Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Respect Yourself" Esteem: Mavis Staples 80

Let's take you there with the 2nd of these two missives honoring these two living deities of singing.
Today's legend is another astonishing performer, who's been vocalizing at the highest possible level since the 1950s, when she was part of one of the most treasured family ensembles ever to make sounds.
How people like her and Tony Bennett are not just still living to advanced ages, but still finding the energy to keep performing in front of adoring throngs is up for debate and may always shine with the dark light of eternal, infernal mystery.
I mean, after I write this I have to go to the supermarket, and I'm making up excuses not to bother. Yet these people are 80 and 90 and are like, I have to entertain a 5,000 seat hall, filled to capacity? No problem.
She's been meeting the challenge for along, long time, that's for sure. I think her first appearance singing professionally in front of people was before she was even a teen.
Perhaps the most famous person ever to turn down Bob Dylan's hand in marriage, she's managed to straddle the fine line between the music of Saturday night and Sunday morning for longer than most of us have been alive.
It started with pure Gospel, with a twist: the haunted guitar sound her dad perfected that resembled the bones of America's moribund conscience being rattled awake.
Once they signed to Stax in the mid-'60s and started to really cross over into the secular soundscape of the Sixties' cultural revolutionary maelstrom, things really got going.
A solo career, at first in parallel to her family's million-selling group, followed and continues to this day.
The Staple Singers effectively ended in the 1980s, as she came under the guidance of some guy with the one-word name of Prince, and were done forever once Pops passed in 2000.
Mavis Staples -- yes she is 80 today -- has continued, though. To an undeniable status as one of the undisputed, living treasures of American music as we know it.
Let's get the milestone birthday celebratories moving with a pretty sweet show from when she returned from a decade-long career hiatus in 2004, to drop the first in a succession of incredible records she's made in the 21st century.
Mavis Staples
Theater of Living Arts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
11.4.2004

01 Oh La De Da
02 If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)
03 Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
04 The Weight
05 Have a Little Faith
06 God Is Not Sleeping
07 Respect Yourself
08 I'll Take You There
09 Touch a Hand, Make a Friend

Total time: 1:18:24

Mavis Staples - vocals
Yvonne Staples - vocals
Steve Fordham - keyboards
Tony Grady - bass & vocals
Will Crosby - guitar & vocals
Brian Parker - drums

master DAT straight from the desk
350 MB FLAC here
I'll be back on the weekend and beyond, right after I finish flipping coins and casting the I Ching to decide which incredible shows and artists to honor and share in the rest of July's festival season.
Be sure, though, to respect yourselves at least enough to get next to this lovely concert document of Miss Mavis -- born this day in 1939 and not in any apparent, immediate danger of closing her mouth and sealing in The Good News any time soon -- at the top of her game in the mid-Oughts.--J.