Longform

The Prodigious Son

Page 5 of 5

In response, the choir murmurs its praise to Jesus, crying, shouting, gesticulating. The music is trancelike, as Buddy continues his sermon.

"Give all your troubles and your problems to Jesus tonight. He has an answer for every situation. As the song says, my God will supply all of your needs. Come on, everybody! Lift your hands up for Jesus!"

With that, he inexorably speeds the tempo, riffing on a hot, jazzy line. Chris is taking care of business on the drums, as usual. Buddy growls into the microphone like a young Howlin' Wolf, while playing impossibly fast and fluid runs with both hands.

The music rolls on for minutes, building to an exhilarating crescendo. It's magical, majestic, even miraculous. Finally, Buddy brings it back down, slowly and carefully, to the contemplative mode from which the moment sprung.

"Thank you, Jesus," he says, his music now soft and sweet. "Thank you so much. Thank you for this night. . . . And remember why we came here tonight. You can look good, sound good, rock good, do it all good. But if you're not in church, it's just a show. God, thank you."

Arthur "Buddy" Strong II looks skyward and smiles.
"Amen!" he shouts.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin