Blind Willie Johnson

Nobody sold more records to black record buyers in his day -- nobody. But he pretty much got written out of history because he sang gospel music instead of blues, because the sad little record-collecting white guys who laid out the boundaries of the black music they never once danced to could never declare Blind Wille Johnson an official “bluesman.” He sang on the street for a living and as a vocation, and as a missionary with an anointed ministry;
a verified story has him arrested in front of the Customs House in New Orleans for singing “(If I Had My Way) I Would Tear This Building Down” and if we stand back across Chartres Street and watch, we can see exactly what the men who arrested him heard, and why they arrested him: that Jericho-wrecking growl of a voice, and the justice that must, that must inevitably, that will, that will inevitably follow, and we can watch him be arrested, a blind hymn-singing black guitar-playing street singer, and then we can walk away. It’s nothing to do with us.