The Blind Boys Of Alabama had been at it for 57 years before 'Spirit Of The Century' garnered them their first Grammy Award as 2001's "Best Traditional Soul Gospel Performance." Taking such popular fare as "Just Wanna See His Face" (Rolling Stones), "Way Down In The Hole" (the Tom Waits theme to "The Wire"), "Give A Man A Home" (Ben Harper) as well as classics like "Amazing Grace" and "Motherless Child," the 10-track album was a jewel, a long out-of-print jewel. Until now.
As the longtime lead guitarist for one of gospel music's most enduring vocal groups, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sam Butler's flourishes were noticed by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, both of whom Butler wound up working with later. For his first solo CD, 'Raise Your Hands!' (Severn Records), producer Brian Brinkerhoff has chosen to surround Butler's voice and still-stinging guitar with secular tracks by certifiable legends. The kick is that the songs are pulled inside out so deliciously, you won't even recognize them. Plus, they're not the usual picks.
If you aren't in the know, Dr. John and his crazy theatrics are a worldwide phenomenon. And now, the New Orleans saint (yet, not a football player) will release a compilation of what he considers the most important tracks from Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.