DENVER (CBS4) – The Blind Boys of Alabama are a legendary gospel quartet, who are playing at the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus. The group is promoting a new album called “Almost Home.”
“Almost Home” tells the story of the groups origins in Alabama in the 1940’s. The quartet formed at a school for blind students. Jimmy Carter is an original member of the group and still sings with them today. He told CBS4 that the group was first called “The Happyland Jubilee Singers,” then he explained how the name changed.
“There was another group, another blind group that came out just about the same time as the Blind Boys of Alabama. Another blind group from Mississippi. They were called ‘The Jackson Harmoneers’. It was a big promoter in Newark, New Jersey, he was promoting big quartets in the city of Newark. And he said, ‘Well, I’m going to have a battle of music between the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Blind Boys of Mississippi’…and that was that, the name stuck,” Carter explained.
Carter is the only original member of the group left, but many of the other members have been around a long time and shared in some amazing successes, like 5 Grammy awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy’s and performances for three presidents.
“My most favorite moment, Prince came on stage and played my guitar, and gave it back to me, that might be the highlight of my life,” said Joey Williams.
Even after 70-years, the quartet tours year round bringing their style of gospel to audiences all over the world.
“I appreciate when I get out on that stage, and get the crowd going, get the response that we get, it makes me feel good,” Carter told CBS4.
Where ever they go, the Blind Boys of Alabama are an inspiration.
“The Blind Boys have proved that a disability is a limitation, and we all have limitations. It’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you do,” said Ricky McKinnie.