A blog about the things I find accidentally on Spotify while looking for something else

Thursday, 28 November 2013


There are various compilations of vintage Christian rock from the Sonrise label on Spotify.  Some of  it is hard to date precisely, but I'm guessing the earliest material is from the late '60s/early '70s, and the latest from about a decade later.  Listening to them is an odd experience.  It is a parallel history of rock, with the same styles gone through - acid rock, soft harmony pop, country rock, bad white reggae etc. - but always with the focus on God-related matters.  It definitely feels like something is askew, but why should this be? After all, mainstream rock is littered with songs that, taken in isolation, seem to convey an explicitly Christian message.  It is probably down to the fact that while something like 'Spirit in the Sky' would have emerged organically, and was just one of the things Norman Greenbaum wanted to express (other Greenbaum songs include 'Canned Ham' and 'The Eggplant that Ate Chicago') these musicians were unwilling or felt unable to talk about anything else.  It's a form of music designed for personal expression being used for the purposes of a higher authority.  Like a dog walking on its hind legs, it's physically possible but maybe not the best thing for the dog.
   Anyway, here are three of the more musically interesting Sonrise compilations, organised in what seems like a chronological order.

Mystery Revealed

Once you get past the mind-expanding cover, there is a smorgasbord of late-60s styles here.  Sample track title: 'Song of the Antichrist'.  God makes an appearance on the closing number.


Jesus Festival of Music

The cover will give you nightmares. 'Jesus, come in me', begins one song, innocently.  Contains a cover of Jake Holmes's 'Genuine Imitation Life' I actually prefer to the version by the Four Seasons.


Jesus Power

A bit of a rootsier feel, and some of it live.  Spirit in the Sky actually turns up here, as does a 'high-on-Jesus' gospel monologue from Arthur Blessit & the Eternal Rush.  Some nice tunes here and there.


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