The Seventy Sevens have released several critically acclaimed albums throughout their long history, including 1987’s The 77’s and 1990’s Sticks and Stones. I like those albums well enough; they each have little gems like the former’s “Do It for Love” and the latter’s “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.” However, 1992’s Pray Naked has always been my favorite Seventy Sevens album.
Pray Naked — which was released, without the band’s knowledge, with altered packaging and a new title to keep from offending Christian music stores (the Christian music industry is/was weird, man) — runs the gamut of musical styles. It has bluesy rockers (“Woody”), jangly pop (“Phony Eyes”), stormy alt-rock (“Self-Made Trap”), and a couple of truly heartfelt, beautiful ballads (“Kites Without Strings,” “The Rain Kept Falling in Love”). But thanks to the band’s stellar musicianship and performance, and Mike Roe’s soulful voice, they all feel part of a cohesive whole.
All told, Pray Naked is one of those albums that’s only grown in my estimation since I first heard it over two decades ago. Unfortunately, like so many great Christian “alternative” albums from the ’90s, it’s been overlooked and essentially out of print for years. However, Lo-Fidelity Records has launched a Kickstarter campaign to reissue Pray Naked in an expanded format on CD and vinyl. The Pray Naked reissue is currently planned for a September release with the Seventy Sevens hitting the road in October to tour in support of it. Via