Jesús Bacalão’s Light Entertainment Programme: Xianedelica 1966-1978

On Tonight’s Programme

Twas 66 & among the heads of the Haight, Spores of Disillusionment were germinating- inhaled twixt tokes of Acapulco G. Nam cocktailed with the Lysergic Prohibition were proving a potent downer

The bud of 66 bloomed a 67 & the Spores were palpable to a growing bouquet of Flower Chillen. The Dream was all but over when Time ran a story on hippies in Jan 67. No head had HEARD of a hippie & next thing ya know, they were coming to look at us like we was in a glass bowl, said Mickey Hart. Literally- 67 saw the maiden voyage of Gray Line’s Hippie Tour, billed as A SAFARI THRU PSYCHEDELIA

Press drew youth like moth to flame. FORGET FLOWERS IN YA HAIR The Oracle headline read- pilgrims bring sleeping bags & scratch instead

Like THAT, Utopia became a cesspit of B&E; VD; bum trips on STP. The Spores’ prime symptom, spiritual void, was taking hold- exacerbated by culdesac forays into krishna, zen & the occult

& in this darkness… The Living Room

Est. by ex-beats who found salvation on LSD, TLR was a coffeehouse that offered beds for bible readings. 1000s of youth dropped by in 67, listening to the word of these counterculture evangelists. Their Jesus was presented as a revolutionary outlaw and their strain of worship stressed direct contact with Jesus via drug metaphors aplenty. This was a mainliner to the soul of the disenchanted doper- soon TLR was Saving over 20 a week- Jesus Freaks were here

coffeehousi/ street ministries swiftly dotted the Coast. TLR convert, Lonnie Frisbee, held services at SoCal’s Calvary Chapel, now THE hippie church, it’s membership growin from 200 to 2000 in 3 months. Among the converts were musicians, many of which had played in bands in SF, who were now writing music for praise/worship, sonically rooted in the Frisco Sound. Performances by these freshly minted Christian Psych (dubbed Xian Psych by 90s collectors) bands were incorporated into services and went down a storm. Soon they were in the studio recording privately pressed LPs funded by the church/ by the bands themselves. In time, the lyrical subject matter had evolved, waxin not only on the XTC of Jesus, but also pre-conversion experiences with drugs/promiscuity & the alternative that was the Jesus Trip

As headlines blurred from RFK to MLK to Altamont, The Jesus People spread, with Calvary affiliates founding 20 communes across Cali before departing en masse, sending teams across the US & Canada. Other factions of Jesus People toured the US (& by the end of ’70, Europe) too, sharing the gospel/ the farout sounds of Xian Psych. New communes were founded as were new bands who lay down their own private press LPs, flying the Frisco Sound’s freakflag

As Nam’s curtain closed, counterculture was absorbed by pop culture and so too, most of the Jesus Freaks folded into m’stream Christianity. The once radical music of the movement was dropped in favour of an MOR sound, later the lucrative Christian Contemporary Music industry. Though some bands from the salad days of xian music became stalwarts of that scene, most disappeared but some, like NYC based commune/collective, The Trees Community, spent the rest of the decade travelling the US, sharing their otherworldly sound in a converted school bus housing 
10 people
2 cats+dog
80 instruments. Now if THAT aint The Dream…

The cornucopia of Xianedelic delights on Tonight’s Programme were recorded largely by American Jesus Freaks, with a few sounds by their EU/CA counterparts. 92% of the records were privately pressed (with the remainder released by church funded indie labels), usually produced in numbers of 50-200, allowing the bands full creative freedom, which as you’ll hear, was used to the fullest

Now, Praise The Lord, Take a Trip & Take it Sleazy

j.

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