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Thoughts about Blind Willie Johnson’s “John the Revelator”……

Blind Willie JohnspnSo this morning when I was researching Greg Lake I was listening to his latest album Songs of a Lifetime. One of the songs was of course “From the Beginning” somehow during the search and listening I came across a version of the song from the band Glass Harp that appears on their album Glass Harp Strings Attached Live with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Track seven on the album is a nice cover of the song “John the Revelator” Later in the morning I was looking for some new music on the Roots Music Report charts. One of the names on the Roots Rock chart Joe Grushecky was familiar. I remembered that I did like his music so I went and checked out his current release Somewhere East of Eden. The third track on that album is also “John the Reveltor” So this all got me thinking about this classic blues song. So I went to Wikipedia to see what I could find out……

“John the Revelator” is a traditional gospel blues call and response song.[1] It has been called “one of the most powerful songs in all of pre-war acoustic music … [which] has been hugely influential to blues performers”.[2] American gospel-blues musician Blind Willie Johnson recorded “John the Revelator” in 1930 and subsequently a variety of artists have recorded their renditions of the song, often with variations in the verses and music. The song’s title refers to the Apostle John, the author of the Book of Revelation, and quotes several passages from the Bible in the tradition of African-American spirituals.

and some of this covers of the song include:

“John the Revelator” has been recorded by numerous musical artists,[25] including Jay Boy Adams, the Trey Anastasio Band, Beck, Frank Black, A. A. Bondy, Nick Cave, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Golden Gate Quartet,[26] Gov’t Mule, Rolf Harris, The Indelicates, Phil Keaggy, John Mellencamp, Lee Roy Parnell, R.E.M., Benjamin Siksou in his musical show Valises Blues,[27] The Silencers, Curtis Stigers, and Steve Vai. Read more

 

So I went and listened to several versions of the songs; Here’s some of them

Warren HayesFrom Gov’t Mule – I think this is my favorite version…..Warren’s vocal is just great on the song!

and then there is Nick Cave

and the original from Blind Willie Johnson

and finally from Ollabelle……

Check out the first version listed on MOG from Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers!

Which one do you like best? One of these or another version?? Maybe the one from Son House!