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Duets

13 customer reviews

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Duets
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Audio CD, October 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The Blind Boys have frequently been invited to appear on other great artists' albums, resulting in a number of performances that have been collected into Duets. Their first-ever duets collection includes songs with Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Travis, Lou Reed, Solomon Burke, Susan Tedeschi and Asleep at the Wheel. In addition, it features three new recordings with Lou Reed, blues legend John Hammond, and Jamaican legend Toots Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals.
The diverse group of artists collaborating on Duets reflects the expansive appeal of the group as well as the sweeping reverence for their talent. This new album follows their Grammy and Dove Award-winning CD Down in New Orleans.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Time Life Entertainment
  • ASIN: B002L5GQ28
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,437 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I love the BBs of Alabama and have for years. Time and age has changed the membership of the group since it was formed in 1939 but they always sing as a cohesive unit - and individual members names are rarely listed on their albums. I have many of their CDS (and DVDs) but most of the tracks - though all but four are previously issued - are new to me. Why? Because the Executive Producers Charles Driebe and Chris Goldsmith took these tracks from albums which featured the Boys as "guests". There's a diverse group from Country's Randy Travis to kids' music icon Dane Zanes. So you don't need to go buy whole albums just to hear the Boys do their thing.

Add to this the four "new to CD" tracks with Toots of the Maytals, blues master John Hammond and - least likely partner of all, Lou Reed! The Bonnie Raitt (issued) track comes from 1994 but the other are all post 2001.

The sound is "heavenly" (pun intended here) and the sequencing just perfect. If the "name acts" included here introduced new folks to the Blind Boys recordings, that'll just be the icing on the cake!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on November 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Blind Boys of Alabama formed as a quartet in 1939 at what was then called the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf & Blind. All four members - three primary vocalists and a drummer - were blind. Of the four founders, two have passed, one has retired, and Clarence Fountain continues to tour with the group as his health allows. Like the Staple Singers, the Blind Boys of Alabama sing traditional material and bring their gospel harmonies to pop music. This collection pulls together fourteen collaborations in which the group backs up or sings alongside folk, rock, pop, country, blues, soul and reggae artists.

All but four of these tracks were previously released, but anthologizing them in a single place provides an amplified view of how the group's gospel meshes into a variety of musical contexts, and how effortlessly the group pulls other artists into their embrace. Ben Harper's soulful singing is a natural fit, as are Toots Hibbert's and Solomon Burke's. Randy Travis' old-timey religion gives the group a jaunty rhythm, and the twangy guitar, solid backbeat and spoken blues of Charlie Musselwhite's "I Had Trouble" is backed with Jordanaires-styled harmonies.

The acoustic "Welcome Table" provides Dan Zanes and the group a terrific arena for vocal interplay, even dropping in an a cappella verse. The spare blues of John Hammond's "One Kind of Favor" finds the group harmonizing in a low hum, and the swing stylings of Asleep at the Wheel's "The Devil Ain't Lazy" offer a playful way to put across the song's message. Perhaps most surprising is the pairing with Lou Reed on the Velvet Underground's "Jesus." Here the group's harmonies shed the light of salvation upon Reed's spent and broken monotone.

Timothy B.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Dalton VINE VOICE on January 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
If The Blind Boys of Alabama ever needed commendation, which they don't, Duets provides it by being a showcase for the wide variety of artists with whom they have collaborated. Also telling are the many songs on this release that come from Grammy-nominated or Grammy-winning albums.

Appropriately, the CD opens with "Take My Hand" by Ben Harper from the Grammy-winning There Will Be a Light (2004). It was through that award that The Blind Boys came to my attention and perhaps the attention of many others.

What is it about The Blind Boys that causes so many artists to want them on their albums? Being in the music business, it must have something to do with their sound, which for me hearkens to the Negro spirituals sung by world-weary voices that knew hardship. It's an authentic gospel sound that enhances songs that resonate with The Blind Boys.

Two of the most powerful tracks are back to back blues excursions: "I Had Trouble," by Charlie Musselwhite and "When the Spell is Broken," by Bonnie Raitt. The latter song features The Blind Boys on a great-sounding refrain toward the end: "Can't cry if you don't know how." Their voices fit well with the blues, but among the wide range of styles that you find are country, black gospel, Americana, reggae and something that sounds a little alternative.

In regards to the latter, I'm thinking of "Jesus" by Lou Reed, one of three previously unreleased recordings. I found this track mesmerizing from the first time that I heard it. Sparse instrumentation and short, simple lyrics given with a vulnerable delivery perfectly complement this song of brokenness. It's a plea from one who has fallen from grace and now seeks to find their place.
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By MyModernDad on October 28, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Always a casual fan of The Blind Boys of Alabama after winning tickets to see them at a FUV show once. When I saw that they were re-teaming with Ben Harper to make a song for their new Duets album I knew I had to get a copy the day it came out. I am so not disappointed! Sadly the Ben Harper track seems to be the weakest song on the album (still good) but that means I have been exposed to many other artists in the Blind Boys vein of music making and very happy about that. The Toots song is lots of fun as are the country (ish) songs on the album. Yhis is a must buy for anyone who likes music.
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