Gospel Hard Rock Mark 1971
"Jesus rock at its crustiest" wrote Paul Baker in his book Contemporary Christian Music describing California's hard- rocking Agape. Hendrix fans should take note here as the style is very similar, from the music right down to Fred Caban's vocals. Mostly blues rock - the high-quality turn-of-the-decade FM radio kind. Not just a three-chord bash - these songs have mood and texture to them. You'll find quiet understated passages here as well as the hard-driving guitar solos. Atmosphere, too, as on the eerie 'Rejoice' which narrates tribulation prophesies against a panoply of guitar-induced missiles, earthquakes, and whatnot. Slow blues rockers ala Clapton ('Choose' and 'Blind') and fast ones ('Happy'). 'Freedom' supplies the token psych number, featuring layers of effect-laden guitars darting in and out like hornets over a constant throbbing two-note bass beat, marching snare drums, and Fred singing a hymn in a different key. Weird! Cover is an abstract image of the face of Christ - reportedly a photograph of a natural image of melting snow against a black background. KS

Victims of Tradition Renrut 1972
Voyaging Pilgrim
Wouldn't It Be A Drag
Agape's second album is a very different but equally good work. More complex in the song structure than Gospel Hard Rock More of a progressive feel with keyboards playing a bigger role, delving into jazz fusion on several songs. 'Wouldn't It Be A Drag' is my favorite here: a lengthy 7-minute outing including a 2-minute drum solo, as well as bass, guitar, and electric piano solos before culminating in cacophonous bursts of noise. 'The King Is Christ' is a beautiful predominantly acoustic piece - almost sounds like the guitar solo was recorded backwards. As with Gospel Hard Rock this is lyrically very evangelistic. Not just God-loves-you slogans - these guys present the gospel. Much rarer than their debut and thus selling for mucho dinero these days. Classic cover photo of the band playing their instruments in a graveyard. Not many lps around that sound this unique, creative, and on fire. Classic rock indeed. KS

Live in 1973 Renrut 1973 (8-track only)
Not too many people are aware that this even exists. . . but it does. If you got an 8-track player and you can find a copy, then you have something that not too many people own. DS

Agape biography by David Di Sabatino
Interview with Fred Caban of Agape
Where Have They Gone? - Fred Caban