The Blind Boys Of Alabama make a welcome return to Vicar St. this October 24th to perform their magical gospel sounds live.
Formed some six and a half decades ago, The Blind Boys of Alabama are the Iron Men of the music industry. They predate Elvis, Little Richard and Al Green yet even in their 70s they are still at the top of the gospel charts and have earned impressive “three-peat” honors by winning consecutive Grammy Awards for the past three years.
In recent years, The Blind Boys have proven themselves masters of bringing out the most spiritual aspects of mainstream music, while at the same time bringing the music of the church straight to the roadhouse. In the past five years, they’ve recorded moving renditions of songs by everyone from Tom Waits to Prince side by side with their traditional material, and appeared as guests on record and on stage with an equally diverse array of artists, from Peter Gabriel to Ben Harper. During this amazing run, the cover tunes and collaborations have been consistently tasty and organic, seasoned with a time-tested understanding of the sounds that move Man’s soul.
While the sound of traditional soul gospel is still unmistakably at its core, Atom Bomb, the group’s latest album, includes The Blind Boys’ most adventurous forays into pop music yet, featuring loops, raps and roaring blues riffs. The disc includes an exuberant version of the Fatboy Slim/Macy Gray tune “Demons,” featuring rapper Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, while Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo and blues harp icon Charlie Musselwhite help recast Norman Greenbaum’s gospel-rock classic “Spirit in the Sky” as a raw, Detroit-style boogie.
The 10-track disc also includes a joyous rendition of Eric Clapton/Blind Faith’s “Presence of the Lord,” featuring the legendary Billy Preston on Hammond B3, as well as The Blind Boys’ spin on such traditional tunes as “Old Blind Barnabus” (a song suggested to the group by Tom Waits), “I Know I’ve Been Converted,” “Talk About Suffering” and “Moses.” The title song, meanwhile, is a remake of an early Cold War-era Soul Stirrers tune that proves uncannily relevant some 55 years later.
In the past five years interest in The Blind Boys of Alabama from other musicians has been at all time high, with the group augmenting its own award-winning albums with appearances on albums from a distinguished and diverse group including Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Ibrahim Ferrer (Buena Vista Social Club), Solomon Burke, Asleep at the Wheel and Jools Holland, formerly of Squeeze. They were also tapped by Walt Disney Productions to sing a Phil Collins-penned tune in the animated feature film Brother Bear.
they’re not only expanding the very definitions of gospel and soul, but also bolstering a legacy that is unmatched by any other traditional artist that has remained true to the gospel path.
The Blind Boys Of Alabama live @ Vicar St. October 24th. Tickets are â‚¬38.20 on sale now through Ticketmaster and other usual outlets nationwide. Booking Line: 0818 719 390.