The Spiritualaires of Hurtsboro, Alabama, Singing Songs Of Praise

Mike McGonigal

By Mike McGonigal

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The lines between gospel and blues have always been blurry as heck (well, musically at least). And they just got a bit blurrier thanks to the Spiritualaires of Hurtsboro, Alabama's Singing Songs of Praise.

The lines between gospel and blues just got a heck of a lot blurrier.

The quartet's relatively loose style is closer to the moaning roots of gospel spirituals than your typical Golden Age hard shouting or jubilee-style group. A few songs recall the recordings that the Virginia-based Starlight Gospel Singers made for the Music from the South series in the 1950s. Quite a few of the Spiritualaire songs are mournful dirges, but the album's far from a downer. Fans of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi will not be disappointed by the Spiritualaires. Actually, if you look at YouTube old clips of the Blind Boys playing live on TV in the '50s and early '60s, you'll see that they had a really rocking and guitar-based sound in performance. If you can imagine the guitar-fueled version of the Blind Boys at half-speed, you're close to the subtle glories of this music.