Music Review: Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples
Livin’ On A High Note
LP/CD Anti 2016

It’s not everyday that artists from the 1950’s and 2000’s collaborate on a new release; reminiscent of the American Records series of covers that Johnny Cash released in the 90’s, shortly before his death. Mavis Staples put out her first single in 1956 with the Staples Singers, her family’s gospel group which consisted of her parents, Roebuck & Osceola Staples, and her two sisters and brother. Mavis has had a nice revitalization in her career as of late. She sings songs on this release that were written by M. Ward, Ben Harper, Nick Cave, and whole slew of other contemporary artists. I’m quite partial to her take on Nick Cave’s lyrics on the track, ‘Jesus Lay Down Beside Me’, which is sung in her raspy soulful voice. Check out the new HBO documentary about her life called ‘Mavis!’. Also, check out this record and if you like it, dig into some of her older releases with the Staples Singers like 1972’s Bealtitude: Respect Yourself.