With all the talk in tribute to B.B. King lately, I’ve been immersed in some blues, not the least of which is the music of the legendary Chicago born Mavis Staples – a member of the Staples Singers (her family band which was huge in the 60s and 70s gospel circuit, led by Pops Staples and featuring daughters Mavis, Yvonne, Cleotha, and son Pervis).
Mavis Staples performed at the 33rd Kennedy Center Honors, singing in tribute to Paul McCartney.
In 2011, she won her first Grammy for Best Americana Album ‘You Are Not Alone’.
In her acceptance speech, a shocked and crying Staples said “This has been a long time coming.”
That same year, Mavis was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
My favourite Mavis Staples music came in 2007 – her 11th studio album ‘We’ll Never Turn Back’ was produced and featured Ry Cooder on guitar, filled with songs with themes about the American Civil Rights Movement.
I’ll share a track from it, followed by a piece on Mavis Staples about how a movie about four Canadians and an American drummer from Arkansas, changed her life.