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March 12, 2005

Blind Boys founder George Scott passes


George Scott, a founding member of the Blind Boys of Alabama gospel group, died in his sleep Wednesday morning at his home in Durham, NC. He was 75. Scott was the booming baritone of the group, which formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s. While Scott retired from touring in 2004, he continued recording with the group and sang lead on several key tracks for the Blind Boys' forthcoming album 'Atom Bomb' (Real World Records).

Born George Lewis Scott in Notasulga, Alabama, on March 18, 1929, George met the other founding members of the Blind Boys, Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter, at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1936. They formed a singing group in 1939, for which Scott also played guitar, their only instrumental accompaniment in those early days. The group became a gospel sensation in the 1940s and '50s, and spent more than 40 years working mostly in the traditional gospel circuit.

Just last month they won their fourth consecutive Grammy award in the Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album category for the CD they recorded with Ben Harper, entitled “There Will Be a Light.” Scott sang the lead along with Harper on the opening track to that album, and later performed the song live with Harper and the Blind Boys on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

One of the last people George Scott spoke with before his death was the group's leader, Clarence Fountain. "I spoke to him last night," Fountain said Wednesday, "and he was feeling fine. It just goes to show you never know when you may be talking to someone for the last time, so always be thankful for the people you have in your life. We're grateful to the Lord for letting us have George for as long as we did. He and I grew up together and sang together from little boys to old men. George was a great singer, he could sing any part in a song. We loved him and he was one of the 'Boys.' He lived a life of service and now he's gone on to his reward."

Posted by acapnews at March 12, 2005 12:03 AM