240. Come for the Children – Oden Fong

COME FOR THE CHILDREN (1979)

Oden Fong

Oden Fong was responsible for two of the most highly regarded classic Jesus Music albums. As a member of Mustard Seed Faith he played guitar and sang on their classic “Sail on Sailor” and then a few years later released his first solo album, Come for the Children. It is the latter under consideration here.

Taking his influences from late 60’s folk rock and psychedelic rock and infusing it with  70’s progressive rock, Fong created a true classic Christian rock album for the time. Many of his contemporaries were content with folk and country influences, but Fong was more rock and even found influences in eastern musical expressions. The production (except for what will be noted later) was far ahead of the curve for the time in Christian music and was a real standard setter.

The album starts with the haunting “The Mask,” which also describes in a beautiful lyrical context that struggle many have with attempting to present themselves as something other than who they are. The song fades into the following “Natural Man” with its initial Eastern influenced recorded intro before becoming a straight ahead 70’s progressive rock gem with just a touch of the Beatles. In fact, it has a little “Horrendous Disc” feel to it.

Crazy Voices sound way too much like Steely Dan’s “Back Jack” while “White Eagle” became the biggest radio hit (for the time) by including a more country rock influence than anything on the album and sounding the most like Mustard Seed Faith.

The line-up on the album must be recognized. The liner notes reads like a who’s who for the late Jesus Music era. John Mehler, John Wickham, Alex MacDougall, Hadley Hockensmith, Michelle Pillar, Bob Bennett and was produced by the legendary Jonathan David Brown. One of the engineers on this album, Thom Roy, would later go on to play an important part in the early 80’s Christian new wave and punk scene working with many of the bands already discussed on this list out of Southern California.

A review would not be complete without a review of the classic title track that clocks in at well over 7 minutes. Fusing progressive and 70’s rock into a great classic rock song. The song is not afraid to possess a lengthy instrumental break. I have always wanted to hear the album remixed with a better guitar mix as what is going on is wonderful, just a bit hidden as was the tradition for the time as an attempt to be not as controversial. A special note of commendation to Gabriel Katona’s impressive keyboard work on this song as it carried the tune.

There really isn’t a weak song on the whole album and a classic of this magnitude is clearly an AYSO.

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  1. Paul
    November 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Sail on Sailor is still one of my favorite songs. I miss Tuesday Night studies at Calvary Chapel with him leading worship.

  2. paul lee
    November 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    This is a great album. My favorite being “Crazy voices”. When I was looking for a digital version of this album, there was none to be found. I finally ended up E-Mailing Oden and asked. He very kindly sent me CD’s of “Sail on” and “Come for the the children” which were made directly off of the masters and therefore better quality than I could have done with my stereo. He didn’t ask, but I sent him some $$ to help pay for postage.

  3. Brett C
    December 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Way too low for this fantastic record. One of the all time greats. Shame it’s never been released on CD, I would love to get a pristine copy of this album.

    BTW I always thought that it had more of an American Indian influence rather than an eastern influence.

  4. Don
    April 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Yup, this should be in the top 50, or top 80

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