Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples, Pt. 2, Protomartyr & Charles Bradley

Mavis Staples has always had a political edge, even serving at times as Martin Luther King's warm-up act. This week, Jim and Greg continue their candid interview with the gospel and soul legend. She speaks about her role on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement as part of the Staple Singers and recounts a harrowing story of touring through the Jim Crow South. Plus, Jim and Greg will review the new record from Detroit art rockers Protomartyr and they pay tribute to the late soul singer Charles Bradley.

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Mavis Staples

Earlier this year, we aired part one of an interview that Jim and Greg did with gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples. Mavis was such a fantastic guest that we had plenty of extra tape that we haven't been able to broadcast until now. Greg literally wrote the book on Mavis Staples, titled I'll Take You There. As he details in the book, activism is nothing new to Mavis. The theme of social consciousness is something that started for Mavis as a part of The Staple Singers, and it continues to run through Mavis‘ solo career. It’s a major theme of her upcoming record If All I Was Was Black. In the 1950s and 60s, the Chicago-based Staple Singers toured the Jim Crow South extensively. It was a learning curve in many ways for the young Mavis, along with her siblings Cleotha, Yvonne, and Pervis.

reviewRelatives in DescentRelatives in Descent available on iTunes

Protomartyr Relatives in Descent

Relatives in Descent is Protomartyr's fourth album since forming in Detroit in 2010. Jim and Greg have loved all their previous records and had them on the show in 2014. After hearing the new album, Greg declares that they're one of the best rock bands in America and that they keep getting better. He cites Greg Ahee's agile but wild guitar playing and Alex Leonard's unconventional textured drumming as keys to their sound. Joe Casey's lyrics, he says, have an emotional undercurrent with a sense of anger. Jim also loves Casey's elliptical approach to his lyrics, which show empathy for people who don't often get attention or respect. He was hooked from the first time he heard the album and keeps finding things with each subsequent listen. Relatives in Descent gets an enthusiastic double-Buy It.


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Featured Songs

  1. The Staple Singers, Freedom Highway, Freedom Highway, Epic, 1965
  2. Protomartyr, The Chuckler, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  3. Protomartyr, A Private Misunderstanding, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  4. Mavis Staples, Eyes on the Prize, We'll Never Turn Back, Anti-, 2007
  5. Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black, If All I Was Was Black, Anti-, 2017
  6. The Staple Singers, I Can't Help from Cryin Sometimes, This Little Light, Riverside, 1964
  7. Mavis Staples and Lucky Peterson, Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Spirituals and Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson, Verve, 1996
  8. Mahalia Jackson, How I Got Over, How I Got Over / Just As I Am, Apollo, 1951
  9. Mahalia Jackson, Take My Hand, Precious Lord, Bless This House, Columbia, 1956
  10. The Staple Singers, This Year, Soul Folk in Action, Stax, 1968
  11. The Freedom Singers, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, Sing For Freedom, Folkways, 1980
  12. The Staple Singers, Pray On, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Vee Jay, 1963
  13. The Staple Singers, Why (Am I Treated So Bad)?, Why, Epic, 1966
  14. The Staple Singers, This May Be The Last Time (Alternate Take), Faith and Grace: A Family Story (1953-1976), Stax, 2015
  15. The Staple Singers, Good News, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Vee Jay, 1963
  16. Bob Dylan, Blowin' In The Wind, Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Columbia, 1963
  17. The Staple Singers, Blowin' In The Wind, This Land, Riverside, 1963
  18. The Staple Singers, Masters of War, This Little Light, Riverside, 1964
  19. The Staple Singers, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, This Little Light, Riverside, 1964
  20. James Brown, Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud, Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" (single), King, 1968
  21. Chance the Rapper, Blessings, Coloring Book, Not on Label, 2016
  22. Kendrick Lamar, Alright, To Pimp a Butterfly, Top Dawg, 2015
  23. The Staple Singers, Uncloudy Day, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Vee Jay, 1963
  24. Protomartyr, A Private Understanding, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  25. Protomartyr, The Chuckler, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  26. Protomartyr, Windsor Hum, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  27. Protomartyr, My Children, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  28. Protomartyr, Up the Tower, Relatives in Descent, Domino, 2017
  29. Charles Bradley, Victim of Love, Victim of Love, Daptone, 2013
  30. Charles Bradley, Changes, Changes, Daptone, 2016
  31. Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé, Telephone, The Fame Monster, Interscope, 2009
  32. Hüsker Dü, Actual Condition, Warehouse: Songs and Stories, Warner Bros., 1987
  33. Hüsker Dü, Pink Turns to Blue, Zen Arcade, SST Records, 1984
  34. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme Pt. 1 Acknowledgement (Live), A Love Supreme (Deluxe Edition), Impulse!, 2002