Mavis Staples is eighty-four years old as I peck these words. She has been a gospel and soul singer longer than Elizabeth II wore the crown.
Many R&B vocalists started in gospel music, though she and her family have always kept a foot in both worlds. The Staple Singers have brought their spirituality, and devotion to civil rights to all of their studio and stage offerings.
From the churches across the South Side of Chicago and the Rock ‘n Stages with artists a third her age, Mavis Staples has brought her unique smokey voice to audiences for decades.
This collection brings together her many works with The Staple Singers from 1948 until 1999, and her own solo offerings from 1969 to the present.
Mavis Staples is still an in-demand guest vocalist to boot. She has dueted or sung background with Mahalia Jackson, The Band, Gorillaz, Jon Batiste, Run the Jewels, Hozier, Benjamin Booker, Sheryl Crow, Abraham Alexander and so many others.
Mavis Staples is the only subject of one of these playlists that I have had the pleasure of spending any meaningful time with. Back in 2012 I was honored to be one of the Alumni Of The Year at Columbia College Chicago. She received an honorary doctorate from the college.
I was delighted to spend hours visiting with her that graduation weekend. She could not have been more warm, insightful, and kind.
Please enjoy this collection featuring decades of Doctor Mavis’ work with The Staple Singers, as a solo artist, and generous collaborator.