Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA

TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

2011-04-05

Hey, you got Gospel on my Country! Hey, you got Country on my Gospel! And so it goes on this collaboration between the venerable gospel group, Blind Boys of Alabama and some of Country music’s big names including the Oakridge Boys, Hank Williams, Jr., Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson. Tapping into gospel’s rich tradition of high energy music and multi-layered harmonies, the results here generate enough power that even the devil could be excused for checking his options. The title cut and Hank William’s "I Saw the Light" are prototypical gospel rave-ups while "Jesus, Hold My Hand" has enough funk to make you wonder if James Brown has been resurrected to join the proceedings. The harmonica licks and Vince Gill’s bluesy reading of "Can You Give Me a Drink?" serve to propel the proceedings into a tent revival frenzy. Once you are there, you can’t help but to be swept away by the sweet testifying of "Stand By Me", "Jesus Built a Bridge to Heaven" and by the Muddy Waters penned, "Why Don’t You Live So God Can Use You". "I know a Place", "Have Thine Own Way Lord" (featuring Jamey Johnson), "I Was a Burden" (featuring Lee Ann Womack) and "Family Bible" (featuring Willie Nelson) slow things down considerably and tread closer to the country side of the proceedings. Those with an aversion to hard core country need not flee these proceedings as the lap steel that appears here and there only adds season to the traditional gospel sounds. Overall, a disc that will find favor on both sides of the thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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