Jon Gibson: The US soul singer back after a three year break

Tuesday 1st August 1995

After a three-year absence, Christendom's premier soul singer JON GIBSON is back with a magnificent new album. He spoke to Jan Willem Vink.



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I asked Jon to tell me about his Christian conversion. It was his father getting saved that was the pivotal turning point for Jon. "He had been in astrology, palmistry, you name it. So when he became a Christian I though it was something new for him." Jon's father kept insisting on the fact that Jon needed to be a Christian too. Jon decided to go to church with him once so he couldn't keep on begging about it. After the service, Jon's dad kept talking and talking and Jon got bored and went to the impressive grand piano to play on it. "So I walked down to the piano and a youth minister comes up and starts preaching at me, reading King James, which is like 13th century English. To understand it you've got to live in those days. He's reading from the King James while I'm trying to play the piano. When I sat down at the piano I had a feeling like 'I'm gonna show these people all about music' But at that moment I just couldn't play -nothing. I started trembling and shaking and trying to remember how to play, and this youth minister was there, 'Bub, bub, bub, bub,' and I was like, 'Shut up,' trying to play. I was so frustrated and walked over to my father and said, 'Let's get out of here.'

In the car Jon burst out it tears. "I don't know what's happening in that church," Jon said, "What kind of stuff is that, I can't even play music in there?" So his father pulled the car over and started knocking on the dashboard. "Why are you doing that?" asked Jon. "God is knocking on your door," answered his father. "He gave you all the talents to sing, play music. He gave you that! When you walked in there and weren't able to recognise that, he took it away."

Continues Jon, "I got born again inside that car driving home and when we got to the house, my father wanted to baptise me and did that right away in the bathtub."

We go on discussing the concept of the title track of his latest recording, 'Love Education'. "It's the whole concept of a class room. People go to college because they want to learn about some degree, so they can improve their lifestyle, so they can get a job. 'Love Education' is learning about love. Love comes from God and God is love and since we're in need of love, then we need to learn about it. It's like a classroom. Christianity to me is like a class room, but it's a life time commitment, you never graduate."

I ask Jon whether he identifies more with a student or a teacher? Jon answers, "More like a student I think, always learning. Not a teacher. I think a teacher of other who are weaker than me, but a student of those who are stronger than me. I look at people like Miles Monroe. He's a preacher/minister. He used to be the ambassador from Jamaica to the USA. He had three doctorate degrees. That's an unbelievable achievement. He said when he received his third doctorate degree he was lying there in his bed with his wife and he was looking at his awards. He was saying he kept telling his wife, 'I can't believe this. This is so amazing.' The he felt the Spirit of God come over him and say, 'Is that all you know? Is that it?' That's the highest mental information level that a human can achieve in that one subject, so three subjects! That's all you can do because there are so many subjects that they can't be counted by man's number systems. And the level doesn't stop at a doctorate degree, it goes on to infinity. It goes forever this way and that way. And all of a sudden you realise how small it is.

"I look at someone like him and realise I'm a student and he's a teacher. When I look at someone who is down and out, and is weak in Christ, and is coming to me saying, 'I'm thinking about Jesus. I don't know if he's real or not, but I hear good things. I see good things over here. What do you think?' Then I become the teacher and my responsibility is to reach out to that person and teach him the best of my ability, to bring him in so that they can come further, at least enough to stand on their own two feet, so I know they are moving."

Jon says his favourite song on 'Love Education' is "The End". "I like 'The End' because it's an anthem about going home. Just lines like, 'When are we going to see a change within the world?' It speaks about the day when all of this will be over, the day when Jesus comes and there will be peace. Peace like we could never imagine with our heathen mind. It's speaking of that day and it's going to be with Jesus in the end, so take me to the end. Take me now to the end, so take me now. Skip what's in between. I would go for that. Let's speed it up and go. I know it's not true, but it's a passion song.

"And then in the last lyrics it says, 'Jack is nimble, Jack is quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick.' It's some kind of a fairy tale line. When I think of it, I think of this man. 'Jack is nimble, Jack is quick, but he ain't makin' the candlestick/Somethin' heavy is about to go down all over the world/Oh yeah, my misguided friend to the end.' Man is capable, man is smart, but he has to jump over this candlestick, his own private ego, science, but he ain't gonna make it. He's going to try to jump over that candlestick but is not going to make it but lie on top of it and it's all going to come crashing down. It says in Revelation that they shall be shouting peace and safety when sudden destruction shall fall upon them. And what did the Olympics say, they called it the 'new age' Olympics and they were saying peace and safety. But it's a false peace. The world is saying peace and safety, but they deny Jesus, they won't let Jesus rule over them. But you can't have peace without the Prince of Peace, can you? You can't have peace without him. It says peace and destruction will come down over this world, like people have never seen. That's why I like that song, because it gets right to the point in one sentence. 'Jack is nimble, Jack is quick/But he ain't making that candlestick.'" CR

About
John Irvine is a regular Cross Rhythms contributor specialising in classical and choral music.


 
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