Blind Boys of Alabama
Down in New Orleans
Down in New Orleans is guaranteed to lift spirits, said Jon Pareles in The New York Times. The Blind Boys of Alabama bring their “gutsy lead vocals and rough-and-ready harmonies” to the streets of New Orleans, giving the
disheartened city a pick-me-up. “Jaunty keyboards, sassy horns, and willed optimism” drive the album, which was conceived last year when the venerable gospel group visited the city. Down in New Orleans stands as more than just a tribute to the Big Easy, said Jim Abbott in the Orlando Sentinel. Paired with the city’s biggest acts, the Blind Boys give songwriting standards new life. Gospel classic “Uncloudy Day” is revived by the brassy stomp of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. A “languid ballad” made famous by Mahalia Jackson, “If I Could Help Somebody,” is energized by Allen Toussaint’s piano. It seems inevitable that the Blind Boys, known for venturing outside of their musical heritage, would eventually pay a visit to New Orleans, said Steve Hochman in the Los Angeles Times. Sorting out the shifting patterns of the two styles may require a few listens. Still, the Boys have accomplished their chief goal and captured the emotion of a “city where people are fighting to bounce back.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Paul Krugman, Amazon, and the left's backwards view of book-industry titans
- Bob Odenkirk's 6 favorite books
- The stories behind 22 classic album covers
Subscribe to the Week