July 1, 2016
Mack Rice, 82, the composer of '60s hit "Mustang Sally" and cowriter of the Staple Singers' landmark "Respect Yourself," died Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Detroit. "Sir" Mack Rice was best known for writing "Mustang Sally," which he initially recorded but singer Wilson Pickett popularized. They had been in a group together called the Falcons, which recorded in Detroit. "When he wrote 'Mustang Sally' and he saw that royalty check, he started writing," his wife, Laura Rice, said.
February 26, 2013
Cleotha Staples, 78, the eldest sibling in the influential gospel group the Staple Singers, died Thursday at her Chicago home after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a decade, said family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter. The family's music career had its roots with Roebuck "Pops" Staples, a manual laborer who strummed a $10 guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained. They sang in church one Sunday morning in 1948, and the response convinced Pops that music was in the family's future.
August 19, 2011 |
Roebuck "Pops" Staples formed the Staple Singers 60 years ago, drafting his young daughter Mavis to share lead vocals with him on gospel tunes done in a swampy, Southern blues style. Mavis' voice, a startling contralto then, has gotten only deeper and richer with age, and at 72, she's in the midst of a late-career renaissance. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member won a Grammy for last year's Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone , the album that provided the core of a fantastic performance at Kennett Square's Longwood Gardens Wednesday night.
October 3, 2010 |
When Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy began working together last year, the leader of the Chicago rock band Wilco gathered up songs he hoped would meet with the approval of the gospel-soul vocalist. Tweedy even had a title in mind for a song that he wanted to write for the 71-year-old Staples. The singer's husky contralto powered such early-1970s hits as "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There," both recorded with the Staple Singers, the family band led by her father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples.
August 17, 2007 |
Mavis Staples had not planned to revisit songs of the civil-rights movement for her first album with the Anti- label. Until label chief Andy Kaulkin suggested it. "He said, 'The Staple Singers were singing freedom songs before freedom songs had a name - they were the sound track of the movement.. . . Mavis, what do you think of singing freedom songs again?" the 66-year-old gospel/soul titan recalls over the phone from her Chicago home, a week before what she says will be her first-ever Philadelphia Folk Festival appearance.
March 10, 2006 |
For gospel/R&B/soul singer Mavis Staples, there's only one kind of music worth singing: the kind she says "gets you to heaven" - either figuratively or literally. Even Staples' best-known number - 1972's chart-topping "I'll Take You There" - is about finding a way to the Pearly Gates, the 66-year-old singer said. "Listen close and you'll know . . . where else could I be taking you but heaven?" Ah, but that's the rub: The earthy sensuality at the core of Staples' powerhouse vocals add spark to even the most spiritually based songs.
November 6, 2004 |
It was a downright sin that so few people - less than 70 - witnessed the prayerful soul power of Mavis Staples at the TLA. Chilling rains might have kept crowds from Thursday's display of rough, godly R&B and hickory-switch gospel, but Staples didn't care. "If there was only one of you, I'd still sing," said Staples, who is 64. "I didn't come to Philly to frown. We're going to rejoice. " Guided by her deep voice's scuffed lows, tattered holy highs, and sexy, modulated twitches, Staples did more than rejoice.
February 23, 2001 |
Somewhat like the Staple Singers before them, the Holmes Brothers put a secular spin on gospel music and bring a spiritual bent to pop. It's a joyous sound indeed. On the new Speaking in Tongues (Alligator), the New York threesome teams with singer Joan Osborne, who produced the set and is part of a trio of female backing singers who augment the Holmeses' heavenly harmonies. There are some rhythm loops and samples, but otherwise the Holmes Brothers remain as organically gritty as ever, applying blues, soul, R&B and gospel grooves to new originals, songs by Ben Harper and Bob Dylan, and traditional numbers.
May 21, 1995 |
The annual RiverBlues festival opened in perfect weather yesterday at Penn's Landing, drawing thousands to savor the blues and the sunshine. The two-day festival ends today, running from noon to 10 p.m. Nearly 20 performances are scheduled, including the Staple Singers, Magic Slim, Popa Chubby, and, at 8:30 tonight, Little Feat.
May 19, 1995 |
Billie Holiday once said she never sang the blues the same way twice. The people who run the RiverBlues Festival, and the performers who play it, think along similar lines. For eight years now, they've been looking to enrich the riverside celebration of the music that runs through America like tributaries flowing to the Mississippi. A glance at the RiverBlues schedule - noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday - suggests that they have succeeded: The assortment of artists traverses the spectrum of pre-blues (gospel)