Friday, March 7, 2008

The Best Band You Never Heard Of, EVER!

I am not certain but the year was either 1985 or 1986, some 20+ years ago now that I experienced an exceptional weekend. Wow, how times have a changed and it seems as if time flies, it seems like yesterday. It was the year I spent almost 3 months away from my wife, only to be reunited and treated by Mike Yaconelli from Youth Specialties at the National Youth Workers Convention in Dallas Texas with one of the best gifts I had ever received.

There were many things about that year I don’t know if I will ever forget. I had been on the road for almost 3 months working with The Rob Cassel’s Band. We had traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and as far west as Phoenix Arizona that Summer. Along the way we were also booked to perform at the National Youth Workers Convention put on by Youth Specialties. I was to present at a workshop consisting of myself, Steve Taylor, David Hosler, and Anthony Campolo. Something else was about to happen though, I was going to be reunited with my wife and daughter whom I hadn’t seen in three months. I had been living in Greenville South Carolina, (actually on the road,) and my wife and daughter had remained living in Hillsboro Kansas, just north of Wichita.

The late Mike Yaconelli did something I will never forget. I had never met the man, although I had a deep appreciation for his work. He knew I was involved in ministry though, and had been away from my wife for awhile. Mike ended up booking a suite for me at the hotel where the conference was held. I think it was the Dallas Sheraton. My wife and I stayed in what must have been the honeymoon suite as we had a nice big hot tub in the room, a large bed, and a nice bottle of wine and fruit awaiting us. I will never forget this weekend for the love shown me. I will never forget it for another reason though, I will never forget it because one of the guests scheduled to appear at the conference was the incredible Wauhob Family. While they ended up not performing, the anticipation of seeing this band was about as great as my excitement to see my wife and daughter which I hadn’t seen in three months.

I had heard of The Wauhobs from a review which had appeared in The Wittenberg Door during the August / September issue of 1984. I had even tracked down and purchased the highly collectible album titled, Country Style Revival. I’ll never forget one of the great reviews of a musical artist ever written. Written by Bob Darden, the article captured the total brilliance and ability of The Wauhob Family. I felt that the article written for The Wittenberg Door likely contained the best paragraph ever written in anything related to music. The paragraph describing the drummer reads:

The band is centered around the expressive drumming of Thomas Wauhob, a wildly original percussionist in the mode of an Elvin Jones, a Billy Cobham or a John Candy. Thomas thumps along at a deceptively slow beat, alternating between the snare drum and the floor tom-tom until you think he's lost the beat altogether. Then, suddenly, in a burst of spastic, unchanneled energy he forges ahead, catches the beat, and makes up for lost time by double-timing the tempo. All of this in a space of a single bar, no less. Incredible! Be sure and listen to his urgent stop and start rhythms on "One More River," as he uses the flashy ploy of dropping a drumstick and fearlessly starting over (seemingly oblivious to the beat).
To read the review in it’s entirety you can visit the Wahob MySpace Page by clicking here. To go directly to the review posted on their blog you can click here. I would encourage everyone reading this to visit the page, listen to the music, as well as read all of the blogs listed. Sadly, it appears as if the page is not well maintained as the band has not updated the page since August 24, 2007. I don’t know the reasoning for that, I do know that a follow up or regeneration of this band could be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of recorded music. Of course I realize there are those, and at times find myself agreeing with the fact, that with such brilliance, a follow up would likely be a let down, after all, why would one take the chance of following up brilliance and perfection?

I have written many serious articles over the years for various publications. My words have appeared in Time Magazine, Christianity Today, Hollywood Jesus, The Christian Leader and the list could go on and on. I don’t think I have ever written any more serious words than these, check out The Wauhobs. Lighten up, listen to the musical genius, then listen intently to the serious rhythms that make their music pure joy. Maybe the music isn’t your style, but the message is pure, and I assure you, if you open your heart, you will experience joy, joy from their musings over the years, their reviews, and joy from the fact that none of us, not Billy Graham, not Nolan Ryan, not Michael Jordan, not John Grisham, not you, not even yours truly are perfect. We can try though; we can find ways to bring joy into our life, even if it is listening to the wondrous melodies of a group like The Wauhobs.

Now the ultimate lesson and intent of the article, really not a biggie, but, I will say, I am not an instrument, or paid reviewer or author for The Wauhobs. Even if they offered me a country fried steak dinner, a 4 ply corn cob supply for life, or a dollar for every ticket sold to their concerts, I don’t think I could write enough about this group to make a living. Therefore, I choose to just spread a little joy into your life. I know you need it; I know I need it, not as much as you because I have listened to The Wauhobs today, have you? I haven’t just listened to them, I listened to a whole 5 songs, all the way through, have you? I have smiled, I have laughed, I have found joy in the most unusual of places. Have you?

In closing, there is a final thing I know, don’t think I know, but know I know. I know that the joy of the Lord is my Strength. I have found a way to experience that joy today, have you?

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