C10S2CD3 Roebuck Staples or Pop as he was more commonly know first came to our attention when with his 3 daughters Mavis, Yvonne and Cleotha who made up The Staple Singers who in the earlier part of the 70’s had a number soul tinged gospel hits on the famous Stax label with the likes of I’ll Take You There, Respect Yourself, and If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me). Pops shared vocals and played guitar in the band who continued to make music until the 1981 when Mavis left to pursue a solo career.
This album released in 1992 was Pop Staples second foray into recording solo but his first was released back in 1969. This album was Grammy nominated and was followed by Father Father released in 1994 which won Pop Staples a Grammy. This album has a star studded cast, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Ry Cooder all lend a hand playing, writing and producing on self penned tracks, whilst Mavis sings lead vocals on Pray On My Child whilst Yvonne and Cleotha sing backing vocals on a number of tracks. Significantly the legend that is Willie Mitchell, Hi recording artist and soul producer turns up to co-produce 4 tracks.
I had fond memories of this album so it’s with heavy heart that I say listening to it again has been a bit of a struggle. I remember at the time loving this album and maybe my tastes have changed over the last decade but I found myself wishing this CD would finish and that is never a good thing. The pace of all the songs is very similar and I have to remember that Pop was 78 when this album was released so we shouldn’t expect a load of fast paced Blues tunes but it just sounds a bit samey to me.
Stand out tracks are the Mavis Led Pray On My Child as this reminds you of the Staple Singers of old and maybe the opening World In Motion written and featuring Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. The album closes with a reworking of We Shall Not Be Moved, rewritten and sung as I Shall Not Be Moved which I guess is a fitting statement made by Pop to close the album.
Pop Staples passed away in 2000 at the age of 86 and was a true legend in the world of Gospel, Soul and Blues, but I would rather listen to the Staple Singers rather than this album. I have Father Father and I’m going to give it a whirl to see if it’s an improvement.
I was lucky enough to see Mavis Staples live last year and she spoke at length about how hard it was for her to make music after the death of father but I suspect that Pop would be proud to see that she is now producing some of her best work.