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The Blind Boys Of Alabama


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Alabama, United States (1939 – present)

The Blind Boys of Alabama are a gospel music group from Alabama that first formed at the Talledega School for the Deaf and Blind in 1939.

Although the Blind Boys of Alabama have been singing gospel music for more than five decades, it’s only recently that the group has had the benefit of a major record company behind them. The founding members were Clarence Fountain, Johnny Fields, George Scott, Ollice Thomas, and Vel Trayler. The current group consists of Eric McKinney, Billy Bowers, Jimmy Carter, Joey Williams, and Donald Dillion.

From their inception in the 1930s, when all were boys, all members of the group except one were blind. They began singing when all were students, in the glee club, at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Alabama, but didn’t begin recording until 1948. As a youth, Fountain heard the legendary Golden Gate Quintet on the radio; the early Five Blind Boys of Alabama took their musical cues from that group. The group began singing professionally as the Happyland Jubilee Singers, and for years only toured the Bible Belt in the Southern U.S.

Since 1948, they’ve recorded for a variety of small record companies, and had gospel music hits in the 1950s with “Oh, Lord Stand By Me” and “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But I Can’t See Mine”. In 1950, after the death of one of their members, the group renamed themselves simply the Blind Boys of Alabama.


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