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Mark Jacobson on the Popular Music of Infamous Cult Leaders (feat. Shy Boyz)

What does Jonestown have in common with Burning Man?
Mark Jacobson (left) and William Cooper (the rapper)

Mark Jacobson (left) and William Cooper (the rapper)

We had so much fun doing the Failed State Jukebox a few weeks ago that we thought we'd try it again. Thanks to my (Lenny's) terrific administrative skills, J.G. Michael wasn't on the call. But don't worry, he'll be back next week.

This week, with author and journalist Mark Jacobson as our guide, we explore the world of American cults, through their music.


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  • Boney M: Rivers of Babylon
  • The Melodians: Rivers of Babylon
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  • Passion: Don't Stop
  • Mobb Deep: Shook Ones, Pt. II
  • Peoples Temple Choir: He's Able
  • L. Ron Hubbard: Alien Visitors Attack
  • Jim Kweskin Jug Band: Dark as a Dungeon

But that's not all! Listen to the end, because Philadelphia's own Shy Boyz come on to discuss their cult covers album, American Idolz. They also share their rendition of "Energy Master," a song originally recorded by Gabriel of Urantia.

The album is available now on Bandcamp.

But first, check out the commercial for American Idolz here: