Jonah, the Whale, and some Dirty Hippies

Bob Curlee & Ken Flowers
“Jonah & the Whale”
1970, Jonah Records

“JONAH AND THE WHALE washed up on the Panama City Beach in June of 1970 — and another miracle took place.  Armed with nothing but faith and a guitar — the cast set up a stage across from the Miracle Strip Amusement Park and presented the happy-go-lucky musical five nights a week.”

band 2

Swaller Song

Check his site for the full musical


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new vibrations

Tedd Smith with Ralph Carmichael & the Young People
“New Vibrations: a QUEST in folk rock”
Light/Word #LS-5561-LP

From the liner notes:

“I have written NEW VIBRATIONS with the intention of having it presented as a staged musical in churches, concert halls, high school auditoriums, etc.  The work presents two singers, a boy and a girl, asking each other questions, and sometimes offering possible answers, to the meaning of life.  The quest takes place through the medium of music and poetry.  The musical portion uses the two singers plus a chorus and folk-rock oriented instrumental group.  I have written the poetry as a sort of reflective introduction to each piece of music.

The work begins with the two characters hearing the sounds of life today and wondering what it’s all about.  Why is life?  A conversational quest develops through youth, marriage, parenthood, old age and comes full circle to the couple’s son who has the same questions.

It is my hope that NEW VIBRATIONS offers some shafts of light to the timeless quest that each has for the meaning of life.”

Slices of Today

New Vibrations


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Tripping Jesus

Pastor John Rydgren
“Silhouette Segments”
1968, The American Lutheran Church #8531

So it’s not a Christian musical, but it is possibly the greatest psychedelic beat-hippy jesus-freak records ever recorded.  The tracks are bits taken from the radio show of pastor John Rydgren, whose narrates and acts out strange skits in a Joe Frank meets Ken Nordine voice, often over a mashup of popular song clips and found sounds.  Amazing stuff.

WFMU fills in some info about Rydgren here.

John Rydgren & Peter Tork (The Monkees)

 Search It Out

“This Silhouette montage of music, voice, and sounds was actually inspired by the thousands of teens who have talked to John or written to him expressing their search for a personal, everyday “experiencing” of Christ.  The production dramatizes where they are, where they search… cars, a Monkee concert, the surf, problems… represented by the train, elephants (ala Bill Cosby’s “Little Old Man”) a trip, and in the middle of all this… the answers they have found.”

Music to Watch Girls By

“A natural phenomenon… watching girls.  A special attention… girls… designed for man by God.  The beautiful girls today, the colorful music provided by the Bob Crewe Generation, along with the fact that God did design a most special creature to keep man company… provided the inspiration for the Silhouette production, “Music to Watch Girls By”

Personality Doll of the Week

“A Creation by John dramatizing with humor the near tragedy, or at least unfortunate, condition of shallow opinions.  The Silhouette production portrays the almost mechanical responses given by many people regarding what they believe about God, social concerns, or what they expect from life.”

Hippie Version of the 23rd Psalm

“At John’s request, kind of a hippie D.J. wrote his version of the 23rd psalm.  The purpose of the Silhouette production was to help prove that something as ancient as a psalm from the Old Testament could fit right in the middle of today.”


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The Christian Hippy Musical in its Purest Form

Ralph Carmichael & Kurt Kaiser
“Tell It Like It Is: A Folk Musical About God”
1970, Light (Word) # LS-5512-LP

From the liner notes: 
” I don’t pretend to know where it’s all going or where it will end.  I don’t have to know.  It’s not my responsibility to second guess trends, much less create them and propagate them.  But I do have a feeling that we have to stay relevant.  We’ve been told straight out to do that and Christ Himself set the example.  In TELL IT, we have assembled a conglomerate of sounds (rhythmic, chordal, melodic) that kids are accepting at the moment.  Who cares about “pure folk forms”?  If this album is pointed to in years to come as a pure form of anything we will have goofed pretty badly.”
  — Ralph Carmichael

Brother, Let Me Take Your Hand

Ralph Carmichael is one of the best known composers of contemporary Christian music, as well as an arranger and writer for everyone from Nat King Cole to Elvis.  He now has a “big band gospel” group.


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A New Crop of Holy Joe’s

Ronald K. Wells
“I Wonder”
1969, Crescendo Music

Ah, the Christian musical… a reaction to the “new thinking” of the 1960′s and revisionist hippie musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar.  This one has some pretty great narration along with the tunes.  I think I’m going to raid the “Christan hippies” section of my record library to find a few more of these!

God Is Dead


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Cute Canadian Clowns vs. Evil Hippy Clowns

Sphere Clown Band
“I Can Do Anything”
1983, One Eyed Duck (Canada)


For Hire

The Klowns
“The Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Klowns”
1970, RCA #LSP-4438



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Goin off the Rail on a Craz Trai

“No Prisoners”
1980, Epic # NJE 36198

Ozz – Potential rock and roll superstars doomed by the album cover design department. No self-respecting 80′s rocker would be caught dead buying an album with this cover photo.  It  looks like the dude snuck up on stage during an Earth, Wind, & Fire Show in a circus tent.

The music is actually not bad.  A bit dated, but certainly not what you’d expect from the cover.  Apparently, modern metalheads have come to consider this album a bit of a “lost gem”.  Check it out:


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Kids, this it what hipsters looked like in 1985

Personal Effects
“Bring Out the Jazz”
1985, Earring Records

When I found this I honestly thought it was going to be a recording of a high school jazz band.  I have to admit being a bit disappointed to find out Personal Effects is actually a nerdy synth-pop group from Rochester, NY.  Not sure what look they were going for on this cover.  The mid-80′s were a weird, confused time…

In a band called Margaret Explosion


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Glory Gang

The Glory Gang
“Nice Guys Finish First”
BOC records #2040


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Smoking Jesus Weed

The Joint-Heirs
QCA Recording


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