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When the Rev. Charlie Jackson was a boy, he played sacred music on Sundays and blues the rest of the week. While Jackson himself saw no irony in this, his mother had little appreciation for her son playing electric guitar on both sides of the Lord’s fence and quickly steered him toward the church. Little matter, that, for Jackson’s odes to Jesus and his exhortations for others to follow his path have every bit as much grit, growl and bite as the most low-down tunes played on a Saturday night.

As a young man living in Amite, La., in the 1950s, Jackson fell under the spell of a guitar-slinging evangelist by the name of Elder Utah Smith. Elder Smith was well-known in certain circles for wearing angel wings in church and wandering among the pews, belting out sacred tunes on his guitar, which he played behind his back, between his legs and in whatever other manner he felt like. Elder Smith and Jackson struck up a friendship and began playing together in churches around the area, with Jackson incorporating some of Smith’s flamboyance into his own act.

The pieces on “God’s Got It” were originally released as singles and on one EP for a small label run by the Rev. Robert Booker, who specialized in gospel music. Recorded in a primitive basement studio during the early and mid-’70s, Jackson’s music is incredibly varied, especially considering the only instruments are vocals, some background clapping and Jackson’s trusty Fender Mustang.

On a few of the numbers, other vocalists take the mike, most notably Laura Davis on “I Am Thinking of a Friend,” a slow, haunting number that features her powerful, soaring voice. At times, Jackson strums chords and keeps to a straight 12-bar blues format, but on “Fix It Jesus” he prolongs the intro, thrashing his instrument to punctuate his howled supplication. And on the “Testimony of Reverend Charlie Jackson,” he tells the story of how he suffered a stroke, all the while hammering on and off the strings much like John Lee Hooker used to, the structure of the song adhering to his story rather than established musical form.

In addition to the variety of vocals and the ways in which he frames them, Jackson also manages to wring a number of different tones out of his instrument, all the more remarkable considering his basic setup — a guitar plugged straight into the amp — and the primitive conditions under which these recordings were made.

Now in his 70’s, Jackson suffered a second stroke in 2002 that greatly damaged his memory, although he remains fit enough to continue performing in church.

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