QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

I haven't yet had a spam issue with my recently changed primary email address, and I'd love to keep it that way.  This is, of course, not to say that I consider most email or feedback related to my site to be spam, but I would prefer not to have to take the time to answer many of the same questions over and over.  I would not be honest if I said that the following is a list of frequently asked questions because I (thankfully) do not get a lot of "Hello, who are you" type of emails.  This is my attempt to give some additional basic information about myself to try to pre-empt unnecessary emails asking for my assistance in ways that I will not be able or willing to help everybody in the world out on.  I usually try to respond to all music related emails I receive eventually, but have been known to take up to several months to do so if it's something I don't know the answer to right away and would have to do a little internet searching to find out or to apologize being unable to find an answer.  So if your email is time sensitive, please mention this and simultaneously seek out assistance in a few other venues like Christian music blogs, etc., to increase the likelihood of getting a quick answer.  So, without further ado...

Q - Can you help me find a rare Christian music album?

A - My standard reply to this question in the past has been to send a link to the page below, which was a sort of secret page not linked from any other place in my site.  When I first composed this page 7 to 8 years ago (i.e. early 2000s), it was pretty current.  Now, of course, like much of the rest of my site, it is due for some updating.  But I am not sure when that time will come.  It took me over a year after changing primary email addresses to get this page updated with my current primary email address.  So...I'm not sure when or if I'll be updating the page below any time soon.  While some of the links in it may be old, I believe most of the content and recommendations are still applicable and pretty relevant for today.  Ebay is still Ebay, and Google is still Google, so I think most of this will still be relevant!

Finding rare Christian music on the internet

The page above focuses on finding a physical copy of an album, from which source WAV files can be ripped to make your own MP3, FLAC, etc. files, if you're into that sort of thing.  There's a lot of formerly out-of-print music (DeGarmo & Key, etc.) that is now being offered for sale on Amazon as digital MP3 copies.  There's also an ever expanding database of free downloadable classic and rare Christian albums, mostly in MP3 format, that are being posted on blogs dedicated to contemporary Christian music or classic Jesus Music.  I only recently (within the last 4 or 5 years) entered this world of downloadable albums, and have some mixed feelings about it.  The upside is that most of these Christian music blog posters are honest enough that if the music becomes available for official purchase by the copyright owner or the original artist(s) in some format (and if they are made aware of this fact), they will take down their free downloadable copy and replace with a link to one or more sources for an official purchase, along with an encouragement to do so.  So, if I could make the above page any more relevant for today, I would add a recommendation to do a Google search for the album and artist you're looking for, along with "MP3s" [Google search example - "Altar Boys" Gut Level Music MP3s], and if you can't find some place legitimate to buy the digital files, preferrably from the original artist if they are offering the music from their official website, then you might find a free copy to download.  There's a lot of really rare and/or obscure 60s and 70s Jesus Music releases that are likely to never be reissued on CD or even see the light of day outside of collectors circles which are now being made available on these blogs.  Overall, I think most Christian music fans and a good percentage of the artists themselves see these blogs as a positive asset. 

Some Christian music blogs offering free downloads - Flipsidemn, Old Christian Music

[Update (5/19/12): Since I first posted this blurb about Christian music blogs last year, most of the blogs I had found that I was recommending have been willingly or forcibly closed down.  The Heavenly Grooves blog was suddenly taken down in October of last year (2011), willingly I believe because the owner was tired of doing it or had other issues in his life that required his immediate attention.  But from what I can tell, the Electric Psalms blog (shut down) and The Ancient Star Song blog (does not have download links any more) did not do so willingly, and had their accounts terminated or suspended due to supposed complaints by one or more artists being featured on the blog with a free download of one or more of their albums who were supposedly claiming copyright infringement.  Given the risks of litigation that have been associated with music file sharing in the past (Napster, etc.) and which have been exasperated recently by the Obama government and possibly other State governments, causing the shutdown a few years ago of the megaupload.com site, most blog host sites are getting cold feet and are probably very susceptible to any claim of copyright infringement, whether legitimate or by some rogue individual pretending to either represent an artist or to be a lawyer for the artist.  So, it looks like most of these music blogs only be functional for a limited time, or if they do stick around, it will be primarily for informational purposes only without any available downloads.  So if you see something you want on a blog...that isn't still in print or easily available for legitimate purchase..., then you'd probably better get it now.  The blog mentioned above is the only one from my original list that was regularly posting out-of-print Christian music and which has managed to avoid getting shut down or getting discouraged and calling it quits.  There's a few more international blogs that I am aware of, and that I have downloaded a lot of super rare material from, which I don't want to promote on my site because they are also posting a lot of in-print music (i.e. stealing potential sales from the artist/copyright owner) which I always have and always will strongly condemn.  There's probably many more blogs that are still going strong and which are still offering rare Christian music for free, but one thing you'll find out, as I have, is that the amount of material available is still overwhelmingly large even now.  Usually only focusing on a few blogs at a time is all that you'll be able to handle before you amass a ton of downloads, and then the problem is actually listening to them all after you've downloaded.  But if you're like me, if/when you hear something you want to add to your regular rotation, you're going to want to go and find a hard copy so that you can make the best quality audio files for your portable music players.  Many of these free downloads on the blogosphere are probably purposefully done in the lower bit rate conversion range to encourage those who like what they hear to try to get their own copy.  And, of course, always check the internet to see if the artist has recently set up a bandcamp.com site which will usually have the choice of a legal paid download of lossless files which are as good as downloading original WAV files from a CD.]


Q - Can I buy [some music album title you've see on my site] from you?

A - First, be sure that I do have a copy of what you think I have.  My discography listing pages (A, B, etc.) are not a list of what I own.  Those pages are my reference source contribution to the world of Christian music fans like myself.  My official collection list is here but items in my collection are generally not for sale.  If you have access to an ultra-rare Christian rock CD that you want to propose a trade for something in my collection, then I'll always be willing to hear the offer, however my acceptance will typically be solely determined by how difficult/expensive I think it will be for me to acquire another copy for my collection.

I do presently have a substantial number of CDs and CSs that I am now in the process of listing for sale and/or trade on the Discogs.com site.  I just started this year (2015), and I have between 3500 and 4000 CDs (not all unique titles), both sealed and used, that will eventually be listed, so it will take a while to get everything up.  But it's finally happening now.  See the music page for more info.  If you have a bunch of rare Christian CDs that you are wanting to trade with, and you'd like to see my complete list of sale/trade CDs (without prices), then please email me your complete list of CDs or rare CSs first, and I will then prepare my list if there's things in your list that I'm interested in.

Keep in mind that I am simply a private collector, and my music is a hobby and not an attempt at full time or part time employment with a regular paycheck.  So I do not have the time or resources to easily track down a certain rare album you may be wanting...at least not any easier than you could attempt to find it yourself using common internet searches and monitoring of sites like eBay.  See the first question above and my Places To Buy Rare OOP Christian Music page if you are wanting to acquire a certain title and want to get some basic pointers on searching the internet for OOP music.  Most CDs that are not ultra rare can eventually be found on Amazon or eBay with a little persistent searching.


Q - Can I help you improve this site?

A - My site has been pretty plain-Jane from the beginning back in '97 or '98...whenever it was that I first posted it.  I started out on Netscape Composer and have now "graduated" to SeaMonkey composer.  I would love to eventually have a jazzy looking modern site based on php or whatnot with frames and a nice easily printable layout, but won't be willing to pay the labor for someone else to do that until possibly after I have finished paying off my house...which will probably be a long time from now.  What I've found out over the last decade is that the chances of me doing this on my own without a substantial period of interim unemployment or disability are slim to none.  I've had a few people contact me many years ago who were interested in helping out with the website layout, but they were basically looking to take it over and completely redo it themselves.  This would be cool, except that they would have to then become the new manager of the website and make all future updates, etc., unless they could quickly teach me what I need to know to make all necessary updates and to keep everything current for future web browsers, etc.  I would also want to get copies of the most current files and all of that, and wouldn't know if I was really getting everything I needed if I wasn't familiar with the website format being utilized.  The bottom line is that I doubt this is the sort of thing somebody would want to do (for me) themselves for free...at least not for very long.  So, keeping this in mind, the most valuable sort of (free) assistance I could use from somebody else is advice on which books or programs to focus on that would give me the skills I need to make a substantial improvement to this site without getting a computer science degree and without being distracted by a bunch of programs that I don't need to learn about.  Anybody who's not a computer science major and has attempted to find books in Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million on web site design probably knows exactly what I'm talking about.  If I could make a cool site like this one by only learning one or two programs or reading one or two books, and which would not necessitate the buying of an update to the program every year or two, or a resaving of every file in my site every couple years in order to get the latest and greatest most secure html programming content, then that might be something I could realistically tackle on my own.  In other words...I need to talk with somebody who really knows what they're doing and is willing to share some of their valuable advice with me free of charge.  If that sort of advice won't come from somebody else without the entry level fee of a computer science degree to my name (i.e. paying my dues) then...fair enough.  What I've already got here is just fine for my purposes and hopefully anybody else who might profit from the content within.


Q - Are you still working on the discography listings for your site?  Are you ever going to try to expand it past 2000?

A - Yes, I still have as much desire to continue on with my maintaining and updating of the discography listings through 2000 as I ever have.  I've reached many of the financial goals that I've had since graduating from college, and only recently reached the goal of home ownership...or home residence might be the better term.  I won't own this home I'm currently in for a few more years at the very least (15 to 20 more realistically)!  And I arrived at the need to find a new host for my site a few years ago, which was an extra time consuming task I wasn't planning on.  I've continued to acquire discography related sources over the last decade, most of which have done little more than sit on a shelf or in a box.  I still hope to begin going through those some day.  And I have wanted for I don't know how long to find a way to carve in regular work on this site into my weekly schedule.  Each year, I think I'm getting a little closer to that point, but haven't quite gotten there.  Unless I get a command from the Lord to sell all my music and to go in a completely different direction of service to Him, then my desire will still be to have the best and most complete discography list of early Christian music artists that can be found in one place on the internet.  Maybe after my sale and trade CDs are listed, I'll be able to reach a point where regular work on the discography listings can continue and be maintained.  I've had a few false starts in the past several years because it's such a time consuming task, and I usually drag my feet starting something that doesn't have a quick ending in sight.  So I'll continue to say at this time that I think I'm closer still to a point where I can begin the sort of regular progress updates that I have wanted for a long time.  As for expanding the lists beyond the year 2000...it's highly doubtful I will ever do that.  The only way that could happen is if I were to suddenly strike it rich and become financially independent overnight (house paid for, etc.) through no particular effort of my own, and might then be able to go part time on my regular employment in order to be able to devote 20+ hours a week to this site.  Otherwise, I think finishing out a discography of Christian music from 1960 to 2000 is plenty ambitious for a lone wolf like me.  Another thing that makes this unlikely is the fact that there have been very few new and upcoming CCM and Christian rock artists debuting after 2000 that have interested me or grabbed me as so unique that I just had to add their music to my collection.  For the most part, I think most Christian music of the last decade can't hold a candle to the ministerial value and passion of the pioneers of Christian rock back when it was more about the ministry than the money because...it had to be....because there wasn't much of any money to be made unless you had something that turned out to be a really big commercial success, like Stryper.

Q - I still have a question/comment, or would like to ask your help with something.

A - If you still need to contact me for some reason (correction to the discography listings, ask my assistance with something, or just say "hello"), then my current primary email address is linked below.  Please be smart with your subject lines so that the email will be sure to make it into my primary inbox or my spam filter box.  I do glance over subject lines in my spam folder...briefly...before deleting.  I'm honestly unsure if any of the emails I receive at the address below are automatically deleted, bypassing the spam folder, but if so, then subject lines like "Hi", "Hello", or "How's it going" will likely be the triggers for such automatic deletions.  So choose your subject line wisely, and I'll try to respond soon afterward if we are not previously acquainted.  As I mentioned above, if you are needing a quick response to a Christian music related question, and I do not give one in one or two days, then your best bet would be to seek out other internet forums, discussion groups, blogs, etc., and post your question to all of them, and you'll probably get your answer quickest that way.

[this page was last updated on January 3, 2015]