Marva Wright, Henry Butler, Dr. John, Susan Tedeschi and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band Join The Blind Boys of Alabama To Celebrate Down In New Orleans
On Saturday night in New Orleans, The Blind Boys of Alabama were joined by some renowned musicians for a memorable evening of music. The night was inspired by Down In New Orleans, recorded in the Crescent City (a first for the Blind Boys of Alabama) which was released earlier this year. The venerable group wanted to shine a light on the struggles that still remain in the post-Katrina New Orleans.
‘We might not be able to swing a hammer,’ says the remaining Blind Boys of Alabama founding member Jimmy Carter, ‘but we hope we can help inspire folks with a song.’
They did just that at this special Tipitina’s performance – as they reinterpreted several songs from Down In New Orleans and offered memorable renditions of some Big Easy classics. Marva Wright guested for ‘How I Got Over,’ and then she and the Blind Boys were joined by Dr. John to play ‘Make a Better World’ in honor of the great New Orleans songwriter Earl King. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined for the gospel-flavored, ‘Uncloudy Day’ and Henry Butler lent piano to ‘If I Could Help Somebody.’ Dr. John, Butler, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Blind Boys of Alabama all ultimately came together for a version of the New Orleans traditional, ‘Down By The Riverside.’
After a break, pianist David Torkanowsky joined for four songs including ‘Spirit In The Sky.’ The Blind Boys would also be joined by Susan Tedeschi for ‘People Get Ready’ and ‘Free At Last.’ The ensemble, not to mention the gospel theme, returned for the encore of ‘I’ll Fly Away.’
The four-time grammy award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama will tour Europe next, stopping in to perform at the City of Derry Jazz Festival in northern Ireland May 2nd, and they return to North America to kick off a Canadian tour May 23rd at the MTS Center in Winnipeg where they share the bill with George Thorogood. Their next public show in the United States will be with Pieta Brown at Kansas City’s Folly Theater June 7. Report by Rob Turner