Various Artists: God Don't Never Change; The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson (Alligator/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Jesus is Coming Soon (Cowboy Junkies)
Various Artists: God Don't Never Change; The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson (Alligator/Southbound)

Late last year Elsewhere essayed the life and music of the great Blind Willie Johnson, the man who gave blues (and then rock and country) such cornerstone songs as It's Nobody's Fault But Mine, John the Revelator (which appeared on the Harry Smith collection) and Dark was the Night, among many others.

Johnson was a man for whom Jesus and Satan were as real as his fellow travelers on this earth and his lyrics possess an often terrifying emotional resonance.

This collection of artists is a stellar and sympathetic cast which includes Tom Waits (The Soul of a Man and John the Revelator), Lucinda Williams (It's Nobody's Fault But Mine and the title track), Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning), Cowboy Junkies (a gritty Jesus is Coming Soon) and Sinead O'Connor (Trouble Will Be Over Soon).

Elsewhere are the Blind Boys of Alabama with an aching Mother's Children Have a Hard Time (sometimes rendered as Motherless Children), Luther Dickinson with a fife and drum treatment of Bye and Bye I'm Going to See the King, Maria McKee and Rickie Lee Jones.

All get inside Johnson's songs in a respectful but raw way, much of the music parallels Johnson's narrow range and melodic repetition, and the thorough liner essay by academic Michael Corcoran fill in Johnson's life and times.

Great songs, great versions.

The force is strong in this one. 

Share It

Your Comments

Jamie - Apr 4, 2016

Couldn't agree more. First time in a while I've put an album on and sat and loved every song on it, so much so that when it finished I went and opened a beer and sat and listened to it right through a second time! Every track a pearler.

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

DANNY CLICK INTERVIEWED (2004): Jimi beating up Buck

DANNY CLICK INTERVIEWED (2004): Jimi beating up Buck

Singer-guitarist Danny Click, from Austin, the capital of live music in America, laughs about a description he heard of his playing style: "I'm not really country and I'm not really total... > Read more

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

For someone yet to hit 30, the Jacksonville, Florida-based singer-guitarist Derek Trucks has achieved a lot. But then, he was almost born to it. His uncle is drummer Butch Trucks of the Allman... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DAYME AROCENA INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2018): Cuba getting its jazz-funk improv on

DAYME AROCENA INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2018): Cuba getting its jazz-funk improv on

When Dayme Arocena from Cuba took the stage for his first of two shows at Womad she came on like petite powerhouse, her dusty black skin wrapped in pure white, and her band immediately hitting... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . GEOFF LOVE: Man of international mysteries

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . GEOFF LOVE: Man of international mysteries

Britain's Geoff Love has no place in the catalogue of the mad, bad, dangerous and disturbed. He was just so utterly normal. And that's why he joins our collection of odd characters in music... > Read more