Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Respect Yourself: The Easy Guide to the Staple Singers

Nothing says Gospel/ Funky Soul like the Staple Sisters. Respect Yourself was a feet thumping hit in the pre disco days. Their father, Roebuck 'Pops' Staples (the kast S was dropped due to the particular difficulty in pronouncing Staples Singers.) Pops benevolence could be heard throughout many of their songs like 'Respect Yourself', every note they sang rang true as they were ebbed on by their father and his guitar.

Unfortunately for them, disco hit towards the end of the 70s and Stax, they're label, folded leaving them without a niche to hold on to. The legacy of the Staples Family leaves on through their music - easy to listen to, egalitarian, all encompassing and comforting. ''I'll take you there' was an undeniable hit but there are more mellow tracks like "I See", "It's a Long Walk to DC", "Slow Train" and "Got to be Some Changes". Some are mellow, melancholic and wreaked with unspeakable sorrow, others are uplifting, a funky island in the turbulence of the American 60s and 70s. For me what I like most about the Staples was the way they mixed good old fashion church gospel with subtle yet hard-hitting political confrontation. They remain as relevant today as they always did - angels whispering it's going to be OK.

Also worth a listen is Mavis Staples' -the groups husky-voiced lead singer's- brand new studio album "We'll Never Turn Back".


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