Rebirth of the Cool: John the Revelator

This is the first installment of what may become a regular feature focusing on covers or different takes on a single song.

One of the much bandied about cliches of modern music is that the devil gets all the good music. But anyone who has delved into the different forms of sacred music knows that that is a very arguable statement. (There is some damn fine gospel music out there, and the gospel influence can be heard in some of today’s more exciting bands, like The Builders and the Butchers.)

I would posit the theory that the best music is performed by those whose ultimate fate (if one is given to beliefs of the spiritual) remains in question. Take the blues classic “John the Revelator” as an example. The first noted recording of the song was recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in 1930. While he played in the blues style and has been covered by artists such as Led Zeppelin, the White Stripes and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, all of Johnson’s lyrical content centered on the sacred, and he was known to preach to anyone who might listen.


Blind Willie Johnson – John the Revelator Continue reading