11
Apr
08

The 5 Blind Boys of Alabama – Spirit of The Century

I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a little gospel in their lives. Now,  I’m not talking about Christian music (that’s bad,) I’m talking about good old timey gospel the way they used to make it (that’s good!)  I have two friends named Tim and Dan who sometimes would perform down at the Cinema Bar and played nothing but old time gospel…and it was like going to church…with beer!

Although not my old church because they made me stand up and sit down alot, and their music put me to sleep, and they had no beer.

The Blind Boys began all the way back in 1939, forming at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind (Apparently, they even felt a need to segregate blind people back then.  Why?  Would they even know what color anyone was???) They have been touring and making records ever since.  The band is still led by singer Jimmy Lee Carter, and backed by other founding member Clarence Foutain, but the rest of their line up has fluctuated over the years.  A third founding member, George Scott died back in 2005.

The first thing you notice about their sound is the harmonies.  Fantastic, soulful harmonies that interlace between the melodies of evrey song.  “Spirit of the Century” really gave the boys a full range of back up as they explored the bluesy edge of gospel.  They are joined by legend Charlie Musslewhite on harmonica, John Hammond and David Lindley on  guitar, and bassist Danny Thompson.  As the album moves along, you get not only the classics like ‘Motherless Child,’  but covers of guys like Ben Harper’s ‘Give a Man a Home.’

Other notable covers are Tom Waits “Way Down in the Hole’ which you might recognize as the theme song from season 1 of The Wire, and The Rolling Stones ‘Just Wanna See his Face.”

Can I get an Amen?

Of course everyone loves a mash up…even in the gospel world. So I’ve included this video of the boys singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the tune of ‘House of the Rising Sun.’   Your welcome.

Amazon!

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