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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off the Beaten Path
If you're trying to find detail on your favorite Christian pop stars, this really isn't the place. You will, however, find great information on those tenacious Christian music "artists". These artists, for the most part, came on-scene before contemporary Christian music was well accepted. They had, out of necessity, to develop their own ministry and distribution...
Published on November 23, 2002 by Paul

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia look at Christian music
This book is an excellent source of dates and names. However, it is lacking personal glimpses into the lives of the artists. We find out the songs and albums produced by a number of Christian artists (and those preferring not be identified as a Christian artist) but the book is almost completely devoid of personal interviews with the artists or profiles of their life...
Published on July 6, 2001 by D. Benz


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off the Beaten Path, November 23, 2002
By 
Paul "Ognyen" (Warrensburg, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
If you're trying to find detail on your favorite Christian pop stars, this really isn't the place. You will, however, find great information on those tenacious Christian music "artists". These artists, for the most part, came on-scene before contemporary Christian music was well accepted. They had, out of necessity, to develop their own ministry and distribution systems. They kept their stuff a bit too controversial for the mainstream --both mainstreams. They were too Christian for the secular market, but too edgy for mainstream Christians. The artists Raised By Wolves concentrate on really show some of the better work in Christian music. I made lots of great discoveries in the book.
This all is not to say other artists aren't mentioned. Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, DC Talk, and more, get very positive reviews, too. I bought the book because I'm questing for Christian music.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedia look at Christian music, July 6, 2001
By 
D. Benz (Appleton, WI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
This book is an excellent source of dates and names. However, it is lacking personal glimpses into the lives of the artists. We find out the songs and albums produced by a number of Christian artists (and those preferring not be identified as a Christian artist) but the book is almost completely devoid of personal interviews with the artists or profiles of their life experiences and influences.
The book is useful as an encyclopedia of the history of Christian rock and roll but begs a follow-up book profiling more in depth some of the artists such as Terry Taylor, Steve Taylor, Larry Norman, and Phil Keaggy.
Also, a minor note here but the author also drops the name of his band (The Wayside) more often than the band's success to date would warrant.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue, April 9, 2001
This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
This is a long overdue look at the world of music made by people of faith. An interesting read as well as encyclopedic in its breadth. The author does a wonderful job of detailing the little-known world of "Christian" rock, and in so doing introduces the reader to many overlooked, underrated artists in a much-maligned "sub-genre." Stories of great artists pigeonholed and subsequently confined to the "Christian ghetto" mingle with stories of those who broke out into the mainstream - and we're talking about the likes of Dylan, U2, Bruce Cockburn, and T-Bone Burnett here - NOT the usual fare of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, thank you.
Recommended to anyone who thinks they'd never be caught dead listening to "Christian" music: you might be surprised to find that such unfamiliar names as Mike Knott, Terry Taylor, Mark Heard, the 77s, The Choir, and Adam Again (to name a few) provide music as honest and relevant as anything offered up by Elvis Costello or as creative as anything produced by Pink Floyd or the Talking Heads.
Recommended to anyone who thinks they're a big fan of Christian music because they really like Jars of Clay, DC Talk or The Newsboys: there's a whole world that you have yet to discover, and you owe it to yourself to take a good look at the "underground" that made bands like those I just mentioned possible.
And finally, to anyone who's suffered as a fan with the same frustrations that many of these artists have confronted: finally, someone's told the whole story!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing....very!, October 27, 2002
By 
C. Doyle (Tallahassee, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
Raised By Wolves, by John J. Thompson, was a thoroughly disappointing read. Expecting a fair, comprehensive look behind the Christian music scene over the last 30 years, I was surprised to find the book very one-sided, much like a newspaper editorial. The "cooler-than-thou" author thumbs his nose at some of the biggest names in Christian music, relegating them to a paragraph's worth of note (almost parenthetical), while devoting pages to bands like U2. No argument that U2's success was phenomenal, but I fail to see what effect they really had on Christian music, in general, or spreading the Gospel. Meanwhile, artists and bands like Allies, John Elefante, Mark Farner, Idle Cure, Jag, Legend Seven, Liaison, Mastedon, PFR, Ruscha, Skillet, Switchfoot, and Matthew Ward get little, if any, credit in this book. I spent most of the weekend focusing on what I didn't like about this book, like the author's personal taste in music. Sure, the 80's group Daniel Amos was okay, but they are mentioned throughout the book as if they were to Christian rock what the Beatles were to secular rock and roll. Maybe they were in Mr. Thompson's mind. The book reads more like a longwinded editorial about the evils and perils of the Christian music industry, or an indictment of mainstream CCM, at the very least. I am not sure how the author overlooked Mark Farner when he seems totally enamored with other secular rockers who converted and began recording Christian rock. Don't be fooled by the endorsement of Glenn Kaiser (Rez) on the back cover. Upon reading page after page about Rez Band, Jesus People USA and the Cornerstone Festival, it will become apparent why Kaiser gave it such high marks. I only gave this book as high a rating as I did for all the work and research that went into putting it together. I won't be recommending it to anyone I actually like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BEYOND THE NASHVILLE SKYLINE, October 10, 2001
By 
M. J. Rimmer "Mike Rimmer" (West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
In these days of a Nashville-centric Christian music scene, it was refreshing to read John's book and remember that it wasn't always this way. The history of what we now call CCM is very complex and every author has his own foibles and favourites when it comes to writing about the significant artists who have made a contribution. What I really like about John's approach is that he has managed to stretch out beyond the usual suspects to a wider frame of reference. Sometimes it does become a little bit of a CCM trainspotter's paradise as John seems intent on listing so much music by so many artists. For me, the accusations of a lack of depth when profiling artists are far outweighed by the fact that the scope of his writing extends way beyond Nash-Vegas and anyway if you want artist profiles, fan type interest etc etc, read CCM magazine or other books! John is attempting a serious overview of the scene and just how we got here.
As a Brit, it's also refreshing to find an American who recognises that some of the best Christian music in the world has actually been recorded on these shores! And that for me is the crux of the issue, John demonstrates his wide knowledge of his subject, thorough research skills and solid writing style to deliver a book that takes you on a journey through the formative years of Christian music to see that some of the very foundations of the industry, some of its theology and thinking and approaches are actually flawed. He's not alone in thinking this but still it all rumbles on...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Errors abound - the wolf ate my homework, February 7, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
I was surprised at the number of errors in this book, from dates of events, album orders, incorrect stories and misspellings.
John, just totally surprised me by this. I always thought he knew more then I guess he does or just had a really poor editor. Just a couple of examples of what I mean: Brian Healy's name is misspelled throughout the book while thanking him at the beginning (they appear to be friends) and most all references to 1995 were really 1985. To someone who doesn't know the dates will really confuse them. Many of the stories are repeated over and over with nothing added to the retelling.
To John, every album in Christian Rock "increased production standards" and "changed Christian music". While reading it seemed he just wanted to stay on the good side of many of the artists.
He also mentions his band The Wayside far to much for their impact on the scene along with TrueTunes. While both were good, there are so many better examples that were never mentioned. Before TrueTunes, there was Long's Christian Music.
As someone mentioned, it seemed really rushed. Even cut and pasted from to many short articles written by others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, February 6, 2014
Trying to cover an entire genre is daunting to say the least, and John J. Thompson gives it a good run. Yes, he mentions the Wayside and TrueTunes way too much to gain credibility with me (I was quite the Christian rock junkie back in the day and I had never heard of either). But there were a lot of details about bands that interested me from the late 70s and 80s that I simply didn't know, so it gets mad props for that. I realize there are some disputes about how accurate some of the facts are, so it would change my opinion if someone were to establish conclusively that some of the behind-the-scenes stories were wrong. But as it is, I greatly enjoyed learning new things about bands that I would have sworn I already knew everything about.

The organization isn't perfect, but one could argue that it was necessary. Like I said, trying to cover it all is a herculean task, so talking about a 1970's artist's 1984 release made a certain amount of sense, and the occasional repetition of facts was welcome so I didn't have to jump around the book to remind myself of who or what the author was talking about.

I found myself losing interest in the chapter that went from 1990 to 2000 (2000 is pretty much where the book ends), largely because I had found myself losing interest in the music at about that time (which is true across the board... neither the Christian or secular pop/rock industry puts out music that grabs me much these days). But it was nice to see the fates of several bands who were burning up my tape players in my youth.

All in all, this is about as comprehensive a book on the subject that I've ever seen, and for that reason alone it is well worth a read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Penned By Dingos, August 8, 2011
This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
I absolutely could not put this book down, and read it all night for a week (yes, I am a slow reader, but I also went back to read it again, closer). I would have thought this book was meant for someone with no knowledge of gospel rock (and who confuses it with CCM, whatever that is), but I have read as much about this topic as anyone, wrote on it for years for various magazines, and read all the books on it. I also read the magazine published/edited by the author for years, "True Tunes News". Yet I was not at all prepared to find this book so engaging.

So why do I? Good question. It's not because this information is not readily available. It is. It's not because there are no good books on the subject. There are. Mark Allan Powell's "Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music", for instance, is absolutely fantastic (the unfortunately misleading title is not his fault) It's because a book like this has to be organized around some principle or plan, which is to say, the author has to make some choices in order to write such a book at all, and Thompson made something very difficult look rather easy he has pulled it off so well.

If he had put in subheadings in bold print of the names of bands or artists, and then arranged these in alphabetical order, this would be somewhat like Powell's book, in that Thompson writes, generally, a few paragraphs on an artist or band. Were it all arranged chronologically, it would be a lot like the "Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll" but all on indie artists and bands, which is what gospel rock bands really are. But the blow by blow "you are there" sense comes from the fact that the book is arranged tacitly, not overtly, by record labels, which rose and fell at various times, and which controlled the fates of numerous artists, and which provides a natural format in which to discuss the bands.

The subtitle claims an insider's perspective. But what sort of an insider? Someone in a band well known on the charts? In that case, this book would likely be an autobiography of the singer, and numerous books like this exist. An insider at a label who pulled the puppet strings, orchestrating the rise and fall of artists behind the scenes? There are plenty of books like that also, but they tend to be more like VH1 documentaries or "The Story of Motown". Rather than any of these, Thompson writes from the one real oddity in the whole gospel rock (or if you like CCM) business-- not the music or the artists, but the book stores--yes, book stores, not record stores-- that the music was sold through. So the guy who held the power was the music buyer, and for one brief, shining moment that man was Thompson. The autobiographical bits scattered here and there throughout this narrative are truly fascinating because they come from the man who released the floodgates and, prior to the Internet information overload, allowed these bands to exist at all.

So get ready for a self-congragulatory screed by yet another powerbroker and a tale of the meteoric rise and devastating crash of yet another miniscule empire. Nope. Thompson writes because he loves the music that he helped deliver to the stores, through his magazine, with his band, in this book. See a pattern? And don't call this music "contemporary". They still use the word "contemporary" in art, but we don't use it in music, because we have the word "rock". Yes, it's overused by overreaching writers, but it somehow remains potent. So this is all about gospel rock. And if you wonder about the gospel part, think Black Gospel-- the real thing with real chops. And if you wonder about the "rock" part, track some of these artists down and give a listen. Yes, there's a ton of great music you've never heard. This book could help you find some of it, which now you could track down in the Internet age of information overload and put it on your iPhone, iTunes, iPad, and i wonder what else.

Yes, there are errors in this book. There are errors in every book, but not nearly so many as on the unsubstantiated, unattributed, zero reference rumor mill called the Internet. Oddly enough, Thompson confuses Martin Luther with William Booth, and this isn't the first time I've seen this done. The first guy had something to do with the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The second guy started the Salvation Army in the UK. The second problem is that in this book, which touched down at the turn of the Millenium, the author leaves things out. However, despite the general view that gospel rock and all its indie bands and labels are a tiny amoeba in the small drop of water known as CCM in the little pond of independent music, all of which must be so small and insignificant that a "history" in toto must run to little more than a few pages; a view which, by the way, journalists do nothing to correct, there has actually been a few decades of history, and the last day you could could count gospel rock albums on one hand was some time in 1968. Which is to say that apart from a mammoth volume like Powell's, there is no way to invite everyone to the party. Despite which, Thompson has assembled an impressive guest list, and issued an open invitation. Even journalists may want to drop in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Is Here, January 10, 2010
By 
This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
I've been listening to "Jesus music" for about 35 years, and this book has brought back many memories. It's also brought to light many new (to me) stories.
This is the most complete coverage of "Christian" music and its history I can imagine.

Everybody is here: From Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Andre Crouch, and Barry McGuire (who was very encouraging during my participation in the "2009 Aids Walk"), to Petra and Rez, to Amy Grant and M.W. Smith, to DC Talk, Daniel Amos, and Steve Taylor (who loved making "hamburger out of sacred cows" and guided the music and careers of The Newsboys, Sixpence, and others), to Keith Green and Rich Mullins, to Alice Cooper, Sixpence None the Richer, and Creed, to Delirious? and Sonic Flood, and Lauren Hill.

Lots of stories, behind the scenes insights, and inside information.
But more than just the artists and music, this book comments on the "Christian music industry," various attitudes and expectations, and the age-old story of religion always fighting what God is doing.
It also comments on the down side of the "Christian" marketplace:

"The Christian community had nearly completed its total retreat from mainstream society. It even had its own television networks. Many Christians were able to live in a world within a world, one that would protect them from ever brushing up against non-Christians. And the ghetto was large enough that many people made millions of dollars selling Christian CDS to Christians, Christian books to Christians, and even Christian toys, paintings, videos, and clothes to Christians. A handful of artists, however, wanted nothing to do with that ghetto."

In many ways, the "CCM Industry" serves to further the illusion of the separation and compartmentalization of the Christian life into secular and sacred. But, wheat and weeds have always grown together, and will continue to do so. There's a lot of great music out there by people of faith. This book, at many points, shows how the industry tried to ignore it (or lambast it), while the "church" tried, first, to destroy it, and then to control it.

There are a lot of true "success" stories chronicled here as well; Petra, Lost Dogs, and Sixpence None The Richer being among them.

This book is already about 10 years old, so the last decade is, of course, not covered. But, I can't think of an abundance of landmark happenings in CCM during that period anyway. Except maybe for Stryper getting back together. Oh, and the release of Re-Union's "Inside Out." ;-)

If you're a long-time devotee, this book will provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane. If you're relatively new to the scene, you will be brought "up to speed." In either case, you'll find a fun, informative, and challenging time with "Raised By Wolves."
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is okay, March 11, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll (Paperback)
This book could have used a good editor
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Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll
Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll by John J. Thompson (Paperback - November 1, 2000)
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