Tag Archive: “Mavis Staples”

The One With God Talk

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One With God Talk

Jay Som – Baybee from Everybody Works out now on Polyvinyl

Benjamin Booker feat. Mavis Staples – Witness from Witness out June 2nd on ATO Records

Bonny Doon – Relieved from Bonny Doon out now on Salinas Records

Dear Reader – Tie Me To The Ground from Day Fever out now on City Slang

Flasher – Winnie from an upcoming 7 inch on Sister Polygon Records

Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still from Woodstock out sometime this year

Michael Nau – Good Thing from Some Twist out June 16th on Suicide Squeeze

GRMLN – 27 Kids from Discovery EP out April 7th on KCRW

Mavis Staples is an alchemist of American music, and has continuously crossed genre lines like no musician since Ray Charles. Weaving herself into the very fabric of gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, rock, and even hip hop over the better part of the last 60 years, the iconic singer has seen and sung through so many changes, always rising up to meet every road unwaveringly.

Along the way, she has learned from, worked with, and schooled countless legends from all arenas, and has brought her own timeless talent to each and every performance. Who else can claim to have answered the call time and time again, to become a leading voice of not just a generation, but of multiple eras and in myriad manifestations? Who else was there to sell a million gospel records, walk beside Dr. Martin Luther King, to help lead the ‘70s soul-power movement, to sing under the spotlight during The Last Waltz, to serve as muse to both Bob Dylan and Prince at the peak of their careers, and to win over 21st-century fans with a trio of deeply spiritual solo albums produced by Ry Cooder (2007’s We’ll Never Turn Back) and by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy (2010’s Grammy winning You Are Not Alone and 2013’s critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated One True Vine)?

With the release of her new album Livin’ On A High Note, she continues to gain momentum. Referencing and drawing from her past while taking the music to fresh places, Mavis and her team recruited a unique dozen of today’s heralded and up-and-coming artists to write songs for the record. The names gathered here impress and excite: Neko Case, Justin Vernon, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Tune-Yards, Aloe Blacc, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart, M. Ward—with Ward also tapped to produce the album in full.

“I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new,” says Mavis. “I told the writers I was looking for some joyful songs. I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m so busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up. These songwriters gave me a challenge. They gave me that feeling of, ‘Hey, I can hang! I can still do this!’ There’s a variety, and it makes me feel refreshed and brand new. Just like Benjamin Booker wrote on the opening track, ‘I got friends and I got love around me, I got people, the people who love me.’ I’m living on a high note, I’m above the clouds. I’m just so grateful. I must be the happiest old girl in the world. Yes, indeed.”

And with those words, the high note is revealed not as a pinnacle of ease and wealth but as a righteous life lived well. Mavis is here, having weaved in and through all that fabric for all these many years, to show us that true joy lies simply in living for others. It’s the sermon Dr. King gave, and we must be grateful that she is able to echo it for us now. Mavis takes us—not only there, but back, up, and through.

Livin’ On A High Note Songwriting Credits

Take Us Back (Benjamin Booker)
Love And Trust (Ben Harper)
If It’s A Light (The Head & The Heart)
Action (Tune-Yards)
High Note (Valerie June)
Don’t Cry (M Ward)
Tomorrow (Aloe Blacc/John Batiste)
Dedicated (Justin Vernon/M Ward)
History Now (Neko Case)
One Love (Son Little)
Jesus Lay Down Beside Me (Nick Cave)
MLK Song (M Ward/ Martin Luther King)