Do You Know The Pat Terry Group My Confession; By Philip Mayabb
I am going to start this week's blog off with a confession, which is that I don't really have an abundant supply of knowledge when it comes to this week's Vinyl Revival artist, The Pat Terry Group. While they were still active when I began listening to contemporary Christian music in 1979, the focus on radio had shifted away from many artists of the Jesus Music movement, and more toward the current artists, such as the Imperials, Dallas Holm & Praise, Amy Grant, David Meece, and so forth. I would hear the Pat Terry Group once in a while on the radio, but really didn't hear enough to know a lot about them. Not long ago, someone had asked on one of our Facebook posts, if we played the PTG, and I tried to explain that the group's music has never been made available in digital format, so for us to play them on CCM Classic, we would have to put in the work to digitize their albums, and then introduce them into our database of songs. I recently found out that a friend of mine had some of the Pat Terry Group's albums, and I sweet talked him into ripping the tracks onto his computer, and sending them to me (if you've ever converted an analog recording to CD, you know what I'm talking about). When I began to listen to the tracks from the 1i75 debut album by PTG, I began to realize that I had missed some great music when I was a kid, and from that experience, I decided that it was time to put them on Vinyl Revival.
Since I am not the world's foremost authority on the Pat Terry Group, I went online for some research, and from that, I found a wonderful blog called 100 Greatest CCM Albums Of The '70s (http://greatest70salbums.blogspot.com), which is written and maintained by a man named Scott Bachmann, and I found that he has this week's VR album ranked at number 43 on his list of the best of the 70s. I also learned a lot about this album from the article on Scott's blog. so thanks a million to him for educating me on this week's album. The Pat Terry group's musical style is very similar to that of Poco and America, it is a true southern rock sound, with heavy acoustic guitars, and emphasis on group vocal harmony. Speaking of harmony, I can tell you that Pat, Sonny Lallerstedt, and Randy Bugg (the group's personnel) had that area covered well. The vocals on this album are very reminiscent of America, the rock supergroup that Dan Peek was a founding member of. The group originally began working out of the Atlanta area, and when they were signed to a contract by Billy Ray Hearn and Myrrh Records, they actively pushed to hold the sessions for their debut album at Studio One in Georgia, and not in Nashville, as Hearn had wanted. That information is very important, because Studio One had already hosted recording sessions for some of the most iconic artists in southern rock, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Atlanta Rhythm Section. Because the studio and its musicians had deep roots in southern rock and country music, that enabled the group to get the sound they truly wanted.
Since Pat himself had written all ten tracks that are on this album, he obviously had an idea as to how the finished product should sound, and he has said that the members of the group were very happy with the overall sound of their debut recording. One element he said was a pleasant surprise was the introduction of strings into several of the ballads on the album, with arrangements provided by Nashville maestro Bergen White, who had been a mainstay on the Nashville studio scene for many years. Pat also said that even though his vision was different than that of Billy Ray Hearn, the two men were able to reach compromises in regard to the musical arrangements, and instrumental elements on the record. As far as the music on the album is concerned, it follows the path of a lot of the early Jesus Music records...pop music with a country flare, and more acoustic guitars than electric. Although the album wasn't recorded in Nashville, it sounds more like the Music City sound than the albums that were coming from the west coast at the time. which was probably by design. There are country rock songs on the album, such as Gospel Music, the album's leadoff track, You'd Be There, which sounds similar to the music from the first couple of albums by the Eagles, When I Go Passing On, which reminds me a lot of Jesus Music band named LoveSong, and When The Lord Comes Back, with one of the rockier lead vocals on the entire album. In the ballads, Forget There Was A Yesterday is a great country tune, layered with strings, Holding On, which would have sounded good on 70s Top 40 radio, had it not been for the Christian lyrics, Tell Them What I've Done, has a great acoustic vibe with lyrics that deal with the subject of witnessing, and the album's final song Meet Me Here, which Pat said he wrote at his home church one day in the middle of the week, sitting at the piano, with no one else in the building. Apparently he used to visit his home church on weekdays, because the pastor would leave the doors open, for folks to come in, and spend time in prayer, or just visiting with the Lord.
I want to mention a couple of songs specifically in this blog, the first is That's The Way, which is a song that Pat had written for Randy Bugg's wedding, and it is a straight up Christian love song, which is something that you used to see more of in the early days of Christian music, but has sadly disappeared from the landscape over the years. It is a song that Pat still gets requests for when he sings live, many times because it was what a couple had sang at their wedding. It is a really nice song, with a great string arrangement over the acoustic pop music. The second song is called I Can't Wait, which Pat describes as a song that became very popular in our concerts and I think a lot of people associate that song with our group,”* He also says he thinks of I Can't Wait as a kind of campfire song, because so many young people would ask the group to perform it at mid week bible study, and the three guys would sit on stools and play it. The song has been called a literal anthem of the Jesus Movement, a jubilant and jangly canticle of anticipation.* I think you will enjoy this track as you listen to it this week.
History tells us that The Pat Terry Group would release a total of five albums over their brief five year run as a professional group, and Pat himself would release three more solo albums, all on Myrrh Records in the 80s. Pat's first love is writing music, and he has continued to do so over the years, writing hits in both Christian and Country music. It is my opinion that Pat Terry should be in the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame, based on the numerous contributions he has made to CCM over the years, both as an artist, and as a writer, and I know there are folks who agree with that assessment. Whether he is in the GMA HOF or not, the fact of the matter is that Pat Terry, and the group that bears his name made some outstanding music in the 70s, and were instrumental in the late days of the Jesus Music movement, as well as the early days of CCM, and it all began with this album from 1975, so I invite you to set aside some time this week, and take a listen to a historic album, one that I believe you will enjoy as much as I do. The Pat Terry Group - our featured album on CCM Classic's Vinyl Revival this week.
Side 1 -
1. Gospel Music
2. Forget There Was A Yesterday
3. You'd Be There
4. Holding On
5. I Can't Wait
Side 2 -
1. That's The Way
2. When I Go Passing On
3. When The Lord Comes Back
4. Tell Them What I've Done
5. Meet Me Here
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