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Just What Soul Is.. Mavis Staples Live


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Really nice read in the Manchester Evening news yesterday with regards to Mavis Staples.... Just what its all about for me.. I did the trail from Martin Luther Kings grave stone in Atlanta through to New Orleans in the early 90s, i wanted to see the Deep south and get to some blues/soul clubs.... Its gonna be something special for me on Monday... Any other soul source members gonna see her on tour ?????

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Mavis' songs of truth and justice

Kevin Bourke

8/ 4/2008

WHEN soul queen Mavis Staples sings `I saw it with my own eyes' of the American Blacks' struggle for freedom on her latest album We'll Never Turn Back, she's bringing more than 50 years of the truth to the song.

It is a track which can't help but raise the hairs on the back of your neck, just as Staple Singers Stax classics like I'll Take You There can't help but take you higher.

Her dad, the legendary `Pops' Staples, picked cotton in the blistering Delta sun down in Mississippi before heading north to Chicago and forming a gospel group with his children, including the young Mavis. The Staple Singers sung at JFK's inauguration in 1961 and influenced a young Bob Dylan.

"The first time we met him, he knew all our songs already, knew the words already to our songs and he knew all of our names," recalls Mavis, now a robust 69-year-old who'll be visiting the Bridgewater Hall next week.

"We'd run into him a lot and Bobby and I actually courted in the Sixties," she admits. "Bobby was a cutie and I guess maybe I was a cutie too! Off and on, for several years I guess, we'd write letters to each other and smooch."

Martin Luther King

Another significant man entered Mavis' life in the mid-Sixties when `Pops' took his family to hear Martin Luther King Junior preach.

"We were in Montgomery, Alabama," Mavis remembers, "and King was preaching that night at his church. `I like this man Martin,' Daddy said. `I like his message and I want to go to his 11 o'clock service. Do you all want to go?' We did."

During the service, King acknowledged the group's presence and later met Mavis and her siblings before speaking alone with their father. Back at their hotel, `Pops' famously told his children "If he can preach it, we can sing it."

Over the next few years, the Staples' output reflected more and more what they saw around them, including Freedom's Highway, a song written for the famous march from Selma to Montgomery. When the family moved to Stax Records in Memphis and hooked up with their studio musicians, there followed a series of classic `message songs', including Long Walk To Washington, (If You're Ready) Come Go With Me, Respect Yourself and, of course, I'll Take You There.

"It was our transition to the contemporary gospel that got us in trouble with the church. I'll Take You There came out and suddenly the Staple Singers were singing the Devil's music. I'd tell people the Devil don't have no music, all music is God's music," Mavis hoots. "Anything I do is gospel! That was true back then and it's still true now."

Awe

Despite alliances with Curtis Mayfield and Prince (the diminutive one was so in awe of Mavis's voice that he called their collaboration simply `The Voice') Mavis somewhat slipped into the shadows for the Eighties and Nineties. But she came back strong and true with the gospel-tinged Have A Little Faith and even more so with the Ry Cooder-produced We'll Never Turn Back collection of freedom songs.

"For a minute I thought `does the world want to hear freedom songs now?' But pretty obviously we still need them," she tells me. "There's still bigotry out there and seeing what happened with Hurricane Katrina was like watching flashbacks from the Sixties.

"Where I live in Chicago, you still hear about black families moving into a neighbourhood and finding someone has painted something insulting with the "n" word in it on their garage wall. So we're still singing our freedom songs and most of the songs on the CD are songs from the struggle, ones that we sang during the marches."

An exception is a spine-tingling affair called In The Mississippi River.

"We had the Freedom Singers with us in the studio and one day we were all taking a break when Ry and I heard them just singing this tune neither of us had ever heard before. It turned out to come from the time when the authorities had finally gotten around to dragging the Mississippi River for the bodies of some white activist kids they knew were there. They started pulling dozens of bodies out of the water, victims no one had ever even heard about!

"So this CD and these songs, that's my life full circle."

Mavis Staples, supported by Jhelisa, performs at the Bridgewater Hall, on Monday, April 14.

Edited by little-stevie
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Really nice read in the Manchester Evening news yesterday with regards to Mavis Staples.... Just what its all about for me.. I did the trail from Martin Luther Kings grave stone in Atlanta through to New Orleans in the early 90s, i wanted to see the Deep south and get to some blues/soul clubs.... Its gonna be something special for me on Monday... Any other soul source members gonna see her on tour ?????

post-1203-1207725954_thumb.jpg

Mavis' songs of truth and justice

Kevin Bourke

8/ 4/2008

WHEN soul queen Mavis Staples sings `I saw it with my own eyes' of the American Blacks' struggle for freedom on her latest album We'll Never Turn Back, she's bringing more than 50 years of the truth to the song.

It is a track which can't help but raise the hairs on the back of your neck, just as Staple Singers Stax classics like I'll Take You There can't help but take you higher.

Her dad, the legendary `Pops' Staples, picked cotton in the blistering Delta sun down in Mississippi before heading north to Chicago and forming a gospel group with his children, including the young Mavis. The Staple Singers sung at JFK's inauguration in 1961 and influenced a young Bob Dylan.

"The first time we met him, he knew all our songs already, knew the words already to our songs and he knew all of our names," recalls Mavis, now a robust 69-year-old who'll be visiting the Bridgewater Hall next week.

"We'd run into him a lot and Bobby and I actually courted in the Sixties," she admits. "Bobby was a cutie and I guess maybe I was a cutie too! Off and on, for several years I guess, we'd write letters to each other and smooch."

Martin Luther King

Another significant man entered Mavis' life in the mid-Sixties when `Pops' took his family to hear Martin Luther King Junior preach.

"We were in Montgomery, Alabama," Mavis remembers, "and King was preaching that night at his church. `I like this man Martin,' Daddy said. `I like his message and I want to go to his 11 o'clock service. Do you all want to go?' We did."

During the service, King acknowledged the group's presence and later met Mavis and her siblings before speaking alone with their father. Back at their hotel, `Pops' famously told his children "If he can preach it, we can sing it."

Over the next few years, the Staples' output reflected more and more what they saw around them, including Freedom's Highway, a song written for the famous march from Selma to Montgomery. When the family moved to Stax Records in Memphis and hooked up with their studio musicians, there followed a series of classic `message songs', including Long Walk To Washington, (If You're Ready) Come Go With Me, Respect Yourself and, of course, I'll Take You There.

"It was our transition to the contemporary gospel that got us in trouble with the church. I'll Take You There came out and suddenly the Staple Singers were singing the Devil's music. I'd tell people the Devil don't have no music, all music is God's music," Mavis hoots. "Anything I do is gospel! That was true back then and it's still true now."

Awe

Despite alliances with Curtis Mayfield and Prince (the diminutive one was so in awe of Mavis's voice that he called their collaboration simply `The Voice') Mavis somewhat slipped into the shadows for the Eighties and Nineties. But she came back strong and true with the gospel-tinged Have A Little Faith and even more so with the Ry Cooder-produced We'll Never Turn Back collection of freedom songs.

"For a minute I thought `does the world want to hear freedom songs now?' But pretty obviously we still need them," she tells me. "There's still bigotry out there and seeing what happened with Hurricane Katrina was like watching flashbacks from the Sixties.

"Where I live in Chicago, you still hear about black families moving into a neighbourhood and finding someone has painted something insulting with the "n" word in it on their garage wall. So we're still singing our freedom songs and most of the songs on the CD are songs from the struggle, ones that we sang during the marches."

An exception is a spine-tingling affair called In The Mississippi River.

"We had the Freedom Singers with us in the studio and one day we were all taking a break when Ry and I heard them just singing this tune neither of us had ever heard before. It turned out to come from the time when the authorities had finally gotten around to dragging the Mississippi River for the bodies of some white activist kids they knew were there. They started pulling dozens of bodies out of the water, victims no one had ever even heard about!

"So this CD and these songs, that's my life full circle."

Mavis Staples, supported by Jhelisa, performs at the Bridgewater Hall, on Monday, April 14.

See you Monday Steve. Got front row seats for a change. Could'nt resist it.

Regards Alan

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See you Monday Steve. Got front row seats for a change. Could'nt resist it.

Regards Alan

Hi mate

Upstairs front row, i can spit on you from there :P .. Lets meet for a pint in the Protection, or lets make that a few pints... Anytime after 6pm... Really looking forward to seeing this lady of soul..

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Guest TONY ROUNCE

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Mavis fan, but sadly her voice is not even a shadow of what it used to be and, even more sadly, it seems to be getting more weatherbeaten (polite euphemism for 'worse') with every tour.

Still, she's an international treasure, and everyone should see her at least once in their lifetime.

So I hope that those who are going, really do enjoy themselves!

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