- Released: August 26, 2008
- Label: Real World
Rolling Stone - 9/19/02, p.993 stars out of 5
- "...Another set of stunning songs from Alabama's finest..."
Entertainment Weekly - 9/13/02, p.156
"...A match made in septugenarian/twentysomething heaven..." - Rating: A-
Vibe - 10/02, p.1843.5 out of 5
- "...[Blind Boys] update pop tunes with spiritual themes....A rich musical blessing..."
Living Blues - 11/02, pp.53-5
"...Randolph's guitar work drives the group, swirling and soaring to great effect..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 10/02, p.104
"...One of the oldest gospel groups around...take back some soul and R&B classics for themselves..."
Paste (magazine) - "HIGHER GROUND rocks, rolls and generally rattles the stained-glass windows. If that isn't soul-stirring music, then I don't know what is."
- 1.People Get Ready
- 2.Spirit in the Dark
- 3.Wade in the Water
- 4.Stand By Me
- 5.The Cross
- 6.Many Rivers to Cross
- 7.Higher Ground
- 8.Freedom Road
- 9.I May Not Can See
- 10.You and Your Folks/23rd Psalm
- 11.I Shall Not Walk Alone
- 12.Precious Lord
Blind Boys Of Alabama: Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott, Joey Williams, Ricky McKinnie, Bobby Butler (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Ben Harper (vocals, guitar); Leon Mobley (percussion); Robert Randolph And The Family.
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California.
HIGHER GROUND won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album.
Higher Ground, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama's second album for Real World, is even more of a crossover effort than 1997's Spirit of the Century. It sports a classics-heavy track listing, including great choices of inspirational material from R&B legends Stevie Wonder ("Higher Ground"), Curtis Mayfield ("People Get Ready"), Aretha Franklin ("Spirit in the Dark"), Prince ("The Cross"), Jimmy Cliff ("Many Rivers to Cross"), and George Clinton ("You and Your Folks"). Another inspired choice is the backing band, sacred-steel guitarist Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who provides a rock-solid rhythm, yet also lends the feeling necessary to frame the vocals. Leads Clarence Fountain and George Scott, who've been performing together for over 50 years, direct the ensemble with gospel fire; Fountain's original, "Stand by Me," is a rollicking jubilee number done with all the energy of his mid-'50s performances. Elsewhere, Randolph contributes some great licks to "I May Not Can Se," another group original, and Ben Harper stops by to deliver a piercing high tenor on "People Get Ready." ~ John Bush