Evangelist, Bible teacher and blues singer JIMMIE BRATCHER was interviewed in depth recently by Tony Cummings
Say Christian blues to most people and they are likely to conjure up an image of an old, probably infirm, black man hunched over a battered guitar, growling Old Testament imagery in a voice straight out O Brother Where Art Thou. But in fact today's blues-orientated Christian singers come in a wide variety of styles and skin colours. Jimmie Bratcher is a white blues singer from Kansas City. He is also an evangelist and a Bible teacher and it was in the latter role that he recently found himself in the UK where he spoke at a conference about Christian marriage. He found time in his travels to visit the Cross Rhythms offices and there I spoke to this charming purveyor of Christian blues.
TC: I have got with me today from the States Jimmie Bratcher who is going to be telling us about his ministry, both a preaching ministry and evangelism ministry and his musical work as well. Jimmie, thanks for being with us today.
JB: Well, it's my pleasure to be with you Tony to be in the UK.
TC: You have come a long way. Where is your home Jimmie?
JB: My home is Kansas City, Missourri.
TC: Well "eventually you may take a boat, you might take a plane, you may have to walk, but you'll get there just the same!"
JB: You're dating yourself right now! Kansas City is a famous jazz capital of the mid west so that is a quote from the song "Kansas City".
TC: And tell me Jimmie, what precisely is it which brings you over to the UK at the moment?
JB: Well I am here speaking. I spoke at a Marriage Ministries' International European Conference just outside London and I am doing some concerts and preaching in some churches. My wife is doing a women's meeting in Lithum, so this is our second trip to the UK.
TC: How are you finding the culture shock?
JB: I really didn't have any culture shock - there is just the, you know, driving thing. You all drive on the "correct side" of the road. We drive on the "right side" of the road but you drive on the "correct side" of the road! And really, other than that I have found people in the UK to be very warm and friendly, their sense of humour being very refreshing.
TC: It is a whole nation of John Cleeses, somebody once told me, and plus we eat very weird food! Of course you come from Blues Country and being a bit of a blues singer, we will hear about that in a minute. I suppose you could say, because I have to say to you, one of the most disgusting things I have ever eaten in my life was "grits" but that is another story. But mind you, you could turn around and you could say well what about you English and this marmite stuff. Have you eaten marmite yet?
JB: Yeah, my friend Steve Parsons introduced me to Marmite. I haven't figured that out yet! But you know, we do say, you will probably know this song "grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry and Mona Lisa was a man" - to quote a blues song, but I actually like grits you know, but Marmite - now that's on a whole other level!
TC: As somebody who once interviewed Little Milton, I am now beginning to - I am going to have to stop - we are going to have to stop talking to each other in blues songs! Let us begin at the beginning. Give me a bit of a capsule history of your life Jimmie. Were you brought up in Kansas?