THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA are black music’s longest running performing institution. They’ve been making significant music since they were founded back in 1941 and over the years and through numerous personnel changes they’ve continued to be trendsetters winning numerous awards and accolades en route.

Amongst the most prestigious awards is the pair of Grammys the Blind Boys won in 2001 and 2002 for the albums ‘Spirit Of The Century’ and ‘Higher Ground’ . If you missed out on the sets first time around, Omnivore Records have now just reissued them in expanded formats… both collections featuring bonus tracks and comprehensive essays and liner notes.

‘Spirit Of The Century’ was produced by John Chelew and Chris Goldsmith and the 12 tracker was an inspired mix of classic gospel songs and more contemporary material like the Rolling Stone’s ‘I Just Wanna See His Face’. The new reissue contains seven live performances of album songs recorded at New York’s famed Bottom Line Club.

2bb‘Higher Ground’ (named for the Stevie Wonder song that anchors the album) was also helmed by Chelew and Goldsmith while the backing is provided by Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Once again amongst the gospel standards are wonderful versions of contemporary classics like Curtis Mayfield’s ‘People Get Ready’. Different to the Impressions’ original version, it is equally inspiring. Other covers include Aretha’s ‘Spirit In The Dark’, Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ and of course Stevie’s ‘Higher Ground’. Gospel never sounded so funky! The album’s 7 bonus cuts are live recordings, this time from the US radio show ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’.

Both albums will be available from May 13th