(Big Legal Mess)
It’s common knowledge amongst
music fans that the blues has a much richer history than just juke joints and
guitar solos. Despite its reputation for being a haven for sinners and
reprobates, there’s a strong strain of spirituality running through the blues,
as exemplified by notables like Blind Willie Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis and
Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
The Reverend John Wilkins is
the latest star in a long line of gospel bluesmen, and You Can’t Hurry God puts him right up there with the greats. The
son of singer Robert Wilkins (who contributed “Prodigal Son” to the Rolling
Stones’ Beggars Banquet), the Memphis-born,
North Mississippi-bred Wilkins has a career stretching back to the 60s playing
guitar for O.V. Wright, before following in his father’s footsteps into the
ministry in the 1980s. Wilkins draws on a variety of blues styles for his debut
album, from acoustic country blues (Robert’s “Prodigal Son”) and the
electrified version of same (“Thank You Sir,” “You Gotta Move”) to boogie
(“Jesus Will Fix It”), straight gospel (“On the Battlefield,” “I Want You to
Help Me”) and soul balladry (“Sinner’s Prayer,” the title track), displaying an
easy mastery of all of them.
But musical skill isn’t the
point so much as the feeling behind the songs, which is pure soul. Even the
heathens among us won’t be able to resist the power that moves through You Can’t Hurry God.
Can’t Hurry God,” “I Want You to Help Me,” “On the Battlefield” MICHAEL TOLAND