Revival Meeting

Church_DerryDiscovering the Blind Boys of Alabama

I went to a revival meeting last night.

Didn’t mean to; it just turned out that way.

I didn’t even know I was going to church–thought I was going to a concert. On stage: the Blind Boys of Alabama, a gospel group I honestly knew only by name and reputation.

All I can say: Wow.

They started with the best rendition I’ve ever heard of “Spirit in the Sky,” moved on to a combination of gospel standards and Christmas songs, then floored me with “Amazing Grace” set to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.” I can’t adequately describe it. Have a listen (not from last night’s concert, but YouTube):

By the time the show was over, the audience was on its feet, clapping and swaying to the music, some dancing and raising their arms in rhythm and praise. Founding band member Jimmy Carter, born in 1929 and now well into his 80s, was walking through the audience, shaking hands and raising a ruckus (this despite the fact that he is, in fact, blind). He seemed a force of nature, jumping up and down with the music and calling on the audience for applause and adoration, which he and the band deserved.

It was wonderful. I spent a good portion of my morning buying music–Blind Boys of Alabama music–and now I’m heading off to have another listen.

Care to listen along with me? When you’re done, head over to the Blind Boys’ website. Buy some tunes of your own, or check out their tour dates. If they’re coming to a city near you…just go.

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