Atom Bomb

The Blind Boys of Alabama

Released 15 March 2005

  1. Atom Bomb
  2. Demons
  3. Talk About Suffering
  4. I Know I've Been Converted
  5. Old Blind Barnabas
  6. Spirit In The Sky
  7. Faith And Grace
  8. New Born Soul
  9. Presence of The Lord
  10. Moses

Liner notes

While the sound of traditional soul gospel is still unmistakably at its core, Atom Bomb, the group’s latest album, includes The Blind Boys’ most adventurous forays into pop music yet, featuring loops, raps and roaring blues riffs. The disc includes an exuberant version of the Fatboy Slim/Macy Gray tune “Demons,” featuring rapper Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, while Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo and blues harp icon Charlie Musselwhite help recast Norman Greenbaum’s gospel-rock classic “Spirit in the Sky” as a raw, Detroit-style boogie.

The 10-track disc also includes a joyous rendition of Eric Clapton/Blind Faith’s “Presence of the Lord,” featuring the legendary Billy Preston on Hammond B3, as well as The Blind Boys’ spin on such traditional tunes as “Old Blind Barnabus” (a song suggested to the group by Tom Waits), “I Know I’ve Been Converted,” “Talk About Suffering” and “Moses.” The title song, meanwhile, is a remake of an early Cold War-era Soul Stirrers tune that proves uncannily relevant some 55 years later.

Reviews

  • Blind Faith: On possibly their best collection yet, the veteran vocal group drops a powerful Bomb Blues Review (USA)
  • The old boys are back in town and feeling funky. MOJO (UK)
  • Now approaching their eighties, they're determined to make the most of their time and their energy is extraordinary. They're sounding pretty contemporary, too, with Gift Of Gab from Blackalicious rapping on powerful versions of Bill Wither's 'Demons' and the trad 'Moses'. Elsewhere, their gospel voices are given a funky undertow by Billy Preston's organ, and Charlie Musselwhite adds some slow-burning blues harmonica to an inspired collection, with a simmering take on 'Spirit In The Sky' a standout. Uncut (UK)

Further Listening

  • Jubilation

    The Holmes Brothers

    Released 09 March 1992

    Sublime gospel meets juke-joint blues. The Holmes Brothers give us a soul-stirring re-invention of a timeless collection of songs from the American gospel canon in one memorable live performance captured at the Real World Recording Week in 1991.
  • Sanctuary

    Charlie Musselwhite

    Released 13 October 2003

    On this musical excursion, American blues legend Charlie Musselwhite explores the themes that have always charged the potency of the blues: loneliness, despair, evil, and dying. He casts a steady light on these shadowy topics, re-connecting the blues idiom to the haunting emotions that resonated so powerfully in its earliest incarnations.

Further reading

Alan James Creative Bursaries 2019

The English Folk Dance and Song Society have awarded four new bursaries.

7 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award nominations for Real World artists

The RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards will take place in Vicar St., Dublin on 24 October 2019.

The beauty of simple things: Saul Leiter

American photographer Saul Leiter's work features on the cover of an upcoming Real World release.

Novelist Michael Cunningham previews new Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett album

The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist shares his thoughts on the beautiful new album.