through the records, I saw one of the LPs said "One Way Sound" on it, and I knew that the phrase "One Way" had something to do with the 1970s "Jesus music" scene, because a website about that subject is at

The record was obviously Christian, and the photo on the back showed a bunch of guys who looked like they were trying to grow their hair out some. Three of them wore glasses and had hair parted to one side, so they looked a little nerdy, but some of the others looked more 1970s. I looked at the credits and when I saw that some of the instruments included guitars and drums, I decided I'd get it. I didn't want to get something that was just a barbershop quartet-type thing. (There was a lot of old-time sappy stuff among these LPs, lemme tell ya...)

The next intriguing one I saw had a light blue cover with the words "Hallelujah Jesus is Lord" on it. On the back, it mentioned that it was part of a coffeehouse ministry, with a bunch of "young men and women." The webpage says that it is circa 1969. I've only listened to a little of this so far, but I wasn't crazy about the old-fashioned "opera" kind of singing that old-time folkies used. But maybe it'll grow on me if I listen to it more.

One of the next records I saw was a 1980 album by the group Glad, titled "Beyond a Star." So far I've only listened to the first 2 or 3 songs and they are good. The first one is an a capella style song (which reminded me of Yes) titled "The Reason" which has the refrain "There will never be another reason..." The second song is an upbeat pop tune titled "Take a Stand" which urges the listener to take a stand for what they believe in. I'd seen a Glad video on Z Music TV (I think it was from their 1995 album, "Color Outside the Lines" or something to that effect) and I assumed that they were an old-time group, but I didn't know that they went back to 1980 (actually, they go back even further than that I learned). For some reason, the cover, showing an angel who looks like a blonde haired girl, holding a glowing ball bearing the Glad logo, looks very familiar to me, like I've seen it before in the past. The record label for the LP is Myrrh records, which is the same label that my favorite current artist, Miss Angie, is on.

I looked through the rest of the records on the shelf (most of 'em anyway, a lot weren't even in sleeves) and saw a Larnelle Harris (seen his name on Z TV) record from 1978, and a Firesign Theatre (not Christian!) record which I thought about getting, but decided against, and some Cat Stevens records, all of which I left on the shelf.

But the last one I picked out (anyway, I think it was the last one) was the coolest one, a Myrrh records sampler LP from 1974. On the front, it had a drawing of some flowers surrounding the names of the artists that appeared inside. Below that, the words: "Today's Greatest Collection of Contemporary Gospel Music," and then below that the title of the record, "Love Peace Joy," taken from the song that opened the disc. The back cover showed 12 record cover albums by 10 different artists (Love Song and Honeytree had two albums each represented here, the others had one).

The first song was "Love Peace Joy" by 2nd Chapter of Acts, from their album With Footnotes. The cover of the album (which you can view on this page...its the 2nd cover down) looked like my ideal for a Christian hippie rock cover, showing some cool-looking peaceful people sitting in the grass. It's too bad that the "hippie dream" of spreading love and preaching peace got tangled up in drugs and rip-off artists and gurus on a power trip. I'd heard of 2nd Chapter of Acts before because Miss Angie covered their song "Which Way the Wind Blows" and had mentioned buying "With Footnotes" for like a quarter at a garage sale and wanting to cover the whole album instead of just the one song. Well, after listening to "Love Peace Joy," I want to listen to the whole album of "With Footnotes," because I "dig it"!

The next song is a quiet acoustic number titled "Fool's Wisdom" by a duo called Malcolm & Alwyn. It's a very appealing gentle song that preaches without being uncool. "Got myself some wisdom/from a leatherback book," the lyrics go, "Got myself a saviour/when I took a second look." The lyrics say that it seems like when we think we're right, that everybody must be wrong, "'Til someone with fool's wisdom somehow comes along." Again, I want to try the whole album eventually.

Other artists on the LP include Honeytree, Love Song, Barry McGuire, Randy Matthews, Ron Salsbury & the J.C. Power Outlet, and even a short acoustic bit by Petra at the end, taken from their very first album. (I'd bought a Petra album myself way back in 1985.) Pretty cool stuff.

It turned out that the price of records at the thrift store was only 50 cents each. Quite a bargain, especially for the last one I mentioned, the Myrrh sampler LP. This reminded me of how sometimes great gems are "hidden" right before our eyes. For years, whenever I saw such Christian albums I just passed them by without thinking. They are considered the junk records that nobody wants, and which can be found in the thrift shops and used LP shops along with all those old instrumental (Mantovani, etc.) records and so on. Well, now I've got some "fool's wisdom" and I'm gonna have to pay attention to such "junk" next time I see a pile of used LPs somewhere!