Thursday, March 17, 2016


Over the last few years, there have been many fascinating documentaries made about some of our finest musical artists. The most recent subjects have ranged from Glen Campbell, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, The Wrecking Crew and Any Winehouse, who was the focus of this year's Best Documentary Oscar winner. There are more on the horizon and the latest to hit the screen is on one of the most recognizable voices in music history, Mavis Staples.

The doc, "Mavis!" tells how the Chicago-born singer began as a nine year old performing with her family (which included siblings, Cleotha, Yvonne, Purvis and father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples) in their church. After scoring a national hit with "Uncloudy Day" in 1956, the Staples Singers became a major gospel act. They worked with Martin Luther King, Jr during the civil rights movement to deliver spiritual songs of encouragement. The group received some criticism for their move in to secular music but the Staples found their greatest commercial success with songs like  "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again" with both reaching the top spot on the soul and pop charts in the '70s.

At the age of seventy-six, Mavis continues to perform and just released her latest album, "Livin' on a High Note" in February. In celebration of this glorious performer, here are just a few of my favorite songs she recorded over her long career:

"For What It's Worth" - The Staple Singers (1967) mp3

"A House Is Not a Home" - Mavis Staples (1969) mp3

"I'll Take You There" - The Staple Singers (1972) mp3

"Livin' On a High Note" - Mavis Staples (2016) mp3

Don't miss "Mavis!" which is currently being shown right now on HBO. Check out the trailer for this spectacular film:


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