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Stax Profiles: The Staple Singers

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Album Review

Throughout the distinct phases of their recording career, from straight rhythmic gospel to Civil Rights protest anthems, to what might be called soul folk to the funky grit of their Stax years, the Staple Singers always delivered songs that said something, and even when the grooves of songs like 1971's "Respect Yourself" or 1972's reggae-tinged "I'll Take You There" were sending people to the dancefloors, the lyrics were hopeful, message-driven missives of support for a better self, a better community, and a better world. Stax Profiles is a fine anthology which collects tracks recorded between 1968 and 1975 during the Staple Singers productive stay at Stax Records, and includes both "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There," as well as the powerful "City in the Sky," "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend," "Are You Sure," with its brilliantly staggered vocals, and the Steve Cropper produced "Long Walk to D.C." There isn't a single lame track here, and while there are lengthier collections of the Staple Singers' Stax years on the market, this one has a wonderful flow.

Customer Reviews

Eargasm

The music speaks volumes. An epic collection of sides from one of the most underrated R&B groups of all time. Priceless collection.

They'll Take You There

I'll Take You There, Are You Sure, You've Got To Earn It, My Main Man -- these are some of the finest R&B songs you'll ever here. If you like Ike & Tina, James Brown, The Ronettes, Smokey Robinson, Al Green... and aren't familiar with the Staple Singers, I can guarantee that you'll love them. There's no question. Mavis Staples, the lead, has a phenomenally great voice, complimented by superb background work and tight, brilliant playing. She 'uh-huhs' and 'oohhs' as good as anybody. A great R & B singer makes those utterances attain some kind of holy height. It's a great party complilation, but also moving and inspirational. They have a strong message of love, tolerance and peace without ever being trite. Their cover of The Band's "The Weight" is a laser-beam smart interpretation that shines strongly. "Everyday People" isn't as good as Sly's, but oh well, it's still great. This is a fun, dance-inspiring disc. Great, great, great. GREAT.

Gotta love Stax

The tunes are great and Mavis is one of the best singers ever, but it is the lyrics that really set the Staple Singers apart. Listen to "Be What You Are". I don't think you could find a more timely song for today.

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...
Full Bio