Blind Boys of Alabama and Béla Fleck shared a cover of “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free.” The renowned gospel group and banjo great released the track for Record Store Day via Single Lock Records and the collaboration is now available digitally.
Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas wrote the original version of “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” and the song would go on to become a civil rights anthem. Nina Simone also recorded a rendition of the song, appearing on her 1967 album Silk & Soul. The tune has been covered by a number of additional artists throughout the years including Levon Helm, John Legend & The Roots, Derek Trucks Band, Andra Day and now Blind Boys of Alabama and Béla Fleck.
“I loved having the chance to work with the Blind Boys,” Fleck said in a statement. “I’ve dug their music since I first heard them, and it was such a thrill to be in the band!”
“We’ve crossed paths with Béla Fleck on stage and socially for many years,” Jimmy Carter of Blind Boys said. “He’s an incredible talent. This is one of the most unique collaborations for the Blind Boys. I’m excited for the song and 45 to be shared with the fans.”
“After sharing stages with Béla Fleck in the past years, I find it to be both exciting and a pleasure to sing on a track with him,” Blind Boys’ Ricky McKinnie added. “Anyone that misses this collaboration is missing one of the best.”
Listen to The Blind Boys OF Alabama’s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” featuring Béla Fleck below: