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Reverend John Wilkins makes gospel music that sounds like a Sun Records-era gospel Prophet just walked out of the North Mississippi woods. And that's pretty much what happened. Playing at church, clubs, parties around the Memphis area most of his life, Wilkins (son of bluesman Robert Wilkins who you know for the 'Stones cover of The Prodigal Son) played guitar in 1965 on the great O.V. Wright classic, You're Gonna Make Me Cry.
In the 1980s John Wilkins followed in his father's footsteps and became Rev. Wilkins, becoming Pastor to Como, Mississippi's Hunter's Chapel Church, which was also home to Othar Turner and others. Earlier the church was home to Mississippi Fred McDowell and his wife.
Reverend Wilkins, with the help of Oxford, Mississippian Amos Harvey has made his first and best album. A rare-sounding gospel album that's at once perfectly vintage and present day. A strong sound with a strong message that, like Pops Staples and others from the region, does not overwhelm with either but rather presents the facts as He sees them.
Our old friend Amos Harvey has produced another stellar record with the help of Jake Fussell on guitar, Eric Deaton - bass, Wallace Lester on the drums, Adam Woodard - Hammond organ, and Rev. Wilkins daughters handling the back up vocals. Amos was responsible for the outstanding recordings of Precious Bryant a few years ago and for the reissue of raw recordings by the Bishop Perry Tillis. If Amos is involved the rule of thumb is you just buy it. This recording is certainly no exception.
Prodigal Son performed by Reverend John Wilkins from Highway61 on Vimeo.