Original Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Oh Lord, Stand By Me/Marching Up To Zion

Thursday 1st August 1991
Original Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Oh Lord, Stand By Me/Marching Up To Zion
Original Five Blind Boys Of Alabama - Oh Lord, Stand By Me/Marching Up To Zion

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11222-10114
LABEL: Specialty 341

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

I saw the Five Blind Boys in concert way back in the 60s when, as an impressionable youth, I would trundle off to any Festival promising 'authentic Negro music' (or other embarrass­ing phrases we once used). I saw many blues giants, but no artist left a more indelible impression on me than the elderly men in suits and sunglasses who performed in front of a stunned concert audience. Here was a group which didn't sing songs, they tore them to shreds, lead singer Clarence Fountain rasping, hollering, gasping, and screaming every last syllable of passion he could from their hypnotic chants and mournful ballads. Years later, when I'd become an ethno-musicologist bore, I'd explain to anyone interested how the group belonged to a male quartets' style which had its heyday in the 50s and was the precise prototype for 60s soul music. But even if the minutiae of gospel's origins don't interest you, if you think James Brown is an exciting listening experi­ence or casually wonder how frantic a lead singer can become and still sustain a melody, this (another 2-album bargain compilation) should be sought out. It's breathtaking stuff.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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