Clarence Fountain, Founding Blind Boys Of Alabama Member, Dies At Age 88

first_imgClarence Fountain, a founding member of the long-running and culturally significant gospel outfit Blind Boys of Alabama, passed away on Sunday, June 3rd in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of 88, according to a statement issued by longtime Blind Boys manager Charles Driebe.Fountain was born November 28th, 1929 and grew up in a religious household in Selma, Alabama. Notes Celebrity Access, After losing his sight as a small child, Clarence Fountain was enrolled at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega, where he joined the school’s large boys choir. There, in the mid-1940’s, inspired by the weekly radio broadcasts of the Golden Gate Quartet, he and a group of his classmates decided to start their own singing group, eventually dubbed the Blind Boys.Explains the Blind Boys’ eloquent official bio:In the seven decades since the Blind Boys of Alabama first began singing together, America has witnessed a World War, the civil rights movement, and the Summer of Love; the moon landing, Vietnam, and the fall of the Berlin Wall; JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X; the invention of the jukebox, the atomic bomb, and the internet. Through it all, the Blind Boys’ music has not only endured, but thrived, helping both to define the sound of the American south and to push it forward through the 20th century and well on into the 21st. Praised by NPR as “pioneers,” the group has transcended barriers of race and genre to become one of the most acclaimed and celebrated groups in modern music. From the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind, where the original members met as children, all the way to The White House – where they’ve performed for three different presidents – the band’s story is, in many ways, America’s story.The Blind Boys went on to win multiple Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, as well as being inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and performing at the White House. Watch Clarence Fountain sing lead with the Blind Boys on “Too Close To Heaven” from How Sweet It Was, The Sights and Sounds of Gospel’s Golden Age:The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama – “Too Close To Heaven”[Video: Pannellctp Traditional Gospel Music]Due to declining health, Fountain stopped touring with the band in 2007 but did contribute vocals to the Blind Boys’ latest album, Almost Home, released last year. Below, you can also listen to a fascinating NPR World Cafe interview by Fountain and his fellow founding Blind Boys member, Jimmy Carter, about their early lives and their incredible 70-year career.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>[H/T Celebrity Access]last_img

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