Thursday, March 26, 2009

images from the past

In 1971, I drove down to Fountain Square in Cincinnati because I heard Arthur Blessett was speaking at something called Spiritual Revolution Day. It proved to be a life-changing day. That was the day I met Randy Matthews and some of the high school students who were involved in putting together the Jesus House. This photo appeared on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer the next morning. It was a great day.

Larry Norman was supposed to appear at the first Spiritual Revolution Day but sent Randy Stonehill instead. The following year they both appeared along with Phil Keaggy's band Glass Harp. This is one of the flyers from that day. Norman was absolutely incredible. Many years later, I attended a music conference in Colorado where Keaggy taught a workshop. During the question and answer period I asked him about Glass Harp's appearance at SRD and what the other two members of the band thought. He explained that even though the others were not Christians, they respected his faith and were very happy to participate in the event.

Hope you like these images from the ancient past.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

staff sojourns

If you've followed the chronological sequence of the House you've seen that staff changes were fairly common.
Before I go on, a little review: The original staff was going to be four guys, Randy Matthews, Steve Scott, Ted Baxendale, and Greg (last name escapes me but he was from Indianapolis). Ted and Greg never joined the staff but an unknown interloper named Terry Fisher came out of no where and joined up for three months. Within a few weeks we were joined by Mike Buckingham, Pat Buckingham and Joanie (her last name still escapes me but she was from Lexington). Randy and Steve left on a cross country tour and Grant and Jane Ann Hammond joined us. All of this occurred from April - August, 1972.

The first summer ended and everyone was asked to leave except Grant & Jane Ann. Through circumstances explained a few months ago, I stayed. January, 1973 Grant & Jane Ann left and Stan & Linda Carter joined. Fall of 1973 Kent Odor came to stay. Also that fall Greg (the same Greg who didn't join staff at the beginning who's last name I do not remember) joined us for a few months. Chris Adams was really part of the staff even though he did not move in until the following summer.

Stan, Linda, Terry, Kent & Chris continued as the staff until spring of 1974 when Stan & Linda moved out with Chris to follow in the summer. Andy Wilson moved into the house for the summer while he prepared for a fall departure to college.

Kent and I were the staff for the next year until summer of 1975 when Rick, Jenny & Christy Mapes moved in. No sooner were they settled than Kent married Marcia and moved out. Sometime during the following year a student from the University of Cincinnati named Tony Ross approached Rick and asked if he could move in and join the staff. We were a little surprised by this because no one had ever asked to join the staff. Usually we were begging people! So Tony moved in for the first of two stints on the Jesus House Staff. It quickly became apparent that Tony was an exceptional musician. He didn't just play music, he knew music. I was continually amazed at his ability to master an instrument, then move on to another. During the time when he decided to put together a Second Chapter of Acts group, he drove me nuts listening to the music while he transposed all the parts including voices, horns, etc. It was a pretty amazing feat. I've never been able to listen to Second Chapter of Acts music since, but it still was amazing to watch him put together a huge band and vocalists to perform the music. It was the biggest musical project ever attempted by someone from the Jesus House. Tony left us for awhile to move to California where he worked at the Fender factory to learn how amplifiers are constructed. Once he was finished with his sojourn to the West Coast he moved back in with us for awhile until he decided to join the Cain family as an auxiliary son then also become a student at Miami University. Somewhere during one of his two stints at the House Tony played bass for Crossroads/Prodigal. Since then, Tony has developed into an incredible worship leader, become a pilot, husband and father. Tony is featured on the Jesus House Recording Project and will be singing at the reunion, May 2.
Tony is an incredibly gifted, multi-talented individual and it was a pleasure to live with and know him. Plus we had a really great nickname for him. Sorry, I'm not including it in this blog. Some people let their children read this you know. Just in case Tony's children read this, I don't want to cause undo embarrassment. But, if you ask at the Reunion, I'll tell you privately!

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the Forth Week of March

1972 - Ted Baxendale (Yes, the Ted who was supposed to join the staff but never did.)
1973 - Rich Davis, Brad Sewell
1974 - Bruce & Dale, no last names included.
1975 - Bob Clark & Tony Ross (Great harmonies!)
1976 - Stephens-Brigance (More great harmonies!!)
1977 - Donnie Yazell
1978 - 'Cinnati (Terry Fisher, Rick Marksberry, Andy Danzel, Dave French)
1979 - Lisa Allen
1980 - Jim Bankowski
1981 - Jon Owens
1982 - The Wild Olive Branch Band
1983 - Tim Root

Fifth Saturdays: March is another month with the occasional fifth Saturday. Those artists were:

1973 - adamsfishyodor, Sharon Wilson (Why would a sweet girl like Sharon agree to share the bill with those three scruffy guys? They probably paid her...)
1974 - Wilshire-Haveline (Yes, this was Mike Wilshire. Incredible musician)
1975 - Cathy, Kitty & John (I think this was Kitty Daniels, whose sister Jennie will be performing at the Reunion) The night before we had our only ever Good Friday Dinner with a Passover Meal.
1979 - adamsfishyodor (This was either our second or third reunion concert tour)
1980 - Rick Roberts

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

jesus house recordings

All of the recording we've been involved with lately has resulted in me remembering past recording projects by artists who frequented the Jesus House. Most of you were not around in the first few months of the JH but Randy Matthews' first album, "Wish We'd All Been Ready" was released around the same time we opened in 1971. This album is pretty tame by today's standards and would not even be considered a rock & roll album but remember this was released on Word Records, which, up to that point had released only gospel-style quartets and soloists. Randy was a huge stretch for them. For his second record, "All I am is What You See," they started the Myrrh label which later included releases by artists like Amy Grant and Petra.

With this as our beginning, you might think that it was very common to have recording artists at the House as well as have regular House musicians with records. The major label artists we had perform at the House was very small. They included Ray Hildebrand, Andrew Culverwell, Gary Chapman and Albrecht, Roley & Moore. Technically Chapman & A,R,&M played at Conglomerate, not one of our regular concerts.

The most common form of recording that artists did in those days was called "custom" recordings. Instead of being signed to a record label, the artist scheduled their own recording sessions, designed their own album covers and sold the records out of the trunk of a car or from a table set up in the back of the room! Jesus House artists who recorded custom albums (in no particular order) included: Rising Hope, The Willoughby-Wilson Band (an EP, their album came later), Soul Purpose, Zion (Before Amy Grant recorded Rich's Sing Your Praise to the Lord), Jon Owens, The Wild Olive Branch Band (what a long name), Jim Bankowski, Bill Williams (Rev. Billy Rose!), Steven Alexanderson and Geoff Thurman. I'm sure there are others, but that's a pretty good list for now.

The one time Servant played the Jesus House, they were not yet signed to a label.

Artists from the Jesus House who went on to sign with a label include Rich Mullins, The Willoughby-Wilson Band and Prodigal.

If I've left anyone out, please excuse and correct me. I'll be glad to edit this post and include other names.

There are artists like John Gould that I always thought needed to be recorded. That is one reason why I am so glad for the current Jesus House Recording Project. Recording is so much easier and affordable today.

In the next entry I'm going to get back to some of the chronological history. There are still stories to tell and time is running short. I will cease writing new material after the next, and most likely, final, Jesus House Reunion Concert on May 2.

This Week (technically last week) in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the Third Weekend of March

1972 - Terry Fisher, Marc O'Hara This was the first time I sang at the Jesus House. I was really scared and did not want to do it. Up to this point in my performing history, I sang for two youth retreats and used to sit around the House playing guitar and writing songs. In our early months Randy Matthews made me sing for him once, which was really hard, but he liked my song, "Jesus Freak" the first Christian song I ever wrote. Some people like to say, "The Lord gave me this song" when introducing a song but I could never say that about Jesus Freak, at least with a straight face. I was not sure the Lord wanted anything to do with the song! Nevertheless, I'm sure I sang it that night, along with the second song I ever wrote, "Sing a Song About Jesus." which was based on a Sesame Street song. One final detail before I proceed to 1983, I was tricked into singing. It was a conspiracy among some friends that included Marc O'Hara! Marc was scheduled to sing, but claimed he couldn't be there for the first set so I was left to sing. But wasn't it amazing when Marc walked in the back while I was on stage singing??? Still, we had 105 people there that night and ended the evening with four baptisms! Okay, back to our regularly scheduled list...

1973 - Mike Wilshire, Marc O'Hara (What is it about Marc not singing the whole night?)
1974 - Larry Pennington
1975 - Soul Purpose (Kent Odor was in Michigan this weekend. Wonder what he was doing?)
1976 - Soul Purpose
1977 - The Paul & Dave Band
1978 - Jim Bankowski, Sharon Wilson
1979 - Bruce Kircher
1980 - Kevin Boys
1981 - Terry Fisher
1982 - Share-it Nite
1983 - New Creation

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reunion Update

This will be a brief entry. I promise two longer ones later in the week since I missed last week.
Last night Deny Brigance, Andy Danzel and I converged on Rick Marksberry's house to complete a couple of songs for the Jesus House Recording Project. Between swapping stories, catching up, and remembering the past we actually completed some recording!
"Don't Preach on that Scripture Tonight" is now a do wap song with harmonies compliments of Deny, Andy & Rick. As Deny said last night, "When you used to sing this song at the house, this is the way I always heard it in my head." Those guys did an amazing job.
We sent Andy home to his wife around 10:00, Deny and I finally left closer to midnight. Driving home, I listened to several of the songs to be included on the project. It will be an eclectic collection of great music. Copies will be available at the Reunion.
If last night is any indication, the reunion will be an incredible experience.
We will celebrate the life God gave us together all those years ago.
We will celebrate the life God has given each of us since those days.
We will celebrate the great gift of music.
We will celebrate Jesus.
I hope you are planning to be there.
Spread the word.

May 2, 2009, starting around 3:00 in the afternoon and finishing around 11:00.
Times are approximate now and will be firmed once we know the complete list of musicians.
The location is Highview Christian Church on Adams Road in Mt. Healthy not far from the Jesus House building.
We will not be using the Jesus House building because it is a private home and I'm pretty sure they do not want us performing music in their living room and drinking soft drinks in their kitchen!

Monday, March 9, 2009

afo, etc

Photos keep surfacing, whether we want them to or not, in files, under books, in scrapbooks, etc. Some were probably hidden in order to save future embarrassment but the time for that is over. We need to be proud of our past! No matter how we looked!
Below are two photos of adamsfishyodor in all their splendor! The first is our first gig! We are on stage singing at our school's talent show. Believe it or not we were a big hit! We sang Larry Norman's Moses. Because the school was so conservative in those days, most of the people never heard of Larry Norman so naturally they had not heard his song

The second photo is from our big trip to Eden, North Carolina. This was the longest trip ever for adamsfishyodor. We drove three vehicles and were glad to have a group of friends with us including Betsy Reams, Alan Sippel, Larry Pennington, Andy Wilson, Mike Vanskee & Muncho (Unfortunately I do not remember Muncho's real name.) Quite a few photos of this adventure have survived as well as a record of the trip written by Betsy. It was a great journey. Besides the photos, diary and memories, a song survives that adamsfishyodor will be singing at the next, and most likely final, Jesus House Reunion on May 2.

"I'm on my way
to North Carolina
I'm on my way
I'm southern bound
I'm on my way
to North Carolina
gonna bring Jesus to this town....


The Jesus House found multiple ways to commune together.
The following contains three examples:

Occasionally, in the summer, we hosted Sunday picnics on the grounds complete with softball games across the street at the elementary school ball fields, burgers grilled on our "back deck," homemade ice cream and people, lots and lots of people sitting outside on the grass.

In the early '70's Kent Odor suggested we host a weekly, early morning, communion time on Sundays. It sounded like a great idea, except for the fact that we were a late, Saturday night ministry that usually did not close the doors till midnight. Who was going to get up early on Sunday morning to lead people in communion. Who else? Kent! After all, it was his idea. So for about six months, maybe longer (My brain blocked out the details. I have a vague memory of people downstairs sharing communion. Sometimes I joined them. Well, maybe not as often as sometimes. Maybe every once in awhile, okay, maybe not even that often. I'm pretty sure I showed up at least three times.)
Kent led 7:00 am Lord's Supper. (If it's in the morning, as it is in most churches, why is it not called Lord's Breakfast?) Kent was always great for keeping his commitments. I don't remember why we stopped this.

The most common way we communed involved going out to eat. Yes, at midnight, after the house closed, we adjourned to a local eating establishment. Massive quantities of Jesus House people eating massive quantities of food in restaurants usually in the direction of Northgate Mall. The destination varied from season to season, year to year. Dunkin' Donuts was one of the early places as was White Castle. Later, we moved to Denny's for many, many years. Perkins also received our culinary attention. This post-concert experience was invaluable for getting to know people better. I am grateful for the restaurant managers, servers and cooks who supplied us with space and food so we were able to commune with one another. I hope the tips were sufficient!

Special Congratulations! Jim & Wendy Wilson (Willoughby-Wilson Band) became grandparents this past weekend!

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the Second Week of March

1972 - Dave Grove, Deanna Yager & Eric Fruge (Great friends from Georgetown College!)
1973 - John & Sandy
1974 - One Way House Night (A variety of friends from the One Way House in Springfield, Ohio performed.)
1975 - Carl & Larry
1976 - Jim Bankowski
1977 - Rising Hope
1978 - Prodigal
1979 - Karen Hess, Samantha from Indianapolis
1980 - Rob Rodebush (aka Showcrumb)
1981 - Tim Root
1982 - Dave Workman (although in those days sometimes we called him "Davy." Dont' tell anyone at the Vineyard.
1983 - In the Spirit

Thursday, March 5, 2009

adamsfishyodor, ancient days

Since I treated you to recent pics of the adamsfishyodor recording session I thought it fitting that I include a few photos from the past, some from way, way past. Three of the four are in black and white. Hope you enjoy them, and, no laughing!

The first one is from one of our very first performances at the Jesus House. If my memory is correct, we did not actually perform a concert that evening, but decided to perform Moses in the same clothing we used when we performed the song at our school's talent show. So, here we are, in our bib overalls with Christopher playing his upright bass, Kent on someone's steel string acoustic and me on Kent's nylon string.

A few months later it was Christmas! Kent decided I desperately needed a pair of red, knee-high tennis shoes. In those days, I wore converse nearly all the time. I alternated between a pair of white high tops and blue low cut, depending on the rest of my wardrobe. Not sure about the expression on Kent's face...

A year later, adamsfishyodor, decided on a return performance at the CBS Talent Show. We went electric and performed "Whole Lot More of Jesus and a Lot Less Rock & Roll." Yes, Christopher actually wore a priest's shirt and, you cannot tell in the photo, but I have the red knee-high tennis shoes on but hidden under the pants of my blue denim suit.

Long before there was a Jesus House Reunion, adamsfishyodor performed reunion concerts. Actually we performed four, the first two were weekend tours which included performances at the One Way House in Springfield, Fellowship Christian Church, and Wings of Deliverance Temple, in addition to the Jesus House. This photo is from the third reunion. Each reunion had a theme and T-Shirts. I still have my shirt from the second reunion. If anyone else still has yours, please bring them to the JH Reunion, May 2!

I have other photos which I might include in future posts, but that's enough for now...

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed at the Jesus House the First Weekend in March

1972 - John Gould, Sharon Wilson
1973 - Koinania (No, not the great jazz group from the late 1980's)
1974 - Latter Reign (The first time they played the JH we had them as Latter Rain, but we were wrong!)
1975 - John Elliott
1976 - Jon Owens
1977 - White Horse (Just about as loud as the music ever got!)
1978 - Showbread
1979 - Rick Roberts
1980 - Brent Eresman; Lois & Marsha
1981 - Monte
1982 - Randy Morris
1983 - Brad Coleman (Brad was a student from Miami University who sang "He Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" and "And I saw his face, now I'm a believer" He also juggled!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

afo recording session

Sunday evening, March 1, afo gathered at the Alyssa Fisher Recording Studio somewhere in the hidden areas of Mt. Lookout in Cincinnati and, along with producer & engineer Deny Brigance "layed down some tracks" as they say. Below are some images captured that evening by Alyssa Fisher. The group is most grateful for her generosity in opening her space to a group of rowdy musician types all old enough to be her father, which, in fact one of them is.
They recorded Child of the King and Sohio Station Blues to be included on the forthcoming Jesus House Recording to be featured at the next, and mostly likely final, Jesus House Reunion, May 2, at Highview Christian Church on Adams Road in the Mt. Healthy area of Cincinnati.
If I saw these photos for the first time without explanation, I would not be sure who these old guys are, but since I know they are in fact the beloved adamsfishyoder, and since I was there, I have to accept the fact that they are in fact the three young men we knew "all those years ago".