- Released: January 29, 2008
- Label: Time Life Records
Rolling Stone - p.823.5 stars out of 5
-- "[A] superweapon of roots-music uplift: Full-throated versions of standards such as 'I'll Fly Away' and 'Down by the Riverside' will raise goose bumps..."
Uncut - p.834 stars out of 5
-- "Unmistakably spirited renditions of standards 'How I Got Over' and 'Down By The Riverside' provide timely comments on post Iraq/Hurricane Katrina America."
JazzTimes - p.76
"[T]he Blind Boys' personal connection to an older strain of gospel singing gives their performances an imposing weight..."
Dirty Linen - p.51
"[T]he lead singers are consistently spirited..."
Dirty Linen - p.49
"The group eschews the obvious...instead presenting the classic 'Down By The Riverside' with energy and style, fueled by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band..."
No Depression - p.69
"[O]ne of the more soul-lifting efforts to be recorded in the Crescent City in the post-Katrina era."
Q (Magazine) - p.1044 stars out of 5
-- "[T]his meld of styles makes for an album of heavy-duty testifyin' to chase demons from your soul."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1053 stars out of 5
-- "[Made] with typical gusto, throwing themselves into impassioned performances of 'You Got To Move', 'Uncloudy Day' and more....Honest, soulful music."
Harp (magazine) (p.97) - "[T]hey're a determinedly adaptable bunch....[They] never lose track of the Boy's gospel roots, even as they cover new ground."
- 1.Free at Last
- 2.Make a Better World
- 3.How I Got Over
- 4.You Got to Move
- 5.Across the Bridge
- 6.You Better Mind
- 7.Down by the Riverside
- 8.If I Could Help Somebody
- 9.Uncloudy Day
- 10.A Prayer
- 11.I've Got a Home
- 12.I'll Fly Away
The Blind Boys of Alabama: Caleb Butler, Eric "Ricky" McKinnie, Jimmy Carter , Ben Moore, Billy Bowers, Tracy Pierce, Joey Williams (vocals).
Personnel: Carl LeBlanc (banjo); Ralph Boyd Johnson (clarinet); Darryl Adams (alto saxophone); John Gilbert (tenor saxophone); Alvarez Huntley, Raymond "Taff" Williams, John Brunious (trumpet); Keith Anderson , Jerome Jones, Tyrus Chapman (trombone); Bennie Pete, Benjamin Jaffe (tuba); David Torkanowsky (piano, keyboards); Allen Toussaint (piano); Ronald Guerin (upright bass, electric bass); Shannon Powell (drums); Harry Cook (bass drum); Sammy Cyrus (snare drum).
Additional personnel: The Hot 8 Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Audio Mixer: Jimmy Hoyson.
Liner Note Author: Ben Sandmel.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA; Piety Street Studios, New Orleans, LA.
Photographers: Shannon Brinkman; Mark Gooch.
Arranger: Chris Goldsmith.
While they may not hail from the Crescent City, the Blind Boys of Alabama obviously have a strong connection to its musical traditions, a fact made unmistakably clear on DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS. With the able assistance of such estimable local heroes as Allen Toussaint and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the long-lived (they've been recording since the 1940s!) gospel icons deliver a straight-from-the-heart tribute to the spirit of New Orleans, giving their arrangements of traditional spiritual tunes a Big Easy tweak. The country blues song "You Got to Move," for instance, is transformed into a banjo-and-tuba Dixieland offering, and the gospel classic "Uncloudy Day" becomes a brass-band rave-up. Even the less overt stylistic adaptations bear the distinctive bump of New Orleans grooves, settling in seamlessly under the Blind Boys' rich, soulful voices.