I was leading music for a series of revival meetings in a small Georgia church. The first night of the revival the dispute between the organist and the pianist became painfully obvious to me. On the downbeat to start the first song, the organist started in one key and the pianist started a half step away from her in a different key. I looked over at the pianist hoping she would change but she gave me a look that caused cold chills to chase each other up and down my spine. So I turned to the organist who was not even looking at me. She was tossing visual hand grenades in the direction of the piano player. It was obvious to me that revival or regeneration was needed in that place. We made it through the night with a few cuts and scrapes but it was freezing that night in the middle of July.
The pastor of the church called me the next day to apologize and to let me know the piano player would not be back for the rest of the week. I hate to admit this but I was glad. It reminded me of a story told by comedian Jerry Clower told of a famous coon hunt that culminates in the miraculous ascent of one John Eubanks, “a professional tree climber,” up one of the biggest trees in the Amite River Swamp. The object of John’s climb is what is presumed to be a coon nestled among the giant sweet gum’s topmost branches. As he nears his prey, Eubanks is repeatedly admonished to “Knock ’em out, John!” Upon his arrival in the upper branches of the tree, however, the unfortunate John encounters not a coon, but a lynx. The cat proceeds to attack him, resulting in a cacophony of screams from John, screeches from the lynx, and continued encouragement from the ground in the form of “Knock ’em out, John!” John’s plight is finally understood by his colleagues, and he begs them to “Shoot this thing.” They reply that they are afraid to, lest they should hit John. In response, a desperate John can only plead, “Just shoot up here amongst us, one of us has got to have some relief!”
On my drive to the revival the next night as I was reflecting on the events from the night before, the thought came to me that after months of prayerful preparation, the devil was trying to kill that revival before it started. It was at that point I began working on the song, The Devil Don’t Want Us To Have A Revival. I finished the song on the way home that night and recorded a demo the following week. Within the span of a month the song was recorded by a group called The Singing Americans and released to the public. The next month it made the song charts and climbed into the top twenty. I found a copy of the group singing the song on youtube last week and decided to share. It was the last song on the video so the credits roll over it at the end. (Just to let all of my Grammar buffs know, I know it is supposed to be doesn’t want us to have revival, but doesn’t didn’t fit. Again, classic Southern Gospel alert!