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Petra

Petra

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

When Petra began its career in the early ‘70s, the idea of a Christian rock ‘n’ roll band was still a controversial notion in some church circles. It’s not surprising, then, that the group’s self-titled 1974 debut album is more restrained and polite than later efforts. In those days, the band was heavily influenced by Southern rock and favored the twin-guitar attack employed by the Allman Brothers and similar groups. What set Petra apart, of course, was their heartfelt devotion to Christ, expressed plainly in songs like “Get Back to the Bible,” “Wake Up” and “Walkin’ In The Light.” The generally boogie and blues-rocking thrust of the album is seasoned with some tasty banjo and mandolin picking, courtesy of Bob Hartman and Greg Hough. At their best, Petra achieves a back-porch chemistry on tracks like “I’m Not Ashamed” and “Storm Comin’,” where their Sunday morning testifying and Saturday night guitar heroics meld together naturally. A few years later, the band would add vocalist Greg X. Volz and aim for a meatier arena-rock sound. The Petra album captures them in their early Jesus Music days, when their approach was less strident and more unaffectedly down-home.

Customer Reviews

In the beginning

It's true that in the early days of Petra's formation as a band that they were busy feeling out the current "music scene" in both the Christian and secular recording industries. During the mid-seventies, one of the remaining products of the 60's culture wars was a mass returing to faith and church life for many disallusioned young people who couldn't get out of the "flower children" lifestyle all that they had anticipated. So, with their guitars and their music and their desire to just move on to another natural step in life, they began giving birth to much of what was at the time merely a new gospel-oriented genre of communal folk music. It was unpolished, personal, introspective, very prayerful, and sort of "earthy" and natural in many ways. As a 39 year old life long Petra fan who had followed their careers all this time, I can vividly remember the basic guitar and percussion principles of Petra's early music to be a lot like other secular singer/songwriters of the time such as Simon & Garfunkel or Jefferson Airplane. The vocal aspects of Petra's lead singer Greg X. Volz had those similar mesmerizing and hypnotic qualities that were shared by fellow secular recording artists Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac or Don Henley of The Eagles. Overall, during this mid-70's period of time of Petra's early ministry as a band it could have been unsure of what direction band founder and lead guitarist/primary songwriter Bob Hartman felt like the ensemble should go. On a few very select portions of their music they did come off as sounding almost "radio-friendly" for FM radio play but on the whole Petra was way ahead of their time theologically--as most of either the pentecostal or conservative evangelical church world was not quite yet ready to embrace their vision of a new type of Christian witnessing to the un-saved masses. They had not begun to sound like a "super-group" that would one day fill entire stadiums and blast out an exceptional form of loud guitar-driven "arena rock" music--that accomplishment would have to wait until the mid-80's when new lead vocalist John Schlitt joins the band.

Christian rock doesn't get any better than this!

For years I only knew the petra from the eighties on, but I found this on Itunes. I got to say that it's everything I would look for in a old Christian rock album. The messages are very true to God's word. The style stays true to the classics. My favorite song off of it is Get Back to the Bible.

On the leading edge

TigerDog states this is the first appearance of Christian Rock. While certainly on the leading edge, they trailed the great Larry Norman by a few years who had already turned out some great Christian Rock tracks. That said, this album is a nice piece of Christian Rock history. I agree with most that Petra should have stayed with their roots...but as happened to many Christian and secular artists, they ran into the 80's and the sound they adopted weakened them. Petra certainly stayed true to the Faith throughout thier career and should be applauded for that...but they should have never put on the space suits.

Biography

Formed: 1972 in Fort Wayne, IN

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Petra is one of the most successful Christian rock bands ever, a veritable institution whose name (taken from the Greek word for "rock") has come to reflect not only their music, but their staying power as well, even in spite of Christian radio's reluctance to program their brand of loud, slick arena rock. Petra was formed in 1972 by guitarist Bob Hartman, who was attending the Christian Training Center in Fort Wayne, IN at the time; he recruited several fellow students — guitarist/vocalist...
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Petra, Petra
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