As we continue to be amazed by the bizarre spectacle of thousands of college-age simpletons (who are all facing underemployment and debt) rallying around a multimillionaire Ivy Leaguer (and a known ginger, to boot) and helping him get the goldenest parachute in the entire history of failing upwards, we're watching Letterman instead. And you should too because tonight the musical guests will be gospel legends the Blind Boys of Alabama, featuring Lou Reed, playing a sanctified version of the Velvet Underground's “Jesus.”
That's correct: the Blind Boys of Alabama with Lou on lead vocals and that sweet, syrupy guitar tone we remember from the third VU album. The studio recording of the song is featured on the Boys' new release Duets and a video for it is currently playing on Amazon.com (sorry, no embedding allowed).
Click here for “Jesus” video.
[UPDATE! Commenter Solid writes: “I was just at the taping, and Lou and The Blind Boys rocked it up! Definitely something you don't see every day on TV and worth staying up for!!!!”]
From the release:
On January 21, 2010, two American music icons from very different origins will perform together on national television for the very first time, as The Blind Boys of Alabama and Lou Reed perform the classic Velvet Underground song “Jesus.” The tune has been singled out repeatedly by reviewers as a highlight on the Blind Boys' new Duets album, a critically-acclaimed collection of collaborations that features the Blind Boys performing with an esteemed but highly eclectic group of artists including Reed, Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, Randy Travis, Susan Tedeschi, Solomon Burke and others.
While the Lou Reed and the Blind Boys have recorded together twice, and performed together once before (at a private concert on the floor of the UN General Assembly in 2004 for the Landmine Survivors Network), this broadcast will mark their first joint television appearance. “We've known and worked with Lou for several years and we love this tune, but we've never had the chance to play it with him for the world to enjoy until now. We're excited to have it be on national television for our good friend David Letterman,” says Blind Boys' founding member and leader Jimmy Carter.
If you think about it, the pairing is not at all surprising. Lou has had a gospel streak from the get go. Here's a little exercise: think of the “Heroin” lyrics, but replace “Heroin” with “Lord.” See? Gospel! (ok, the line about putting the spike into your veins is a little stretch, but you see our point, right?)