Rolling Stone (p.74) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[T]heir most adventurous album to date....They remain experts at testifying the old-fashioned way, too."
Entertainment Weekly (No. 811, p.66) - "[ATOM BOMB] comprises the sort of rousingly God-centric songs even heathens can bow down to..." - Grade: A
Uncut (p.97) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[T]heir gospel voices are given a funky undertow by Billy Preston's organ, and Charlie Musselwhite adds some slow-burning blues harmonica to an inspired collection..."
Dirty Linen (p.49) - "On ATOM BOMB they remain true to their gospel roots while keeping it darned interesting."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[The album] revels in a deep, swampy funk....'Demons' weaves a groovy voodoo; 'Talk About Suffering' could fit in any Stax box set..."
Audio Mixer: Jimmy Hoyson.
Liner Note Author: Davin Seay.
Recording information: Capitol Studio "B", Hollywood; Pacifica Studios, Los Angeles.
Photographer: Henry Diltz.
Fans of the stellar, down-home harmonizing of the Blind Boys of Alabama won't be disappointed by 2005's ATOM BOMB. The opening track, entitled "(Jesus Hits Like the) Atom Bomb," features the group's airtight vocalizing accompanied only by the spare, insistent bass pulse and brushes on a snare. Despite its topical lyrics, the song cuts straight back to the gospel hymns and field hollers of the rural south in the 1920s and '30s. Yet the Blind Boys are no museum artifacts, as "Demons," the album's second track, proves. Here guest star the Gift of Gab unfurls his verbally agile rap flow over a chugging groove, while the Boys' back-up vocals ebb and flow.
The Blind Boys show a special talent for bringing their church-like flair to material from the rock era, including a simmering rendition of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" and an organ-drenched take on Eric Clapton's "Presence of the Lord." Yet the Blind Boys never lose track of their true roots. Their versions of old-school gospel tunes ("Talk About Suffering" and "Old Blind Barnabas") sound suitable for the ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC, if not for the slinky blues instrumentation and high-end production. Outstanding musicianship from keyboardist Billy Preston, harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, and guitarist David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos) adds a special sheen to ATOM BOMB, another winning disc from these gospel legends.