Mavis Staples – Take Us Back

The great Mavis Staples performed the opening cut from her soul-affirming new record Livin’On A High Note, live on the Late Show. She also sat down for a wonderful interview with Stephen Colbert, talking about her experience of ‘opening’ for Martin Luther King Jr.

Mavis Staples: Action

What a terrifying time to rise our voices / But see I’m not left with minimal choices / I gotta put it into action / Doing it A too Z / Until I set myself free

Mavis Staples is one of the greatest gospel, soul and R’n’B singers. With her family’s group. the Staple Singers, she moved from a Christian gospel group to politically active members of the civil rights movement. This perspective is still noticeable in her music today, like this call to Action, The song is written by 

tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. Marvis Staples’ voice is timeless, the message of her music is still so relevant. Her new album Livin On A High Note is  out on Anti- records Febuary 19th.

(I was introduced to Marvis Staples and the history of the Staple Singers by this great interview with Jesse Thorn of NPR’s Bullseye)


Jesse Thorn’s interview with Mavis Staples on Bullseye is a treat.

In a stunning conversation, Staples talks about her life and work, from growing up singing gospel in churches with her family as the Staple Singers, traveling through the Jim Crow South, meeting Martin Luther King and getting involved in the movement, finding secular success (but always “inspirational,” being church people) and working with Prince.