Last night the Blind Boys of Alabama played at Mississippi Studios. It was great to see them in such an intimate venue. It was almost like being at a house party and having the Blind Boys performing in the living room. I saw them once before at the Roseland Theater about 9 years ago. At that time there were still three of the original band members: Jimmy Carter, Clarence Fountain and Georg Scott. Since then Scott has passed away, and Fountain has retired due to health issues. Carter, being the sole founding member, now heads the group. They keep a full touring schedule even though Carter is now in his 80’s. When I saw them at the Roseland, I had gotten free tickets from my girlfriend (now wife) who worked at a radio station at the time. I thought it was one of the best shows I had seen.
One of the highlights was when Jimmy Carter climbs down from the stage and moves ecstatically through the crowd (with the help of a minder to keep him safe.) I was glad to see that he continues to do this now despite his even more advanced age. It was especially harrowing this time as the crowd was packed to the rafters in the small Mississippi Studios’ performance space. What made the show even better this time was that I was there reporting for Oregon Music News. For some reason, any experience becomes more meaningful when I’m working.
Happy First Day of Winter.