Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: Swimming In A Human Ocean

We come to the end of our Journey through the Jungle Music Skit to the point where it all began, with the authors themselves. Servant. Servant, also known inexplicably as The Servant to Amazon, was born out of a commune, more specifically the Highway Missionary Society of Grants Pass, Oregon, which was later renamed The Servant Community.

Servant was a Rock Pioneer in so many ways. A Female Lead (Sandie Brock), multiple costume changes and skits, Laser Lights, Rock opera, smoke and flash. They were the bands of the early eighties. Petra was their opening act, not as you would expect, the other way around.

We would be amiss if we did not begin with the well used "Jungle Music" skit, a pioneer of its own in name dropping. At the conclusion of the skit, Stanley is completely frustrated with Livingstone at his misunderstanding his recitation of the Rock and Roll tapes that he brought with him. He tries one more time.
S: No, No, Doctor, you've got it all wrong. Oh well. Now then, I've also brought you some Servant.
L: Oh, what a stroke of luck, why two of my servants ran away last week, Larry and Normany. They ran into the shallow water and the crocks got them. Oh well. I suppose they're in another land now.
Last time we covered the reference to Larry Norman in this short bit. This week we go to the self reference. The band referenced, of course, is Servant, the song's author. The album referenced was Shallow Water (1979), the band's debut album. Of course by this time they were on their third release, with Rockin Revival (1981) and World of Sand (1982) filling out the schedule. I was privileged to see them three times, during their Rockin Revival, World of Sand and Swimming In A Human Ocean (1985) tours. They also had two other albums: Caught In The Act of Loving Him (1983) and Light Maneuvers (1984). The band remained mostly intact during its run, with the exception of Tim Spransy taking over Lead guitar on founding member Bruce Wright's death in 1985. Another member of the Spransy family, Matt Spransy, had joined the band on Keyboards back in 1981 when they added synths. Other than that the changes were fairly minor, with Eric Odell taking second lead from Bob Hardy in 1984 and Sam Evans on drums in 1985.

Partly due to their commune lifestyle, the Prosperity Message of the Word of Faith Churches were a frequent target for the band. Not surprisingly, the lyrics to those songs showed a profound ignorance of the message of prosperity. They though it was simply about me, me, me. If you give up everything and become poor, you can not help the poor. You need help yourself. Fortunately for those who believed that way, there was plenty more to enjoy from the band, and we weren't offended by the attacks.

I have a few YouTube audio clips for you. First up is Holy Roller Blues from Shallow Water. Now I don't know who did the lead on the album, but if it was the same as the live concert, it would have been Bruce Wright.

Next up was Rockin Revival. Unfortunately we don't have any audio clips from this album. We do have a treat with World of Sand, however. This is the full album. The album is awesome, though I will point out two in particular. The Jungle Music song begins at the 11:20 point, and the Sudden Death/Come Jesus Come Rock Opera goes from 28:55 to 40:35. Both are not to be missed.


Caught in the Act of Loving Him was up next in their career. One of my favorite songs from this album was about Forgiveness. It was called Heart to Heart.

Light Maneuvers gave the band another CCM Top 40 release in We are The Light.

It all came to an end much too soon with the release of Swimming In a Human Ocean. Of course the band was totally transformed by then.Only Owen and Sandie Brock and Rob Martens on Bass went pole to pole. We have an audio of Look Through His Eyes to close things out.

That closes out the first round of Flashback Friday. We are still technically caught in the seventies. I am trying to do things by the first release for dating a band. There is still much more for the decade. Still to come is Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, Amy Grant, and The 2nd Chapter of Acts, and I'm not even done with the seventies again. Stay with me, this is a never ending column every Friday. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.