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The Staple Singers

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Album Review

Madacy doesn't exactly have a great reputation for putting out stellar compilations or serious artist retrospectives. They often cut corners, issue too few tracks, and provide sketchy liner notes at best. In this case, however, they've done a respectable job of assembling the best cuts the Staple Singers recorded for Stax between 1971 and 1974. In fact, what it is — in rather random order — is about half their output for the label. All of the big hits are here, such as "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," and "Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)," with a boatload of quality stuff in between. These are the original studio recordings, not live filler, and none of them are re-recorded either. In fact, though the Staples had terrific years with King, United Artists, Epic, and Warner, it was their years with Stax that defined them in the 1970s as a transformational force on the charts. This is really cheap, so snag it before it drifts out of print.

Biography

Formed: 1951 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The Staples' story goes all the way back to 1915 in Winona, Mississippi, when patriarch Roebuck "Pops" Staples entered the world. A contemporary and familiar of Charley Patton's, Roebuck quickly became adept as a solo blues guitarist, entertaining at local dances and picnics. He was also drawn to the church, and by 1937 he was singing and playing guitar with the Golden Trumpets, a spiritual group based out of Drew, Mississippi. Moving to Chicago four years later, he continued playing gospel music...
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