A Night Thread to Listen to John Rydgren Watch Girls By

John Rydgren was the head of the TV, Radio and Film Department for the American Lutheran Church in 1967. Rydgren created a daily radio show called Silhouette where he would read his own proselytizing poems over samples from The Electric Prunes, Herb Albert and more. Rydgren generally geared his segments towards the hippies, despite Rydgren looking like a total square. As such, segments have a certain psychedelic bent, but are still definitely rooted in Jesus Freak territory.

Rydgren would eventually release some of these segments on promotional LPs in an attempt at syndicating his radio show. These were not commercially available (in part because of licensing issues), though unauthorized bootlegs started popping up around the turn of the century. Omni Recording Corporation released a double CD in 2012, and I believe a listing for that on the now defunct Aquarius Records store page initially made me aware of him. I found more information at the, now defunct, WFMU Beware of the Blog, which you can see here, along with some possibly still functional MP3 links: https://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2005/07/pastor_john_ryd.html

Though most of these segments are innocent enough, and actually can be quite pleasant to listen to thanks to Rydgren’s basso profundo voice, I’ll choose to highlight a particularly creepy one: Music to Watch Girls By. Here Rydgren vividly, and weirdly, describes a woman walking in an almost ekphratic tone. What does that have to do with God? Well, you know, maybe when you’re gawking at some poor woman just going from one place to the other, you could think about how God made women, eh? “Not to take the fun of it, it just makes girl watching mean more.”

I’m not really sure how, though.