BlindBoys_Web205x170Led by founding member Clarence Fountain, the group has also featured Eric McKinney, George Scott, Caleb Butler, Johnny Fields, Jimmy Carter, Joey Williams, Donald Dillion, and Aubrey Blount. From their inception in the 1930s, the group’s members turned their blindness into their chief selling point. They began singing when all were students at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Alabama.. The group began singing professionally as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers. In 1950, after the death of one of its members, the group renamed itself simply the Blind Boys of Alabama. In the ’60s, the group’s hard-driving gospel sounds were imitated by people like Bobby “Blue” Bland and Marvin Gaye. According to Fountain, the group’s high point was being on Broadway for 15 weeks with the musical Gospel at Colonus. The musical opened up new avenues for bookings for the Blind Boys of Alabama, and they began touring theaters and larger churches in the early ’90s. A new recording in 2011, Take the High Road, found the Blind Boys of Alabama pursuing their roots in country gospel, with help from producer Jamey Johnson.