Influential Albums: 1003-1009
Sat., Feb. 11. 2023 10:09am EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the latest entries in the "albums that influenced me" series I started writing in May 2020:
1003. Revival in the Land - Carman
In late 1989, it seemed like our whole Bible study was reading This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti — a novel about spiritual warfare, based on Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (NRSV). That book was actually published in 1986, but the sequel, Piercing the Darkness, followed in '89. And then along came Carman with a brand-new LP called Revival in the Land, which closed with a six-and-a-half-minute title track that sounded like something straight out of Peretti's books. In fact, a couple other tracks fit well with the theme, too: "A Witch's Invitation" and the album opener, "God's Got an Army." We ate those up. Other songs I loved on Revival in the Land included: "I Got the Joy," "Get Your Business Straight with God," and "Jesus Is the Light." The closer on side one, "This Blood" was also very powerful. This album is right up there with Live: Radically Saved on my list of favorite Carman LPs.
1004. Praise & Worship: The Lord Reigns - Integrity's Hosanna! Music
When my circle of friends in late 1989 wasn't listening to Carman's Revival in the Land LP, we were playing this cassette instead. The Lord Reigns was part of a series of praise-and-worship albums recorded at various churches and released by Integrity's Hosanna! Music. On this particular project, the worship was led by Bob Fitts and recorded live in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. I've been a worship leader at a number of churches over the years, but I'm not the kind of person who listens to a lot of worship albums, although I have plenty of friends who do. However, I made an exception for The Lord Reigns ... because I thought it was exceptional. There was a series of songs on side one that I just loved: "The Lord Our God Is with Us," "Victory Chant," "Above All Else," "We Declare That the Kingdom of God Is Here," and "The Lord Reigns." The songs went together like the medley on side two of my favorite Beatles album, Abbey Road. When the band that would become ApologetiX was in its formative years, we used to play the song "The Lord Reigns," and before that, I used to sing and play it myself on guitar at get togethers.
1005. Oh Mercy! - Bob Dylan
After a few albums that critics (and many fans) considered to be lackluster affairs, Bob Dylan hooked up with Canadian producer Daniel Lanois, who had worked on U2's fourth and fifth LPs, The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree. The result was Dylan's best received album since Infidels. Released in September 1989, Oh Mercy even yielded a top 10 rock hit, "Everything Is Broken" (#8). I liked that song, but I like this parody of it by Bob Rivers even better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K6vWy9Q86g My friend My favorite track on Oh Mercy was the opener, "Political World," although I also enjoyed "Ring Them Bells" and the aforementioned "Everything Is Broken." Other earworms that still might pass through my brain from time to time are "Man in the Long Black Coat," "Most of the Time," and "What Good Am I?"
1006. Petra Means Rock - Petra
The great two-way title of this 1989 compilation says it all. Yes indeed, Petra means rock ... literally and figuratively. And the tagline, "17 Thundering Rock Classics" was quite accurate, as this anthology eschewed the group's softer songs. The contents were culled from seven Petra studio LPs, starting with Never Say Die (1981) and finishing with On Fire! (1988). I was familiar with all of those except for More Power to Ya (1982), so it's probably not surprising that I gravitated to the four cuts from that album that reappeared here: "Stand Up" (which kicked off the festivities), "Second Wind," "Judas' Kiss," and Let Everything That Hath Breath." They were all great. It was also nice to have four tracks from Never Say Die on my own store-bought cassette rather than some second-hand homemade copy, including two of my all-time Petra picks: "Praise Ye the Lord" and "Without Him We Can Do Nothing." It made sense for the StarSong label to release this compilation at the time, because Petra was moving to DaySpring Records, a subsidiary of Word. The band's first release for DaySpring was Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out, which I mentioned a little bit ago on this list. That wouldn't stop StarSong from releasing additional compilations in the future, though, and it wouldn't stop me from buying at least one more.
1007. Praise & Worship: The Solid Rock - Integrity's Hosanna! Music
Like one of my previous entries, The Solid Rock was part of a series of praise-and-worship albums recorded at various churches and released by Integrity's Hosanna! Music. This one hit home, because the worship leader was Joseph Garlington, the senior pastor of the church I was attending at the time, Covenant Church of Pittsburgh. The church was well known in the area for its lengthy worship services, and about two thirds of the songs on this cassette are ones I remember us doing regularly: "Come into His Presence," "I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord," "Blessed Be Your Glorious Name," "My Life Is in You Lord," "The Solid Rock," "Rock of My Salvation," "Change My Heart, Oh God," "More Than Anything," "Bless His Holy Name." This recording came out in 1988, and I joined the church's choir a year or so later.
1008. The Best of Andraé - Andraé Crouch & The Disciples
The worship team at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh had done a few songs by Andraé Crouch at services I attended, including what was perhaps his signature composition, "My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)" ... even my mom knew and liked that song. I'd heard his name before (his choir had backed up Michael Jackson on "Man in the Mirror"), so I decided I'd check out some of the man's music for myself. I went out and purchased The Best of Andraé and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had so much of the soul sound I loved from the first half of the '70s but with inspirational, God-honoring lyrics. Of the 20 tracks, my favorites were "Take a Little Time," "I'm Gonna Keep On Singin'," "Just Like He Said He Would," "Jesus Is the Answer," "Satisfied," and "I've Got Confidence." Some others on this collection that I recognized from church were "Through It All" and "Take Me Back." I'm so glad I took a chance and bought that cassette. When my kids were little, I often sang them "Take a Little Time" and "Jesus Is the Answer."
1009. Out of the Silent Planet/Gretchen Goes to Nebraska - King's X
My old neighborhood friend Chris made a cassette for me featuring what he considered to be the best of the first two King's X albums, Out of the Silent Planet (1988) and Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989). He did it because he was a guitarist and the music rocked, but I immediately picked up on the Christian overtones I heard in the lyrics, some of which I think he'd missed. My favorite songs were "Shot of Love," "King," "Over My Head," and "Send a Message." I also liked "Summerland" and "Pleiades." I wrote him a letter in response, and somehow it wound up in the hands of his cousin Andy Sparks, who used to be in a secular band with Chris and me, although I hadn't seen him in years. Andy had become a Christian, so he wrote me a letter and we arranged to get together for dinner. He wound up becoming the fourth and final founding member of the group we eventually named ApologetiX. In the early days of the band, we used to perform "Shot of Love," "King," and "Over My Head" at practices and occasionally at concerts. In fact, on the first edition of our 1992 homemade debut live cassette, Get Your Wigs, we included a rendition of "Shot of Love." Later that year, we made a decision to do only our parodies (even though they were already 90 percent of our content). We figured, "Hey, spoofs may not be totally original, but at least the lyrics are," and that gave us the opportunity to sing about exactly what we wanted to discuss. Furthermore, it was obvious that God had opened up a door of effective ministry for us in that area.