“Death Don’t Have No Mercy” by Rev. Gary Davis
There’s a wide rift between Gospel and the Blues but there are bridges everywhere and people like us are walking on those bridges crossing back and forth. It’s the distance between Saturday night downtown and Sunday morning in church. You cannot straddle that distance to make a home on both sides; you’ll fall into the space between, like so many other lost souls. Listen: Gospel places its faith in Heaven. The Blues places what little faith it has in sex and a stiff drink. We’re talking about two very different creeds, and all they have in common is a certain nihilism, a bleak outlook for life here on earth. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity; I asked for water, she gave me gasoline. A man trying to reconcile his Bible and his Blues records will find himself left only with the despair they preach.
Here’s the Reverend Gary Davis. He tried to step across that rift, and fell to the bottom. Here’s a song he sang as he fell.
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