TRUTH OF TRUTHS: A ROCK OPERA (*NEW-2-CD Set, 2018 Oak Records)
ABOUT THE ALBUM
*The liner note booklet reproduces the 17 page program that was in the original vinyl.
***For fans of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR & GODSPELL but this was created for the Christian market, not the mainstream although it likely has some crossover appeal. Yes there IS some gnarly FUZZ guitar on this one!
Composed and Recorded by record producer Ray Ruff and some talented songwriters in 1970-71, released on Oak Records, TRUTH OF TRUTHS is a Rock Opera stage musical of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, first released both as a stage show and soundtrack 2-LP album on Easter Sunday morning, April 1971, at the Greek Theater in the Hollywood Hills, California, playing to an audience of more than 1,200.
Employing nearly 300 people, the musical played to enthusiastic audiences in Los Angeles and five other major American cities over the next year, and the album sold extremely well, selling half a million copies by the time it went out of print in 1975.
The album was also so successful not only because it featured some of the brightest and best new talent in Hollywood and Nashville markets, but because of the new nationwide phenomena of the spiritual Jesus Movement – an unprecedented outpouring of young people coming to know Christ outside of the established churches, creating their own styles and music along the way, as former hippies of the late 1960s found their ways into a walk with the Lord in refreshing new ways of life, and started up a new style of music, not church music, and not commercial music either, but something called “Jesus Music”, which eventually became known as CCM – Contemporary Christian Music – by the end of the decade.
However, the album was panned by the Rock Press in 1971, with the Rolling Stone and others saying it was “preachy” and “not commercial enough”, and many critics lampooned the idea of Jim Backus as the Voice of God, who was seen as more of a comedic actor and the voice of Mr. Magoo, so they couldn’t take him seriously as the voice of God.
DISC 1 – OLD TESTAMENT
Ray Ruff hired Rock & Pop music pianist Ernie Freeman to lead the way on the arrangements, and Freeman composed the ponderous Progressive Rock opus “The Overture” as the Main Title theme for TRUTH OF TRUTHS, like the soundtrack to a Biblical film, only with a Rock band playing along with a symphony orchestra and chorus conducted by former Warner Bros. music conductor and arranger Sidney Sharp.
Introducing the tone of the opus, veteran actor Jim Backus plays the part of God, “In The Beginning” with the track “Creation”, starting us off at the first chapter of the book of Genesis.
This is followed by “The Fall”, the story of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden…
The Noah’s Ark story is well represented by the excellent song “Forty Days and Forty Nights” with full orchestra and chorus.
“Tower of Babel” produces a terrific visual mind picture with music, orchestra and chorus…
“God Called On To Abraham” shows God’s eternal purpose in both planning for the chosen people of Israel through their patriarch, and God’s provision 4,000 years ago in Abraham’s lifetime.
“Sodom and Gomorrah” are the cities of sin which God destroyed, that existed somewhere on the southeastern shores of the Dead Sea.
“Joseph, Beloved Son of Israel” gives us a glimpse into that time so long ago when he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt, but God turned things around and made them his servants.
Moses utters the mighty cry of “Let My People Go” to the Egyptian Pharaoh, because “God will have mercy…”
“The Ten Commandments” enumerates the ten primary tenets of the Law of Moses, given to all Mankind through the people of Israel 3,200 years ago.
“Song of the Children of Israel” represents the struggle of the early centuries of the nation Israel when it moved from great prophets leading Israel to judges, and then to kings.
“David To Bathsheba” is a plea to God for forgiveness by King David after committing his sins with the lady Bathsheba...
“Turn Back to God” represents God speaking to Israel through His prophets, especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel in the days of the Kings of Israel to the time of the Babylonian Captivity in 597 B.C.
“Prophecies of the Coming of the Messiah” are significant prophecies given to Israel showing how Christ would eventually come to fulfill Israel’s destiny and Mankind’s redemption.
DISC 2 – NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament narrative leads off with the song of Mary, the mother of Jesus, rejoicing and praising the Lord to the angel Gabriel: “My Life Is In Your Hands” in a superb vocal by Patti Sterling.
“John The Baptist” gives us the familiar scene of a bearded; long-haired man clothed in animal skins calling the Jews, preaching repentance to Israel.
“He’s The Light of the World” is a bright, melodic, energetic pop-rock tune introducing us to Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, and a light to all nations, sung by Donnie Brooks in the role of Jesus, with orchestra and chorus.
“Hosanna” tells the story of the lament of the people of Israel on the Palm Sabbath celebration, welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem for the Passover.
At “The Last Supper”, Jesus dines on the Passover supper with His disciples for the last time, as the disciples wonder who will betray Him. Donnie Brooks in the role of Christ in a powerful and sensitive musical performance.
“I AM What I Say I AM” is Christ’s response to the hypocritical Pharisees, as they question Him on His teachings and mission to the World, with Donnie Brooks as Jesus, which leads to
“The Trial”, in which both King Herod and Pontius Pilate judge Jesus, and turn Him over to the Jews for sentencing…
In “The Road” we see Jesus handed over by the Jewish rabbinical leaders and Pharisees to the Romans for scourging and crucifixion on a road of suffering…
leading to “The Cross” at Golgotha, or Calvary, where He is crucified for the sins of the World.
“Jesus of Nazareth” is a mournful song of melancholy, as Christ’s disciples cry over their lost Master, because they did not remember His warning to them that this would happen.
“Resurrection” is the triumphal ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ as Jesus Christ steps out of the tomb before dawn on that Sunday morning so long ago, and the World would never be the same.
“He Will Come Again” is the triumphant chorus of Christian disciples as the Twelve Apostles describe that this was not the end, only the beginning…
“Prophecies of the Coming of the End of the World” are some verses in the book of Revelation about the imminent return of Jesus Christ to planet Earth some 2,000 years later. God is the Alpha, and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First, and the Last.