Jesus People Music, Vol. 2: The Reckoning

Various Artists

Aquarium Drunkard/Org Music, 2023

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A collection of tunes that document the youth movement stemming from California in the late '60s, this album’s eight tracks explore the hippies, stoners and weirdos of the Jesus People, who were embracing Jesus Christ and were strange in general, and musically even more unusual.

The group Our Generation opens the listen with crisp drums, bouncy bass lines and static-like fuzz from the guitars, as gospel flavored group vocals enter “Hello Friends.” “All Across The Nation,” by All Saved Freak Band, follows, bringing thicker, classic rock ideas into the buzzing textures.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Side A ends with the dense and raw spirit of D.R. Hooker's “The Bible,” and the warm guitar acrobatics and hypnotic presence of “Darkness” by Candida Pax.

The back half leads with Patric Calfee's jangly folk-rock across the tuneful “Joy Comes In The Morning,” while “New Jerusalem” the album's best, brings in a radiant and well sung display of soothing harmonies amid the melodic and scrappy retro-rock thanks to The Last Call Of Shiloh.

The final two tracks offer us the cozy acoustic strumming of Sonfolk’s “Homecoming” and the fuller, organ fueled “Lord, Come Into My Life” from First Revelation, which hosts some of the most powerful singing that comes with an incredible range.

The songs here span spacey psych-folk and psychedelic, bluesy moments, and the packaging comes with liner notes from Aquarium Drunkard's Jason P. Woodbury. The Jesus People frequented mainstream churches on the West Coast and rural communities and often were surrounded in confusion, although their music seems to leave no ambiguity about their devotion to God.

The recordings here pre-date commercial Christian music and are from the early ’70s. The movement occupied an unusual spot since they were a bit rough around the edges for your standard Christian, but the outcasts couldn’t get on board with them since they were religious, despite their less than proper appearance. Musically, it’s far from what people might think of when imagining religious songcraft, which is, of course, is part of why this album exists.

Rating: B

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© 2023 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Aquarium Drunkard/Org Music, and is used for informational purposes only.