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Episode from the podcastThe Untold

Alabama 3

Released Monday, 6th January 2020
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The Alabama 3 singer and co-founder Jake Black died in May: as the next tour date draws near band members must decide whether they can continue without him and how they mark his absence on stage.

The decisions on a way forward started within days of Jake's unexpected death and whilst his body was still in the mortuary - moulds were taken of his face and hands in the hope that a death mask might help recreate his presence on stage.

In addition of the death mask, sound experts have painstakingly resurrected early out takes of Jake - otherwise known as the Very Reverend D Wayne Love. As preparations gather for the new tour, the forgotten tapes of the talented singer are a constant reminder of his huge talent.

The mask is made from the moulds taken by band member Nick Reynolds. He’s the son of Bruce, the great train robber and as well as playing harmonica he’s also a sculptor specialising in death masks. He's convinced that immortalising him in this way will be cathartic for all of them:

During the grieving process band members travel to a huge Sopranos Convention in New Jersey, with thousands of fans eager to meet the musicians behind the Sopranos theme tune, 'Woke up this Morning.' It is a bitter sweet experience for Rob Spragg, otherwise known as Larry Love, who formed Alabama 3 with Jake in 1996:

"Jake was larger than life, a real fusion of what we stood for and being in America without him is very hard." Rob has made big changes in his own life following Jake's death, largely giving up drugs and alcohol: "It's so hard - he should be here with us and hearing him during rehearsals and performances is bringing so many tears."

Produced by Sue Mitchell
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