Sunday, 12 May 2013

None Of Us Are Free

On the last day of recording, the Blind Boys of Alabama joined us - fresh from their victory at the Grammys the night before. The studio was in a chaos born of exhilaration and exhaustion. The Blind Boys arrived like a visiting baseball team, trailing supporters and admirers. Women from Solomon's church drifted in and out, serving chicken and sweet tea. I ran from room to room, listening as Solomon and The Blind Boys caught up, swapped stories and began honing the song they would sing together. The band listened over headphones from the next room, and (unbeknownst to the singers) started to play along. As a call-to-order and almost in jest (I didn't know who, if anybody, was listening to me), I leaned into Solomon's microphone and counted the beginning of the song, only to have the air sucked out of body, like someone opening the door of a flying airplane. The song lurched into a groove, and Solomon began to sing in a voice that was barely above a whisper. The Blind Boys fell in behind him like someone had dropped the needle on a record left ready and spinning in 1957. Afterward, I don't remember either Solomon or the Blind Boys discussing whether or not this was a "take." Everyone simply...departed, leaving the band, the engineer and me to eat what was left of the chicken, and turn off all the lights. 

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