Raspberry Jam is one of the earliest Christian alternative rock bands when alternative was such a genre. Heard their music through an indie rock station out of Springfield, MO while I was visiting fiends back in the early-mid 90s. This same station is where I discovered other greats such as Cloud2Ground, The Violet Burning & The Prayer Chain (the later 2 who evolved from the same southern California scene as Raspberry). The band released and EP & 3 LPs before disbanding.
Released on Metro One Records in 1993 (the same label who brought us Spoken & Precious Death), the 3rd release Chi-Ro was an alternative rock/funk hybrid with 2 vocalists: Phillip Kim & Angel Short. Their Oceanic release transpired into an ethereal dreamlike esque alternative rock. The track represented in this article is Everything We Need which was different from the others with yelled in your face vocals that was kind of a mix between spoken word & rap. Seeming to derive from the rich man story in the Gospels of Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-30 and Luke 18:18-30, the quirky verse lyrics deal with the subject of selfishness & how we work with what God has given us begging several questions. Are we spoiled? What are we going to do with our God given gifts & talents? Does the Lord give is what we need?
Check out these provocative lyrics: “Is it really wrong to buy what I don’t need. I mean I know there are starving children in Africa or somewhere far away, but what am I going to do? Sell everything that I have-give it to the poor. What am I? The Rich man? What do you mean? It’s my money. I worked hard for my money. I deserve to live how I want. It’s my money. I mean, ok sure God gave me the money, but it’s my money. It has my name on the check. It’s my money.
This band was so great. I didnt think anyone else on the planet knew who they were. “Oceanic” was great and I recently tracked down a cassette of that album. I am writing “The Top 25 Christian Rock Albums of 1995” and this band is one of them.
One of my fav 90s Christian albums which gets played on an annual basis (https://www.discogs.com/lists/Less-Known-but-Worthy-Christian-Albums-Youve-Prob-Never-Heard-Them/558584), the “Ocean” release from Raspberry Jam is atmospheric, melodic, moody rock with a siren vocalist that will pull you by her inviting voice. Make sure to play it loud! To borrow from an Amazon reviewer of the album – “Throw Pink Floyd and the Cranberries in a blender, add a bit of the Smashing Pumpkins, bring to a frothy brew and you have Raspberry Jam’s ‘Oceanic.'” – credit: Shannon D. Kirk
Love this album and glad I’m not the only one!