Reverend John Wilkins

As with the work of his father, Robert Wilkins, the sounds of Memphis and the nearby North Mississippi Hill Country are both integral to Reverend John Wilkins's gloriously authentic country blues and gospel. The elder Wilkins, who played the folk circuit after being "rediscovered" in the 1960s, early on wrote secular songs like "That's No Way to Get Along," which after becoming a minister he reworked as "Prodigal Son," covered by the Rolling Stones on Beggars Banquet and son John on his full-length debut, You Can't Hurry God. The younger Wilkins played guitar on O.V. Wright's huge 1965 crossover hit "You're Gonna Make Me Cry," but turned to the ministry himself and now presides at a church in Como, Mississippi. Wilkins's vocals drip with pure soul on YCHG, his picking and slide work are revelatory, and an intrepid band kicks through scintillating arrangements that reflect both rural Mississippi and Memphis's Hi Records.
Sun., July 10, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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