The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

This may come to a complete shock to those of you who haven't known me for a long time, but at one time I was really into Christian Rock music. I got away from it after I was married, partly because of the distance and partly because I was getting more into "regular" rock and roll at the time.

One of the things I've always loved about River Glen Christian Church in Waukesha (point of order: the church is about as "Waukesha" as I am; they're located halfway beteween Wales and Genessee Depot - but I digress) is that they use contemporary worship music. As much as I kid with Jamie Formea and Sarah Huckaby about the "Chris Tomlin Song of the Week", it was that very music that got me back and hooked on Christian music again.

Only one thing bothered me (and still does): I didn't recognize many of the names I was hearing in the service, or on the radio (when I started listening to K-Love and The Message), or on iTunes. I started openly wondering - where are the guys, gals and groups that I know? Of course, I already knew what happened to my favorite band, Petra (they retired in 2000). And Amy Grant - well, I know what happened there. But what about Mylon? Or Stryper? Or Steve Taylor?

Now, I can imagine some people who're reading this and aren't quite that old are saying that magic word: "Who?" Well, I can help fill you in on some of that. I tracked down a book I was given back when I was in high school, titled Why Knock Rock? by Dan and Steve Peters. It's a good analysis of the pitfalls of Rock and Roll - some of which doesn't really apply anymore, and some of which does. However, there's one section where the authors list artists that were popular in Contemporary Christian Music 25 years ago. I provide you all with the list of the ones that I either know, or have heard, or (in those strange instances) have heard live in concert:
  • Keith Green (Rest in Peace)
  • DeGarmo and Key
  • Joe English
  • Phil Keaggy
  • David Meece
  • Second Chapter of Acts
  • Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart
  • Petra (of course)
  • Leslie Phillips
  • Rick Cua (still rockin', by the way)
  • Larry Norman (also RIP, sadly)
  • Resurrection (aka "Rez") Band (also retired)
  • Isaac Air Freight (comedy troupe)
  • David & The Giants
  • The 77's
  • Darrell Mansfield Band (though I don't remember their sound much)
  • Sweet Comfort Band (they broke up right before I started getting into CCM)
  • Daniel Amos
  • Jerusalem (I love some of their videos)
  • Steve Taylor (I wanna be a clone!)
  • Sheila Walsh
  • Carmen Licciardello (aka Carmen)
  • The Imperials
  • Russ Taff (a former member of the Imperials)
  • Benny Hester
  • Debby Boone
  • Andrus Blackwood
  • Dallas Holm & Praise
  • Michael & Stormie Omartian
  • Chris Christian
  • Leon Patillo
  • Randy Stonehill
  • Silverwind
  • Farrel and Farrel (Hosanna Gloria!)
  • Whiteheart
  • Michelle Pillar
  • Sandy Patty
  • Andrae Crouch
  • Brown Bannister
  • John Michael Talbot
  • Twila Paris
  • Cynthia Clawson
  • Michael Card
  • Phil Driscoll
  • B.J. Thomas
  • Michael W. Smith
That last one threw me a bit at one point. See, I'm sitting there, listening hard to try to see if I recognize any of the music on K-Love the first time I tuned in, and then all of a sudden this guitar riff starts playing, and I hear this voice... nah, that can't be him, can it? Sure enough, it's Michael. It made my heard glad a few weeks later when we actually sang, "A New Hallelujah" in our worship service at River Glen. 25 years ago, I'd have never guessed I'd sing a Michael W. Smith song during a church service.

What I wouldn't mind, though, is hearing some of these again. It's been a long time, obviously, and I will freely admit that I didn't hear everything back in those days - CCM was more of an
"indie" music style than anything else back when I was in school. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't be willing to give a couple of songs a go at some point.

Here's what I've been thinking about doing: start with Petra's "More Power To Ya", then Keith Green's powerful "There Is A Redeemer", and then "Sail On", the song written by Chris Christian and performed wonderfully by the Imperials. Then, to bring it all home, we go all the way back to the song considered the first Christian Rock song: "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?" Of course, it'd be one thing to do it as a one-off, one service thing... THREE services in one weekend might be difficult.

Still... I'd love to hear something old-school in a service, at some point. I mean, they didn't exactly sing hymns back then. (Right, Mr. Taylor?)