posted October 3rd, 2014

With the story of The Source Family out there, both as the subject of an acclaimed book and documentary film (as well as an ongoing series of rare, never-before-released recordings), it’s time to turn the light back on the records that made this whole thing a story in the first place. In the 1990s, it was a revelation to discover that there was a series of records made by a hippie cult led by a big Santa Claus-looking guy named Father Yod. More so that these records weren’t predictable light-rock recitals about Jesus — far from it! Instead, they were darkly psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness jams, with Father and the members of his band (usually The Spirit of ’76 or YaHoWa13) transforming divine coils of enlightenment rock over and over. The records were amazing home-recorded documents, adorned with hand-drawn phrases, logos and grainy color shots of what appeared to be truly magical everyday cult life with Father.

Now we return to the beginning, for the second coming of Kohoutek. It was the first spontaneous recording they actually pressed up and came out in 1973, the year of the comet Kohoutek, whose immanent arrival spawned a new round of cosmic consciousness in the media and with people all over the planet. It was more than a comet; its radiance was enormous, coming from ancient times to be experienced again by the enlightened people of the day. The Source Family were alive with expectation about the return of this long-haired messenger, and Father devoted considerable time chanting and eventually changing in his identity to Yahowa while meditating on the comet - the event provided an infusion of energy. The two sides of Kohoutek are a special jam that passes through tranquility to exultation, a tapping of the passing flame in the skies and a greeting from Father to the messenger and bearer of such awesome gifts. Very pure.

By contrast, Savage Sons of Ya Ho Wa is a record that Father doesn’t appear on. Well, he doesn’t play on the record, but look on the cover — Yahowa is still in the driver’s seat. Musically, YaHoWa13 go it on their own, with Octavius, Sunflower, Djinn, and Rhythm collaborating with Electron, who supplies powerful lead vocals. What’s here is a collection of heavy rock songs that will echo in your consciousness, like the opening track, “Edge of a Dream,” and the refrain “I want to see/What’s going on.” The guttural nature of Electron’s vocal sound may recall the name of Beefheart to some; Electron occupies the same unconsciousness, free in the communal slipstream, with less blues and more country gospel in his soul.

Neither album has been available on vinyl for decades, but by YaHoWa, it's our mission to bring these emanations of original, pure Source Family spiritual visions from the mid-1970s to you, November 18th - prepare for their re-arrival on this earth!


Artists in this story: The Source Family