Marc Cohn And Blind Boys Of Alabama

Work To Do
(BMG)

As humble as the music on Work To Do is, and as pure as the a capella singing sounds, this recording shines because of the seemingly disparate performers and musics collected here.

Folksy singer-songwriter Marc Cohn teaming with the Blind Boys Of Alabama gives riveting, new life to the 10 songs collected here. And though “Walking In Jerusalem,” a tune that predates the vocal group’s founding, regularly occupies the Blind Boys’ live sets, reshaping the arrangement for a more bluesy and vocally relaxed performance opens a path for an exploration of the song’s historically rich roots. To hear the collective also include a performance of “Amazing Grace” set to the despondent melody of “House Of The Rising Sun” again shows a unique open mindedness, one befitting this collaborative effort.

Understanding that gospel material made an impression on the Cleveland-born Cohn early in his career only adds to the layered value of Work To Do, and makes its success seem almost unsurprising.