Sunday Six

Levon Helm (1940-2012). Image:

I’m not a religious person, but I do dig me a good gospel tune or two.

Levon Helm passed away this week, and “When I Go Away” from his album Electric Dirt, has the just the right amount of funk and call-and-response to make it a joyful goodbye while bringing comfort to those left behind:

Son House’s version of “John the Revelator” is raw and powerful like a force of nature:

Willie Nelson used to teach Sunday School until the church elders told him he had to choose between playing honky-tonks and the church. Willie made the right career move, but still likes to close his concerts with a little gospel sing-along:

Ry Cooder and David Lindley’s version of “Jesus On the Mainline” will put you in a trance; I swear one day I will be as snazzy a dresser as these gents, too; David Lindley does not fear the pattern mis-match:

Dr. John may be the Night Tripper, but he can lay down some mean gospel tunes. Here he is with a medley of “Didn’t He Ramble/A Closer Walk With Thee”:

Ray Charles shocked the community when he borrowed gospel rhythms for his secular tunes. Here, he goes back to the church with “What Kind of Man Is This”:

Sermon’s over. Now it’s time for dinner on the ground. Don’t know what that is? Read on:

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