Gospel Song – Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Gospel Song – Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Gospel Song – Nobody’s Fault But Mine.

Blind Willie Johnson recorded this classic gospel blues song in 1927. Willie wasn’t born blind. He was blinded when he was seven years old in a domestic incident in which lye water was accidentally thrown into his eyes. He continued to be a faithful church-goer and no doubt absorbed a lot of Scripture as he sat and listened in his Baptist church. He only recorded 30 songs, but they virtually all refer to either Scripture directly or to biblical ideas. All of his songs are classics, and Blind Willie owns a slot on the Mt. Olympus of gospel blues.

LYRICSNobody’s Fault But Mine

Refrain: Nobody’s fault but mine (2x); If I die and my soul be lost, ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.

  1. I have a Bible in my home (2x); If I don’t read it my soul be lost, ain’t nobody’s fault but mine.


2. Father (mother, sister) he taught me how to read (2x); If I don’t read it my soul be lost, ain’t nobody’s fault               but  mine.


3. I’ve got a song I can sing (2x); If I don’t sing it my soul be lost, ain’t nobody’s fault but mine. 


Blind Willie was a virtuoso on the slide guitar as he traveled the South, preaching and performing on the street. Eric Clapton said the song is “almost impossible to play.” Clapton went on to say, “That’s probably the finest slide guitar playing you’ll ever hear.” And to think he learned how to play on a cigar-box guitar, a gift from his father.

Never mind the fact that the Blind Boys of Alabama have earned five Grammy’s in their 75 years of existence. Never mind that Rolling Stone magazine called them the “Gospel Titans.” The Blind Boys have enjoyed unusual worldwide and cross-genre success while remaining a gospel group. They have performed in the White House for three different Presidents and have traveled just about everywhere and performed with practically everyone. But they never lost their gospel roots. The group started by casually singing together in the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind and Deaf, in 1938. The all-white faculty didn’t let them sing gospel music, so they learned from listening to gospel groups on the radio. They would secretly practice together, and then sneak out of the Institute to perform for spending money. I would like to have seen that. They first recorded in 1948, and have been making history in the gospel blues circuit ever since. They have successfully combined the classic gospel harmonies with a lot of contemporary innovation. Throughout their time, they have resisted the pull of recording strictly secular music. They are famous for spiritualizing secular music as opposed to secularizing church music. One of their big hits is a prime example… They sang Amazing Grace to the tune of The House of the Rising Sun, creating a powerful blues song. They may stick to gospel, but they aren’t afraid to record and tour with more secular musicians, from Steve Wonder to the Rolling Stones to Prince. The Blind Boys of Alabama are tremendous, faithful gospel singers who are unafraid to innovate, singing New Orleans jazz, rock, blues and gospel. They also helped their cause because they always brought in the best studio musicians and producers in the business. The result is that the Blind Boys of Alabama are second to none in gospel music. When they sing in concert, they’re bringing church with them.

There is a question to address… Blind Willie Johnson, the composer of the song, could not see, so logically he couldn’t read. The song clearly emphasizes the importance of reading scripture regularly, so his soul not be lost. In his case, actually, Blind Willie did have a good excuse for not reading the Bible. So perhaps he is describing the dilemma for everyone’s sake. He is telling us he understands the struggle to be faithful to Scripture. If you don’t read the Bible, your soul will be lost. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.’ (Romans 1:16). This song is Blind Willie’s warning to everyone: Read the Bible and live according to what it says, or perish. And you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

Here’s a wonderful blues version by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Awesome.