Sunday, October 2, 2011

Religion: Snake-Handling Man

Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer: Snake-Handling Man


And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. - Mark 16: 17-18

I came into possession of a number of albums by Tracy Grammer, with and without her late musical partner Dave Carter, and I have lately been discovering Carter and Grammer’s album Seven is the Number. The obvious choice from it for our new theme would have been Workin’ For Jesus, but I liked Snake-Handling Man better. Snake-Handling is a real thing. Dating from at least the 1920s, it is practiced in some Pentacostal churches in Appalachia. The bible verse I quoted above is the scriptural justification for the practice, and practitioners feel that only those whose faith is strong enough should attempt it. Dave Carter portrays his narrator as a man who is filled with the awesome power of God. The turbulent guitar parts only serve to emphasize this. I am reminded of the boasting of supernatural power that is found in blues songs like Hoochie Coochie Man.

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