XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Pray For Peace” by Blind Boys of Alabama

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Photo by Jim Herrington

If there’s a song we all need in our lives these days, it’s a song from the fantastic new Blind Boys of Alabama album, Almost Home.

With two of the founding members of the Blind Boys still alive, Clarence Fountain (87 years old) and Jimmy Carter (85) have made one of the best albums in their long, acclaimed, and important career as a gospel group. The album looks back on the long, hard, and winding roads they began to walk on when the two met as schoolboys in 1939 and began singing together.

The new album combines the sacred and secular with the past and present. It was recorded with four different producers, and includes three songs written by John Leventhal and Marc Cohn, and others by Phil Cook and Valerie June, Randall Bramblett and members of the group.

Almost Home is a tribute to the band’s spirit and endurance; as Jim Allen for NPR Music writes:

“Pray For Peace,” a co-write between blues rockers North Mississippi Allstars and The Blind Boys, rides a fat, syncopated groove blending blues, funk, and gospel. It’s a clear-eyed assessment of both the progress that’s been made since the civil rights movement’s heyday and the distance still left to go. When the Boys sing about the changes they’ve seen in their lifetime and then lament that “our grandmothers would be brokenhearted to see their children’s children right back where we started,” it’s tough to tamp down your own sorrow and anger.

Listen to “Pray For Peace” and stream the full album here via NPR Music.

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