Liberation Suite | Liberation Suite: 25th Anniversary Edition

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Liberation Suite: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Liberation Suite

If Jethro Tull had a jam session with Chicago and Hank Williams showed up.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Led to Roam
2:50 $0.99
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2. Run Run Lucifer
4:44 $0.99
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3. My Lord Is A Remedy
3:07 $0.99
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4. Oh Lord You Know (That I Feel So Fine)
4:04 $0.99
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5. Reachin' For The Sky
4:20 $0.99
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6. More Than A Matter
3:58 $0.99
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7. Presence Of The Lord
4:22 $0.99
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8. Hearken
5:52 $0.99
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9. I Wanna Be With You
4:02 $0.99
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10. Interview
3:28 $0.99
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11. I Wanna Be With You (Live Cut)
3:53 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (2002)
By Mark Allan Powell
Copyright 2002, Hendrickson Publishers

Liberation Suite
Randy Hill, drums: Howard Lyon, tromb., voc; David Bynum, bass, sax., voc (-1980); Paul Lyon, trump., flute, voc. (-1980); Barry Bynum, voc., gtr., kybrd. (-1994) // Jim Hazel, gtr. (+1980), Fred Perez, bass (+1980, -1990); James Yager, kybrd., voc. (+1980). 1975 - Liberation Suite (Myrrh UK); 1980 -- Stride For Stride (Chapel Lane); 1990 - Water And Blood (Spark).
www.liberationsuite.com

Long before Christian ska, there was Liberation Suite, incorporating brass with hard-rocking Jesus music, first in the Texas hill country, and then in war-torn Northern Ireland and the British Isles. LibSuite, as they were usually called, was one of two important Christian groups to be part of the Texas Jesus movement. In the mid '70s - years before ArkAngel, much less King's X, were on the scene - it was just Liberation Suite and Hope of Glory in the Lone Star State. LibSuite's sound was likened to Chicago Transit Authority at the time (i.e., to the rock band that did "I'm a Man" and "Beginnings," not to the abbreviated adult contemporary remnant that later did all those "Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry" pop songs). Indeed, Liberation Suite regularly performed "Where Do We Go from Here?" in their concerts, along with blistering versions of the Doobie Brothers' "Jesus Is Just Alright" and Eric Clapton's "Presence of the Lord." Their first album remains one of the most important - and one of the best - contributions of the era.

The group formed in the small town of San Marcos, Texas, where all five members were part of the charismatic, nondenominational Hill Country Faith Ministries. The group consisted of two sets of brothers plus drummer Randy Hill, who would ultimately become the "keeper of the flame" in Mick Fleetwood fashion, holding things together through numerous personnel changes. Barry Bynum led the band, for instance, and is featured on all three albums, though he would not continue to perform with the group after 1994. Bynum and Hill had met when they were just fourteen; in high school they hooked up with the Lyon brothers, who were sons of a band director, and LibSuite was born. The teenagers all had born-again, personal-salvation conversion experiences while still in high school, and LibSuite turned into one of the country's first Christian rock bands - they thought they were the only Christian rock band for some time, before heading west and learning about Love Song and J.C. Power Outlet. At first the band simply backed a choral group called Sound 70, but then, as Paul Lyon told Harmony magazine, they all got "baptized in the Holy Spirit" and began to realize their music served a greater purpose. Like true Jesus freaks, they joined a traveling tent ministry called "Christ Is the Answer" that moved from city to city putting on rallies every evening for the curious onlookers. LibSuite would play to draw a crowd and evangelist Bill Lowry would preach. Joe Greer, later guitarist for the band called e, was also a part of this Christian rock and roll circus. Benny Hester got saved at one of the rallies, as did Hill's future wife. Back in San Marcos, the group was told by a visiting preacher (Ray Barnett) that their music would go over well in Europe, and he offered them accommodations in his home, if they ever should feel led to visit. They did feel led, and the whole band flew to Northern Ireland without any clue as to what they would do when they arrived. They maintain that they did not even realize there was a war going on ("All I knew about Ireland was that it was really green and had a lot of sheep," Hill recalls), but they ended up staying for six months near Belfast during one of the bloodiest periods of the conflict. During that time, they would set up in downtown areas that had been blocked off due to car bombings, play their music to draw a crowd, and preach a message of Christ and reconciliation. In 1974, LibSuite played at the very first Greenbelt festival in England and subsequently became one of the top Christian bands in that country. For a time, Terry Clark (kybrd.), his brother Duane (bass), and keyboardist Stephen Houston were added to the group for an important tour of Europe with Chuck Girard.

Liberation Suite was produced by John Pantry and features a number of classic Jesus music songs. "Led to Roam" and "I Wanna Be with You" are Zeppelinesque, blues-rock numbers showcasing Bynum's guitar solos. "Run, Run, Lucifer" is progressive art-rock, drawing comparisons perhaps to Supertramp, Kansas, and Styx. The song starts out slow (like almost every Styx song) and then suddenly breaks into a fast smorgasbord of artsy influences and styles: Jethro Tull flute, a gang-vocal chorus, and even a Spanky-and-Our-Gang ba-de-ba-de-bah a capella interlude. In the early '70s it seemed incredibly cool to have so much going on in one song, and "Run, Run, Lucifer" was a rare example of Christian music that was more innovative than much of what was being produced in the general market. "Oh, Lord, You Know That I Feel so Fine" and "More Than a Matter" give the brass a chance to shine and sound very much like early Chicago songs. "My Lord Is a Remedy" is a kinda dumb (i.e. humorous) country rock song. "Reaching for the Sky" is a fabulous rock-ballad, a song like Chicago's "Colour My world" or Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You" that works precisely because of its simplicity. The standout cut on the album, however, and the one that would hold up the best twenty-five years later, is the simple acoustic song, "Hearken."

As an artifact of the Jesus movement, Liberation Suite demonstrates both the passion and naivete of that revival. "More than a Matter" proclaims that "the end is coming soon" and that salvation is "more than a matter of going to heaven or hell," two typical emphases of the movement. As historian David Di Sabatino points out, "Run, Run, Lucifer" exemplifies the "prevalent Jesus people belief that life is a contest between the cosmic forces of good and evil," while "My Lord Is a remedy" typifies the "mindset of most adherents that Jesus is the answer to each and every problem." The latter song actually declares, "My Lord is a remedy for the common cold." In the early '70s, at least, the church in San Marcos from which the band sprang was a neo-Pentecostal assembly that did indeed teach that people of faith should not have to be troubled by such inconveniences as colds or dandruff or bad breath; Jesus would fix it all. The message of "Hearken," on the other hand, is direct and timeless: 'Hearken to the Lord, O lost generation / After searching for so many years / It's written in the pages of the Good Book / The reasons for lying and dying and so many tears."

Stride for Stride moved the group more consistently toward the art-rock style of bands like Boston or Kansas - and comparisons to '80s Chicago would also apply. "Where My Home Is," a song about heaven, is easy California rock in the same vein as Sweet Comfort Band. "Heal the Broken Hearted" is a piano ballad calling on Christians to heed Jesus' example and become instruments of healing. Water and Blood was something of a disaster in that the record was poorly mixed and distributed without the group's consent. In 2000, a new, remastered edition was finally made available. The opening, "Talk to You," has the pop sound of Top 40 '70s radio and addresses the listener with a divine plea similar to those that would be posted on the numerous "message from God" billboards that became popular in the late '90s. "When you got time, I've got to talk to you." The same divine-quest-for-humanity theme informs "the Distance" (based on the prodigal son story). "All Things New" is a modern folk-hymn to God's victory over evil. "Emerald Isle" is more of a rock anthem closer to the sound of the band's classic debut, with Boston-like gang vocals and some impressive guitar work. The album concludes with a new version of "Run, Run, Lucifer."

In an interview with Jesus People magazine in 2000, Randy Hill would continue to extol the basic passions of primitive Jesus music as opposed to what became the contemporary Christian music industry and empire. "The Jesus movement was quickly poisoned by Christian record labels, Christian music magazines, and media hype in general...There doesn't seem to be much in the way of music evangelism anymore. It's either a bunch of preaching to the choir or bands crossing over to the secular arena and not saying much of anything at all." Barry Bynum has continued to pursue a solo career, working both in Northern Ireland and in San Marcos, Texas, where he became worship leader for Hill Country Faith Ministries. He has released two albums in Europe only: Stickin' Your Neck Out (1995) and To You (1998), which are available through his website (http://barrybynum.tripod.com/BarryBynum.html).

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Reviews


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Jonas Alfredsson

Goodsound from Liberation Suite!
I have listened to this LP a lot and I love it.
Especially They don't know and Reaching for the sky is among my favourites. Now I finally got it on CD and the sound is very good. It is nice to hear all microdetails in this recording. Thanks.
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Al B


So good to replace the old vinyl. Sounds still strike the same chords. Great stuff. Heard the band live in Plymouth
, Devon, UK more years ago than I'd care to calculate.
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shan tracy

brings back memories.
i enjoy the cd as much as i did 25+ years ago. my kids are in their early twenties and also like the cd., shan
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Roger Keith Markin

Just like I remembered it !
I remember this album from my wild and crazy youth. A young Christian friend of mine loaned it to me and I was particularly impressed with "Reachin' for the Sky". I returned it to him after a few days and was never to hear it again. But, "Reachin' for the Sky" remained in my brain all those years. I searched many new and used record shops and came up emtpy handed every time. I am glad I decided to look on E-Bay which lead me to believe that maybe there was a Liberation Suite website. I was very pleased to see there is. Needless to say, I am now - as I have been since 1976 - Reachin' for the Sky. Thank you, Liberation Suite !!
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Hugh Troyer

Memories from Bible College
While growing up I always wanted to find Christian rock music but was usally disapointed. When I went to Bible College in the 70's one of my friends loaned me his cassette. I loved it so much that I bought one at the local Christian book store. It was one of the first great Christian albums that I ever had. I almost wore out the tape but it disapearred one day. I used to give a ride home from work a co-worker who was in a rock band and couldn't believe that we had Christian music that was so good. I am sure that he took it and I never got to hear the group again. I am so glad that I have found the album again. It really brings back memories of some of the happiest days in my life.
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David Wuyts

Great to have this again
This is an album that I first had in 1976 on Vinyl - it disappeared somewhere inbetween then and now. So glad to have it again. Love the energy, Faith and fun of the music, at the time loved the use of Brass which was then unusual in Rock, and in my first year of learning guitar spent ages working out "Hearken". Good fun! And I still follow Jesus today.
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Tim

Great to hear Liberation Suite again
Listening to the CD 25 + years since buying the 12" and seeing them live I can certainly say that it has lost none of it's appeal.
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James Garcia

Great Album - Heard Live in South Texas
First heard the music while attending a Christian Concert in Harlingen, Texas in 1977. They blew me away. All the bands were great (The Resurrection Band and Randy Matthews were there) but this band was from San Marcos and I was from San Antonio, less than an hour apart. Now here they were. I was covering the concert for a local Christian radio station and got to meet the lads. I was very impressed with their down to earth attitudes, humiltity and sense of humor...not at all conceited. Some of them autographed the album which had an extra flap on the front. Unfortunately, someone took it, I don't know who. So I bought another album and still have it (flapless). It has a regular jacket, no extra flap...that made it kind of special. I have been wanting to drop it onto CD but then I found it here (Thank God), I had to order it because there would be no pop or hiss. My album is in 'mint' condition and I'd like to keep it that way. I understand the band is back home now. Someday, I'd like to ask them if they would sign the album. The music is extraordinary. The songs, the vocals, the Spirit without par. This is Christian Southern Rock at its finest. It does not get better than this. Whether the 70's or the new millenium, this group transcends time. It is a work of the Holy Spirit and will continue to inspire, bless and praise for eons to come. This rates 4 stars and a + sign.
"Led to Roam" and "My Lord Is A Remedy" sound so much like something the Marshall Tucker Band would do. "In The Presence Of The Lord," written by Eric Clapton, has a strong infusion of brass much like Chicago's early days. "Reachin' For The Sky" has such a mellow drift off to sleep or praise sound due to its great guitar picking/strumming. "I Wanna Be With You" has a driving thought of needing to be on the Lord's side when He returns to set up his earthly Kingdom. This is well worth double what it goes for here. If you are a fan of Southern Rock, Rock or just plain good music, this is an album you will enjoy and use as a witnessing tool. Anyone who hears this will be jamming 60 seconds into hearing it. Blessings.
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Mervin Johnston

Brings back memories of those wonderfull concerts in Belfast
Every song is excellent,lost my cassett tape of the album many years ago,was very excited to discover the Liberation Suite web site,the music and lyrics are as uplifting as they were in the 80s.Brings back memories of those wonderfull concerts in Belfast during the troubles,love it.
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Bill Bell

Great to Hear Lib Suite Again
Someone "borrowed" my Lib Suite Album years ago and I have missed it very much. It is very good to hear them again. I am always impressed by their depth of talent and the range of expression.
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