Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Blind Boys of Alabama return to Mondavi with gospel standards, holiday tunes

BlindBoysofAlabamaW

The Blind Boys of Alabama's Christmas tour comes to the Mondavi Center on Friday, Dec. 13. Cameron Witting/Courtesy photo

By
From page A9 | December 10, 2013 | Leave Comment

That’s the ticket

Who: Blind Boys of Alabama

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis

Tickets: $49 general, $24.50 students; www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787

After roughly 70 years as a vocal ensemble — including five Grammy Awards during the past 14 years — the Blind Boys of Alabama just keep going on, and on, and on. Their current Christmas tour includes a performance at the Mondavi Center at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in Jackson Hall.

The Blind Boys recently released a new album — a collaboration between the gospel veterans and vocalist/producer Justin Vernon (of the group Bon Iver, an American indie pop band from rural Wisconsin that was founded in 2007.

“I think it’s one of the best albums we’ve done in a while,” said Ricky McKinnie, who’s been affiliated with the Blind Boys for 24 years. “What makes it different is that we’re singing some traditional gospel songs, but in a mainstream approach,” with guest vocals from white performers from the indie pop realm, some of whom are young enough to be the grandchildren of the more senior members of the Blind Boys.

“Naturally, we will be doing some of the material from the new album,” McKinnie said. “Tunes like ‘I Shall Not Be Moved’ and ‘Take Your Burdens To The Lord.’ ”

And the Blind Boys will be reprising tunes from their 2008 holiday album, “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” The set list likely will include a gospel-influenced version of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and a gospel version of “Silent Night,” originally a holiday hymn with German lyrics.

And then there’s “Last Month of the Year” — a venerable gospel standard in which one singer calls out “Tell me, when was Jesus born? Was it January?” The reply from the other singers: “No?” “February?” “No!” “March? April? May?” “No, no.” And as the singers work their way through the months (“June? July? August?”) the Blind Boys simultaneously entertain the crowd and gently educate the very youngest members of the audience.

That mix of entertaining music and gospel content is a hallmark of the Blind Boys’ annual December tour.

“Anytime when we go to a university, like UC Davis, we realize that many people are not there to be preached to, but to be sung to,” McKinnie explained. “We come to sing. And if someone is feeling bad” — and in need of a spiritual boost — “well, they need to hear a Blind Boys concert,” he added.

Given the many decades that the group has been performing, there have been inevitable changes in the Blind Boys lineup. The group first sang together in the glee club in 1944 at the Alabama Institute for the Blind in Talladega, Ala.; the original members were about 9 years old at the time.

Clarence Fountain, one of those original members, still records with the group when his health allows, but is no longer able to tour. Vocalist Jimmy Carter (born in 1929) is the longest-serving member of the current lineup. McKinnie (born in 1952) began his career singing with groups like Troy Ramey and the Soul Searchers, as well as the Gospel Keynotes (with whom he earned a gold record in 1972).

McKinnie lost his eyesight to glaucoma in 1976, but kept on performing. The Blind Boys’ Clarence Fountain recruited McKinnie in 1989, and he has served in various capacities as the Blind Boys drummer, tour manager and vocalist (appearing on four of the group’s Grammy-winning albums in recent years).

These days, the Blind Boys tour internationally.

“We were just in Brazil, where we saw our old-time friend Bobby Womack and the Rev. Jesse Jackson,” McKinnie said.

Womack wrote and recorded the tune “It’s All Over Now,” which is probably best known in the version recorded by the Rolling Stones; he was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jackson was the first black presidential candidate to win statewide contests (Louisiana and South Carolina) in the 1984 campaign for the Democratic nomination.

“You just let the people in Davis know that The Blind Boys are coming to town,” McKinnie urged this reporter. “We’re going to be singing the best of Christmas music, and some of the best of our Grammy music, and songs from our new album.”

Tickets are $49 general, $24.50 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Going green at church, school, everywhere

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

UCD to host Global Health Day event

By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

 
‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Online K-12 school holds info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Schwenger lawn signs available

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Volunteers needed for Grad Night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis grad makes rain collection a business

By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

A few spots left on history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event to provide nature scholarship

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Students have new options on leasing front

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Groups join for a day of service

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Food for the hungry

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Dad makes mom look bad

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Early help is a great investment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

More tax money? Answer the question

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
UCD IS responsible for students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

In search of great ideas

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Please keep the nursery open

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Acacia at Huntington Square

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Yolo FCU

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Suzanne Kimmel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Patricia Echevarria

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Andrew Dowling

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Sheryl Patterson

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Don Guthrie

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Heather Barnes

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Julie Partain & Dick Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Willowbank Park

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Team Traverso

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tim Harrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Lori Prizmich

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20