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Friday, December 25, 2015

An Unction from the Holy One

The Christmas for Christ (or also known as Sheaves for Christ) is a sixty plus year annual tradition in the United Pentecostal Church.  Since its inception in 1952, over $112.5 million has been raised to fund missions and ministries around the world.  Money is raised for the sole purpose of their mission statement:  the whole Gospel to the whole world by the whole church.

Money raised is allocated to Global Missions. Sheaves for Christ also supports Apostolic Youth Corps, Bible Quizzing, The Tupelo Children’s Mansion (which also has their own music releases to raise money), and North American Youth Congress.  

I am uncertain how many records have been released to help raise money.  I've come across three of them personally.

This one may be my favorite of all.  It comes from 1973 and among the talent featured here is Murrell Ewing, Bobbie Shoemake, and Wanda Phillips.  All involved here are incredible talents in music for the United Pentecostal Church.  Their talents are used here as a great blessing to whomever listens.  Perhaps my favorite track is "I See a Crimson Stream."  Murrell Ewing's singing on this song is among his best.  Also, it should be noted that the tracks on this album are not available elsewhere, at least not on Murrell's solo albums.

This may also be my favorite due to the packaging.  I love the comic book type tract inside the gatefold cover.  The information on the album sleeve is also a great piece of historical information as well.  Please take a moment to look at each picture in their full resolution to appreciate the album art.

I truly hope this album is a blessing to you and yours as it was to me.

Download HERE.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Knieriem Sisters-I've Never Loved Him Better Than Today

If somebody asked me for an example of "the Pentecostal sound," there are a few musicians I would point to.  Nathaniel and Jean Urshan with certainty.  Vesta Mangun for sure.  On the more obscure end of the spectrum, I would point out this record by the incomparable Knieriem Sisters.

Sometimes the music I discover for this blog is by chance.  If I find a store selling one record I want I look through their inventory for something new to me.  After all, if the store has one Pentecostal record, they may have more I never heard about.  

I found this record like that.  The store had one I searched for a long time.  I decided to look at what else they had.  I found this and knew nothing about it, other than it was on the Lefevre Sound label, the girls on the cover look Pentecostal-ish, and the song titles talk about being "born again" and "filled."  The Lefevre Sound label has featured a number of Pentecostal artists and this had that kind of vibe to me.

If anything, I would have a nice quirky album that was off the beaten path.

My instincts did not disappoint.  Upon further research, Bishop Irvin Knieriem was the founding pastor of The Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic, a Pentecostal church out of Somerset, Pennsylvania.   

Irvin and his wife, Doris Ann, had four children: Janice (Knieriem) Folmer, Meridian, Idaho; Elaine (Knieriem) Kitchens, Wendell Knieriem, and Denise (Knieriem) Neal, all of Somerset and Douglas Knieriem, Dover, Del.  As far as I know, only Janice and Elaine entered into the business of recording a record album.  Yet, I could be wrong.  As often the history of Pentecostal music is, the records of such recordings are hit and miss.  I will continue to look for more recordings by them or other members of their family.

The most recent reference I could find to the family online was this sad obituary:  Douglas, brother of Janice and Elaine, lost his son, Justin, in 2008.  According to his obituary, "He had a great musical talent, and loved playing in the church band with the rest of his family. Over the years, he put together several audio track mixes and hoped to some day become a professional recording artist." It is a shame he was unable to continue the music ministry started by his aunts. Yet, he is survived by his wife and children. There is also reference his entire family performed music at the church. I hope that his family finds a way to release his recordings. Perhaps in the future his children will go on to record records as well, if the Lord tarries. For certain, we will enjoy their music in Heaven.

So the family had ties with the Pentecostals of Delaware and the Kent Christian Church. If you recall, the Kent Christian Church had involvement with music from the Tupelo Children's Mansion. I love to find connections like this.

As far as this music goes, this is fun Southern Gospel. Most of the record is up beat and positive. What started out as a purchase on a whim certainly turned out to be something more, and opened my understanding to Pentecostal music even more. 

Download HERE

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fred Hyde-Thanks to Calvary

There are some Pentecostal musicians who make a joyful noise.  Some who just make noise.  And some who make what I just call "joyful."  This is not "noise" by any stretch of the imagination.  The orchestration on this record is lush and meditative.  Yet the spirit of the man singing the songs exhibits a great and abundant joy from deep down in his heart.  To me, this music comes from a pure heart.  This music is a reflection of a man after God's own heart.
Most of the songs here are cover versions.  There is only one penned by Fred himself.  (I also note that there is a song written by Ruth Munsey.  Needless to say, I will have more on Ruth in the future of this blog.)  Yet, while these songs are cover versions, it does not take away from the feeling they all come from Fred's heart as if they were his own.  
Rev. Fred Hyde may not be on the tips of many tongues when talking about Pentecostal music.  His name is not well known as Lanny Wolfe, Vesta Mangun, Steve Richardson, Dan Dean, and others.  His music has not burst forth into the whole of contemporary Christian music.  Yet it is also not among the most obscure stuff out there.  There are a few out there who have remembered him and his music ministry.  
The beautiful aspect to this music is that it is testimony music. There is a lot of praise and worship music out there.  More that seeks to just entertain.  This is music that is from a redeemed heart thankful to a Savior who lifted a soul from the depths of Hell.  
Frederick Kimmons Hyde, also known as "Brother Hyde," was born on August 16, 1922 in Tulsa, OK To Jasper and Vessie Hyde.  He was a service man from 1943-1946.  His life was forever changed when Jesus found this lost lamb on September 19th, 1958 in New Orleans, LA.  He received the Holy Ghost and water baptism that day in Jesus' name. 
He taught Junior Boys Sunday School Class for two years in that church.  In 1960, he hand his wife, Betty Jo, moved to Slidell, LA, where he planted a church.  He pastored there until 1970.  
From 1970-1978 he was a missionary in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and other areas of Asia.  People called him the "Singing Missionary."
When he returned to the United States in 1978, he founded the Spirit of Freedom Ministires.  A tape of his testimony, accompanied by his guitar, was one of his first recordings.  His music background comes from his home life.  He was one of eleven children.  They performed as "The Singing Hydes."  Fred played guitar, played and sang at schools, armature  concerts, and also on radio and T.V.  
Yet during this time he was not saved.  After a period of time, he came to the depths of his alcoholism.   When he received the Holy Ghost in 1958, his life changed forever.  This music on this record comes from a heart that never forgot where Jesus took him from.  He never removed the ancient landmarks.  The cover features pictures of him in front of places he used to go.  Now he is at the throne of God, worshiping for all eternity, his voice joining the angels in praise.
His ministry continues their work to this day, reaching out to those struggling with alcohol and drugs.  
As far as the year of this record, I am not sure.  I would have to place it after 1978, the time he founded his music ministry in the United States.  Yet, the album notes Fred Hyde met Piding Alava in 1973, so the record could have been made any time after that.  Regardless when it came out, this is a treasure of a record.  This is music that flows from a genuine heart.  This is among my favorite music.

You can download HERE.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Harvestime Chorale-Some Beautiful Day

I discussed how the United Pentecostal Church shared heritage with the Assemblies of God.  The Assemblies of God had a radio show called "Revialtime."  It aired from 1953 to 1994.  In 1962, the first Harvestime broadcast from the General Conference in Dallas, Texas.  William Coffey Parkey, or W.C. Parkey, hosted.
I do not know if the creation of Harvestime came when the split took place or if both shows were on the air at the same time.  The United Pentecostal Church and the Assemblies of God have intertwining histories.  Both date back to the original Azuza Street outpouring in 1906.  It is difficult for me to pin point a single period where a split took place.  At best, it seems it was a series of events and doctrinal differences that caused them to drift apart.  It is harder to nail it down as far as the history of the two radio shows.   Were they were sister shows or in direct competition with each other?  What I know from my digging for Pentecostal auditory treasures, Revialtime records are plentiful.  It seemed they were quite popular.  Their records apparently had large print runs.  They are easy to find.
Harvestime records are a bit more rare.  Was Revivaltime to Harvestime what was Blockbuster to Hollywood Video?  Or Best Buy to Circuit City?  Or the Snuggie to the Slanket?  Inquiring minds want to know, but I suspect the answer is yes.  Maybe not in design, but it appears so through the lens of history.
But that is not to decry the quality of the Harvestime recordings.  I love the records I have from their ministry.  Maybe they were not quite as big as Revivaltime.  It does not matter.  Their music is wonderful, and is evident on this recording.
Best estimate this record is from 1983.  The best thing I have to date this record is the kick off track:  "Some Beautiful Day" written by Shawn Craig (of Phillips, Craig, and Dean fame.)  Online credits show 1983 as the song's copyright year.  I wonder chorale members Larry and Annette Craig were related to Shawn?  I  don't know.  Could be chance, maybe not!
This record also features the talents of Nancy Grandquist.  She is one of the bigger names in Pentecostal music. Her name and music comes up from time to time in discussions online about the 70's era of Jesus Music.  Kelly Marsden is also another I know has records as a solo artist.  More to come on both, keep tuned in on this blog.
Download HERE!