Friday, March 26, 2021

Flashback Friday

Back to the 70's this week to feature another early pioneer of CCM music, Don Francisco. I decided to feature Don this week because Easter is nearly here and his song "He's Alive" is the first song that I think of at Easter time.

Don Francisco was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a Christian seminary professor. Francisco's early career with the band Highway Robbery, centered on the folk-rock music common during the mid-1960s, but after an experience Francisco believed was supernatural, he rededicated his life to God and changed his personal, musical direction. He has been writing and recording CCM music since 1974.

Don's first album, Brother of the Son was released in 1976 and featured an easy listening folk sound. In 1977 he recorded "I Don't Care Where You've Been Sleeping" for the album Forgiven. It is one of the most uncompromising songs he has ever written and it is considered by many to be one of his best songs.

Perhaps his most remembered song off the Forgiven album is the one that I mentioned above... "He's Alive." The song has been recorded by the likes of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Walt Mills, The Gaither Vocal Band, Ray Boltz, and countless others.

In 1979, He released his third album, Got To Tell Somebody and continued to release albums through the 80's, 90's, up to his last album, Forever My Friend, released in 2014. 

Francisco's style is fairly distinctive, focusing on acoustic instruments barren of modern production techniques and concentrates on the narratives of the songs, using ballad styles or speaking through the music that interprets Scriptural events or Biblical lessons. This is specifically with respect to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his messages of "unconditional love" ("I Don't Care Where You've Been Sleeping"), salvation ("Give Your Heart a Home"), and a lesson against religious self-righteousness and pharisaic condemnation ("Beautiful To Me"). As is the case with many singer-songwriters advocating a specific religious belief or philosophical viewpoint through music, Francisco uses his adaptations and interpretations as the means to convey what he feels are the most important teachings of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.

Don Francisco retains full copyright on all of his work and holds a very liberal approach to sharing music. His original website used to provide free music downloads and actually encouraged copying with proper notice. The new website is still in development and doesn't yet have those pages, though Francisco still holds those views.

This position is held on the basis of Christian love and a rare stand against the commercialization of Christianity. The updated website has a storefront as the landing page and is primarily used to market his merchandise. The free downloads are frequently done through his Facebook page, however, which has a following of 27,000 plus currently. The MP3s page does offer MP3s for any donation, however, if the shopper cannot afford the purchase price.

Don Francisco won 1980 song of the year (for "He's Alive"), and 1980 Songwriter of the year. He has over 20 albums, two Dove Awards, 30 years of sharing the Word.

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