On Stage custom 1970
Children Of The King
Spirit of Elijah Voice of Elijah 1971
Heaven's Gonna Be A Blast Voice of Elijah 1972
Standin'At The Crossroads
Spokane Washington's Wilson McKinley actually sound like true hippie rockers at heart. One of the most spirited of the early Jesus bands with popularity that carries over into collectors' circles where their three scarce homemade albums command bigbucks. Let me emphasize that word "homemade" as the band's transcription to vinyl can be somewhat of an acquired taste. No fault of theirs - just low budgets and a lack of recording quality. The live On Stage in Vancouver BC for example sounds one notch above an audience recording. Likewise Heavens Gonna Be A Blast is nearly killed by a production snafu that sets the bass way out in front. Spirit Of Elijah is the standout of the three and is generally heralded as their masterpiece. Even with the above faults the vibrant energy of the Jesus movement shines through making each of these a cherished classic. Wilson McKinley's brand of west coast guitar psych seems rooted in the San Francisco Haight- Ashbury culture. They are oft likened to Quicksilver but also have some of the country direction of The Byrds and The Grateful Dead. One of their favorite tricks was to take songs from secular artists and subtly alter the lyrics to a Christian perspective. Hence you'll find uncredited re-workings of The Byrds ('He Was A Friend of Mine' and Dylan's 'You Ain't Going Nowhere'), The Moody Blues ('It's Up To You') and Moby Grape ('He'). Packaging on each of these is unusual: On Stage originally came housed in white pie boxes hand-stenciled with a color band logo and a one way Jesus sign. Heavens Gonna Be A Blast over-sized Day-Glo cover is certainly an eye-popper, as is the red-filtered negative image photo and psychy lettering that graces Spirit Of Elijah. The band followed with a couple cassette-only releases: Country In The Sky (a country lp) and the instrumental Yesterday/Forever. We're talkin' essential here. KS
Yesterday/Forever custom cassette only 1974
Collection of slow hymns.