Evolving out of the Happyland Jubilee Singers, this traditional black gospel quartet was formed in 1937 at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Alabama.
By the '40s they became "the Blind Boys" and recorded for Specialty
, and other labels. Their first hit was "I Can See Everybody's Mother But Mine" in 1949. During the '90s, their lineup included George Scott, Joe Watson, Jimmy Carter, Sam
and Bobby Butler, Curtis Foster, Johnny Fields, and Clarence Fountain
. They appeared on Broadway in Gospel at Colonus, but gained much more fame during the late '90s and early 2000s while recording a series of albums for Peter Gabriel
's Real World
label, beginning with the collaboration-heavy Spirit of the Century. The group also appeared on Gabriel
's 2002 album Up, and was co-billed with Ben Harper
on 2004's There Will Be a Light. Scott passed away in 2005, and Fountain
retired from active performance soon after, leaving Jimmy Carter to lead the group. A new recording in 2011, Take the High Road, found the group pursuing its roots in country gospel, with help from producer Jamey Johnson
and featuring guests including Willie Nelson
, Hank Williams Jr.
, and Vince Gill
. ~ Bil Carpenter, Rovi