I don't think i know enough about Teen Challenge Ministries (though I know all the information i could ever want is just a short goog away). I bought this record for a buck at Teen Challenge Thrift store in portland about a year ago. the little gingerbread man stomping the rubber stoppered syringe on the front of the cover was more than enough to get my attention. I scanned the liner notes of the back of the cover and an array of interesting descriptors came into focus amidst a sea of dogmatic mumbo-jumbo. Heroin Glue LSD Pot Whites Reds Drugs Addiction Debauchery Uselessness etc... (whoa, whoa...you had me at heroin!) At the bottom there was a photo of a bearded dude inset in a graphic cutout of an acoustic guitar. "hmm...." I thought "...promising". At that point I had hoped the whole LP was going to be a folky / hippy christian anti-drug fest and was disappointed to find the label defined both "story" and "song". On closer examination of the liner notes i read that Teen Challenge was credited with turning Gary Fisher's (the orator) life around. Weird coincidence right? this album has to be almost 30 years old (there is no date) and it wasn't a sealed copy..it's well loved..i mean it's not like they took it out of a box of 100 in the attic. Then i got to thinking more generally about Teen Challenge, the thrift shop. Upon repeated visits (hoping another or more copies would materialize) I paid more attention to the staff and the language they used as they went about their business of rearranging furniture and/or hanging about behind the front counter. I started to see a pattern. It became clear that most of the young men had a fresh twinkle to their eye and the guys i had seen around for any length of time kind of big buddied them as they did the work. "hmmm..." i thought again "suspicious".
OK...admission time. I just googled. I couldn't wait another second. TEEN CHALLENGE "The Faith-Based Solution To the Drug Epidemic™ "
They even have it trademarked! OK..back to the record. The single song on the LP is called "Half A Man" and it's performed by Dave Prutsman "who sings and plays guitar for the Lord Jesus Christ". I was surprised to turn up nothing else on Dave in my research because the guy laid down a pretty sweet guthrie/dylan anti drug jingle here. Then again, they say only 10 percent of addicts stick out recovery more than 5 years. I usually don't like sermon on vinyl but the rest of the LP is pretty engaging too. At least for the first couple of listens. Gary is emphatic. He uses all the right slang and was obviously not a complete bullshitter. He can barely make time for breath telling us he tried to kill his own mother and threw an Indian out a second story window and all about vomiting blood and using $60 a day and eating baloney sandwiches. There's a definite audience for this ministry. I guess those young men with the fresh twinkle need to hear that no matter how far down they've gone there's someone out there who's done worse. "Baloney sandwiches?" they think. "No thanks, with God's help i'll never have to have another baloney sandwich." here's the song that compliments the sermon: