In 1977, NASA sent the Voyager 1 spacecraft on a one-way trip out of our galaxy and into the far recesses of outer space. The hope was that one day some other lifeform would come upon it and gain some insight into the essence of mankind. To that end, a gold record and player were included, featuring sounds and music to illuminate the human condition. Included on that record—along with a recording of a human heartbeat and music by Beethoven and Bach—was Blind Willie Johnson’s haunting and ethereal “Dark Was The Night—Cold Was The Ground,” a timeless representation of the humanity of Earth’s inhabitants.
Blind Willie Johnson recorded a total of 30 tracks for Columbia between 1927 and 1930, creating a priceless legacy. He created unforgettable music by marrying the raw gospel fervor of his vocals with the steely blues fire of his guitar. His songs were mostly traditional or came from hymnals, but when Johnson performed them, his soul-shaking voice and amazing slide guitar transformed each one into something wholly original. Johnson was among the best-selling black gospel artists of the era, but the Great Depression ended his recording career.
According to Luther Dickinson, “Blind Willie Johnson touches everybody. His music is so of the earth that it still sounds completely modern. It’s timeless and like nothing else ever recorded. If we could hip anybody to Blind Willie Johnson, their lives would be enriched for sure.”
On God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, each artist sounds as if he or she was born to preach Johnson’s gospel. The collective work is much more than a simple ‘tribute’ album. These eleven performances are a powerful and cohesive affirmation of faith as deep as the soul of a man, with an eternal message that is as boundless as the dark, cold night at the farthest edge of the universe.
|Blind Willie Johnson - Miscellaneous Album Lyrics|
|1.||Let Your Light Shine on Me|
|2.||John the Revelator|
|3.||It's Nobody's Fault but Mine|
|4.||God Moves on the Water|