The Original Blind Boys Of Mississippi, The Great Lost Blind Boys Album

Ed Ward

By Ed Ward

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Great Lost Blind Boys Album

The Original Blind Boys Of Mississippi
A lost album teeming with power, grace and soul.

Not only were the Blind Boys, fronted by the great Archie Brownlee, not in decline when they signed with Vee-Jay, they're still going strong, having crossed over to the pop arena via Paul Simon in the 1970s and recording a New Orleans relief album in 2007. Here, you can hear them in the studio, recording an album which never came out, although individual tracks came out as singles. Calvin Carter is producing (and Vivian, Calvin's sister and co-owner of Vee-Jay, also seems to be present), trying to keep Brownlee from blowing up the recording equipment with his voice, and the group members fine-tune arrangements on the fly. Mostly, though, they sing with astonishing power, grace and (unsurprisingly) soul, and the excitement is palpable. There's only one dud track, "Somebody's Mother," a recitation so saccharine it'll decay your teeth, but you can listen to it as a way of atoning for your sins, or as a fine example of gospel camp, which is always part of a good gospel program.