Higher Ground (2002)

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On the follow-up to their Grammy-winning album Spirit of the Century, the three gospel-singing septuagenarians celebrate the holy side of secular songs in hopes of connecting with “the generations that are behind us,” as founding member Clarence Fountain put it. Always alert to the potent message of God’s mightiness, they exuberantly spiritualize the Stevie Wonder title track and Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” as well as choice picks from the songbooks of Prince (“The Cross”), George Clinton (“You and Your Folks,” grafted onto the 23rd Psalm!), Ben Harper (“I Shall Not Walk Alone”), and others (Harper guests on three tracks). A few uplifting traditional gospel numbers turn up, too. Throughout the program, Blind Boy Jimmy Carter’s stirring tenor voice is a minor miracle. And “sacred steel” guitarist Robert Randolph and his Family Band are important to the success of the album, supplying genuine fervor to grooves that complement the elders’ heaven-bound vocals.

  1. People Get Ready
  2. Spirit in the Dark
  3. Wade in the Water
  4. Stand by Me
  5. The Cross
  6. Many Rivers to Cross
  7. Higher Ground
  8. Freedom Road
  9. I May Not Can See
  10. You and Your Folks/23rd Psalm
  11. I Shall Not Walk Alone
  12. Precious Lord