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)
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.