“Always Jesus’ People” – The Soundtrack:
More Sound Samples, Stories, and Photos
Written by Timothy Smith, 2001 and Revised in 2020
The “Always Jesus’ People” article is both a record of what I saw God doing in my generation and a testimony of my personal spiritual journey. This supplement allows me to share more personally my musical and spiritual influences, and give tribute to the remarkable people who helped to put a song in our hearts. Unfortunately, many of the audio clips were recorded under poor conditions on inferior equipment, so in some cases newer recordings were used here. They nevertheless give me a chance to share with you many of those wonderful songs that served as mileposts on my spiritual journey. I am amazed at how many different people were sources for the music we experienced, and each one was a unique blessing to the community of believers, and an inspiration to me. Thanks for coming along!
Ruben Hillborn, “The Singing Fisherman”
Near the dawn of my involvement in music, in the summer of 1968, I met Alaskan Country
Gospel artist Ruben Hillborn, “the Singing Fisherman.” Born in Chignik, he and his
family moved to Kodiak in the mid-
Years later, Ruben (who had since moved his family to Anchorage) returned to Kodiak with a full Country band, and they did a series of concerts around Kodiak. They even gave a nice concert for us at “The Open Door” coffee house. Once again, I was impressed with Ruben’s infectious songwriting and powerful, sincere delivery. He didn’t sing a song, or deliver a song; he positively OWNED it, putting his own unique stamp on everything he sang. His honest and unselfconscious witness and straightforward singing approach was very appealing, and I learned a lot from watching him. But more importantly, Ruben was a model of fearless, fervent, and infectious witness for Christ.
The two sound sample medleys were carefully restored in my studio, transferred from
several rather poorly-
Sound Sample: Ruben Hillborn Medley One (from his 1970 debut LP)
Sound Sample: Ruben Hillborn Medley Two (from several later LP’s)
Sound Sample: Each Step I Take -
The “Truth Paper” from the ministry that featured the Wilson McKinley, featured a spread on the “JC and Company” in June, 1972. They came to Kodiak that August, held concerts, and led the “Jesus March” featured in the photos of the “Always Jesus People” article. The JC and Company Band was the first Christian Rock to come out of Alaska!
Sound sample: “Psalm 47” (Sing Praises) sung by J. C. & Company (from a poorly-
Sound sample: “Alcemos Canciones a Dios” (Sing Praises) (the English verse from the Spanish version of “Psalm 47,” translated by David Johnson, a sample from the “Por Eso Es Que Canto” CD: click here for more information.)
Sound sample: “Come On Inside” sung by J. C. & Company (from a poorly-
Sound sample: “A Jesus Song” One of J. C. & Company’s great songs, from a demo/practice tape by Tim and Kelly Smith, Camp Woody, 1975
Sound sample: “Stayed on Jesus” learned from the band, sung by Tim and Kelly Smith, recorded on the Evangel, 1976
From a Radio Broadcast: (Complete Song) Higher and Higher (J. C. And Company)
One of those “I was there when...” stories in my life was the excitement of experiencing the songs of John Hicks as he wrote them and shared them with the Jesus People of Kodiak. John Hicks was originally from Arkansas, and was one of the Navy fellows who began attending our Bible studies, right at the time they began to grow. His songs were like the soundtrack of our revival, and we adopted each one, singing them in our meetings, on the streets, at the Ferry Dock in the channel, and of course, at Camp Woody. Over the course of a year, he produced seven songs, all of which were singable and meaningful.
His first, “The Lord is My Savior,” was a beautiful love song to Jesus. “Clap Your
Hands” was a favorite of our street meetings. “(He Filled My Heart With) Love” was
a sweet calypso-
Complete Song: “The Lord is My Savior” John Hicks and Larry Shelton, with oil can bass by Tim Smith, summer, 1971
“He Pulled Me Out of Trouble” was his personal testimony set to a driving folk-
Complete Song: “No One May Come” Tim and Debbie Smith with Bruce Adams, bass, 1982
John’s “He’s a Friend of Mine” (not to be confused with the Wilson McKinley tune of similar title) was a celebration of fellowship and the community of believers. The sound sample includes two of the three verses. “One Lonely Man” traced the agony of the crucifixion and the glory of Easter morning in one of the most dramatic songs of the time.
Sound Sample (2 verses): “He’s a Friend of Mine” Tim and Kelly Smith, 1978
Complete Song: “One Lonely Man” Tim and Kelly Smith, 1975
His last composition, “This is the Man,” begins on Easter morning and continues through
several other post-
Complete Song: “This is the Man” the instrumental track from the 1976 “Por Eso Es Que Canto” sessions, with all vocal parts added by Tim in 2001 (sorry if it sounds a bit like the Gaither Vocal Band, but it needed a dramatic treatment!)
Complete Song featuring John Hicks the singer: His version of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” with Larry Shelton on 2nd guitar, and me on “oil can” bass.
Just a few songs, but they were our songs, and we did our best to share them with the world. The sound samples above (including a few complete songs) plus the ones in the “Always Jesus People” article, document every song he wrote while he was with us. When I last talked to John Hicks, he was still singing from time to time, but apparently he never wrote another song after he left Kodiak. God certainly blessed us with that burst of creativity which came at just the right time to energize our Jesus People revival!
John Hicks, ticket in hand, prepares to leave Kodiak in August of 1971. Barometer Mountain and a Sikorsky helicopter are in the background.He left us with a lot of good music and inspiration.
Tim and Kelly: “Our” Songs
My brother Kelly learned to play the electric bass in the summer of 1973, and began
working with me to lead music at Camp Woody. One voice, one nylon-
Soon we had a range from kid’s songs, Scripture songs, and praise choruses, to “special
numbers” that the campers soon learned and sang with us. Decidedly behind the times
for someone who had just experienced Calvary Chapel or the Voice of Elijah ministry
(or anywhere that could put together a real band), we were still truly ahead of our
time for many of the churches in Kodiak, and for many of the visitors we had every
summer. But thanks to John Hicks and later to many of my songwriting college friends,
we had an endless stream of really good songs. I even wrote and sang a few, although
I never considered myself a songwriter. Some of the sound samples in this section
are of vintage recordings (usually on horrible equipment) done by my brother and
I in spare moments between camps in the years we served at Camp Woody. Others were
recorded on better equipment, leading to our all-
Tim, Bruce, and Debbie (and the Stone Table String Band)
Debbie and I got married and moved to California in 1978. Our friend Bruce, who had served at Camp Woody in 1974 and 1975, lived nearby. He took up the electric bass, and he and I began playing some of those classic songs (and learning new ones). Thanks to his inspiration, we were able to record many of the wonderful songs that Kelly and I had done years before. We produced several albums of “Homemade Music” in the 1980’s, that we gave as Christmas gifts. And Debbie sometimes joined us, her sweet alto adding a new dimension to the songs.
In 1999 and 2000, Bruce joined other friends and me in recording the Stone Table
String Band CD: The Love and the Mercy. Kelly also got to help out on that CD, bringing
everything full circle! Since Bruce and I always strove for a group sound, all
of those classic recordings on CD go by the title of Stone Table String Band (“Tim,
Bruce, and Debbie” not being a real catchy band name!). Some of the sound samples
below include songs originally done at Camp Woody with my brother, re-
Kelly Smith (left, on bass) and Tim Smith in the mid-
J. C. & Company (Alaska’s First Jesus Rock Band)
The J. C. & Company band from the Abbot Loop Community Church in Anchorage only operated
for about a year and a half, but had a strong impact on the believers in Kodiak.
Their August, 1972 ministry in Kodiak was electrifying, the music was great, the
preaching was inspired, and the songs they shared certainly burned themselves into
our memories. I immediately adopted several of their songs for use at Camp Woody,
and later helped translate one of them when I made a bilingual Spanish-
The band’s only known release (the source of all the samples in the two articles)
was this very lo-
The author in a quiet moment at Camp Woody, 1971. The famous “guitar flower” hangs from the Lyle classical guitar.
From left: Ruben Hillborn playing my horrible Montgomery Wards guitar, leading worship at Camp Woody in 1968 (with his signature Gibson Hummingbird guitar), and giving an impromptu concert with his band at the “Open Door” coffee house in 1972.
Some Signature Songs:
Complete song: One Thing Right (Tim and Kelly, 1975 -
Complete song: Jesus Was a Carpenter (This song came off of a 1970 Johnny Cash album,
and I learned its free-
Original Songs Written by Tim or his Friends:
Complete song: To a Precious Lord (written by college friend Gideon Kohler)
Sound sample: Jesus Lives (Tell It!) Written by Gideon Kohler, but our version never went past the practice stage. This song has a definite “Jesus People” style and energy about it!
Complete song: “With My Whole Heart” (Tim and Kelly, 1976 -
Complete song: “Even More (A Rebirthday Song)” (Tim and Kelly, 1976 -
Above: The singing bunker on Long Island in this 1973 photo
Two songs recorded in a World War II bunker on Long Island, Alaska (just past Woody Island – see the Camp Woody page for more about those excursions)
Sound sample: “Father, I Adore You” (With the Senior High campers of 1975)
Complete song: “Sparrow (His Eye is on the Sparrow)” Bruce Adams joins me and my
Sound sample: Let Me Fly (Tim and Kelly laid down the basic track in 1975, and in
1976 Tim added a mandolin track to the original mono. This song was learned from
Camp Woody counselor Tim Genung in 1973, and is an example of some of the songs we
sang for fun in-
Sound sample: Ser Como Cristo / To Be Like Jesus (Two verses of a Camp Woody favorite featuring Kelly’s bass licks. This folk chorus came to Camp Woody from Tim’s involvement in the Mexical Outreach of Azusa Pacific University. This rather sedate version was recorded at Camp Woody. For an all Spanish, peppy version, check out the sound samples for the “Por Eso Es Que Canto” CD, available at this web site.)
Sound sample: “Seek and Ye Shall Find!” (1975) The younger kids (in this case 5th
Complete song: Thy Lovingkindness (Tim with Mitch Brandon, a splendid vocalist and instrumentalist, who recorded this Camp Woody worship favorite with me in 1995. This “Scripture song” taken from Psalm 63, verses 3 and 4, was one of many we incorporated into our worship while Kelly and I were leading the worship in the 1970’s. Now we need Kelly or Bruce to add bass!)
More Songs to be Sung:
The photo above shows me (left) with a favorite picking buddy, Mitch Brandon at their Sequoia R. V. Park in Three Rivers, California.
There are many great musicians and songwriters out there, and I hope that this site can feature many of them in the future. It’s been an honor to work with folks like my brother Kelly and our friend Bruce Adams, and to have been blessed by the ministry of folks like John Hicks, Ruben Hillborn and the band J. C. And Company. I have other musical friends like Mike Mooney that keep writing and sharing fantastic songs. I hope this “soundtrack” has been a blessing to you!
Please check out the “Discs and Downloads” Page
(Link Below) for full albums and sound samples.
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