Bellamy Brothers - Jesus Is Coming

Published Monday 15th June 2009
Bellamy Brothers - Jesus Is Coming
Bellamy Brothers - Jesus Is Coming

STYLE: Country
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 81889-15709

Reviewed by George Luke

Country music has always had a faith element to it, but it's tended to be a more straight-laced one. It took this offering from '70s hitmakers the Bellamy Brothers to inject some of the twisted humour secular country music is known for into the gospel variety. The silly wordplay that made the brothers famous (just think of their old classic, "If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)?") is very much in evidence on "Jesus Is Coming" - right from the opening track "Drug Problem", in which they claim that the reason they never had drug problems as adults was because of the "drug problem" they had as children: "I was drug to church on Sunday morning; I was drug to family reunions; I was drug to Grandpa's farm to work every summer; and I was drug to weddings and to funerals. I was drug out the door to go to school everyday; I was drug by my ears when I was bad. And when I disobeyed my parents or my teacher, I was drug to the woodshed by my Dad." That theme of the older generation helping the young stay on the straight and narrow is explored again in "Grandma's God". Here, it's a child of the hippy era acknowledging how his grandmother's faith kept him from all the "experimenting" the rest of his generation got up to in the '60s. "Grandma's God" is the most musically daring track here. The brothers are both big Ravi Shankar fans, and this song's '60s/hippy theme gives them a good excuse to pay homage to him; sitars blend with clever musical and lyrical references to artists such as The Doors and George Harrison. There's more humour in another song in which an alcoholic opens up his heart and asks God to make him good - or in his words, "Lord, Help Me To Be The Kind Of Person (My Dog Thinks I Am)". Priceless! But the humour was bound to land the Brothers in trouble at some point - and sure enough, trouble came when people heard the title track with its chorus lyric "Jesus is coming. . . and boy, is he pissed." (I should probably point out that in America, "pissed" means furious - not drunk). Much was made of the "bad" word by critics who ironically obsessed over it so much, they missed the "sinners, beware the wrath of God" warning at the heart of the song. Everyone else got it, though; a video of the band rehearsing the song acquired thousands of Youtube hits, and the band met several Christian radio DJs who would say to them, "I can't play your song on the radio, but I play it in my car all the time!" I'm sure that even mentioning it here is going to result in a couple of angry emails about "falling standards" and such like. But its message (and those of the album's other "unconventional" songs) clearly got through to the unchurched country fans it was aimed at in the first place. The album's other (less controversial) gems include "I'll Fly Away", "Faith Came Back To Me" and "I Ain't Going To Hell". The reggae-lite reworking of "Let Your Love Flow" is a rare low point; thankfully, it's right at the end of the album where it can't do much harm. With its combination of honesty, down-home wisdom and mischievous humour, 'Jesus Is Coming' never fails to put a smile on the face of this listener - who, for the record, has never considered himself a country music fan.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Drug Problem [Listen]
2. Wings Of The Wind [Listen]
3. Lord Help Me Be The Kind Of Person (My Dog Thinks I Am) [Listen]
4. Grandma's God [Listen]
5. Faith Came Back To Me [Listen]
6. Spiritually Bankrupt [Listen]
7. I Ain't Going To Hell [Listen]
8. Old Hippie III (Saved) [Listen]
9. Beautiful Night [Listen]
10. You're The World [Listen]
11. I'll Fly Away [Listen]
12. Jesus Is Coming [Listen]
13. Let Your Love Flow [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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