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Still singing the truth after nearly seventy-five years
The Blind Boys of Alabama aren’t merely a group of singers borrowing from decades-old gospel traditions; rather, they are themselves the group who helped define and cement those traditions during the course of the twentieth century and well into the twenty-first.
They first sang together at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega in the late 1930s. To put that in perspective, the group predates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the development of the 12-inch vinyl album (only 78s were available at the time). When they began singing together, “separate but equal” was still a sad summary of race relations in the United States.
Few would have expected them to still be going strong—stronger than ever, even—so many years after they first joined voices, but they’ve proved as productive and as musically ambitious in the twenty-first century as they did in the twentieth. Nearly seventy-five years after they hit their first notes together, the Blind Boys of Alabama are exceptional not only for their longevity, but also for the breadth of their catalog and their relevance to contemporary roots music.
Blind Boys of Alabama
Monday, September 23
7:30 p.m. UTC Fine Arts Center,
Vine & Palmetto Sts.