Since forming their group at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, the Blind Boys of Alabama have kept alive the spirit and energy of pure soul gospel music. Founding members Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter and George Scott began singing together at age 10. The boys started out as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers, singing at churches and social functions throughout Alabama. They officially became the Blind Boys of Alabama in 1944. Starting with the 1948 hit “I Can See Everybody’s Mother but Mine,” the Blind Boys became successful on both the recording and touring fronts recording more than 50 albums and performing all over the world. And at ages when most men have retired from life’s spotlight, the Blind Boys, now with recently added members Joey Williams, Ricky McKinnie and Bobby Butler, continue to command respect and acclaim for their unique contributions to gospel music. Since first reaching toward a wider audience with their roles in the 1983 production of “The Gospel at Colonus,” (Bob Telson and Lee Breuer’s Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway and Broadway smash which starred actor Morgan Freeman), the singers have repeatedly reinvented material associated with artists from the world beyond the church. They have transformed Bob Dylan’s “I Believe in You,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” and “The Cross” by Prince, illuminating the spiritual message inherent in these soul-searching songs. On 2001′s Grammy Award-winning Spirit of the Century, they covered an eclectic array of tunes drawn from the Rolling Stones, Tom Waits and Ben Harper. They continue to record and have recently released Higher Ground, which was selected by Amazon.com as the best gospel CD of 2002. Last year, they were invited to participate in the White House Salute to Gospel Music.
Gospel and Soul Music
Blind Boys of Alabama
1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Blind
Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott
Blind Boys of Alabama singing “Run On”