Tom Waits Covers: The Blind Boys of Alabama Cover Way Down in the Hole

by Brendan Strong

The Blind Boys of Alabama singing Way Down in the Hole is famous (perhaps) as the intro music for the first series (I think) of the Wire. They do a great job, bringing out the blues/gospel feel. Sorry I only found a video with stills. I was looking for a live version (which I add below), but the sound quality is not great. They make the song their own, tightening up the blues/gospel feel to fit their own repertoire. Strangely enough, as I was shuffling about looking for a good version of them singing it, I found a couple of other peoples’ versions – and they all feel like they cover the Blind Boys of Alabama’s version (a strange situation, given the complaint I made yesterday of people trying to be Tom Waits). It is a shame not to hear a live version with its full force – it’s an experience.

(Live version, with apologies for the sound quality)