Clarence Fountain, who sang gospel music fit to call down the heavens as the leader of the award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama for more than 60 years, died on June 3 at a hospital near his home in Baton Rouge, La. He was 88.
The Blind Boys’ manager, Charles Driebe, said the cause was complications of diabetes.
The Blind Boys of Alabama sang a raucous, exuberant style of gospel that mixed harmony vocals with impassioned call-and-response shouting intended to rouse an audience into a religious fervor.
Explaining the group’s sound to The New York Times in 1987, Ray Allen, a folklorist and music historian, said it had evolved from the more staid style known as jubilee gospel into one that is distinguished by “a prominent lead singer shouting and preaching and backed by a rhythm-and-blues band.”
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