Christian music's angry young men
April 13, 2013 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Contemporary Christian Music in the ‘70s was almost nothing but trite SoCal Jesus People pablum praise music and lame lite rock. And right there was Daniel Amos, which started as a folk group, then switched to Eagles-like country rock. That all changed in 1978 when they recorded Horrendous Disc, but thanks to issues with Larry Norman's Solid Rock label it was in limbo till 1981. It came out a week before one of their best albums, Alarma, which was challenging listening back then. Trouser Press said of them, “The ground zero of Christian alternative rock is Orange County's Daniel Amos (band name courtesy of the Bible's table of contents page). Nearly every underground Christian band was inspired by or in some way connected with them.

Stubborn, eccentric, fearlessly (and sometimes foolishly) confrontational, openly Christian but more inclined to whack believers over the head than try to flatter or patronize them, DA have followed their own muse for three decades now, veering from thoughtful and serious to howlingly goofy with little or no warning. Starting out as a Poco-ish country rock band in the early '70s Jesus rock realm, DA turned into the musical equivalent of Star Trek's Borg: assimilating influences of every kind into a unique whole. Led by the brilliant and mercurial Terry Scott Taylor, DA have gleefully tossed the Beatles, the Byrds, Devo, Talking Heads, the Sex Pistols, XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen, both Elvises and Love (whose '7 and 7 Is' has long been a DA concert staple) into the blender with C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, St. Augustine and William Blake, with dashes of Monty Python and Sheb Wooley thrown in for good measure.” CCM magazine labeled them “Christian Music’s Angry Young Men.” They’ve recorded a slew of albums since, and were in the studio recently making a Kickstarter-funded album, out soon. You can hear most of their stuff, including the great Darn Floor - Big Bite and Motorcycle on Spotify. One of their best tunes? “I Love You #19.”
posted by old_growler (45 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
As an aficionado of Second Chapter of Acts' weirdo (early) Jesus vibe, I approve of this post.
posted by emjaybee at 11:19 AM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I loved those guys too. Saw them live. Also, Resurrection Band (back before they were REZ), Randy Stonehill, died-too-young Keith Green, The 77s, Darrell Mansfield, Petra, Larry Norman, DeGarmo and Key, Sweet Comfort Band, Steve Taylor, Phil Keaggy (I used to have one of his guitar picks), and a slew of others. I still listen to music lots of folks don't, though hardly ever the CCM of my troubled childhood.
posted by old_growler at 11:30 AM on April 13, 2013 [6 favorites]

Is this where I put in some Place of Skulls Christiam Doom Metal?
posted by KingEdRa at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

A side project was also the Swirling Eddies who don't seem to be linked anywhere from the Daniel Amos site that I can find.

They're distinctly odd but did a good job of upsetting the Christian establishment with songs such as "Hide the Beer, the Pastor's Here!" which is a rather pointed look at hypocrisy. Discovered them years ago by accident when I picked up a bunch of marked down CDs at a Christian bookstore. Still love 'em. One of the few CCM acts I'll still listen to these days (them and Petra...)
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 11:38 AM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Jesus People married couple who ran the Christian book store I used to go to as a preteen turned me on to all the CCM that was actually worth listening to. Matter of fact, that is the place where I picked up U2's Boy. They were at the vanguard of Christian and Christian-in-hiding rock, those dear hippies.
posted by old_growler at 11:43 AM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is this where I put in some Place of Skulls Christiam Doom Metal?

How about a helping of Trouble? And more Trouble?
Or, heck, how 'bout some Black Sabbath with the greatest Christian rock album of all time?
posted by NoMich at 11:46 AM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Black Sabbath was a Christian band? People walk on their hands and hamburgers eat people?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:02 PM on April 13, 2013

Yeah, I think mentioning Black Sabbath here shows a lack of understanding about what CCM was, and particularly Christian Rock, especially during the late 1970s and during the 1980s, when DA were at their peak.
posted by hippybear at 12:11 PM on April 13, 2013

Is this Christian Rock that isn't immediately identifiable as such within two or three lines of lyrics?
posted by Windopaene at 12:24 PM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Black Sabbath was a Christian band?

I didn't say that. But yeah, plenty of the songs from their early days are vastly different from their Ronnie James Dio era.

Yeah, I think mentioning Black Sabbath here shows a lack of understanding about what CCM was, and particularly Christian Rock, especially during the late 1970s and during the 1980s, when DA were at their peak.

OK, sure, I guess I can accept that criticism, but I'm going to keep on calling Master of Reality the greatest Christian rock album based on:
- my tastes
- the lyrics of the songs on the album (And I knew/know plenty of pothead Christians so don't even bring up Sweet Leaf.)
- my life experiences

I'm listening to the Motor Cycle album right now and I'm digging it. I'll definitely keep on going through their catalog.
posted by NoMich at 12:26 PM on April 13, 2013

This is the thread for some Life Savers Underground, yes?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:38 PM on April 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

"Praise Him!"
posted by The Tensor at 12:55 PM on April 13, 2013

Daniel Amos playlist request.
posted by surplus at 1:13 PM on April 13, 2013

I can only admit this because it was over 16 years ago and I was young but I used to sign my forum posts,

the CCT who loves CCM

Where T equals teen.

I was a teen in the 90s though so I missed a lot of the really weird stuff. I had dctalk and Carman and Audio Adrenaline.

My friend was hardcore though and introduced me to Mortification and Betrayal. Whoo boy.
posted by M Edward at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2013

@surplus, Horrendous Disc and Alarma, for starters. No playlist; listen to both albums.
posted by old_growler at 1:19 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd say Horrendous Disc and Alarma are pretty much the go-to for DA.

"Back in the day", being into DA was one of those touchstones, where you could tell the kids who were actually cool from the ones who weren't by whether they had one or both of those albums in their CCM collection.

Not to put down Amy Grant and MWS and Whiteheart and such, but it was those with Leslie Phillips or DA or Rez Band in their collections who were the ones to hang out with.
posted by hippybear at 1:29 PM on April 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

where you could tell the kids who were actually cool from the ones who weren't by whether they had one or both of those albums in their CCM collection.

Sorry, the notion of cool and Christian music does not compute.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:47 PM on April 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh Lord. Angry Christian music. I must make a note to listen to this next time I need a really good laugh.
posted by Decani at 2:08 PM on April 13, 2013

Well, to be fair, Leslie Phillips' fans were early adopters of a sort...
posted by pxe2000 at 2:11 PM on April 13, 2013

Decani: you're not familiar with the angry social commentary contained within CCM, directed both out at the world at large and inward at problems within the church?

You need to get out more.
posted by hippybear at 2:13 PM on April 13, 2013 [8 favorites]

I'd add Lamb to old_growler's list of fellow travellers. I recently lost my faith - in Wikipedia - when I found this dead page, after a nostalgic search for something by one of my old Christian favorites.
If anyone hasn't heard Phil Keaggy, this might be the place to start.
It was harder to find a Keith Green piece that a newcomer would be likely to connect to in any way... this, perhaps.
The thing I liked about Christian music was that the lyrics were at least coherent compared to a lot of rock, even if most of us here would take them as misguided. Hallelujah!
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:30 PM on April 13, 2013

Before Keaggy went solo, he was a member of Glass Harp, which recorded its first, s/t album at Electric Ladlyland. They opened for The Kinks, Alice Cooper, Chicago, Yes, Traffic, Grand Funk Railroad and others. See Phil shred here.
posted by old_growler at 2:39 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

@not_that_epiphanius, I wouldn't really try to turn anyone on to Keith Green. He was very much of his time, though he was special. Maybe a Christian Billy Joel? I was a kid when I saw him in an auditorium at some college in NJ. Just him and a piano. The entire stage around him was filled with earnest college-age kids sitting cross-legged and staring up at him in awe. People pretty much worshipped him. Also? Bob Dylan, who was a friend of his, turned up playing harmonica on "Pledge My Head To Heaven" from his So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt... album
posted by old_growler at 2:46 PM on April 13, 2013

Also, should probably include a link to Cornerstone magazine, the once mouthpiece of Jesus People USA, a Chicago-based cult? commune? movement? Whatever, they are fiercely dedicated to social justice, eradicating poverty and elevating human beings. Resurrection Band was part of them, and that band is the only reason I knew at such a young age what apartheid was and how evil it was. It was pretty subversive in your regular Evangelical circles.
posted by old_growler at 2:54 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Resurrection Band's Mommy Don't Love Daddy Anymore is a really great album, all around.
posted by hippybear at 2:57 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh god, I played this backwards and it told me to jjjffriiiggg mmmoooaaa ehth alabarr. And I don't even know what that means!
posted by the noob at 3:51 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, I've been a huge DA fan ever since the day in 1985 that I stumbled across Doppleganger and Vox Humana.

I had never heard anything like them before, and for me to this day Doppleganger is the quintessential DA album. "Mall (All Over The World)", "Real Girls", "Autographs for the Sick"... it's just a great, great album (not just a great Christian album, but a great album.

Several years ago they did a limited edition Alarma Chronicles: Book Set which collected all four albums (Alarma, Doppleganger, Vox Humana, and Fearful Symmetry onto three discs bound into a beautiful 169 page book that includes the entire text of the Alarma Chronicles as well as generous liner notes, photographs, etc. It is one of my prized possessions. If you aren't familiar with the chronicles, each album came with an insert that had the text of a story that tied the entire set together.

If you want to know which album you should check out, the only possible answer is what style of music to you like? Horrendous Disc is very much Beatles inspired. Shotgun Angel is a country masterpiece. Vox Humana is an 80's synth-pop fever dream that is all about Television Consciousness. Darn Floor, Big Bite was easily a decade ahead of its time and still stands up perfectly today.

For sheer, unabashed fun you should check out their alter-ego The Swirling Eddies. The self-titled first album is a blast (particularly "Ed Takes A Vacation", but it their second album Outdoor Elvis where they really hit their stride. The title track is brilliant, and for biting Christian commentary it doesn't get much better than "Attack of the Pulpit Masters" or "Hide the Beer, the Pastor's Here". They did one entire album, Zoom Daddy, in which they challenged themselves to come up with the most ridiculous song titles possible and then to write and record those songs on the spot in the studio. This led to one of my all-time favorite song titles, "I Had a Bad Experience With the CIA and Now I'm Gonna Show You My Feminine Side".

Or you could go in completely the other direction and check out another of Terry Taylor's projects, The Lost Dogs. In my recent post on the blue about the classic Stephen Foster, I linked to the beautiful acapella cover done by the Lost Dogs on their debut album. Their albums tend more towards Americana and folk, and are well worth a listen (particularly Little Red Riding Hood and Green Room Serenade).

Terry Taylor's solo albums are also excellent, although the early ones are sadly long out of print. His first solo album Knowledge and Innocence is simply beautiful, and showcases his love of William Blake. It contains songs inspired by the death of his grandfather, as well as his wife's miscarriage - both live events that he was struggling with at the time . His second album A Briefing For the Ascent was inspired by the death of his grandmother, and is just a beautiful piece of work.

If you are an old school video game fan, you might also recognize Terry Taylor's distinctive work on the soundtracks for The Neverhood, Skullmonkeys, and their kind-of sequel BoomBots. In Skullmonkeys there was a great hidden room where you could collect tons of treasure while Terry Taylor crooned the lullaby, "Here's a little bonus room where you can play..." It was a great, sarcastic counterpoint to the frenetic pace of the rest of the game, and Jonathan Coulton has said that it was the original inspiration for "Still Alive".

The highest compliment that I can pay to Terry Taylor and Daniel Amos is that it is Christian music that does not sound like "Christian Music". Uncle Terry is not afraid to wear his faith on his sleeve, but he is more interested in creating great and challenging music in a multitude of styles. He is truly one of the greats.
posted by Lokheed at 4:52 PM on April 13, 2013 [12 favorites]

Great stuff, @Lokheed.
posted by old_growler at 5:23 PM on April 13, 2013

I'm going to keep on calling Master of Reality the greatest Christian rock album

I love what you're saying here but also feel compelled to point out that, like many musical genres, the term "Christian Rock" is not defined by the content of the music but by the subculture that created it.

At the same time, music genres for a lot of people are nothing but marketing categories. In that sense the label "Christian Rock" exists to answer a parent's questions at the checkout counter of the Christian music store, "Is this music safe for my kids? Is this musician one of us?"

It's a bizarre form of the authenticity debates you see in other circles of music, ironic for music that seems so inauthentic in many ways to outsiders (and to many insiders, too, of course).

My friend whose dad ran a Christian bookstore tells me they would get lists from the music publishers, "If a kid likes secular artist X, sell them Christian artist Y" (who is totally ripping off artist X, it didn't need to say).
posted by straight at 8:23 PM on April 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

“Christian” music deserves every bit of the bad rap it gets -- almost. I went through the CCM (contemporary Christian music) phase in high school in the 80s and know the music from that era about as well as anybody could. Subscribed to the magazines, went to the shows when I could, and, thanks to an odd Christian music library down the street, had access to every LP that was released. It was just this overexposure and access that helped get me off this particular bandwagon a few years later, but not before I discovered the genius of Daniel Amos.

Everyone who grew up in the 70s and 80s had an LP that became unlistenable due to overplaying (yet continued to play it anyway) -- by which I mean the pops and crackles in the vinyl eventually replaced the music itself -- and “Horrendous Disc” was mine. I was immersed both in Christian and “secular” rock (the labels seemed absurd then and remain so), and this album managed to be one of the best I’d heard in either genre. Looking back, I realize how much of an outlier it was. Due to its quirks, raw production, devil-may-care lyricism, there was no chance it would be accepted in either world, yet there it was, digging into the grit of the true gospel while tromping on the trappings of the church. I was 15 growing up in rural Oregon and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Then I moved on to Alarma, Doppelganger and Shotgun Angel, which pretty much helped usher me through adolescence somewhat intact. Not all of this music has aged well, although I’m impressed by how much of it has. At least for me. My rusty neurons will probably always deify DA the way any teenager does [insert your favorite band here].

It wasn’t until several years later that I got to see them perform live. It was in an overcrowded festival tent at a fairground north of Chicago (at Cornerstone for those in the know). The show was revelatory for its sheer chutzpah, energy and astounding effect on the audience members, many of which were disaffected Christian teens who were hanging onto faith and even sanity by a thread, and who gravitated to this band for many of the same reasons as I had. There was a general vibe of gratitude that we had this shared culture combined with disillusionment that this fashion would never catch on and we would be forever on the fringes. Really, that’s about as “Christian” as it gets, and as it should get.
posted by vverse23 at 8:25 PM on April 13, 2013 [6 favorites]

My friend was hardcore though and introduced me to Mortification and Betrayal. Whoo boy.

Oh my, yes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:29 PM on April 13, 2013

Hank Hill: "Can't you see you're not making Christianity better? You're just making rock n' roll worse!"
posted by bonefish at 11:05 PM on April 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh Lord. Angry Christian music. I must make a note to listen to this next time I need a really good laugh.
posted by Decani at 9:08 AM

Yeah, there's been no good Christian-influenced rock, rap, pop, or classical music. I always get annoyed at statements like this. I don't listen to 'Christian Rock, but most of the music I do love has a religious component to it. And even that that isn't is performed by people who regard music as a sacred thing. I was praying when I saw Springsteen and Leonard Cohen. Neutral Milk Hotel and the Mountain Goats and the Hold Steady invoke Jesus. Most good classical music does too. I'm a non-believer, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. The things that make good music - conviction, earnestness, force of personality - come from the pulpit.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:38 PM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

there's been no good Christian-influenced rock, rap, pop, or classical music.

Oh, there's plenty of that. But you're not likely to find it under a "Christian Music" label, because that, with rare exceptions, is just parasitic on proper music, an excuse to not have to try hard.

Unless you're the kind of Christian that music tries to reach, why would you ever want to listen to it when there's so much more and better music out there?

Daniel Amos may well be amazing, but not being all that into the lord myself, why would I listen to it when there are plenty of other amazing bands without the woo?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:09 AM on April 14, 2013

Larry Norman

Who is a great christian rocker in his own "right".

Larry Norman was a big influence on Frank Black/Black Francis, and a few Pixies songs have direct quotes from him or paraphrases, including "come on pilgrim, you know He loves you!".
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:23 AM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

At the same time, music genres for a lot of people are nothing but marketing categories. In that sense the label "Christian Rock" exists to answer a parent's questions at the checkout counter of the Christian music store, "Is this music safe for my kids? Is this musician one of us?"

The Low Times podcast recently had an interview with Daniel Smith (of Danielson fame) and he talked a lot about this problem. You get the sense that his categorization as a Christian musician totally helped him get famous more quickly than he would have otherwise, but it also created an expectation of him and his work that he's never quite kicked.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:17 AM on April 14, 2013

I love what you're saying here but also feel compelled to point out that, like many musical genres, the term "Christian Rock" is not defined by the content of the music but by the subculture that created it.

Hmmm...makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for pointing that out.
I guess that takes my recommendation for Trouble off the table as well, even though they were even more outright Christian than anything Geezer Butler wrote. Though, if a Christian kid was looking to for great metal, Trouble would be a great recommendation.
posted by NoMich at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2013

why would I listen to it when there are plenty of other amazing bands without the woo?

Well, I'll take a whack at this.

Just for background & context, I'm a white male, raised in totally middle-of-the-road suburban U.S., raised Presbyterian (about as moderate middle-of-the-road Christian as you could get in the 70's & 80's, I think), turned 18 in 1986.

I'm now a liberal (maybe even progressive) atheist living in a Big City (well, Cleveland, anyway), and I still dig out the Daniel Amos discs every so often. It's the only Christian music from that era I still listen to. Not that I was a huge fan of a lot of CCM at the time, though - I always thought Petra was an over-processed cheeseball third-rate Boston clone.

First, the music, as music, is just really really really good. The melodies, the chord changes, the song structures, the arrangements, the parts played, the sounds used - to this day I still find so much of the music inventive and unique and adventurous. I'm still discovering little bits and pieces of songs or sounds or performances that I never noticed before. There are still songs or parts of songs that raise the hair on my arms because everything just works so well. Even their more "of-the-moment" albums (the 80's New Wave/synth-pop of Doppelgänger and Vox Humana) have those moments and elements.

DA gets compared to the Beatles fairly often, which I think is apt - not only because Horrendous Disc sounds very Beatle-esque, but because DA was a group willing and interested in expanding their musical palette, in experimentation, in pushing outside their own musical comfort zone. They didn't change styles because they were following trends, trying to fool people into listening to Jesus music. To me, their style changes were a natural result of really talented musicians discovering a new toy to play with, a new direction to go in for the sheer adventure of wandering down an unknown path.

Second, a lot of Taylor's lyrics are more Christian in subtext than in text - some are downright secular - and more importantly, he's not afraid of conflict, both internal and external, and he's not afraid of leaving that conflict unresolved.

That's one of the huge weaknesses in a lot of CCM or "Christian Rock" or whatever you want to call it - there's not much conflict, and you can't really take what conflict there is very seriously, because everything has to have a Happy Ending, because, well, deus ex machina - Jesus Fixes Everything.

Taylor, however, is well aware of the fallibility of being human, and is interested in exploring that fallibility; in how individuals express and interpret their religious beliefs, in how individuals interact with each other (often, especially, in how Christians interact with each other), in how Christianity interacts with the secular world.


The lyrics from the above-linked "I Love You #19" off Horrendous Disc.

So, first, if you didn't know you were listening to a Christian band, and/or missed the fact that "He" is capitalized, I think you could totally hear the song as a regular pop song about romantic conflict.

But, OK, you know they're a Christian band, so let's take a look at the lyrics in that light. In context, then, the "love" expressed in the song is "Agape": the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man.

So the first verse -

Now if I said it real pretty in a pretty rhyme
Does your mind get cloudy that's a dirty crime
Does it do things any good to tell you
That I'm standing here because- I love you

draws a contrast between a "pretty" (safe, harmless, inoffensive) approach to expressing Christian love and the more direct approach of simply stating "I love you because you're a fellow human being." Attempting to make the message of Christian love for your fellow humans supposedly more palatable by making the method of delivery "pretty" (i.e. Amy Grant) is clearly an approach that Taylor doesn't entirely trust.

The second half of the bridge -

And you were saying how it all once was
And how your life has changed because- He loves you
And then you turned and told someone
Who wouldn't believe you when you said- I love you

openly acknowledges that once a person has converted, has understood God's love for them, when they try to spread that message of love in turn - they'll encounter the same resistance that they themselves once had.

And there's no "fix" to this, no magical "Jesus Will Make Everyone Listen." Taylor just moves right on to the third verse -

Now if I find it rough going in expressing myself
And between the lines it's coming from somebody else
Don't you leave it altogether
Put this upon the shelf- I said I love you

where he admits that it's his own failings as an imperfect human that can prevent a message of God's perfect love from being accepted, and the best he can do is put that concept out there and hope that it sinks in.

Then there's Mall (All Over The World) from Doppleganger, where Taylor is openly criticizing the increasing commercialization of Christianity (and possibly U.S. culture in general), with lines like -

And why do we feel we can live forever?
Cos' they've piped in music of religious nature...

How come you're sad, how come you cry
When golden arches 'cross your sky?
They're reminders of sweet bye and bye
This could be heaven when we die...

Or Rocket Packs from Vox Humana. The second verse -

(It's the eighties so where's our rocket packs?)
I thought by now we'd live in space
And eat a pill instead of dinner
And wear a gas mask on our face
A President of female gender
Though progress marches on, (new day)
Our troubles will grow strong
And my expectancies, become my fantasies
You turn my blood to sand, the earth stands still again

That last line is the only one in the song that might have any Christian meaning (and I honestly have no idea what that is), but it's not needed to understand the song as a sarcastic musing about how we were (or are) living in a time that was supposed to be a technological and social utopia, and yet, here we are, still human, still fallible and confused and uncertain, still struggling to connect to each other.

So there's a few examples of how Daniel Amos is often free of Christian woo, or addresses Christianity in a more complex and subtle way than an awful lot of Christian musicians.

There's also, I think, an important cultural context that can make Daniel Amos really resonate with people my age; Reagan's America and the rise of the Religious Right.

At the time, a lot of mainstream churches were working within parameters of Christianity that were, well, much less aggressive than how a lot of people see currently see or experience Christianity. "In the world, but not of the world" was a phrase I heard a lot. There was a certain insularity, a lack of interest in political power, and the idea that too great an interest in material goods and wealth and power was a distraction. There was a strong element of an individual's "relationship with God" being the primary concern of religious beliefs, and of constantly trying to be more "Christ-like" - loving, compassionate, kind, forgiving - in your behavior. "Hate the sin, but love the sinner" was another phrase I heard often. Being a Christian was supposed to provide you joy and peace, and evangelizing was often simply a matter of leading by example - by being joyous and kind and compassionate to those around you, you were a living example of God's love.

These were the messages given to us in sermons and Sunday School and Bible study and youth group meetings.

But then you would look at the world around you (especially, I think, as a teenager trying to figure out how the world works and your place in it) and see a growing number of "Christians" gaining political power and cultural influence and swimming in material wealth - Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker - whose Christianity seemed more based in judgement and hatred and divisiveness, in drawing strict lines between "Good Christians" and "Bad Everybody Else", in evangelizing by force not by example.

And the conflict and contrast between these different facets of Christianity was clearly something DA was trying to work through, just as I was.

Eventually, of course, Terry Taylor and I wound up on different "sides", but I have to respect him and the band for addressing and examining these issues, especially at a time when it was virtually career suicide to do so.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2013 [10 favorites]

I heard Daniel Amos too late for them to mean much to me. I was in contact with a good number of people that revered them but I could never find the records everyone was talking about (which are the ones that are coming up here).

I was young and religious and listening to classic rock and radio pop and heard some CCM (Michael W Smith, Petra) and found much to enjoy. I had no sense of history. But while there certainly was some good mainstream CCM it was a far shallower pool than non-CCM. So I moved to the fringes very quickly. The 77's and the Choir and Mike Knott's bands (which brings to mind) the Violet Burning and the Prayer Chain, etc.

And of course it was via that I was recommended Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine (by an alternative Christian artist whose music I liked) so everything worked out alright.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2013

Daniel Amos may well be amazing, but not being all that into the lord myself, why would I listen to it when there are plenty of other amazing bands without the woo?

'woo' is, what, the skeptics term for anything non-scientific? So do you refuse to listen to songs about orgone energy (Kate Bush's Cloudbusting or Hawkwind's Orgone Accumulator)? No Instant Karma? No George Harrison? No Jeff Mangum's voice breaking as he sings "I love you Jesus, Jesus Christ I love you"? No 60s mystics or Jesus loving rappers? What does that leave? Just They Might Be Giants 'How Does the Sun Shine'.

Music should transport us, and religion is a great vehicle for that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:59 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

How's this for "woo"?

Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing (from the album Kalhoun)

By sheer force of will
He leaves a deep impression
Self-confidence persuades us that he is a saint
Then we watch him tear apart another city
Turns it to dust and ash
A mighty nation's falling

He gets a big warm sweet interior glowing
He gets a grand elitist superior knowing
This convinces us he's infallible - yeah

He downs another coffee
And the feeling grows
He's building monuments so high
In his expanding mind
He eats a six course dinner
And hears the voice of the spirit
This voice says
"Well done my very good and faithful servant"
posted by Lokheed at 6:13 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another one of the handful of great artists to have survived in the Christian Rock Ghetto wold be The 77's, led by Mike Roe who also plays with Terry Scot Taylor in The Lost Dogs.
posted by jeffen at 4:07 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

For anyone still listening, found this amazing set of them live.
posted by old_growler at 2:45 PM on April 17, 2013

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