ArchivisteditedWho knew that the Jesus movement would produce such a wealth of music on vinyl?
Archivist 4th Edition: Vintage Vinyl Jesus Music 1965-1980
Author: Ken Scott
Print on demand at Lulu Marketplace
Pages: 370 

Who knew that the Jesus movement would produce such a wealth of music on vinyl? If you find it hard to believe, order the Archivist by Ken Scott, which looks at approximately 3,200 Jesus music albums. The volume of research alone is enough to excite me to explore this definitive guide.

It’s no exaggeration to say that this is essential for the collector of vinyl Jesus music. Maybe you are amazed that such a person exists. You find it hard to imagine why anyone would be interested in this music. This book is evidence that there is far more to this era than just the usual suspects like Larry Norman, Love Song, Andrea Crouch, etc. Sure, it has its share of the inferior and even cheesy, but that’s characteristic of any time. What Ken Scott does is help collectors and listeners separate the wheat from the chaff, even on individual recordings.

He is an excellent guide to a vast variety of music, including releases from the UK and other countries, some of them like treasure waiting to be discovered by those who appreciate quality music. It’s obvious that Scott recognizes it when he hears it. He gets more than a little enthusiastic about the 500 press self-titled 1978 UK release from Caedmon, “The professional standards set by this custom are so astonishing (that) all other Christian folk albums sound anemic by comparison. The production, the arrangements, the playing, the songwriting, the enamoring vocals of lead singer Angela Nayor – everything on this album is A+ throughout.”

Scott is not afraid to be forthright about the shortcomings of a release, but he does so with charity, and even humor. Witness his opening about With Your Love (1979) by Chris Christian, “For anyone who’s ever hummed along to an Air Supply or Christopher Cross tune, the easy pop-rock of Chris Christian just might provoke a similar response. It really annoys me when I catch myself sort of liking this kind of stuff (by the way, that fluttering sound you just heard was my credibility flying out the window.)”

He purposely excluded some releases to avoid being overly critical. Scott views all of the entries, which are descriptions of what you can expect rather than critical reviews, as worth checking out.

Since the movement that produced this output began to wane by the early 1980s, this serves as the cutoff point. If an artist, say DeGarmo & Key, for example, had output beyond this timeframe, it is not included. However, in this case and in many others, some of the most distinctive material came early before the music morphed into the more homogenized contemporary Christian music sound.

The greatest reason to own this may be the new discoveries. Popular and well-known artists are here but there are far more entries about artists and albums that will be unfamiliar to most Christians. Even if you are not a collector, they are fun and educational to read. It is also clear that they represent vintage music that is still worth hearing. Even today, they may still be relevant and remind us of a remarkable move of God.

This covers a segment of history with more depth and insight than any other resource. 

Michael Dalton


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