Saturday, Feb. 12 The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour looks back at beloved gospel performer Rev. John Wilkins who passed away on October 6, 2020.
Guests: Gospel-rocker Reverend John Wilkins and producer Amos Harvey, B.B. King biographer Diane Williams and Australian blues rocker Dom Turner
Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers
Tonight’s show also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Living Blues magazine. Founded in Chicago in 1970, Living Blues is now published bimonthly by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. We salute 50 years of in-depth interviews, spectacular photography and groundbreaking articles!
Also we’re proud to welcome our new broadcast partners, WUTC – a public service of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Thanks for joining us and we hope you like what you hear!
Saturday, February 12 at 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting
9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio
3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
6 pm (CT) WUMS Rebel Radio 92.1
9 am (CT) WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN.
Reverend John Wilkins was born and raised in Memphis but has roots in North Mississippi, both parents are from the Magnolia State as well as his decades as pastor of the Hunter’s Chapel Church in Como.
He passed away on October 6, 2020.
His latest CD, Trouble, on Goner Records, was recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis (home of classics by Al Green) with engineer Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell (son of Al Green producer, Willie Mitchell) and using many Royal studio session veterans including Rev. Charles Hodges on organ, (of the Memphis Hodges), bassist Jimmy Kinnard (Issac Hayes, Al Green) and drummer Steve Potts (Greg Allman, Tony Joe White, Neil Young, Cat Power). The album prominently features Wilkins’s three daughters, Tangela, Joyce, and Tawana, adding soulful back-up vocals.
Wilkins’ father was the influential musician, the Rev. Robert Wilkins, whose song “Prodigal Son” was infamously covered by the Rolling Stones.
In addition to hearing tracks off the Trouble album we’ll speak with the album’s producer, Amos Harvey, who was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 for his work on Cedric Burnside’s Descendants of Hill Country.
Photo: Adam Smith
Diane Williams is a professional performing artist/storyteller, teaching artist, author, poet and even a mixed-media fiber artist whose tapestries often tells stories. She is former board chair for the National Storytelling Network and former board member and Life Member of the National Association of Black Storytellers. Three of the books she either authored or edited have won Storytelling World Awards.
Her newest book is The Life and Legacy of B.B. King (The History Press). Williams takes readers from King’s birth on a cotton plantation in 1925, born Riley B. King, and follows him as he works (extremely hard through much travail) to become one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, “The King of the Blues.”
Dom Turner is perhaps best known as slide guitarist and founding member of the longtime Australian blues group, the Backsliders. Since 2016, Turner has teamed with Toledo, Ohio-based lap steel guitarist Nikki D. Brown in the The Turner Brown Band. The group has released three albums of “sacred steel” music, Sneak Attack, Attitude Adjuster and Sliding Steel.
Turner has explored other cross-cultural work including collaboration with Vietnamese stringed instrument master, Kim Sinh (Two Days in Hanoi) as well as work with innovative Korean Komongo musician, Jin Hi Kim and Chinese Guqin musician, Tony Wheeler.
A former ‘Blues Songwriter of the Year’ (2004 Australian Blues Awards) in recent years, Turner has made scholarly visits to north Mississippi and recently earned his Doctor of Creative Arts this past March from Western Sydney University.
The title of his Ph.D thesis is “An Asian-Pacific Hybrid Blues Voice: A Syncretic Sonic Grit Journey from Ancient Chinese and Korean Musical Forms to 20th & 21st Century Rural Blues and Gospel Music.”
Yeah, you right!