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Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb: The Pilgrim Travelers [1951]

Perhaps it is only because of the lovely gospel harmonies, but this version of Lee V. McCollum's Bomb song comes off as considerably less harsh than the Lowell Blanchard country version. Indeed, one of the reasons a decision was made to include these two versions (and there is at least one other version by Johnnie & Jack) is because they are so dramatically different in tone.

Like Swan's Silvertone Singers, The Pilgrim Travelers was another long-running gospel group founded in the '30s. The group began in 1936 in Houston, Texas with ties to the Pleasantgrove Baptist Church. The founding members were Joe Johnson, Kylo Turner, Keith Barber and Rayfield Taylor. In 1944, the group won a talent contest to tour the country with The Soul Stirrers which led the group to relocate to Los Angeles, California. At this point, tenor J.W. Alexander and baritone Jessie Whitaker were added to the group's line-up. After brief stints at the Big Town and Swing Time labels, they were signed by Specialty in the late '40s. Their best known song from this period was Jesus Met The Woman At The Well. In the mid-'50s Turner and Barber left the group (Taylor had left a little earlier) and were replaced by future soul icon Lou Rawls and Ernest Booker. The reconstituted group went on to lease singles on the Andex label (with Rawls leaving for several years to fulfill his military obligations, but then returning). The Andex recording session featured Sam Cooke guesting on some songs and he toured with the group during this period as well. Booker left the group in 1957 and they shortened their name to The Travelers under which they recorded some secular numbers for a couple of years. When Rawls left to pursue a solo career, the group was effectively over.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb: The Pilgrim Travelers [1951]

Refrain: You know now everybody worried ‘bout that atom bomb
But no one seems worried about the day my Lord shall come
You better set your house in order, well He may be coming soon
And He'll hit like an atom bomb,
When He comes, when He comes

In nineteen-hundred and forty-five the atom bomb became alive
Nineteen-hundred and forty-nine the USA got very wise
They found that a country across the line, had an atom bomb of the very same kind
People got worried over the land, just like people in Japan
God told Elijah, he'd send down fire, send down fire from the sky
Sure don't know about the rainbow sign won't be water, but fire next time

Refrain

Now don't you get worried bear in mind trust King Jesus and you shall find
Peace, happiness and joy divine with my savior on the line
God told Elijah, he'd send down fire, send down fire from the sky
He says He'll work to dark the day if you will, He'll fight your battle if you keep still

You know now,
Everybody worried about that atom bomb, hey, but no one seems worried about the day my Lord shall come
You better set your house in order, well He may be comin' soon
And, well, and He'll, hey, hey, hey my Lord will, you know He'll hit like an atom bomb
When He comes, when He comes

Refrain

The Pilgrim Travelers [1951]
Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb
(Lee V. McCollum)
Specialty 800

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