As the Jackson 5 grew into the Jacksons, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama became, after a member´s passing, the Blind Boys of Alabama. Formed in 1937 at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind, they began recording in the ´40s, scored gospel hits in the ´50s, and their early ´60s platters influenced no less than St. Marvin Gaye. In the ´80s, infused with voltage from above, the Blind Boys underwent a major renaissance, appearing in the Broadway musical Gospel at Colonus, spent the ´90s on the folk and blues festival circuit, and got signed to Peter Gabriel´s Real World label. Refusing to be relics, the BBA ¨reinvented¨ themselves without compromising gospel music: The album Higher Ground found the Boys accompanied by Robert Randolph, while Go Tell It on the Mountain offered vocal spots to guests as diverse as Solomon Burke and Shelby Lynne. Be you a believer, agnostic, or heathen, these impassioned, soulful harmonies have few equals.
The Blind Boys of Alabama sing the gospel at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 19, at the Carefree Theatre, 2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Blues harmonica boss Charlie Musselwhite opens. Tickets cost $38.50. Call 561-966-3309.
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