Hear Blind Boys Of Alabama Rework Pops Staples’ ‘Friendship’ For 1st New Album In 6 Years

The legendary gospel group’s new album, Echoes Of The South, will be released on August 25.

By Andy Kahn Jun 13, 2023 12:24 pm PDT

Blind Boys of Alabama will release Echoes Of The South, their first album in six years, on August 25. The group shared the album’s lead single, a cover of Pops Staples’ classic “Friendship.”

Co-produced by Matt Ross-Spang, Ben Tanner and Charles Driebe, Echoes Of The South was titled after Birmingham, Alabama radio station WSGN’s show that was the first to welcome the Blind Boys as guests. The 11-song Echoes Of The South was recorded in Sheffield, Alabama at The NuttHouse Recording Studio and marks the Blind Boys’ first full-length release for the Alabama-based independent label Single Lock Records.

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The follow-up to 2017’s Almost Home, Echoes Of The South is the first Blind Boys album cover to include braille. According to press materials, the pending album presents a “tracklist of the music that’s most inspired them over their careers: long-lost gospel classics, traditional spirituals and timeless R&B/soul cuts made famous by artists like Staples and Curtis Mayfield. Teaming with each of their co-producers, these recordings transcend genre and era to touch deep and fundamental elements of friendship, joy, gratitude and persistence.”

Written by Homer Banks and Lester Snell, “Friendship” was among the last songs recorded by Pops Staples, the patriarch of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame-inducted R&B group The Staples Singers. The recording of “Friendship” released by the Blind Boys posthumously features Paul Beasley and Benjamin Moore.

Stream the Blind Boys of Alabama’s take on “Friendship” below:

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Echoes Of The South Tracklist

  1. Send It On Down
  2. Work Until My Days Are Done
  3. Friendship
  4. You Can’t Hurry God
  5. Jesus You’ve Been Good To Me
  6. The Last Time
  7. Keep On Pushin’
  8. Paul’s Prayer
  9. Wide River to Cross
  10. Nothing But Love
  11. Heaven Help Us All
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