Weird Religion

Freedom of religion in America includes the freedom to go to every extreme, and in records many of the most interesting fringes began in late 1960s San Francisco. As the hippie "freaks" of the counter-culture turned to religion, the "Jesus freak" movement began, leading eventually to total cooptation of the newly found "hippie" born-agains by the older flag-waving kind. Many of the scarily right-wing shepherding churches, other weird cults, and popular "televangelist" leaders have origins in late-1960s drug culture, and others have a personal history of "hell raising" (sex, booze, scandal) to live down. But that's all fine, as sin and redemption supposedly are the whole point with them.

The San Francisco music scene spawned the first, modern "Jesus freaks" as well as the first musical Jesus freaks, particularly Larry Norman, pioneer of Jesus Rock. The perennial question for people who care about Jesus Rock (and now Christian Metal): Is rock music inherently profane? (Is using rock as a soapbox profane?) The question for everyone else: They call this drizzle rock? But Christian rock is just a drop in an ocean of strange religious records. The Word label of Waco, Texas reached out with all sorts of crossover appeals (mod, folk, rock, kids, puppets) as well as the kind of traditional (mainly lily-white) gospel fare that clogs record bins in fervently religious areas. A few of these efforts even tackled soul and funk, but that is not to be confused with black gospel.

Collecting records of this type, the bizarre and the inspired, requires some patience and fortitude. Fortunately, the best of these records make up in passion and exhuberance what they often lack in talent and taste. Whether taken as auxiliaries to "regular" records or as a group unto themselves, they are at least colorful and outspoken. And some "outsider" musicians such as John Rydgren and Marlin Wallace occupy hallowed ground of their own. Some great preachers, such as Bob Harrington, really do have something to say and a great way of saying it. That said, in arts and entertainment, direct messages probably are best left to Western Union.

Jesus-Freak LPs, Part 1: Puppets/Kiddie

Baby Lulu; A-Turney A-TURN-LP-3 (sounds like Marcy but claims to be a medium channeling a baby)
Dan Betzer & Louie Tell the Bible Classics Vol. I; Revivaltime Media Ministries
Dan Betzer & Louie Tell the Bible Classics Vol. II; Revivaltime Media Ministries
6Dan Betzer & Louie Tell the Bible Classics Vol. III; Revivaltime Media Ministries PD-800; 1983
6Ralph Carmichael & the Young People: Our Front Porch--New Sounds of the 70's; Lexicon/Light LS-5560-LP
5Erick: Pastor Pickin'; Rainbow R-2313-LPS (live; manipulated by Beverly Massagee, witness to the JFK assassination)
7Little Evelyn Sings for the Glory of God; Little Evelyn LE-1 (diminutive osteosclerosis victim)
9Gail & Ezra: It's a Happy Day; Word/Paragon PR-33068 (puppet; partly Moog)
8Geraldine [Murray] & Ricky; Christ for the World, Inc. 770-1346 (puppet; comedy)
9Geraldine & Ricky: Trees Talk Too!; World WLP-1011 (puppet; live comedy; original label green/blue; reissue blue)
7Sammy Hall Singers: What's It All About; Christian Folk FCS-1972 (notable drug jacket & "Jesus is a Soul Man")
6Dick Hilliard & Beverly Valenti-Hilliard: What Time til Recess?; Apple Corps TAC-182; 1982 (kids)
7Captain Hook & Sharkey: Ship Ahoy! with Captain Hook & his Crew; Get Hooked GH-125 (endorsed by Colonel Sanders!)
Captain Hook & Sharkey: Anchors Aweigh! with Captain Hook & his Crew; Get Hooked GH-126
Captain Hook & Sharkey: Shiver My Timbers! with Captain Hook & the Christian Pirates; Get Hooked GH-127
Captain Hook & Sharkey: Captain Hook Alive in Texas; Get Hooked GH-128
6Jim & Tammy [Bakker] & their Friends: Oops! There Comes a Smile; Singcord ZLP-948; 1975 (puppet)
6Jim & Tammy [Bakker] & their Friends: Building on the Rock; Singcord ZLP-963; 1975 (puppet)
6Kid's Bible Club; Sword S-1408 (Waco, TX)
Kid's Bible Club at Christmastime; Sword S-1409
5Kid's Bible Club: Songs 'N Stories; Sword S-1410
8Richard Koehneke: For Adults Only; Mosann Enterprises/Fortress BM-768; 1968 (Christian/spoken with music/soul jazz/sex-ed/drugs/kids/harp/bossa; w/Joe Newman, Chuck Rainey, Eric Gale, Corky Hale..)
3Rickie Layne's Velvel: Fairy Tales (for Adults) You Wouldn't Believe!; Venise 7028 (puppet; not religious)
-Little Marcy (puppet; Marcy Tigner)
6Betsy McCall's Surprise Birthday Party; Canadian American BM-101 (talking doll; not religious)
Betsy McCall Goes to Work; Canadian American BM-102 (talking doll; not religious)
Betsy McCall Tells Bedtime Stories; Canadian American BM-103 (talking doll; not religious)
7The Now Generation; Spar 3015 (psyche/Nashville folk-act covers of rock hits; with young Jimmy Buffett)
7The Now Generation; Spar Premiere 4803 (Nashville folk-act covers of rock hits; with young Jimmy Buffett)
6The Now Generation: Come Together; Spar Premiere 4806 (Nashville folk-act covers of rock hits; with young Jimmy Buffett)
6The Now Generation: Hits Are Our Business; Spar Premiere 4807 (Nashville folk-act covers of rock hits; with young Jimmy Buffett)
7Jimmie Ruth & "Rusty": Stories & Songs for Children Featuring; Diadem DLP-282 (puppet; religious; Melody Mark 810624)
8Jimmie Ruth & Rusty #3: Children's Songs & Stories; Zondervan/Singcord ZLP-934; 1975 (puppet; religious)
7Nancy Woolnaugh (prod.): The Auca Story; RCA Custom/Diadem DLP-154 (3-LP series on the 1955-62 exploitation of indigenous Ecuadorans by missionaries whose plane crashed)
7Various: Souvenir Album/Music & Messages of E.J. Daniels Revival Team; Christ for the World (has a Geraldine & Ricky segment)

Non-Puppet Unusual Religious LPs

7The 4J's Singing for Jesus; RCA Custom PR4M-7630 (4 girls in the "Musical Lindvall Family"; also theremin & Belgian water-glass intrumentals)
4The Addicts Sing; Word 3379
7The Armageddon Experience; MM MMS-300 (covers "Oh Happy Day"; somewhat funky)
6Revs. Frank Auterson & Jack Bridges: Dancing with the Demons; Artist's 720335 (spoken; Southern Baptists comment on Ethiopian drumming/dancing)
8Kali Bahlu Takes the Forest Children on a Journey of Cosmic Remembrance; Liberty/World Pacific WPS-21875
8Ralph Carmichael: The Cross & the Switchblade ST; Lexicon/Light LS-5550-LP (funky/breakbeats)
6Ralph Carmichael & the Young People: Young; Lexicon/Light LS-5533-LP
5Ralph Carmichael/Clark Gassman: The Electric Symphony; Lexicon/Light LS-5541-LP (Moog)
8The Conti Family: Sounds of America CF-3219
8The Conti Family: Sounds of America CF-3220
5Nicky Cruz: Personal Testimony; House of McDuff HMS-302 (spoken; former NYC gangleader of "Cross & the Switchblade" fame preaches w/English-Spanish translator)
7Five Man Electrical Band: Goodbyes & Butterflies; Lionel LRS-1100 (Les Emmerson; Xian rock, partly funky rock)
2The Gribble Family: I Won't Have to Worry Anymore; Gribble Family GF-127315 (The Shaggs of country gospel)
8Norman Habel/Richard Koehneke: For Mature Adults Only..; Fortress Records/MosAnn Enterprises/Bob Mosley BM-768; 1968 (spoken w/music; w/Corky Hale--harp & voice, Joe Newman, Eric Gale, Chuck Rainey, Martin Luther High School Choir..; soul-jazz vocal, funky gospel, harp, kid funk, sex ed, strange religion)
7R.G. Hardy Preaches Invasion from Another World; Faith in Action 103 (fire & brimstone on Revelations; great jacket art; Baltimore)
8Dr. Stewart Hiltner: How to Make an Evangelistic Call--Training Record for Visitation Evangelism; Tidings (no #) (spoken; instructional; interviews; same-sided)
9Will Jima: Revelation 666; Jima AMD-1975; 1975 (spoken w/electronic effects)
5Charles "Tremendous" Jones: The New LSD (Leadership-Service-Devotion); Landmark LLp-7014 (spoken, preaching)
5[Charles E. Jones] Mr. Tremendous: Mr. Tremendous Speaks Everyone Listens; Hymntone CM-7217 (spoken, preaching)
6Gershon Kingsley & Norman Simon w/Theodore Bikel: The Fifth Cup--A Spirit Explosion; 1974 (partly spoken; contemporary Passover Seder)
7[Frank Klos, editor] Vietnam: Dilemma for Christians; Impact CSM-640 (spoken w/music; Lutheran Church Press LCA School of Religion Series; excerpts Folkways FE-4352)
5The Lively Ones; Word WST-8518-LP; c. 1970 (not the surf group)
-Fred Lowery -- see whistling
8Little Markie with "Little Bits"; Mark Fox Family Ministries LB-01 (Old Time Gospel Hour OTGH-0478; Mark Fox & child)
6Gene Martin/Various: The Blood; Miracle Revival Recordings Vol. 2 (167/168)
6Forrest McCullough: Flight F-I-N-A-L--A Dramatic Comparison to Death; McCullough 5087; 1965
7Mike Millius: Desperado; MCA/Uni 73072 (funky rock/Christian)
9[Miracle Revival Service:] Crying Demons; Miracle Revival Recordings 101 (disc: "Miracle Revival Service, A.A.Allen Revivals M-102"; spoken; "amazing recordings of demons speaking through people who are possessed by them")
8The Musical Theatre: A Revolutionary Revelation; Metromedia MD-1015 (Christian rock/funky rock/Moog/crime)
Larry Norman: Street Level (bootleg)
Larry Norman: Bootleg (bootleg)
5Larry Norman: Upon this Rock; Capitol/Impact HWS-3121; 1970/1969
6Larry Norman: Only Visiting This Planet; Verve V6-5092; 1972 (Trilogy Part 1)
Larry Norman: So Long Ago the Garden (Trilogy Part 2)
4Larry Norman: In Another Land (Trilogy Part 3); Solid Rock SRA-2001; 1976
3Larry Norman: Something New Under the Sun; Solid Rock SRA-2007; 1981
People: I Love You; Capitol ST-2924
People: We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus--and a Lot Less Rock & Roll; Capitol; 1967 (original title--released under another)
7Flo Price: Christmas 2001; Lexicon/Light LS-5761; 1979 (Christian/Christmas/space-electronic)
7Princess Pale Moon: Pass It On!; PM R-0581; 1981 (extreme badsong, as if Dora Hall did Little Marcy)
6Dr. John W. Rawlings: One Devil & Two Beasts; Landmark LLP-702 (spoken; preaching on Revelations)
7Buryl Red & Grace Hawthorne: It's Cool in the Furnace; Word WST-8580; 1972 (part-spoken kids musical w/lyric book; w/Harold Bradley, Charlie McCoy)
7Cliff Richard: Two a Penny ST; Light LS-5530
-John Rydgren
Randy Stonehill: Welcome to Paradise; Solid Rock
8Jay Strack: Teen Cop-Out [Youth in a Moral Revolution]; Jay Strack JS-1002 (spoken; funny!)
7Teen Challenge Addicts Choir; Word W-3403 (w/Andrae Crouch)
6[The New Born Singers from] Teen Challenge Institute: I've Been New-Born; Teen Challenge Institute 28853
6Under New Management; FourMost FM-7221CS
-Marlin Wallace/The Corillions
8Elder Wallace W. Williams: Satan, the Defeated Enemy; 1972; 3-Way Production WW-1001 (spoken; sermon)
7Sister Miriam Therese Winter et al: Praise the Lord in Many Voices; Avant Garde AV-102 (live; the good stuff is on Side Two's "Mass for the Secular City"--John Ylvisaker & Robert Edwin)
6Merrill Womach: Happy Again; New Life NL-74-1-10
6Don Wyrtzen: What's it All About Anyhow?; Singspiration/Now Sounds NS-1S; 1970 (w/lyric booklet)
6Carlton R. Young's Exodus Singalong; Agape HR-22; 1976 (2-LP; 60 songs, including "I Shot the Sheriff")
5The Young & Free: Goin' Somewhere...; Word WST-8503-LP

Strange-Religion 45s

6Five Man Electrical Band: Sings/Absolutely Right; Polydor MVG 504 (Les Emmerson; Xian funky rock; B-side not on the Lionel LP)

Hyp Records is a 3-part guide:

Shop Hip Wax

Some items above may be available at
Hip Wax

Hyp Records Guide © 1996 Hip Wax