Blind Boys of Alabama
Down in New Orleans
(Time Life)


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.”