ROCK Sex asks "who's that writing/ John the Revelator"?
Any creative act inspires another. That's the nature of creativity and the mantra of this column. Everything anyone creates tracks back to what has been handed to us from before. Many of the songs we take for granted, such as "House of the Rising Sun", have been around since previous centuries.
Blind Willie Johnson ignites today's baton swap with the song "John The Revelator". He recorded this country Blues take on an old Gospel song with his wife, Willie B. Harris.
[Blind Willie is also responsible for "In My time of Dying" (Dylan, Zeppelin), "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (Zeppelin), and "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" (Fairport Convention).]
BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON -"John The Revelator" (1930)
SON HOUSE did a startling a capella version that became a signature tune in his repertoire:
SON HOUSE -"John The Revelator" (1965)
The standard has since been covered by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Thee Headcoats, Beck, R.E.M., Frank Black, A. A. Bondy, Nick Cave, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cameo, and Tom Waits.
Revelation is open to endless interpretation.
Meg and Jack White revealed the classic within their own Garage stomp.
THE WHITE STRIPES -"Cannon" (1999)
Gillian Welch and running partner David Rawlings did an epic, confessional sequel to it as the title piece of her classic album:
GILLIAN WELCH -"Time (The Revelator)" (2001)
Depeche Mode also made a sequel as a sociopolitical protest against perpetually myopic dictatorships.
DEPECHE MODE -"John The Revelator" (2006)
© Tym Stevens
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