Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Staple Singers - The Best Of The Staple Singers




TRACK LISTING

1. I'll Take You There
2. If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)
3. Respect Yourself
4. Long Walk To D.C.
5. Be What You Are
6. Everyday People
7. Heavy Makes You Happy
8. My Main Man
9. Trippin' On Your Love
10. City In The Sky
11. This World
12. Oh La De De
13. Touch A Hand, Make A Friend

This is a wonderful compilation of the best of this iconic gospel/soul group, whose peak years were in the early/mid seventies. The vocals, led by Mavis Staples, were absolutely superb and uplifting and the music was full of typical Stax horns and infectious funky soul rhythms. The lyrics were spot on with regard to their message, which was one of racial equality, and end to discrimination and an increase in tolerance between everyone. The message was not delivered with aggression, it was done so with a gospel fervour and vitality that was totally captivating.

The highlights on here are many, but the obvious ones are the bassy, catchy "I'll Take You There"; the earnest, pumping soul of "Respect Yourself"; the intoxicating riff and vocal of "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)" and the funky "Heavy Makes You Happy". Lesser known tracks but just as irresistible are the ebullient, pounding "This World"; the effervescent, call to self-awareness of  "Be What You Are" and the annoying familiar "Touch A Hand, Make A Friend" that sounds so like something by someone else, subsequently, but I cannot put my finger on what it is. There is also a stonking cover of Sly & The Family Stone's "Everyday People" which is so suited to the vibrant Stax backing and the country gospel of "Long Walk To D.C.".

It is all great stuff, mind, not a duff track on the album. Also worth checking out are "Be Altitude: Respect Yourself" from 1972 and 1973's "Be What You Are", both of which are excellent albums.

B+

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