Q174 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue: Music

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “10/2/78 Band Music”

Date cues on tape: April 1978 (Hue Fortson recently met with Concerned Relatives)

People named:

Jonestown residents full name unknown:
Charles (sings)

Jonestown residents:
Hue Fortson
Garry Dartez Johnson, aka Poncho (sings)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Ollie Marie Smith (sings)

Bible verses cited: None


The musical group called the Jonestown Express performs before the community in April 1978. There are a few instrumentals, although most selections feature solo vocals alternating among three or four singers. Some songs appear to be original compositions – including one tribute to Jim Jones and Jonestown – but the performance includes numerous covers, among them George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and the Hal David/Burt Bacharach song, “Alfie.” For the most part, the band plays the covers in a straightforward manner. However, reflecting the philosophy of atheism that the Temple embraced, especially during its Jonestown period, a singer changes the lyric in “Alfie” from “As sure as I believe” to its opposite: “As sure as I don’t believe.”

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/13/79

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.

On May 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B68-25. This tape was found to contain the following:

Music identified as being performed by “The Jonestown Express.”

This tape was reviewed, and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted February 2005