Sunday, January 20, 2008

Music From The Jesus House

My good friend Randy Moody recently sent me a package that contained some recording made by people who played at the Jesus House.

The Jesus House was located in the Mt. Healthy neighborhood of Cincinnati Ohio. In the early 1970's when the Jesus Movement was very much a part of this nation's culture, the Jesus House was a wonderful place to go, listen to live music, hear about God's love for His people and study the Bible.

As a young man I loved to go there on a Saturday night, sit on the floor and listen to whoever was playing music that evening. Quite a few times I happened to be the musician, either doing a solo or with my friend Doug Abbott playing upright bass. Later on I played along with Kent Odor and a few other friends.

Those were great times and Randy tape recorded several different folks and this brought back a flood of good memories. It was so nice to hear Mike Wilshire's voice accompianied by his old 1940's Martin 00-17 mahogany guitar. Mike was joined by Mike Haviland and Paul Niehaus, who I almost forgot about. I recall bumping into Mike Haviland at Lammar's Music Store on Walnut Street in Cincinnati and discussing soprano saxaphones. Also on the CD's were some songs by Prodigal from back in the day.

Covenant was another group that frequented the Jesus House. My buddy Kent Odor lived at the house and Kent, Bob Clarke and Wayne Burns performed for a while as a trio and they were included. A very young Rich Mullins played the big old out-of-tune green Jesus House upright piano and made it sing and his songs gave you goose-bumps.

I made a couple of observations from listening to this music. First of all was just how young we were and how we were filled with so much energy and devotion. A lot of the songs were so moving and showed our young faith. Mike Wilshire had such a beautiful voice and was an excellent fingerstyle guitarist. However some of the tunes were slow and moody. But that actually reflected the warmth of the Jesus House.

Anyway, I have gone through my box-a-old tape cassettes and reel to reel tapes and discovered a pretty good old collection of my songs. I'm going to duplicate that tape and send it to Randy.

I've also got the urge to put together a definitive collection of songs that I have written through the years. So I have repaired my ancient Ensoniq synthesizer and made all the apropriate MIDI connections to my Yamaha DX100 and RX something-or-other drum synth.

It took about a week to remember how to work the sequencer and another week to remember how to play keyboard. Well...I'm not really a keyboard player, but I know enough from music theory to play chord inversions, passing notes etc. So far I've pieced together five songs that have taken up all the sequencer memory.

Now I have to dump those and dig out my old 4 track recorder and play the guitar and vocal parts. Then I'll put together some more songs in similar fashion and get them on tape. It's an enjoyable work.

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