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Archivist: Vintage Vinyl Jesus Music_ (3rd Edition)
Author: Ken Scott

Ken Scott's Archivist books lie somewhere between an annotated record price guide and a sphincterally-retentive history book. Any lover of Godly rock 'n' roll could turn into an enviously drooling fool by paging through this unique, necessary work.

Scott doesn't bog down his pages with price and record condition data, though he intersperses the text with mentions of how certain albums command great sums on the collectors market. Neither is his work strictly a narrative history of Christian rock à la John J. Thompson's Raised By Wolves.

Scott tells the story via hundreds of reviews. Every slab of PVC that he could find by any remotely rocking act with a Christian connection gets its due. That means not only the Neo-Pentecostal and non-denominational artists commonly associated with the hippie-centric Jesus movement and its subcultural wake. Catholics--who broke much ground in the adoption of rock, modern folk and other musics among church people--and the more prominent heterodox groups rising from the Jesus movement (read: cults) made records fitting the bill. Ditto for more liberal and mainline Christian denominations. If Scott and his few and infrequent co-authors have the discs, they merit ink. Scott, et al. mention artists' church backgrounds if they appear in the records.

In his introduction, Scott denigrates his skills as a writer; he really needn't. There may be only so many ways to describe the surfeit of sometimes generic psychedelic, folk, progressive and other kinds of rock for God he has amassed, but he has a sufficient gift in vividly describing it. Sometimes he compares one act to another of relatively equal obscurity. At other times he will name-check more current referents, such as Blackhouse, to let the reader know that his knowledge doesn't stop at the dawn of the MTV Age. Selected releases pre- and post-dating Archivist's stated 15-year purview make the cut if they're of enough importance or recall earlier styles.

"Weird stuff," or what many collector scum (no offense intended!) call incredibly strange music, garners a few pages, too, with many an entry about children's ventriloquists. Briefer sections focus on CDs of previously unreleased material by old-timers and seven-inch singles and EPs. As for the latter, am surprised that Scott doesn't mention the two pre-Myrrh Records 45s by 2nd Chapter of Acts on MGM, but a guy can't have everything, hey?

Scott acknowledges that his quest is nowhere near complete. A fourth edition, and possibly a website, are in the offing. In order to share a touch more of his collecting good fortune and perspicacity so far, 516 miniature black and white cover scans from his collection take up the back of his book.

I have at least one friend who takes his copy of Archivist wherever he goes used record shopping. With an eye on inheriting Scott's motherlode, I'm trying to find a way to marrying into his family . . .

Jamie Lee Rake  3/19/2005

Reach Scott at P.O. Box 110; Worthington, OH 43085 or


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