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Freedom Highway

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Editors’ Notes

Though soul music from the mid to late 1960s is often montaged over archival footage from the era, it was predominantly African-American gospel that served as the soundtrack to the Civil Rights struggle in the United States. Mahalia Jackson herself urged Rev. Dr. King to "tell them about the dream Martin!" before he extemporaneously launched into his most famous speech. And it was this incredibly talented family act (also friends with Dr. King), who during their "soul folk" phase in the 1960s wrote some of the most moving songs about the struggle for equality, respect and love. The original vinyl LP of the same name was a field recording made in a Chicago church, replete with Pops Staples' between-song commentary and the congregation singing and clapping along. This is actually a compilation spanning a handful of albums released on Epic in the mid to late 1960s. Pops Staples's outer-space-meets-the-Delta guitar meshes perfectly with the other family members' strong voices. A number of their best gospel tunes are here, as well as their cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," the poignant story-song "Be Careful Of The Stones That You Throw," and of course their bracing version of the anthem "Freedom Highway."

Customer Reviews

As Good As It Gets!!!

This is one of the most soulful records ever made. I defy you to listen to Mavis' vocal on Wade in the Water and not get down on your knees and testify. Say Amen somebody. Gospel at it's best, no matter who you pray to.


Now This is Music!


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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