Posts Tagged ‘Stax’

I’ll Take You There Tells Mavis Staples Story

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

TakeyouthereChicago Tribune music authority Greg Kot grants us insider access behind the music and into the lives of one of the premiere family groups in Gospel music as told through the lens and perspective of music icon Mavis Staples.    I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway tells the story of Roebuck Staples, his life in Mississippi and relocation to Chicago, the birth of his children and their use of singing as a daily family activity after Pops returned home from a long day of work.  Kot takes us on an open ended journey covering 60 years of music, beginning with Mavis’ recollections of their first performance as a group in their aunt’s church (where they had only prepared one song and sang it again as the encore) to their first recording session arranged by Evelyn Gay.  Pops bluesy guitar  coupled with their carefully woven harmonies would land them a deal with the Vee Jay label and take the group on to various travels on the Gospel highway as they are introduced to the music giants of the day including Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls,  Reverend CL Franklin and daughter Aretha,  Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan and many more.  Pops and the Staple Singers would befriend and have close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and their music would instill messages of hope and ignite passion and kindle the fire of the civil rights movement.

I’ll Take You There lives up to its title, taking us through the life changes and adjustments as the group grew in popularity, through the Gospel music years, transitioning into message music and the catapult into the heyday of the Stax and Muscle Shoals jubilee. We get to experience Pervis’ coming of age and leaving the group to pursue other interests including the management of the Hutchinson Sunbeams (who would go on to great success as the Emotions),  Mavis’ marriage proposal from Bob Dylan and her collaborations with Prince and Wilco’s Jeff Tweety, Pops’ Grammy win and BeBe and CeCe Winans pay homage to the group with the cover of I’ll Take You There.  Reading I’ll Take You There will engender a greater appreciation for the Staples and their sizable contributions to music and society as a whole.

Mable John Helps The Needy During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Fame found Mable John as she toured with Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald in the 50s and recorded for Motown and Stax in the 60s. In 1966, she recorded the million seller Your Good Thing Is About To End.  In the 70s,  she began a decade long association with Ray Charles as leader of the Raelettes.    John walked away from the limelight and came to know the Lord, devoting her life to the ministry in 1978.  She focused her energies toward outreach and assisting the less fortunate.  Through her efforts she has fed 150 people a day and her annual Christmas party provides basic needs to the homeless.

At age 82, John shows no sign of slowing down.  The need is even greater now than before.  To that end, John will host her Annual Christmas Party for the Homeless on December 14th at the Marina Christian Center Building in Westchester, CA.