Opening with a blues-inflected "Get Back to the Bible," the original eponymous Petra album hearkens more to Southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd than to the arena-type groups that they became more associated with, both in vocal style and in musical texture. Who knew that guitarist Bob Hartman could sing? Though the Southern rock theme is predominant here, the style is not very unified on this record, and it is obvious that the group was under pressure to keep things more subdued and "sensible" to be in line with the teachings of the major theologians of the day. Guitarist/vocalist Greg Hough lends his voice and songwriting skills to "Wake Up," which is reminiscent of the James Gang. One very silly novelty tune, "Lucas McGraw," takes on a hillbilly persona featuring Hartman on banjo and Hough on mandolin. Standout track "Back Sliding Blues" is easy to not take seriously in the context of "Lucas McGraw," but is a strong tune in and of itself and was a concert favorite back in the day. Certainly not on par with the bands they are trying to emulate, this first record can stand well on its own and offers an interesting anthropological perspective for a group that has attracted fans along the whole spectrum of musical taste.
AllMusic Review by Mark Allender