Mavis STAPLES 2007

Mavis Staples (born July 10, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois) began her career with her family group in 1950. Initially singing locally at churches and appearing on a weekly radio show, the Staples' scored a hit in 1956 with "Uncloudy Day" for the VeeJay label. When Mavis graduated high school in 1957, The Staple Singers took their music on the road. Led by family patriarch Roebuck "Pops" Staples on guitar and including the voices of Mavis and her siblings Cleo, Yvonne, and Pervis, the Staples were called "God's Greatest Hitmakers."

With Mavis' voice and Pops' songs, singing, and guitar playing, the Staples evolved from enormously popular gospel singers (with recordings on United and Riverside as well as VeeJay) to become the most spectacular and influential spiritually-based group in America. By the mid-1960's The Staple Singers, inspired by Pops' close friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became the spiritual and musical voices of the civil rights movement. They covered contemporary pop hits with positive messages, including Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" and a version of Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth." The Staples sang "message" songs like "Long Walk To D.C." and "When Will We Be Paid?," bringing their moving and articulate music to a huge number of young people. The group signed to Stax Records in 1968, joining their gospel harmonies and deep faith with musical accompaniment from members of Booker T. and the MGs. The Staple Singers hit the Top 40 eight times between 1971 and 1975, including two #1 singles, "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again," and a #2 single "Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?" Now a long ways from their early roots as a pure gospel group, The Staple Singers were bona fide pop stars.

Mavis Staples recorded her first solo album, Mavis Staples for the famed Stax label in 1969. After another Stax release, Only For the Lonely, in 1970, she released a soundtrack album, A Piece of the Action, on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label. A 1984 album (also self-titled) preceded two albums under the direction of rock megastar Prince; 1989's Time Waits For No One, followed by 1993's The Voice, which People magazine named to its Top Ten Albums of 1993. Her most recent release, 1996's Spirituals & Gospels: A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson recorded with keyboardist Lucky Peterson, is a moving song cycle honoring Jackson, a very close family friend and a huge influence on Mavis' life.

During her career Staples has appeared in many films and television shows, including The Last Waltz, Graffiti Bridge, Wattstax, New York Undercover, Soul Train, Soul to Soul and The Cosby Show. Her voice has been sampled by some of the biggest selling hip-hop artists, including Salt 'N' Pepa, Ice Cube and Ludacris. Mavis has recorded with a wide variety of musicians, from her close friend Bob Dylan (with whom she as nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award in the "Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals" category for their duet on "Gotta Change My Way Of Thinking" from the album Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan) to The Band, Ray Charles, Nona Hendryx, George Jones, Natalie Merchant, Ann Peebles, Delbert McClinton and many others. She has provided vocals on current albums by Los Lobos and Dr. John, and she appears on recent tribute albums to Johnny Paycheck, Stephen Foster and Bob Dylan.

This new album for Anti- Records entitled "We'll Never Turn Back" was released on April 24, 2007. The Ry Cooder-produced concept album focuses on songs of the civil rights movement and also includes two new original songs.

No comments: