Album: The Blind Boys of Alabama, Down in New Orleans (Proper)

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The Independent Culture

Despite having been in existence since the days when music revolved at 78rpm, The Blind Boys of Alabama have never before recorded in New Orleans – and sadly, listening to this latest album, it's no surprise.

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Part of the problem is the dreary "heritage" vibe that comes from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on corny old arrangements of gospel chestnuts like "Uncloudy Day" and "Down By the Riverside"; but the singers themselves seem to struggle. With an aggregate age exceeding even that of the Stones, it's hardly surprising that the Blind Boys should be so stiff, nor that the lead vocals occasionally sound like someone clearing their throat, but only a couple of tracks – "You Got To Move", given a revivalist treatment, and a version of Curtis Mayfield's "A Prayer" featuring genuinely moving vocal interplay – come up to the group's usual standard.

Download this: 'A Prayer', 'You Got To Move'