The Gospel According to Charlie

The rowdy Rev. Charlie Jackson’s exuberant gospel.


Originally released on obscure gospel labels, this 1970s collection just plain sizzles. Like a sanctified version of early John Lee Hooker, Reverend Charlie Jackson plays raw, slashing electric guitar and erupts in urgent hallelujahs as occasional backup singers inject call-and-response fervor. Jackson’s gruff, exuberant vocals celebrate salvation, but he doesn’t portray it as a painless process: “Wrapped Up and Tangled Up in Jesus” depicts a soul in turmoil. These aren’t polished recordings; befitting their origins in tiny Louisiana studios, the songs boast crackling, distorted sound and are all the more effective for it. The rowdiest rock
and roll has nothing on Reverend Jackson.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.