Американская христианская рок-группа. Записали 2 альбома. Распались в 1975 году.
In the mid-70s I was a preacher’s kid in the deep south. Phenix City, Alabama, to be exact.
My Dad hired a young man named Jerry to be our church’s youth pastor. Jerry was cool.
He “talked funny” because he was from Minnesota, but he had long hair and played guitar.
He invited my brothers and me over to his apartment for sleepovers, and he’d let us listen
to the local rock radio station…all night long! Turns out that Jerry’s tenure at our southern
Assembly of God church was rather short. But I will be eternally grateful to him for introducing
me to an album called “Love Peace Joy.” It was a compilation album that Myrrh released,
hoping to give some new Jesus Music artists – like Malcolm & Alwyn, Love Song,
2nd Chapter of Acts, Barry McGuire, Honeytree, and others – some exposure.
One of the songs on that record was I Choose to Follow You by Ron Salsbury & J.C. Power Outlet.
It was love at first listen – a beautiful ballad with lyrics that inspire perseverance in following Jesus,
no matter who or what you have to leave behind. “I Choose to Follow” has been described
as “musically immaculate and lyrically convicting.”
J.C. Power Outlet was one of the first Christian hard rock bands in existence.
Their music seemed quite radical compared to the Calvary Chapel sounds of Love Song
or Children of the Day. The band was built largely around the talents of Ron Salsbury
and has been referred to as “110 watts of pure Jesus power.”
Forgiven was actually the band’s 2nd release, but it’s the record that gained them the largest following.
It was better produced than the group’s 1972 self-titled debut.
The album kicked off with a phased hi-hat and hyper-speed fuzzy guitar intro that served notice
that this was something altogether different than the typical gospel music of the early 70s.
There was a distinct west coast vibe on a few songs. Raucous rockers and mellow ballads were
pretty even interspersed throughout the album. In addition to a standard rock rhythm section, brass,
clavinet, and mellotron were used in the instrumentation.
One reviewer said that on this album J.C. Power Outlet “mixed fuzzy, progressive rock moves with bar
band boogie and a solidly proselytizing lyrical message.” Issues including commitment,
friendship with Jesus, falling away from faith, and even astrology
(My sign is a blood-stained cross which stood at Calvary/Why should I ever worship the stars that
were created just like me?) are addressed in no uncertain terms.
This record also contains plenty of vintage Jesus Music evangelism.
After Forgiven was released, David Edwards joined the band as bassist.
Edwards would resurface several years later as Christian rock’s first
(and most critically acclaimed) “new wave” solo artist. After JC Power Outlet disbanded in 1975,
Salsbury and guitarist John Pantano reunited to record an album for Larry Norman’s Solid Rock label
in 1977. The record was called Hit the Switch. More about that one later in the countdown!
Today, Ron Salsbury serves as Lead Pastor of New Life Community Church in Pismo Beach, CA
(a Church of the Nazarene congregation).
The church’s website describes Salsbury as being “passionate about how God is really in love
with each one of us and that there is a hope in every one of God’s promises.”
His official bio never mentions JC Power Outlet by name, but does say: “Ron served as a recording
artist and leader of a praise band during the ‘Jesus Movement’ in the 70s.”
Salsbury graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA in 1986.
He reportedly enjoys camping and hiking in Yosemite National Park and lists Psalm 18
as his favorite Bible passage.
I should also mention that Forgiven boasted a very creative front cover.
The iconic apple-with-the-bandaid photo was at once memorable and an ingenious
illustration of the album’s title.
All in all, Forgiven by JC Power Outlet gave the young people of the Jesus Movement some
real rock ‘n roll to sink their teeth into, to go with the more common acoustic folk of the era.
It was an important album.
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