Brother John Rydgren - Silhouette Segments (compilation)

Published Tuesday 24th September 2013
Brother John Rydgren - Silhouette Segments (compilation)
Brother John Rydgren - Silhouette Segments (compilation)

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 141857-20919
LABEL: Omnii Recording Corp

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

An ordained pastor within the American Lutheran Church, Brother John Rydgren's contribution to Christian music and culture during the '60s is a largely hidden one on account of his LPs 'Silhouette Segments', 'They Say', 'Cantata Of New Life' and 'Worlds Of Youth' being originally issued solely to church groups and radio stations. Central to this two disc collection is Rydgren's wonderfully mesmeric baritone speaking voice that would have charmed and challenged the listener of the time to think about Jesus as the answer in favour of mind-altering drugs and other psychedelic flavours of the day. Whilst in the wrong hands this could easily have been something of a turn off for those tuning in, Rydgren's sheer skill as a communicator shines through as he effortlessly connects with his target audience through the use of flower power language and hip patter set to a backdrop of fuzz guitars, groovy sounds and a sprinkling of avant garde. Cases in point include the self-explanatory and ultimately fun "Hippie Version Of The 23rd Psalm" and "Hippie Version Of Creation" whilst the likes of "Music To Watch Girls By", "Groovin' On A Saturday Night" and "The Noise" effortlessly put across the Christian perspective in thornier topics such as sex, war and the pressures of everyday life with the kind of relevance that ought to make Rydgren's work essential listening for today's Christian communicators. Elsewhere in this collection, the daringly avant garde "Cantata Of New Life" - a 1967 piece composed by Robert R Way with narration by Rydgren to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation - seems to pre-echo future works of the more out there artists of the time and gives further proof that some Christian music in the late '60s was far from staid and uninspiring. Radio broadcasts originally collated in the 'Worlds Of Youth' LP and two previously unreleased 'Silhouette Segments' round off this supremely entertaining and enlightening release and help make Rydgren's available body of work quite a trip.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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