Picks and Pans Review: Spirit of the Century
The Blind Boys of Alabama have been bedrocks of gospel music since 1939. Originally known as the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, the group is now a seven-piece band that includes three surviving founding members. In their first CD in four years the Blind Boys hook up with ex-John Hiatt producer John Chelew to craft a soul-stirring collection that revisits such church classics as "Amazing Grace" (here inventively set to the melody of "House of the Rising Sun"), plus gospelized versions of secular songs by Ben Harper and Tom Waits. Backed by a lean, muscular band (including John Hammond, David Lindley and Charlie Musselwhite), the Boys sing with a passion and spirit that will make even nonbelievers say hallelujah.
Bottom Line: Devout and divine
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