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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt (1980)

Updated: Apr 28

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt is the third studio album by Christian singer - songwriter Keith Green. It was released independently on Pretty Good Records on May 7, 1980. In 1979, Green negotiated a release from his contract with Sparrow Records and he initiated a new policy of refusing to charge money for concerts or albums. Keith and Melody Green mortgaged their home to privately finance this album and formed an independent label called Pretty Good Records as part of Last Days Ministries, which at the time of the album's release, the Greens had moved to the Lindale, Texas town of Garden Valley.

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt marked a turning point in Green's career when he realized his principles would no longer allow him to charge money for albums. The album was offered through mail-order and at concerts for whatever price the recipient was willing to pay. As of May 1982, Green had shipped out more than 200,000 units of his album–61,000 for free. Green continued this policy for the remainder of his career. Some in the Gospel Music industry thought Green was crazy for this kind of practice, but Green believed he had to practice what he preached, and he felt he could not charge $8.98 for a record when the gospel and salvation were free. At some point, after Green's death, this album was offered for sale mainly through the Last Days Ministries web site.

Aside from Green's "no charge" policy, the album itself was another landmark recording and featured folk rock legend and friend Bob Dylan, who played the harmonica on the track "Pledge My Head to Heaven." Other guests include Matthew Ward of 2nd Chapter of Acts and Kelly Willard, who co-wrote and sang backing vocals on "I Want to be More Like Jesus." The title song became a hit on Christian radio and "Grace By Which I Stand" and "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" became his signature songs. Produced by Green and Bill Maxwell. "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" was named as one of the 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music by CCM Magazine coming in at number 40 and has been covered by many Christian artists like Kim Boyce, Margaret Becker and Rebecca St. James. The magazine also named So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt as one of the 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music listed at number 49. The album was reissued on Sparrow Records in 1986 with its original album cover on LP and cassette tape and on CD in 1990.

After Green's passing in 1982, So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt finally charted on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart in 1983, nearly three years after the album's release, as Christian bookstores started selling the album, but as per Green's request, the album was to be sold at whatever price the customer was willing to pay. The album climbed to number 21.

Track listing

All songs were written by Keith Green, except where noted.

1. So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt (Keith and Melody Green) -4:36

2. Pledge My Head to Heaven -3:53

3. If You Love the Lord (Keith and Melody Green) -4:06

4. Romans VII -3:24

5. Lies -3:42

6. I Want to Be More Like Jesus (Keith and Melody Green, Kelly Willard) -4:21

7. Unless the Lord Builds the House (Keith and Melody Green) -3:56

8. Oh Lord, You're Beautiful -4:17

9. You Love the World -2:37

10. Grace By Which I Stand -4:51

Radio single

1980 "So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt" -#8 Christian AC/CHR

Previous release: No Compromise (1978)

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