America Is Hard To Find

Band members                             Related acts

- Daniel Berrigan (RIP 2016) -- spoken word

- unknown





Genre: bizarre

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  America Is Hard To Find

Company: Multi-Trax

Catalog: ZB-176

Year: 1970

Country/State: Virginia, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: heavy sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4854

Price: $100.00



This one gets an extra star just for its period excesses ... one radical priest (Daniel Berrigan), one freak-out rock band (un-credited), and an excess of pent up rage at America's moral, political and social fabric.


This will seem like ancient history to most folks, but in the late 1960s Daniel Berrigan was a Jesuit priest serving as the chaplain at Cornell University.  Unhappy with the country's involvement in Vietnam he gained national attention when he traveled to North Vietnam (along with professor Howard Zinn) in an effort to negotiate the freedom of several imprisoned American pilots.  The North Vietnamese actually did release a couple of American POWs, but Berriagn was roundly denounced by the Nixon administration who labeled him as a traitor.  Berrigan became even more active in anti-war work.  He took part in several events where students burned their draft registration notices.  Those actions resulted in a three year jail sentence, but he went underground before serving his jail term.  For several months he evaded capture (apparently without making much of an effort to stay hidden).  During that time he managed to get  on the FBI's top-10 wanted list.  Eventually captured by the Feds, he spent 18 months in Danbury Penitentiary.  From that point on he made a career of regularly being arrested for protesting various issues.  The man somehow also found time to write over 50 books, including poetry and several plays.


Recorded between February and March 1970, "America Is Hard To Find" featured a mixture of Berrigan talking about his activism and reciting some of his original poetry (most of it with a distinctive anti-war theme).  It wasn't exactly rock and roll, but was mildly interesting if you treated it as a historic document.   Composed by John Hostetter, Allan Sorvall and David Turner, the flip side was far more interesting.  Billed as a 'rock mass' (shades of The Electric Prune), the four segments featured a mixture of real rock songs (with a religious theme), coupled with some hysterically inept narratives that while clearly meant to be thought provoking, were so over-the-top that you were likely to wet yourself laughing.  The bumpkin accent on 'Credo' is priceless.  (I can imagine legions of ex-hippies and Jesus freaks trying to subtly deposit copies of this album at their local Goodwill or Salvation Army collection center.)




By the way, in 1972 Berrigan published some of these poems in a book with the same title.




"America Is Hard To Find" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) False Gods, Real Men   (Daniel Brainnigan) - 8:06

2.) Trial Poems I   (Daniel Brainnigan) - 5:36

3.) Trial Poems II   (Daniel Brainnigan) - 4:52


(side 2)
1.) Kyrie   (John Hostetter - Allan Sorvall - David Turner) - 4:18

2.) Gloria    (John Hostetter - Allan Sorvall - David Turner)- 3:48

3.) Credo   (John Hostetter - Allan Sorvall - David Turner) - 4:34

4.) Sanctus   (John Hostetter - Allan Sorvall - David Turner) - 6:37


Berrigan passed on in April 2016.