Press Release: The Blind Boys Of Alabama Spirit Of The Century & Higher Ground
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 1, 2016
Two classic albums by The Blind Boys Of Alabama coming from Omnivore Recordings on May 13: Spirit Of The Century and Higher Ground, both Grammy® Winners.
Reissues of these classic recordings feature an impressive roster of guest musicians including Ben Harper, Robert Randolph, Charlie Musselwhite, David Lindley and John Hammond, as well as previously unreleased live tracks from 2001-2002.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Omnivore Recordings will release expanded reissues of two turn-of-the-century Grammy® Award-winning albums by The Blind Boys Of Alabama: Spirit Of The Century and Higher Ground. Street date for the CD and digital editions is May 13, 2016.
Formed in 1944, the Blind Boys Of Alabama have been trendsetters musically, socially and spiritually. One would think that nearly 60 years into their career, The Blind Boys would have nothing more to prove. However, 2001’s Spirit Of The Century now only showed how relevant they still were, but how they could continue to reinvent the genre they helped bring to the mainstream, and even win a Grammy® for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album.
Produced by John Chelew with Chris Goldsmith, Spirit Of The Century mixed soulful new arrangements of traditional hymns with songs by The Rolling Stones (Exile On Main St.’s “I Just Wanna See His Face”), Ben Harper and Tom Waits — including “Way Down In The Hole,” which became the theme for HBO’s first season of The Wire, performed by The Blind Boys.
Accompanying the Blind Boys’ soaring vocals is a who’s who of iconic players including David Lindley, John Hammond, Danny Thompson, Charlie Musselwhite, and more. To make this release even more special, seven live performances of album tracks recorded at New York’s the Bottom Line have been added, as well as a new essay from Davin Seay.
Fifteen years after its original release, and having been out of print for too long, Spirit Of The Century has lost none of its power. It’s time to feel the Spirit once again.
After winning a Grammy® for Spirit Of The Century, and continuing to perform after being together for nearly six decades, you would think The Blind Boys Of Alabama would want to take a break. Thankfully, they didn’t.
Once again helmed by producers Chelew and Goldsmith, Higher Ground picked up where Spirit Of The Century had led, and moved even higher. With backing by Robert Randolph & The Family Band (with guest appearances from Ben Harper), new arrangements of traditional hymns were joined by songs from Harper, Curtis Mayfield, Funkadelic, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Cliff, Prince, and the classic title track by Stevie Wonder. The outcome was rewarded by the Blind Boy’s second consecutive Grammy® for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album, as well as the album’s “I Shall Not Walk Alone,” penned by Harper, being featured on television’s Lost.
In addition to a new essay by Seay, seven live performances of album tracks recorded for KCRW-FM’s Morning Becomes Eclectic have been resurrected and added, making Higher Ground even more exceptional.
Newly refreshed with previously unreleased live tracks, this important release finally returns. You won’t need to keep on tryin’ — you can reach Higher Ground again.
Spirit Of The Century CD/Digital Track List:
1. Jesus Gonna Be Here
2. No More
3. Run On For A Long Time
4. Good Religion
5. Give A Man A Home
6. Amazing Grace
8. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
9. Way Down In The Hole
10. Motherless Child
11. Just Wanna See His Face
12. The Last Time Previously unissued bonus tracks recorded
live at the Bottom Line, New York (2001)
13. Good Religion
14. Way Down In The Hole
15. Give A Man A Home
16. Motherless Child
17. No More
18. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
19. The Last Time
Higher Ground CD/Digital Track List:
1. People Get Ready
2. Spirit In The Dark
3. Wade In The Water
4. Stand By Me
5. The Cross
6. Many Rivers To Cross
7. Higher Ground
8. Freedom Road
9. I May Not Can See
10. You And Your Folks/23rd Psalm
11. I Shall Not Walk Alone
12. Precious Lord Previously unissued bonus material recorded live
on Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW (2002)
13. Run For A Long Time
14. My Lord What A Morning
15. Freedom Road
16. Higher Ground
17. People Get Ready
18. Wade In The Water
19. Amazing Grace
“They proclaim their reverence in close harmonies and gusty improvisations that leap heavenward.” —The New York Times
“Typical gusto, honest, soulful music.” —Mojo
“No matter what direction the Boys go, it’s always a righteous affair.” —Relix
Watch (and feel free to post) The Blind Boys of Alabama trailer:
About Omnivore Recordings:
Founded in 2010 by highly respected, longtime industry veterans Cheryl Pawelski, Greg Allen, Dutch Cramblitt, and Brad Rosenberger, Omnivore Recordings preserves the legacies and music created by historical, heritage, and catalog artists while also releasing previously unissued, newly found “lost” recordings and making them available for music-loving audiences to discover. Omnivore Recordings is distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA).
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