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Radio Hymns #5: Jesus is Just Alright

doobie-brothers_toulouse-street.jpg Sunday morning once again brings a series installment, this time from my new-ish series, Hymns from the Radio Dial

In 1955, Art Reynolds’ grandmother bought an old upright piano for $5 from the local church, spent $200 having it fixed up, and had it delivered to the family home — all with a sense of urgency. The piano was made of shiny blond wood that reflected the sunlight coming through the window which faced it. Art would see his reflection tell himself that one day he would be a songwriter and singer. He began writing music at the age of 10.

His grandmother would take him to local churches and traveling revival meetings for prayer to cure severe asthma attacks. He saw A.A. Allen, Reverend Ike, Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggert’s old campground revival meetings. These revival meetings and church services spawned Art’s love for gospel music.

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Art played piano and directed the choir for 13 years in local Long Beach churches, including Grant Chapel A.M.E., St. Vestal, C.M.E., St. John Baptist and New Hope Baptist. In the late 60s, Art took five singers from his choir at St. Vestal C.M.E. church and created the “Art Reynolds Singers”. As the first gospel group to record for Capital Records, they became pioneers in the development of “gospel rock”, including that telltale omen: many at the time considered their music too secular.

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Their first album, “Tellin’ It Like It Is” was released in 1969 to local and national acclaim, and became one of the biggest selling albums for a new gospel group. Art’s musical career continued to the present day, but our main focus is this particular song. From that 1969 album, “Jesus Is Just Alright” was recorded that same year by The Byrds, who released it as the second single from their album “The Ballad of Easy Rider.” It peaked at #97. Most of us now associate the song with The Doobie Brothers, who recorded it for their 1972 album, “Toulouse Street” and released it in early 1973 as the second single from that album. This time it hit #35 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

We’re going to skip any interpretation of the name “Doobie Brothers” or attempts at insight into the lyrics, and just let them be enjoyed as they are.

Jesus is Just Alright

Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right, Oh yeah
Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right

I don’t care what they may know
I don’t care where they may go
I don’t care what they may know
Jesus is just all right, oh yeah
Jesus is just all right

I don’t care what they may say
I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say
Jesus is just all right, oh yeah
Jesus is just all right

Do, do, do, etc.

Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right, Oh yeah
Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right

Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right, Oh yeah
Jesus is just all right with me
Jesus is just all right

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