The Blind Boys Of Alabama: Gospel Pioneers

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Set List

"Amazing Grace"

"People Get Ready" with Susan Tedeschi

"Uncloudy Day" with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

"I'll Fly Away" with Susan Tedeschi, Marva Wright, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Blind (300)

The Blind Boys of Alabama. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

A four-time Grammy-winning gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama first formed at Alabama's Talladega Institute for the Blind in 1939. It was there that the original five members came together under the name The Happyland, which would be changed to the current name in 1948. In its incredible 70-year career, the group has released more than 60 albums and been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Blind Boys' latest release, the Grammy-nominated Down in New Orleans, reveals a never-ending love for infusing new styles into gospel music.

Maintaining their traditional four-part harmonies, the Blind Boys' members have experimented with many sounds within the gospel tradition. Their blend of traditional and contemporary gospel, soul and R&B once confined them to smaller venues, but after collaborating with artists such as Mavis Staples, Tom Petty, Prince, Peter Gabriel and Ben Harper, the group has become a global sensation.

In Down in New Orleans, the group infuses gospel with elements of Dixieland jazz, soul and funk to create a virtual timeline of classic American music. With additional backup support from New Orleans instrumentalists and legendary musicians such as Allen Toussaint, the album ranks among The Blind Boys of Alabama's finest.

Purchase Featured Music

Down in New Orleans

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Down in New Orleans
The Five Blind Boys of Alabama
Time Life

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from