Keystone Magazine
Essential 20 Jesus Music Albums for your collection

Jesus Music - the early days

Number 20

Randy Mathews - Son of Dust
Released in 1973 it was probably one of the first Contemporary Christian Albums to land in Australia. Everyone had this album and Randy's tours to Australia were always sold out. Contains the classic song "Didn't He".

Number 19

The Everlastin' Living Jesus Music Concert

Maranatha Music, 1971 The very first record that Maranatha! Music, a subsidiary company of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, ever released.

The very first album on Maranatha is actually a collection of studio cuts, not a live lp as the title might indicate. Love Song, Children Of The Day, and Debby Kerner all perform songs that would appear on future lps. Also here are songs unavailable elsewhere by Gentle Faith, The Way, and Love Song. The rest of the lp is made up of groups that never had subsequent albums including folkrockers Blessed Hope with 'Something More'. Country Faith with Chuck Butler (later of Parable) does 'Two Roads'. Selah appears to be a female duo and they deliver a wonderful rootsy folk number that sounds like it belongs on one of those FM PBS programs. All the songs on the lp are strong and unlike many other various artists projects, they're stylistically compatible. KS Trivia:This album was produced anonymously by Chuck Girard for a little over $2000. DH

No 18

Phil Keaggy - Love Broke Thru

New Song, 1976 The album contains the studio version of the most requested Keaggy composition entitled 'Time' and includes the first recorded version of the classic song 'Love Broke Through' which was penned by Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, and Todd Fishkind. Marcia Hines had first big No 1 hit in Australia with the song.

No 17


Malcolm & Alwyn - Fool's Wisdom

Alwyn Wall was born in Nottinghamshire in 1949. His first band formed in the early sixties were called The Nightriders. Then at the age of fifteen Alwyn met Malcolm Wild and they formed The Zodiacs. Influenced by the Beatles the pair became obsessed with their heroes and eventually met George Harrison who turned them on to meditation, but they found this wasn't enough. They looked elsewhere and found Jesus Christ and looked no further. Larry Norman also wrote a song about them and everyone remebers the classic line "You're my favourite singers in England.."

No 16

Evergreen - Honeytree (1975)

Everyone had this album. Songs included "Evergreen", "It's Only Right", "I Am Your Servant". Honeytree's influence from Joni Mitchell and Carole King is evident. Here smile said it all, "I'm in love with Jesus". She toured Australia to packed out concerts and won everyone's hearts.

No 15

Love Song - Love Song (1972)

With the song "Little Country Church' which propelled Calvary Chapel into a worldwide ministry. Probably the best known Jesus music band to emanate from the Jesus movement the band featured Chuck Girard, Tommy Coomes, Jay Truax, John Mehler, Bob Wall, Fred Field and others. This album was the first of three releases and the song 'Love Song' actually became a #1 hit over in the Philippines, where Love Song played to packed stadiums. They actually knocked the Beatles off the number one spot on the charts.

No 14

Christian People Volume One (1973)

This was probably one of the earliest Jesus Music albums available in Australia released on the Lamb and Lion label. We craved any new Christian Music. This album featured Pat Boone, Andrae Crouch, The Archers, The Imperials, Debby Kerner, Children of the Day, First Nashville Jesus Band, Danny Lee and the Children of Truth. It wasn't the greatest album ever but it was the only one we could get.

No 13

Bird in the Golden Sky - Karen Lafferty (1975)

If you don't remember this album then you truly wern't there. Karen gave us One of the most promising songwriters to emerge from the Jesus People, Lafferty was responsible for the chorus "Seek Ye First." Which did not appear on a Maranatha Album until their first "Praise Album" Many of our favourtite musicians are here. They include Darrell Mansfield, Alex MacDougall, Fred Fields, Al Perkins.

No 12

After the Flood, Before the Fire - Dogwood (1975)

Produced by Chris Christian, Dogwood gave Jesus music a whole new batch of songs (those of us in groups had already performed all of Love Songs music). Singers around the world picked up many of Dogwood's songs, mostly thanks to Steve Chapman. How could forget classics like "Watergrave", "Remember Whose Child You Are", Some time Someplace", "Journey Music" and the title track of course.

No 11

Larry Norman - Street Level (One Way, 1971)

This was the start of the cult following for Larry. For the Jesus Movement of the day he was Dylan, John Lennon rolled into one. One of the three albums he and Stonehill recorded with the money given to One Way by Pat Boone. There are two different versions of this lp (and numerous different label and numerical permutations). The more rare version is the 'Gold Label Underground Edition' which has songs from the musical 'Lion's Breath.' The more common version includes one side of a live concert recorded at Hollywood's First Presbyterian Church which ran a nightclub called the Salt Company. Larry got into some trouble with the hierarchy of the church after singing the song 'Right Here in America.'

The final top 10 essential Albums!

No 10

2nd Chapter of Acts with Footnotes ( 1974)

Annie Herring, Matthew Ward and Nelly Ward came out and knock us off our feet. No one could believe the sound these guys generated and the passion they displayed.
The music was rock, pop, and ballads, many with a classical feel from the pen of Annie Herring and the exquisite harmonies from the three. Annie has a gift for crafting compositions that express so many facets of the Christian walk. "Which Way The Wind Blows", "Love Joy Peace", "With Jesus" - beautiful compositions. Of course, what can one say about "Easter Song", a two minute number that became an anthem of the Jesus movement. 2nd Chapter of Acts changed Christian Music forever and kicked us all into the 20th Century.

No. 9

Randy Stonehill - Welcome to Paradise (Solid Rock, 1976)

We all love Randy. Unfortunately this is such a killer album when you think of Randy you think of this album and he's never quite got back there. Produced by Larry Norman, his influence can be felt throughout. Randy just shines on this album from 'King of Hearts' to 'Good News' - every song is a winner.

No. 8

Johnny Cash - The Gospel Road - CBS 1972
The movie came out along with the album and we all went to see it. Johnny Cash was not our greatest hero but this production knocked us off our feet and we wanted more! It included Kris Krstofferson and Rita Coolidge. Pick tracks are too many to mention. CBS should release this again as it is a classic and faithfully told as well.

No 7

Larry Norman - Upon This Rock (1969)

Larry's first album, a secular release, actually recorded at Capitol Records in 1969, Larry had convinced them that a Christian album would work and back in those days just about anything new did. It was the age was Aquarius after all. This is often referred to as the "Sgt. Pepper" of Christian music. "Moses in the Wilderness", Walking Backwards Down the Stairs", Sweet Sweet Song of Salvation", "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" "Nothing Really Changes" and others.

Larry gave us lyrics that struck an instant chord with us our parents had no idea what we were listening too they were more concerned that we suddenly were driving around in a "VW - Micro Bus" and going to church. The Church was a little worried because we challenged the status quo and deep down they knew we were right.

No 6

Andrae Crouch - Take Me Back (1975)

This was Andrae's follow up album to "Live at Carnegie Hall". The great artwork reflected the new standing that Andrae had in Jesus Music. Also on the album was Billy Preston. Songs included "Take Me Back", "Tell Them", "Praises", "Just Like He Said He Would", "You Can Depend On Me".

No 5

Only Visiting This Planet - Larry Norman - Verve 1972

There have been more versions of this album than we care to count.It is however a ground breaking album. It has also had slightly different covers, the last one Larry gave to me while on tour in Australia which on the back says "The Trilogy, Part 1". Whatever version you have of this album you have a classic. This is what Christian Music is all about and most of those producing what is now called "Christian Music" don't get it and never will. Tracks include 'The Outlaw', 'I Wish We'd All Been Ready' 'Great American Novel', 'Reader's Digest'. 'I've Got To Learn To Live Without You', 'Pardon Me') plus the classic rock song 'Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music' The album set Larry apart from everyone else.

No 4

Seeds - Barry McGuire (1973)

You got your lear jets and your limousines and still you're wondering why
You can't lose that lonely feeling no matter what you try
Yes, your three-day parties twice a week with all the old friends you know
Champagne breakfasts, country clubs, with scotch to bring you home

Who could ever forget these classic words? Sadly 33 years later they could apply to many who call themselves Christians. "Seeds" came out and it one of the most 'must have' albums of the day. Barry was already well known for his secular work and to hear him singing these songs just blew us all away. "Last Daze Waltz" had us all going out and getting a jewish harp. Barry painted pictures with his songs and totally captivated us.

After listening to Barry we were all fully charged to go out into the streets and witness to whoever we came accross with passion and zeal and love for Jesus.

No. 3

Chuck Girard - Chuck Girard (1975)

Chuck's first solo album. First track kicked off with "Rock 'n' Roll Preacher" and we all went "YES"! Chuck brought the 'California' sound to Christian music and for those of us that had grown up on the Beach Boys this was a natural progression. Other tracks included "You Ask Me Why", "Lay Your Burden Down", "Slow Down", one of the greatest songs every recorded on a "Christian" album, "Tinagera" and of course Chuck's signature tune, "Sometime Alleluia".

Having turned his back on the music industry the music industry has turned it's back on Chuck and he's hardly ever mentioned in CCM circles, but that's not what Chuck is all about anyway. Amazingly in recent articles on Christian music in US Christian Music publications, Chuck's albums have failed to make it into their top 100 Christian album lists in the US.

Sadly people like Chuck, Larry Norman and Keith Green (if he were still alive) wouldn't even get a recording contract today because of the challenge they present to the Church and a music industry that's based on sales, being 'contemporary' and playing by 'the' rules.

ncluded "I Don't Know Why", "I Didn't Think it Could Be" and "Jesus is the Answer". Carnegie Hall was sold out and fans filled the Baptist Church across the road. Andraé Crouch and the Disciples went and performed for them and then went and then ran accross the road and did the Carnegie Concert. You don't see that happening today!

Come Together - Jimmy and Carol Owens (1972)

One of the earliest Musicals of the Jesus Movement, (Truth of Truths (1971) probably being the first), however it was Come Together that captured everyone with a Praise Concert that Churches around the world readily adapted and performed in their own setting. "Clap Your Hands" became a standard in many churches.

The album featured Pat Boone and included, Billy Preston, Barry McGuire, Annie Hering, Nellie Ward, Kathryn Ward, Jamie Owens, Naomi Patton, Ernie Rettins, Mathew Ward, Danny Robbins, and Chuck Butler.

Jimmy and Carol Owens went on to make a tremendous contribution to Jesus Music including "The Witness". It is also interesting in selecting and reviewing these albums the to realise the contribution that Pat Boone made to the early Jesus Music both as a singer and behind the scenes. Also interestingly, The Pat Boone Interview is the most read interview on the Keystone site.

No. 1

Live At Carnegie Hall - Andraé Crouch and the Disciples - 1973

One of the early Jesus Music albums. Recorded in October 1972 it was one of the first if not the first Jesus Concert ever recorded for an established label. Who could ever forget the "Give me a J", JESUS Cheer? Practically every youth group / Church was doing it around the world. Andraé also gave us the classic line "First Church of the Frigidaire". It didn't matter if Andraé was not your style of music this album made you realise you didn't have to listen to all the Hymns. Tracks included "I Don't Know Why", "I Didn't Think it Could Be" and "Jesus is the Answer". Carnegie Hall was sold out and fans filled the Baptist Church across the road. Andraé Crouch and the Disciples went and performed for them and then went and then ran across the road and did the Carnegie Concert. You don't see that happening today!

This album is important for two major reasons. One it made you realise there was great Jesus Music out there and two, it made you rush out and look for more contemporary music of which there only about three albums around (in Australia anyway), Larry Norman, Andraé and Pat Boone's Christian People.

So there you have the top 20 Jesus Music Albums, essential for any Jesus Music Collection. Next month we'll be looking at the Jesus Movement Art which includes classic album covers, posters and illustrations.