JERUSALEM - Volume 2 (Legends Remastered)
Jesus Rock-N-Roll! Don’t Be Afraid.
When I think of the music from Jerusalem’s 2nd release, not surprisingly titled Volume 2, I think of the second track on the album, “Rock-N-Roll.” This song perfectly epitomized the music (great grooves) and the mission of the band, because these songs are all about rock … and rocking out in the name of Jesus. In essence, Volume 2 was (and remains) the perfect follow-up and companion to Volume 1 because it was more 70’s organ-driven, guitar rock and it was even more transparent yet as passionately worshipful lyrically. But it was also a bit more theatrical as well. After all, this was released in 1980 when there was a wind of change in the air musically, and bands were looking for new sounds to ring in the new decade. The band also saw its first personnel changes as well when Anders Mossberg stepped in on bass and the talented Klas Anderhell took over the drum seat. Anderhell’s contribution in particular added a bit more flare at the drum set and helped to add a slightly proggy vibe to some of these songs – a progression in style that would manifest itself more fully on 1981’s Warrior.
“Yeah, we believe in our Lord Jesus/And not only believe – we know/We’re not afraid to tell you/And we’re hoping, yeah that it will show/Good news should not be secret/That’s why we’d like to tell you so.” – “Rock-N-Roll”
For those familiar with the Fruit Records releases (where two of the tracks were deleted) this new version (part of the Legends Remastered series by Retroactive Records) contains “Love Song” and “Dialogue” from the original masters. Both of these deletions were critical because “Love Song” is one of the few songs in the history of Christian rock to really line-out a proper approach to a love relationship with the opposite sex (particularly how should a man view his wife – women in general – in lieu of a relationship with Christ). “Dialogue (Between One Person)” was equally essential because not only did the song address the personal struggle involved in making a choice for Christ, but musically it represented a much more theatrical vocal approach by Ulf Christiansson than what we had heard up to this point. (In fact, Ulf’s vocal style on this album was taken to an all new level, with more quirky interjections and gyrations.) Tibell’s keyboards here also have a decidedly more Deep Purplish, proggy style – great stuff on all levels.
The remastering brings a deeper, warmer, analog-vinyl sound to the CD format. When I first listened to this on my main system I had to make the sure the snares were turned off on my drums (located in the same listening space) because I kept hearing this snare buzz. But these tracks sound like they were re-mastered off of analog or vinyl sources because of the occasional record “pops” that can be heard in the background. It’s nostalgic and doesn’t do anything to detract from the listening experience, but I suspect the only sources for remastering would have come from analog recordings. As with Volume 1, the CD is housed in a clear jewel case with 12 page booklet.
From the churning train-like driving rock of the confrontational opener “Wake Up” to the beautiful acoustic pickings of the closer “A Flower,” Volume 2 not only kept the motivational fire of the Spirit moving in the Jerusalem camp, but introduced listeners to a slightly more progressive and instrumental side of the band. And speaking of introductions, the song “Introduction” showcased a more instrumental and dynamic side of the band (those organ sounds rule!), but yet simultaneously outlined the purpose and mission of the music – brilliantly executed. “Gethsemane” remains a fan favorite as well because it was telling the story of the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ in a way that had not really been done previously – theatrical progressive rock – and was a song that foreshadowed the brilliance that would follow with “Sodom” the following year. One of the most transparent songs here would have to be “I Depend On You, Jesus,” a ballad which hearkens back to the innocence of the debut album, but a song which also reflects the need we have for daily “spiritual water” from Jesus/God. I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about “Bye Bye World” in this synopsis. Well, Klas Anderhell’s drum solo introduction sounds fabulous on this new version and hearkens back to an era when drums still sounded like drums (thundering, wall-vibrating drums) and not just machines. That aside, this song perfectly encapsulates the Jerusalem worldview – less of this world and all of its allures and more focus on eternity. In a style not unlike the preceding song (“Dialogue”) this one musically has a Queen-like frivolity and theatrical spirit - “Bye Bye To You World, ha-ha-ha!” – Ulf almost mocking the world and all its appeal.
“I’m sick of you world and all that I’ve got/I think you should realize it’s over and out/You still try to fool me, with all kinds of games/Poor me, I was cheated, I should be ashamed/How little you’re giving…” – “Bye Bye World”
In summary, Volume 2 didn’t possess quite the mystical/magical child-like qualities of innocence as that of the debut, but it did continue to show the growth and maturity (musically and lyrically) of Jerusalem as a band and as a ministry, and the more progressive and theatrical elements here on songs like “Gethsemane,” “Introduction,” “Dialogue” and “Bye Bye World” were the genesis of what was to come with Warrior. (Stay tuned for more…)
1. Wake Up (5:33)
2. Rock-N-Roll! (4:19)
3. Love Song (3:40)
4. Gethsemane (3:46)
5. I Depend On You, Jesus (4:40)
6. Introduction (8:04)
7. Dialogue (Between One Person) (4:29)
8. Bye Bye World (5:29)
9. A Flower (4:22)