The Jacob's Trouble Video Archives

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fan Favorite JT Song Countdown - Part 1

Here you have it, Troublemakers! You voted and now we have part 1 of your Top 50 song list! Where will your favorite rank? But that's not all! We have some goodies in store for you along the way. Some of the members of JT will be sharing their thoughts and stories about each and every song that you voted for! Who was Mr. Hitler? Why are there two versions of About Sex? And who is that on the answering machine in "Church of Do-What-You-Want-To? All this and more you'll find below. Let the countdown commence!

50. Cosmic Mailman

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:19-20

“Now I'm not trying to shove it down your throat

'Cause after all, we're all in the same boat”

"One of the great lost gems from the same sessions that yielded 'About Sex' and 'Let It Rain'. Believe it or not, we were thinking Elvis Costello when we did this one. 'Cosmic' was intended for KNOCK, BREATHE, SHINE but was dropped due to some concern over the melody in the chorus being the same as in the verses. We always thought this one deserved to be on a record, so much so that we considered recording it again for "...let the truth run wild!" But by that time, we already had too many songs and not enough time, so it got the axe again. Only a handful of family, friends, and proud owners of the ultra-rare cassette-only release, The Songbird Sessions, have ever heard it until its release on the 1994 compilation CD, “Diggin’ Up Bones.”

49. About Sex (Part II)

"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
- 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20.

This song came about as Terry’s effort to appease the powers that be at Frontline. They had their heart set on our original song,  "About Sex" being on the record and Terry had his mind made up that it would only be on the CD over his cold, dead body. So Terry came up with a plan to have a song called About Sex on the record that was not our song About Sex.

He sent me into the drum booth and I sat down behind the kit. “Start playing,” he said over the talk back in my headphones. “What do you want me to play?” I asked. “Anything,” he said. “Just play and I’ll tell you when to stop.” So I did. That’s the drums you hear on this song.

After that he sent Mark and Steve in respectively and told them what to play over my drum track. They pounded away and when they were done, they came out and sat down next to me looking just as confused as I probably looked at that moment. Terry then began to feverishly construct what became About Sex Part II literally ex nihilo. He put in a call to Frontline’s offices and had some guy there start looking up statistics on divorce, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. I think it’s the same guy who researched all that stuff who drove over to the studio and read it into the microphone!

By this time, we felt a little like our record had been hijacked. The recording continued without us. I think we wandered off into the next room and played golf on the Nintendo. Terry brought in Dan Michaels of the Choir to play some terrific saxophone stuff. Greg Flesch came in and was amazing on lead guitar, as usual. The preacher’s voice is from an old cassette Terry had of Jimmy Swaggart losing his mind and screaming about sex in pretty graphic detail. All the vocals were Terry and guys from DA or the Eddies. Other than the initial drums, bass, and acoustic guitar that we played without even knowing what we were doing, we had absolutely nothing to do with the song.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am not slamming Terry. He did an amazing job assembling this complex and riveting track literally from nothing right there on the spot. It’s a tribute to his genius, no question. It jus wasn’t us. It didn’t sound like us. It didn’t feel like us. It didn’t flow with the rest of the record. It was purely politics resulting from a producer being pressured by a record label.

48. Icicle Face

"...I am sure there is a common spirit that plays within us... the Spirit of God, the fire and scintillation of that noble and mighty essence, which is the life and radical heat of spirits... Whosoever feels not the warm gale and gentle ventilation of this Spirit, though I feel his pulse, I dare not say he lives..."

- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici

“It's a cold, cruel, difficult world for the little things, the simple things
And you don't have to hate yourself
There's Someone above you, 
Someone who loves you true”

I had the idea for this song when I was working at the Record Bar in the local mall. On the weekends the place was crawling with these teenage goth kids all dressed in blacks and grays with piercing in every imaginable orifice. The would wear this pancake white makeup to make themselves look really pale and then wear black lipstick and tons of eyeliner to stand out against the albino skin.

The saddest part was their passionate commitment to despair. It became something of a game for me to try to make them laugh or smile whenever they were in the store. Once they smiled it immediately revealed how ridiculous the whole façade was. A laughing goth kid was really little more than a failed mime.

I tried to share the gospel with as many as would listen and turned a few of them on to some of the better alternative Christian bands of the day. But for the most part they seemed to enjoy staying depressed.

Musically, I was aiming for something like XTC from their Black Sea record. I was a huge XTC fan and even considered the idea of covering “Respectable Street” in our live shows. I expressed this to Mark Heard but somewhere along the way it lost some of the punch and ended up this thin, wispy little filler track. I had much higher hopes for it, like just about every other song on this album.

I think we only played this song live twice: once at the CD release party and once at Atlanta Fest ’93.

(Here's one of the rare performances of Icicle Face from the album release party. Featuring the talents of the interpretive JT stage divers!)

47. Mr. Hitler

"Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him" -1 John 3: 15

I'm an ordinary man, I believe in wrong and right
If it were up to me I would have them shot on sight!

This song was just plain fun to record. I was in my element completely. It was kind of a Magical Mystery Tour vibe ala “I Am The Walrus.” It was fun to hear all the elements come together.

I wanted to show that everyone was capable of evil given the right circumstances, even everyday ordinary situations like work and traffic and religion. This guy was supposed to be an everyman kind of a guy, revealing his evil heart in everyday situations we all deal with. I was hoping the listener would feel, “Wow, I could be just as evil as that guy if I don’t guard my heart.”
There were some lyrical changes made to the third verse and the chorus and I'm afraid my original concept was lost in translation.

But, let me go on record as saying this: Whatever decisions Terry made, he made in our best interest. And the result was arguably our finest moment. Many critics and fans alike regard Knock Breathe Shine as our best record. Mark, Ty and David from Third Day all list it on their website as one of their most influential CDs. And we all know they certainly like “These Thousand Hills!”

"Bad Lick Gunshot" was supposed to be at the beginning of this song but for some reason it became it's own track. Greg Flesch was in doing some guitar work on the record Knock, Breathe, Shine and kept playing this obnoxious heavy metal lick just to annoy Terry. Terry pretended to pull out a gun and shoot him. Somebody suggested we record it and add the sound of the gun shot so we did. It was just one of those crazy things you do when you are locked in a studio for weeks and start to go a little stir crazy.

46. Step By Step

In 1998 I was contacted by Kent Songer, a good friend and former Frontline employee who had been a huge JT supporter back in the day. He now worked for the Killen Music Group who had procured possession of all things Frontline, including our entire catalog. Kent told me that KMG wanted to put together a “greatest hits” package of Jacob’s Trouble “hits.” He asked me if I would drive up to Nashville and be a part of the song selection process. “Absolutely!” I said.

I don’t remember how it all went down – it’s a blur to me now – but I somehow managed to talk him into letting us record a new song. I was still in touch with the fellas, who were now touring and recording as Janah, and rang them up to see if they were interested. Kent warned me not to go to too much trouble or expense. I think he knew they were not planning on promoting it. At all. And they didn’t. At all.

I had previously written and recorded a post-JT solo demo of a song called “Sycamore.” The other guys were all fully involved in Janah and there wasn't time to write a new song, so I proposed we re-record “Sycamore” as a JT song. They agreed and we commenced recording. Basically, the three of them got together and came up with an arrangement and recorded it without me. I came in later and added my vocals. Not really a group effort exactly but the results were better than I think we had a right to expect at the time. I think we renamed it “Step by Step” because Ron’s recording studio was called Sycamore Recording and I guess he didn't want there to be any confusion between Janah and JT.

The song itself is about the aching desire to know God, to get a good look at Christ and in Him see the God our hearts have been yearning for since Eden. I love the lyric “Grace is a haze in the view from way down here/I want to climb ‘til I clear the atmosphere/In the wild blue I will meet You.” Regardless of what some theologians say about Total Depravity, I do believe that all people everywhere worship and long for God, they just don’t know what to call it or where to find satisfaction so they worship anything they think will give them what they are looking for. The scripture says of God, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” That is what “Step By Step” is about: capturing that longing to be fully satisfied in Christ.

Well that's all for now folks! What do you think? Are you disappointed with any of these rankings so far? Are you surprised by any of the stories? Leave us your thoughts in the comments bellow! Also check out this spotify playlist to listen through these 5 songs again.

1 comment:

evidence7 said...

I am ok with About Sex part Ii and a couple others being this far down the list. But come on, Mr. Hitler, Icicle Face and DTPMB deserve top 20 status!