Blind Boys of Alabama Atom Bomb

This venerable institution keeps going strong with its third album in as many years, since the 2001 classic Spirit of the Century. As they proved then, their traditional gospel sound easily translates to the contemporary scene through some insightful song selections, and a little soulful accompaniment. Atom Bomb seems even a more overt attempt to reach younger ears, as hip-hop and R&B elements are more prevalent, especially on Macy Gray’s "Demons,” featuring Gift of Gab. The bluesy "Talk about Suffering,” with a great harmonica solo from Charlie Musselwhite and tasty guitar from Los Lobos’ David Hildago, is another standout track. But many will immediately gravitate to the new versions of classic rock staples "Spirit in the Sky,” and "Presence of the Lord.” Whereas it was hard to tell whether the original versions contained the actual passion they professed, when sung by the Blind Boys, there’s no doubt that the message should be heeded. And that’s what makes the Blind Boys’ recent renaissance so significant; in the current climate of religious fervour (particularly of the Christian variety) some old time religion is always a breath of fresh air. Although Atom Bomb is not as eye-opening as its predecessors, it follows the formula well and will not disappoint any recent converts. (Real World)