The Blind Boys of Alabama

Down in New Orleans | Time Life
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 3, 2007
4.0 4.0 Stars
The Blind Boys today are as much an American institution as a singing group, with a history that stretches through the last seven decades and every fabric of 20th-century gospel music. This album is a return to classic form: the testifying spiritual style popular when leader Clarence Fountain pulled the first line-up together at a segregated school for the blind in 1939. With one important wrinkle: it was cut in New Orleans, to put a second-line beat in the sinner’s caution “You Better Mind” and to recruit the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the transcendence song “Across the Bridge” and two more numbers. The collaborative highlights, however, are the soul-stirring “If I Could Help Somebody,” which features Crescent City giant Allen Toussaint’s elegant piano, and a vigorous street-parade performance of “I’ll Fly Away” propelled by the Hot 8 Brass Band.

Blind Boys of Alabama | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | December 7 | 617.931.2787

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