Clarence Fountain

Gospel Vocals Blind Boys of Alabama

Born: 11/28/1929 Tyler, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Collector's EditionRare Classic RecordingAll Things Are PossibleGolden Moments in GospelStepping Up & Stepping Out

Clarence Fountain was one of the founding members of the Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama, a group that was formed when he was a 12-year-old student at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Alabama. The group, which drew all of its members from the school, was originally known as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers. They made their first recordings in 1948 after adopting their permanent name and had a recording career that extended over a more than 60-year span. Fountain broke with the group in 1969 to pursue a solo career and recorded two albums with Jewel, then rejoined the group in 1980. In 1983 the group performed as the chorus in the Obie-winning adaptation of a Sophocles play, The Gospel at Colonus, and continued to revive their roles in that play several times in the following years. Fountain continued to record for Jewel in the '90s, as well as issuing compilations of his work on a variety of labels. Working with fellow Blind Boys' alumnus Sam Butler (Fountain had actually mentored Butler in the group), Fountain and Butler released the wonderful Stepping Up & Stepping Out album, an emotionally balanced set of both gospel and secular numbers, on Solomon Burke's Tyscot Records in 2009. ~ Stacia Proefrock & Steve Leggett, Rovi



Born November 28, 1929 in Tyler, Alabama, blind since birth. Attended Talladega Institute for the Blind and Deaf. His performing life will always be intertwined with the immortal group, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama. He is a remarkable, talented, quiet yet charismatic man. A wry sense of humor, and a man of endless faith. Due to health reasons, he has been off the road from touring with the group since 2006.




Clarence Fountain

The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Gospel Musicians

Topic: “The Changing American Neighborhood”


For over 60 years, the Blind Boys of Alabama have traversed “higher ground” together. Since forming their group at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, they have kept alive the spirit and energy of pure soul gospel music. Founding members Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter and George Scott—along with more recent arrivals Joey Williams, Ricky McKinnie and Bobby Butler—have drawn upon gospel's river-deep reflections on life's trials, and mastered its haunting falsettos and vibrant, muscular harmonies. And at ages when most men have retired from life's spotlight, they continue to command the music's heart-pounding vigor as meditation erupts into foot-stomping, rollicking celebration.

Remarkably, the Blind Boys not only represent the highest standard of a charismatic American musical tradition— they also extend that tradition. Gospel has always nourished blues, rhythm-and-blues and rock’n’roll, so it seems only natural for the Blind Boys to have found a calling in transforming popular song back into consecrated writ.

That’s been a favored aspect of the group’s albums and concerts in recent years. Since first reaching toward a wider audience with their roles in the 1983 production of “The Gospel at Colonnus,” (Bob Telson and Lee Breuer’s Obie Award-winning Off-Broadway and Broadway smash), the singers have repeatedly reinvented material associated with artists from the world beyond the church. They’ve transformed Bob Dylan (“I Believe in You”) and Richard Thompson (“Dimming of the Day”), illuminating the spiritual message inherent in these soul-searching songs. On last year’s Grammy Award-winning “Spirit of the Century” (Real World), they applied that same knack to an eclectic array of tunes drawn from the Rolling Stones, Tom Waits and Ben Harper, with a band that boasted such potent instrumentalists as blues guitarist John Hammond, string maestro David Lindley and harp virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite.







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