Atom Bomb

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
There's no turning back for the Blind Boys of Alabama. Trotted out on the old-time gospel circuit in 2000 for a creaky, creepy-crawly set of spiritual blues heavily curated by producer John Chelew and instrumentalists including David Lindley, the surviving septuagenarian Boys found a whole new audience for their fervent gospel harmonizing. Triumphant touring ensued, as did an all-star Christmas album and a full-length collaboration with Ben Harper. Atom Bomb turns the knobs up a notch on this tale of artistic resurrection. As Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash, Chelew, who's helmed albums for John Hiatt and Richard Thompson, now casts these rough-hewn voices as ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
There's no turning back for the Blind Boys of Alabama. Trotted out on the old-time gospel circuit in 2000 for a creaky, creepy-crawly set of spiritual blues heavily curated by producer John Chelew and instrumentalists including David Lindley, the surviving septuagenarian Boys found a whole new audience for their fervent gospel harmonizing. Triumphant touring ensued, as did an all-star Christmas album and a full-length collaboration with Ben Harper. Atom Bomb turns the knobs up a notch on this tale of artistic resurrection. As Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash, Chelew, who's helmed albums for John Hiatt and Richard Thompson, now casts these rough-hewn voices as trendsetters and tastemakers. The role can be forced at times. Rapper Gift of Gab, of Blackalicious, joins the Boys for a reading of the Fatboy Slim–Macy Gray number "Demons," and while it's not as ridiculous as Johnny Cash singing Trent Reznor, it fails to make anything more than a sample of this voices-of-experience choir. Fortunately Atom Bomb affords the Boys more opportunity to assert themselves, as on gospel standards such as "Talk About Suffering"; the title track, then a topical hit for the Soul Stirrers in 1950; and "Old Blind Barnabas," a swinging number in the vein of "Run On" from Spirit of the Century. It's hard to blame Chelew and the Boys for experimenting -- their risk taking pays unusually high dividends. "Spirit in the Sky," a recasting of Norman Greenbaum's fuzz-tone classic, ropes in blues harpist Charlie Mussellwhite and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and tops it off with a little bit of ZZ Top's "La Grange." Now, that's explosive.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Since 1992's Deep River, the Blind Boys of Alabama have been exploring the spiritual possibilities of secular pop songs, and by updating their sound without sacrificing one ounce of their fiery, deep gospel soul vocal approach, they have completely redefined themselves as a vibrant contemporary act for the 21st century, while stretching the boundaries of what constitutes gospel in the process. The group's latest, Atom Bomb, adds loops and hip-hop sensibilities to the mix, and with the aid of guests like Billy Preston, los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, Charlie Musselwhite, and rapper Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, provides further evidence that the Blind Boys, even though they are all in their 70s singer George Scott, one of the group's founders, died in March, 2005 at the age of 75, just as this album was being released, have no intention of becoming a gospel nostalgia act. With Clarence Fountain, George Scott and Jimmy Carter splitting the lead vocal turns, and with perfectly spare and funky rhythmic support from guitarists Joey Williams and Bobby Butler, bassist Tracie Pierce and drummer Ricke McKinnie, the Blind Boys take Blind Faith's "Presence of the Lord" the rest of the way to the altar, and give traditional gospel scraps like "Old Blind Barnabas" and "Moses" two of the obvious highlights here a ragged, funky exposition that puts real soul on their bones. The rap pieces, like a cover of the Fatboy Slim/Macy Gray tune "Demons," which features Gift of Gab, seem more interesting for what they attempt than what they accomplish, however, and the version here of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky," which was never really a secular tune in the first place, fails to find any new spiritual or musical dimensions in the song, but these are minor problems in what is a pretty good album. The title cut, a cover of the Cold War-era "Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb," reveals a surprisingly current world view forty-some-years after it was initially recorded by the legendary Soul Stirrers, and is further proof that, although they may be well up in years, the Blind Boys of Alabama still know how to get to the soul of the matter.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2008
  • Label: Real World
  • UPC: 884108012420
  • Catalog Number: 125
  • Sales rank: 216,720

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Blind Boys of Alabama Primary Artist, Indexed Contributor, Vocals
Charlie Musselwhite Harmonica
Clarence Fountain Vocals, Group Member
Billy Preston Organ, Piano
Bobby Butler Vocals, Group Member
John Chelew Organ, Piano
David Hidalgo Guitar
Michael Jerome Drums
Gift of Gab Vocals, Rap
Ricke McKinnie Vocals, Group Member
Joey Williams Vocals, Group Member
Tracy Pierce Bass, Group Member
Jimmy Carter Vocals, Group Member
George Scott Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Bill Withers Composer
Norman Greenbaum Composer
John Chelew Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Eric Clapton Composer
Norman Cook Composer
Jimmy Hoyson Engineer
Glenn Nishida Engineer
Gavin Lurssen Mastering
Lee V. McCullom Composer
Chris Goldsmith Arranger, Executive Producer
Traditional Composer
Five Blind Boys of Alabama Arranger
Mike Glines Engineer
Charles Driebe Management
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