the dubious glory of jim


Today, for the price of absolutely nothing, I took home a scratched-up sleeveless piece of vinyl for the sake of its cover. And perhaps for the glory of Jim Records, the label of Jimmy Swaggart.


Praise be to Jimmy here of the cannibal grin and daffodil shirt. The title of the album is "Camp Meeting Piano". Would you walk into a camp with this guy at the piano?


Remember - this is the man who said that gay people should be called "queers, perverts or homosexuals, but not gay. Gay is a nice word". So let us only say nice things about this man.

Whatever you may think of Jimmy Swaggart, this album comes with the greatest recommendation I've ever read:


The unique style plus the anointing of the Holy Spirit? "Follow me into the bedroom suite, Mrs. Collins. I think you'll agree that the colour-coordinated valances plus the anointing of the Holy Spirit really sell the room". Awesome. But I think the blurb lets us down at the end. If I cut an album with the anointing of the Holy Spirit - hell, if cut a fart with the anointing of the Holy Spirit - I wouldn't finish off with some lame phrase like "an experience in recording". I'd go so far as to call it a good or even pleasant experience. And why is it an experience "in recording"? I think it would be wiser to play up the listening aspect, since the vast majority of people who own this record would not be the ones who recorded it.


I wonder what people raised outside the Christian tradition make of songs like track nunber five. Do they stop and say, "When I see the blood? What?" Do children tug at their mother's hands and whisper "Why is there blood, mommy?" And the mothers will have no answer, stroking the furrowed foreheads of their little children, quietly praying that the storm will pass over them without incident? Fear not, though: the chorus of the song reads "When I see the blood/I will pass over you," not "When I see the blood/I'll be just about done hitting you" or "When I see the blood/I'll stop and say Okay, I'm outta here".

Mind you, it's a little better than the third track on side two.


I think it's a bit sneaky to follow up soothing stuff like "The Healer" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arm" with "He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me". It's like giving a dollar to a homeless guy and then telling him you're a buck short for your grandmother's operation. My brain wants to keep riffing on that title. "He was whacked with a hakapik for me". "He was run over by a zamboni for me". "He was vented into space for me". All of which would be unlikely ways for first-century guy to meet his end. Which makes me wonder if Jesus went around saying, "Did you know it's the first century now?"

That would get old pretty quick.