Parable (Scotia SCO/LP 4791) 1974 UK *
Scotland would seem to be the breeding ground for some of the most daring and groundbreaking Christian bands. Groups like The Gospelfolk, Living Stones, and Caedmon. Well add the male four-piece White Light to the Big Kahuna list with this super scarce high-powered bluesy garage/psych hard-rock beast, packed to the gills with cheesy organ, jubilant fuzz guitar, and frenzied drumming. The entire side one is taken up with a classic Who-like conceptual piece entitled ‘Prodigal’, “a rock opera embracing the parable of the Prodigal Son in a modern context”. The son asserts his independence via an explosive cover of The Who’s ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’. Soon he’s off to “make it out” with Susan and buy rounds of drinks for his friends, eventually tripping out on acid as the music turns to dissonant downer psychedelia. A few screams of anguish follow before a good Samaritan type hauls the dejected lad off to a church service. The organ and band switch over to a hymn, softening to a whisper while a preacher delivers the word of God in his affectionate Scottish accent (reminds me of Eric Liddell in Chariots Of Fire). The son repents and runs home to see his daddy, the mood shiftingalo to fast fired-up boogie rock-n-roll ala Ten Years After where the beat cooks, the fuzz flies and even dad gets into the groove (“I see ya comin’… yeah… so good…”). Side two works in covers of John Mayall’s ‘Where Did I Belong’ and George Harrison’s ‘Awaiting On You All’ (“just call on the name of the Lord and you’ll be free”), along with a couple originals ‘Now I Realise’ and another boogie-blues track ‘Mighty Big God’. The organ is traded in for a piano on the final track, a jammin’ cover of Edwin Hawkins’ ‘In My Father’s House’. All this bursts forth with a very homemade yet endearing sound that echoes that of the Vindication album. Cover is an intensely cool b&w negative-image photo of a guy’s head, with one of the lenses of his glasses bearing the verse “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you”. File proudly with the best of the monsters. (The Archivist, 4th edition by Ken Scott).
This one was on the Heavenly Grooves blog.
02. Mighty Big God
03. Where Did I Belong
04. Awaiting On You
05. Now I Realize
06. In My Father’s House
I am adding the below which was originally sent to John on Heavenly Grooves as it contains some of the history of this band from one of the band members.
Limited edition of White Light – Parable (CD’s available)
I recently received this email from Doug McRoberts of the band White Light:
Hi John –
Just thought I’d make contact and tell you I enjoyed reading Ken Scott’s review of my old band’s LP on your site (someone here told me they found you by googling “White Light Parable”. I also enjoyed the posted comments – the guy who said it sounded like it was made in a garage was right – it was made in a garage, in Paisley, Scotland, on an extremely low budget, but by a bunch of guys whose normal live performance was much bigger and louder than any of the other UK Christian bands of that era, complete with phased lighting, howlround, etc – but the garage gear wasn’t really up to recording it!
White Light were Glasgow-based, but played all over Scotland and northern England, from around 1970-74. I’m Doug McRoberts – I was lead guitar, one of the vocalists, and joint composer of the self-made stuff on the album. I’m now a 60 year old Church of Scotland minister in Malta, of all places… The rest of the band (my brother Dave on bass, David Murdoch on keyboards, and Alex Smith on drums) got together with me just once, four years ago, for a live reunion set onstage at a charity rockfest in my last parish, in Keith, which is midway between Inverness and Aberdeen in Northern Scotland. I’ll attach the news release and a pic of us onstage for your interest.
We took the opportunity to release “Parable” as a (very) limited edition CD – but please don’t take it off your download site; it was made to be heard!
I’m at email@example.com, if anyone’s interested.
Like your site – blessings on you, brother!