The Blind Boys of Alabama: Echoes of the South

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The Blind Boys of Alabama: Echoes of the South

Many people will have their favourite Blind Boys of Alabama moment, whether it was at the Womad appearance, opening for Mavis Staples or at The Auckland Town Hall.

Most memorably for this writer was seeing them opening for Robert Plant's Sensational Space Shifters where 82-year old Jimmy Carter was lead around the Auckland stadium floor singing and shouting and testifying.

The Blind Boys – whose members are all blind or sight-impaired first recorded in early Forties and with their ever-changing membership, through departures or death, they often seem perilously close to winding up.

However their extraordinary live energy means there's always an appreciative audience for their close harmony gospel-soul, whether it be live or on numerous American talk shows.

On this excellent album in a braille-embossed cover they offer the uplifting swing of the old You Can't Hurry God (“He'll be there, don't worry”), the testifying and falsetto soul of Jesus You've Been Good to Me and the civil rights consciousness of Curtis Mayfield's weary ballad Keep on Pushing from the early 60s.

The Staples Singers' The Last Time here – which the Rolling Stones appropriated and changed their their early hit of the same name is especially moving knowing two members recently died” “This may be the last time we sing together”.

Echoes of the South has very deep roots and is spiritual, healing music.

The final song is, given the state of our world, timely.

It's Stevie Wonder's Heaven Help Us All.

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Southbound_Records_Logo_v2You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here.

It is also available on vinyl through Southbound in New Zealand.

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