SNL band leader and musical director S.E. — of all places — served as the platform for a Christian call to repentance, thanks to the intersection of pandemics past and present. Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! And you'll never see this message again. His electrifying opening medley featured snippets of his White Stripes track “Ball and Biscuit” and a tune he wrote for Beyoncé, plus these lines from a 1920s blues song inspired by the “Spanish flu”: The nobles said to the people, “You better close your public schools,And until death passes ya by, you better close all your churches, too.”I done told ya, they done told ya, God is comin’ soon.I done told ya, they done told ya, the Lord is comin’ soon. “Jesus Is Coming Soon”: Singing the Pandemic Blues. magazine.) After Lomax turned on his field recording equipment, this Johnson performed “Influenza,” a song that he had learned from “a holiness boy in Amarillo,” about the outbreak that afflicted Memphis a decade after the more famous flu epidemic. Matthew Dessem is Brow Beatâs nights and weekends editor and the author of a biography of screenwriter and director Clyde Bruckman. After Lomax turned on his field recording equipment, this Johnson performed “Influenza,”, that he had learned from “a holiness boy in Amarillo,” about the outbreak that. i wont even insult the manâs talent by trying to play one of his songs tonight. To turn away from evil and seek the Lord and pray. That has nothing to do with Jack White or Eddie Van Halen, but I think itâs neat.) Soon. Hereâs Blind Willie Johnsonâs original recording, from December of 1928: The best of movies, TV, books, music, and more, delivered to your inbox three times a week. Because: God sent a mighty disease If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. i thought it could be a nice gesture for me to use this blue eddie van halen model guitar for one of the songs tonight on SNL. The third song, though, was a surprise; itâs Blind Willie Johnsonâs âJesus Is Coming Soon,â a blues song about the 1918 flu pandemic from which White lifted the following topical couplets: The nobles said to the people, âYou better close your public schools, And until death passes you by, you better close all your churches too.â. Soon. Astonishingly, the subgenre of Texas-raised, influenza-inspired, apocalyptic blues-gospel doesn’t stop with Blind Willie Johnson. Youâve run out of free articles. At the end of that year, Johnson recorded “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” “Lord, I Just Can’t Keep from Crying,” and the song that Jack White covered: “Jesus Is Coming Soon.”. Jack White, tapping on a guitar designed by Eddie Van Halen. The Elephant track was reworked to feature lyrics from “Jesus is Coming Soon”, a traditional gospel song about the 1918 Spanish Flu that was famously performed by Blind Willie Johnson. When (Almost All) Christians Welcomed a Vaccine. Jesus Is Coming (David Wilkerson)- Are you ready for the coming of Jesus? It is etymologically related to Lazarus, however, by way of âlazar,â which means someone who is poor and contagious, usually a leper. Jack White performs a medley of "Ball and Biscuit", "Don't Hurt Yourself" and Blind Willie Johnson's "Jesus is Coming Soon" for his first set and "Lazaretto" for his second. Well, God is warning the nation, He’s a-warning them every way.To turn away from evil and seek the Lord and pray. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. ), “It was God’s almighty hand,” Ace Johnson sang, “he was judging this old land.” Just as “nobles” and people died in 1918, in 1929 God “killed the rich and poor, and he’s going to kill more, / If you don’t turn away from your sins.”. He then pulled lyrics from “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” a 1920s blues gospel standard — made famous by formative Texas artist Blind Willie Johnson — that recounted the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. In his second song, White explicitly saluted Van Halen with his performance of âLazaretto,â the title track from his 2014 album. All rights reserved. Jack White – Ball and Biscuit/Don’t Hurt Yourself/Jesus Is Coming Soon. Astonishingly, the subgenre of Texas-raised, influenza-inspired, apocalyptic blues-gospel doesn’t stop with Blind Willie Johnson. Send me updates about Slate special offers. As a white man with a good job and reliable health insurance, it’s easy to explain a pandemic like COVID in purely epidemiological terms, tinged with perhaps a bit of anger at callous and incompetent political leaders whose failures don’t actually touch me all that deeply. (White was accepted to seminary earlier in his life, but decided not to become a priest after realizing that “music fulfilled my connection to God in a way that would be unfettered by man’s interpretation and man’s religious ideas.”) After all, Carl Sagan could include Blind Willie Johnson’s voice on the record that accompanied the Voyager One probe into interstellar space, even though he didn’t believe in the Christ whose death inspired Johnson’s most haunting performance. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. He brought along a White Stripes track to the show, “Ball And Biscuit,” interpolated with Blind Willie Johnson’s “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” which was written about the 1918 flu pandemic. I done told ya, they done told ya, the Lord is comin’ soon. Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world. “Jesus Is Coming Soon”: Singing the Pandemic Blues October 20, 2020 by Chris Gehrz Ten days ago Saturday Night Live — of all places — served … 44.1k Likes, 740 Comments - Jack White Live (@officialjackwhitelive) on Instagram: “Watch Jack’s blistering performances of “Ball and Biscuit” with “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and “Jesus Is…” Its verses narrate the terrifying days of 1918, when “the doctors they got troubled and they didn’t know what to do.” Why did so many die that even schools and churches had to close? But if I were an incarcerated Black man, I might see God “judging this old land” in a disease that flattens the differences of economic inequality. Johnson’s “violent, tortured and abysmal shouts and groans and his inspired guitar” dazzled one New York critic, who knew little about the Texan, save that he was “apparently a religious fanatic.” Having honed his skills in Baptist and Pentecostal churches, Johnson sang at the crossroads of gospel and the blues. Please also opt me in for Exclusive Offers from Patheos’s Partners, The Power of Faith in Filipino Americans’ Fight for Justice. Wallen apologized on Instagram, but honestly, people should be thanking him: his biggest hit, â7 Summers,â doesnât really have a solo, and Jack Whiteâs repertoire, uh, does not have that problem. You value our work, please disable your ad blocker through the air, singer-songwriter-guitar Jack... S episode of Saturday Night Live below join Slate Plus to continue reading, and get! Your device billburr Photo by @ maryellenmatthewsnyc and pray, Paul Briganti Doron! 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