Two months ago I began making some decisions about my studies and consequently I was focusing on college and neglected my blog and photography. I’ve simply put it on hold. I thought I didn’t miss it that much, but then, a couple of days ago, I was reading one of my older posts. It made me remember why I started writing in the first place. I mean I enjoy just listening to music, but writing about it gives me something more. It makes me more aware of how passionate I actually am about music and I love that feeling. So here I am again, writing after a (too) long break. For the past few weeks I’ve also started doing something new - I committed to listening 2 new albums every week, which means I definitely won’t run out of stuff to write about.
Enough about that, let me talk about what I’m here to talk about. In 2004 Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama recorded an album called There Will Be A Light. It is one of my favourite albums of all time and one of the best collaboration albums I know. I’ve always been completely blown away by good collaborations. It’s simply beyond me how two groups are able to melt into one so completely so that they don’t sound like two separate groups, while at the same time, retain and show what each makes them unique. And it all fits together perfectly! It’s nothing short of magical. The reason I’m bringing this up is because the way Ben Harper and the Blind Boys Of Alabama work together on these 11 songs is an epitome of what I’m trying to say.
Before I listened to this album, I knew Ben Harper’s music as quite eclectic, but the part I was interested in was a mixture of indie, rock, folk and maybe blues, with most of his songs being introspective and somewhat melancholic. Which I love. Here are a few great songs, so you can hear what I mean.
The Blind Boys of Alabama is a gospel group that’s been active for well over 70 years now and they’re one of the best in their field. And if you’re wondering, yes, they’re actually blind (apart from one member I believe). They were performing in Ljubljana a couple of years ago and I really regret not seeing them - at that time I had no idea who they are. Now I can’t think of any other group that would make this album as powerful as it is now.
Seven of the songs on the album are written by Ben, specifically for this occasion. The rest are traditional gospel tunes and covers (keep an eye on Bob Dylan’s Well, Well, Well). The moment I heard the first song of the album, Take My Hand, I knew I was in for a treat. What an understatement that proved to be. The album is just that good!
The Blind Boys of Alabama create a basis on which Ben flourishes. They provide a background that’s rich, joyful and full of faith to his emotional, honest and heartwarming singing. Add to that a great instrumental accompaniment and you get this incredible piece of music. Here are, in my opinion, the highlights of the album:
The title song, There Will Be a Light. No words needed here. Just listen and feel it.
Powerful rendition of Well, Well, Well with some crazy guitar work on 11th commandment before that.
The a cappella song, If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again, is simply haunting. It’s amazing that a human voice without any instruments to back it up is capable of creating such an emotional work of art. Probably my favourite song of the album - the Blind Boys Of Alabama at their best, if you ask me.
What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do? Do you agree that their collaboration on this album is perfect?
Until next time…
P.S. Does anyone have any requests for what you would like to see me write about next time?