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Jesus Is God's Atomic Bomb: Swan's Silvertone Singers [1950]

Purcel Perkins, the otherwise unknown composer of Jesus Is God's Atomic Bomb, takes the atomic divinity metaphor that is prevalent in some other Bomb songs to the next level (or one might even say, the highest level) and in so doing provides this box set with one of its most memorable titles. For a person of faith, and clearly this song was originally intended for a gospel audience, the metaphor is certainly an apt one.

The seemingly eternal Swan's Silvertone Singers was a gospel group originally formed as The Four Harmony Kings in Coalwood, West Virginia in 1938. The name was changed to The Silvertone Singers in 1942 to avoid confusion with another group called The Kings Of Harmony. The word 'Swan' was added to the name by the 'Swan Bakery Company,' the sponsor of a radio show that the group performed on that was broadcast on WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The original line-up of the group was comprised of four coalminers led by Claude Jeter (who possessed a powerful falsetto singing voice), Eddie Boroughas, John Myles and Leroy Watkins. In 1946 The Swan Silvertone Singers signed with the King label where they recorded a 'jubilee' style of gospel until 1951. The group's most popular record during this period was their debut, I Cried Holy/Go Ahead. Between 1951 and 1953 the group recorded four singles with Specialty before being dropped. It was toward the end of their Specialty tenure that new member, Paul Owens, who joined in 1952, modernized the group's sound. After a stretch in the wilderness of touring and appearing on the radio, the group signed with VeeJay in 1956 where they found a home for the next nine years. Their biggest hit during this era was 1958's Oh Mary Don't You Weep which contained Jeter's improvised lyric "I'll be a bridge over deep water if you trust my name" which reportedly inspired Paul Simon's Bridge Over Troubled Water. The Swans experienced much turnover during their long career, but in 1963 Claude Jeter retired from the group to become a minister; his departure forever changed the Silvertone sound. In 1978 the only remaining original member John Myles left the group.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Jesus Is God's Atomic Bomb: Swan's Silvertone Singers [1950]

Have you heard about the blast in Japan
How it killed so many people and scorched the land
Oh, yes
Oh, it can kill your natural body
But the Lord can kill your soul
That's why I know Jesus
Oh, Jesus is God's--I declare--atomic bomb
Oh, yes

Jesus is God's atomic bomb
Proudest papa that ever was
Jesus is God's, His atomic bomb
Shook the grave, causing death to rise
Yes, God shook the grave, child
Put old death on a rock
Through trials and tribulation
Lord when it was done
That's why I know Jesus
Yes, is my God, His atomic bomb

Swan's Silvertone Singers [1950]
Jesus Is God's Atomic Bomb
(Purcel Perkins)
King 4391

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