So here's a find a got from an Emporia, Kansas, thrift shop back in 1995. I've held on to this record, called John 15:13, by the Christian Sons, for ages now. It's perfect pitch early 1970s, evangelical awesomeness. (If I remember right, the Christian Sons were an Assemblies of God, soft rock group from Colorado that didn't want to push it into full-throttle Jesus People freakiness.)
Back when I picked the album up and dusted it off it further confirmed what I thought about a certain strain of evangelical pop music from the 70s and 80s. It seems that many evangelicals were seriously into the Carpenters, John Denver, Bread, Captain and Tennille, and a few other icons of the shag carpet and pleather years. The Nazarene church I attended in Olathe, Kansas, featured gospel quartets and more college-friendly stuff, what passed as "young people's music," I guess. The Christians Sons fit into the latter category. They were really small time when compared to contemporary Christian soft rock icons like Honeytree, 2nd Chapter of Acts, or the Archers. But still, they had their charms.
Hear song here.
The song, "Your Gonna Love Your New Life," written by one Phil Johnson, is a greeting to a new convert. "Let me be the first to shake your hand," croon the Christian Sons, "and tell you that this life is really grand." Stilted, yes. Weird, you betcha. Fascinating, without a doubt.
People will hear a song like this today as nothing more than Christian kitsch. Like something piled on to that mountain of Jesus junk that Colleen McDannell scaled in her amazing Material Christianity. But I have to remind myself that music like this really did speak to believers of a certain frame of mind in a certain era. It was exciting, new, and cheery. It thrilled the youngsters in churches who were stoked to see and hear drums in church. Born-again Christians could have fun, and, sorta, rock out, too.