The Inside Scoop On Petra's More Power To Ya From Philip Mayaab
What's in a name? Webster's Dictionary defines the word Classic as serving as a standard of excellence. It might seem that I throw that word around a lot in my blogs, but think about it this way...our very name (CCM Classic) would indicate that we strive to play vintage Contemporary Christian music that sets a standard of excellence - the very best, if you please, as well as other music that fits this definition. So this week on Vinyl Revival, we're pulling out the stops to feature one of Christian Rock's all time CLASSIC albums, by one of the genres best loved bands ever...our feature LP this week is Petra's 1982 masterpiece More Power To Ya.
Now Petra is one of those bands that fans still have a burning passion for today, some 13 or so years after the band officially retired. In the late 70s and early 80s, they helped set the standard that other bands would be judged by, and they set the bar quite high indeed. However, getting through these sessions to raise that bar turned out to be a challenge for the members of Petra, as former lead vocalist Greg X. Volz told me during a recent interview. Just to get to Indian Creek Studio, outside of Uvalde, Texas took about a 40 minute drive across 50,000 acres of land, across dirt roads and through bump gates. The studio didn't even have running water unless the windmill was working, but if a substantial amount of rain were to fall, the dry creek beds on the property would flood, causing the large equipment trucks that hauled gear in for the sessions to become stuck. While all this may sound like a major hassle to most, Star Song records was able to get a bargain on the studio time, because of all those inconveniences. Add to this the fact that there was a rather large infestation of scorpions both in and around the studio...at one point bassist Mark Kelly killed one of the creatures just a few feet from his head on a wall inside the studio. On a funnier note, Greg told me that engineer Brian Tankersley actually captured a jackalope during a drive out to the studio, and proceeded to throw it into the back seat with a couple of the band members, causing a hair raising time for everyone.
Once you remove all the scorpions, and long drives, and jackalopes though, you are left with the outstanding music that was recorded over the 7-10 days that Petra spent in Texas, which is what we are featuring this week. The band had put several songs on their previous two albums that leaned more toward a pop sound, however this time, they muscled the music up, recording a set full of songs that rocked the ears hard, and the soul even harder. The message in songs like Stand Up, Second Wind, More Power To Ya, Run For The Prize, Road To Zion, and Disciple are all meant to encourage believers to push on in their daily walk with Christ, while other songs such as Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows provoke Christians to consider how they view a lost and dying world. Let Everything That Hath Breath is an early example of the Petra Praise type of music that fans came to know and love during the band's long career, and then of course, there are two songs that deal with Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed our Lord. All Over Me covers the story of the crucifixion from Judas' point of view, but it is the hard rocking standard Judas' Kiss that became on the most popular tracks from the album, and still remains a favorite of audiences to this day, as it raises the question of how God feels every time one of his children disobey, or betray Him, as Judas did. From its backward masked opening (when reversed, it says what are you looking for the devil for, when you oughta be looking for the Lord?) to the soul pounding lyrics, to what is just a nasty guitar solo, this song has it all, and is still fun to play air guitar to, even now.
I was 16 years old when I first heard this album, and to this day it is still one of my top 3 favorite Christian Rock albums of all time. Ten fantastic songs, no duds, and a sound that still pleases my ears and spirit some 36 years after its initial release. To me personally, that is part of what defines a classic or a must have album...that it still holds up musically and lyrically, and that it is a recording that I can pull out at any time to listen to. This album earned that distinction when I played it so much, that I wore out my cassette, and had to buy another copy. Even now, every single song on this album ministers to the modern Christian, mainly because a large percentage of the lyrics are taken directly from scripture itself. So to put it in a nutshell, if you through some terrible coincidence, have never listened to this album, strap yourself in...this album will hit your heart and soul with lyrics that will both encourage you, and provoke thought on your own personal walk with Christ...and if you miss hearing good old straight shooting, hard driving rock and roll on Christian radio, the music on this LP will be like a breath of fresh air. We all know that Petra is the quintessential Christian Rock band, so please enjoy one of their most treasured recordings of all time... More Power To Ya!!!
1. Stand Up
2. Second Wind
3. More Power To Ya
4. Judas' Kiss
5. Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows
6. Run For The Prize
7. All Over Me
8. Let Everything That Hath Breath
9. Road To Zion
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