In retrospect, it seems that Marc Cohn’s first big hit, the 1991 Grammy-nominated “Walking in Memphis,” was just a prelude for this meeting of gospel legends the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Cleveland-born/NYC-based singer/songwriter/pianist. Despite a clutch of solid but commercially disappointing albums since then, Cohn hasn’t duplicated the success of “… Memphis,” which remains his signature song.
Based solely on that track (which not surprisingly appears here in a concert setting), this joyful collaboration makes sense since Cohn’s music generally drifts towards gospel-inflected pop. Bringing in the legendary Blind Boys not only enhances that, but allows Cohn to write some — but not enough — new material enriched by the church-wise singing and harmonies of the veteran vocal quartet. While many may be disappointed that only two newly penned tunes take full advantage of this partnership, the remaining seven live tracks are a natural and logical extension of the concept.
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