NEW MUSIC: Reverend John Wilkins

Download: “You Can’t Hurry God” — Rev. John Wilkins (mp3)

Stream: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-You-Cant-Hurry-God.mp3|titles=”You Can’t Hurry God” – Rev. John Wilkins]

Gorgeous title track off Reverend John Wilkins’ debut album You Can’t Hurry God—which is otherwise pretty foot-stompin’ and hand-clappin’—just out on CD for 13 bucks from Mississippi’s Big Legal Mess Records, a label all music fans should be keeping an eye on. Big Legal Mess is an offshoot of Fat Possum Records, more in line with their ’90s/early ’00s commitment to releasing new albums by underheard local blues musicians like Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, Cedell Davis, T-Model Ford, and many others, that were free of the studio polish and cheesy showboating of most American blues recordings from the last three decades. This treasure of an album, produced by Amos Harvey and recorded by Fat Possum vet Bruce Watson, is very much in that ’90s Fat Possum vein.

There’s a lot to say about John Wilkins, and where this music comes from—go to the Big Legal Mess website (address below) for the full scoop—but real quick: Wilkins played guitar with O.V. Wright in the ’60s, as well as performing in local churches, parties and clubs, very much in the North Mississippi Hill Country country-blues style of his father Reverend Robert Wilkins, whose 1930s version of “That’s No Way To Get Along,” entitled “Prodigal Son,” was later covered by the Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet. Since the early ’80s, Reverend John Wilkins has been pastor at Hunter’s Chapel Church in Tate County, Mississippi. Past members of this congregation include Fred McDowell and his wife Annie Mae, Other Turner and Napolian Strickland. Its singers recorded the album Amazing Grace: Mississippi Delta Spirituals By The Hunter’s Chapel Singers Of Como, Miss. for Testament Records in 1966.

You Can’t Hurry God sports a full bass-drums-guitar-Hammond lineup, with Reverend Wilkins’ daughters on backing vocals. Wonderful and hallelujah!

Tons more biographical, recording and ordering info: http://biglegalmessrecords.com/revwilkins.htm

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was, amongst other things, a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print publications and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I wrote a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in JTHomesteader.com with Stephanie Smith.

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