Christian Hippie Music is seeing a Resurrection

“They would become the All Saved Freak Band,” wrote Thomas Francis in “Lord of the Strings,” a 2004 cover story detailing the turbulent career of local guitar god Glenn Schwartz. “A true grassroots operation compared to what Glenn was used to, the band traveled the country in a van, setting up on the sidewalk outside rock concerts or music festivals. Hill sang and preached, accompanied by the sweet voices of two sisters, Pam and Kim Massman. Glenn played his usual brilliant guitar, next to Markko's rhythm guitar. “It was a persuasive formula. Those who liked the band and pledged their Christianity were invited to live with the group at a commune near the town of Orwell in Ashtabula County.” For a good chunk of the ’70s, Schwartz, who plays every Thursday night at Hoopples in the Flats, played guitar for the All Saved Freak Band, a Christian pop-rock group and commune (some call it a cult). Rare rock records from the hippie era are some of the most sought after platters among collector-nerds. And over the past several years, this obsession has spilled over into underground Christian rock from that era. Self-produced records by longhaired missionaries like Agape, Concrete Rubber Band, and First Revelation command seriously big bucks. The All Saved Freak band is no exception: A copy of the ASFB’s My Poor Generation LP from 1973 is currently up for auction on eBay. Starting bid: $225. Hidden Vision Records, out of Arizona, began reissuing remastered CDs from many of these groups, including four titles from the ASFB, who don’t sound all that different from the Mamas & the Papas, Cream, and the Doors. The same can be said of most of these bands, in fact. “Our mission,” reads the label’s ever-growing website, “is to spread the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ through the ongoing influence of the contemporary Christian music of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The music of these early pioneers proved to be one of the primary vehicles for what was later identified as the Jesus Movement.” If you want to learn more about one of Cleveland’s rock stranger chapters then check out Hidden Visions. – Justin F. Farrar

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