Gospel Hard Rock (Mark MRS 2170) 1971
“Jesus rock at it’s crustiest” wrote Paul Baker in his book Contemporary Christian Music describing California’s hard-rocking trio Agape. Hendrix fans should take note here as the style is very similar, from the music right down ton Fred Caban’s bluesy vocals. Caban is also the guitarist, John Peckhart plays bass and Mike Jungkman supplies drums and organ. Mostly heavy blues rock – the high-quality turn-of-the-decade FM radio kind. Not just a three-chord bash – these songs have mood and texture to them. You’ll find quiet understated passages here as well as hard-driving guitar solos. Atmosphere, too, as on the eerie ‘Rejoice’ which narrates tribulation prophesies against a hypnotic Doors-ish rhythm, enhanced by psycvhedelic guitar-induced missiles, rockets and earthquakes. Includes slow blues rockers ala Clapton (‘Blind’, ‘Blood’), as well as fast ones (‘Happy’ and ‘Choose’). ‘Man’ and ‘Trust’ are both heavily influenced by the Are You Experienced? era, as is ‘Freedom’, a first-rate psych number with layers of fuzz and wah-wah guitars darting in and out like hornets over a constant throbbing two-note bass beat, marching snare drums, and Fred singing a hymn in a different key. Weird! Front cover is an absract b&w image of the face of Christ – reportedly a photograh of a natural image of melting snow against a black background. The original and scarcest press has a photo of the band in concert on the back, while the later version has individual circular photos of the band members and manager Ron Turner. The commonly used title Gospel Hard Rock appears only on the spine of the later press. Re-issued on CD in 1996 with the bonus tracks ‘Street Walker’ and ‘Alchemy’. (The Archivist, 4th edition by Ken Scott).
This one was on Heavenly Grooves Blog. Thank you Donald for the improved rear cover photo.
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