Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Only the Lord Knows, & He Ain't You

Mavis Staples is the shit. Jeff Tweedy produced her new album,"You Are Not Alone," which I clearly need to purchase, as soon as I can afford to buy things. Okay, fine, I'll just watch these YouTube videos.

Can you believe this woman is 71? She's so fierce: "Only the Lord knows, and he ain't you." Sing it, Mavis.

And her cover of this Creedence song is incredible. (Don't make me say fierce again.)

Obviously, I heard about her new album from my New Yorkers, my connection to the outside world. Because I read each issue at least a week late, lately, I'm a week behind on current events as well. Maybe I'll be a grownup again soon, and like, watch the news.

From The New Yorker article with Mavis and her sister Yvonne:

The Staple Singers’ early records featured mostly gospel and traditional songs, and Pops’s reedy tremolo guitar. They created a sound that would influence rock bands from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Wilco. By the early seventies, the sound had become a secular funk, which yielded the group’s Top Forty hits. Mavis: “When we started doing songs like ‘I’ll Take You There’ and ‘Respect Yourself,’ the church people got all upset, saying we were playing the Devil’s music and whatnot, but those songs are about the Lord. ‘I’ll Take You There’? Where’s ‘there’?”
“Heaven,” Yvonne said.
“That’s right,” Mavis said, refreshing her voice with some tea. “But I still think our best sound was just our father’s guitar and our voices, and those gospel songs, in the early sixties. Those were the happiest days of my life. To this day, when I get down and low, that’s the music I put on. And that’s what this new record is like—those old songs. Old Mr. Tweedy, he’s smart.”
“Oh, he’s smart,” Yvonne agreed.
“One day, he came up to me and said, ‘Mavis, I got some songs on my iPod I want you to listen to.’ And I listened and said, ‘Why, Tweedy, I haven’t heard those songs in fifty years. I’d love to sing those songs.’ ” 

Here's hoping Mavis Staples still has many more years of singing ahead of her.

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