Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #227: Mavis Staples

October 28th, 2010

Having grown up in Chicago I knew of Mavis Staples and The Staple Singers starting at a young age because they were well-known Chicagoans. Jubilee Showcase was a local TV show that featured gospel music and it aired every week. I’m sure I encountered her on the program as a kid. Now, I’m not claiming to be a gospel fan from way back but she was certainly someone whom I knew about.

mavisstaples Show #227: Mavis Staples

Staples is having renewed success in the wake of her latest album You Are Not Alone which was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. I have to admit to being ambivalent about these kinds of pairings. On one hand, I think it a shame that it takes the presence of a rock star in the producer’s chair to draw attention to a legend. I mean, if Tweedy hadn’t been there, I highly doubt that Pitchfork would have given one rat’s ass about the album. It is also doubtful whether Chicago music writers Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis would have reviewed her album at their blogs and on their radio show Sound Opinions.

On the other hand, Tweedy’s involvement was no doubt responsible for her appearance at the Lollapalooza Festival this year as well on Letterman and The Colbert Report. In the end, while it may be a shame that it takes a rock star to draw attention to her work, it is surely a good thing that she is performing for many people who have never given a thought to listening to gospel before.

Whatever the case, today’s show is Staples’ performance from the 3rd of this month at the Shaftman Performance Hall in Roanoke, Virginia. Not the greatest hi-fidelity audience recording ever but quite listenable.


Wonderful Savior
Wrote A Song For Everyone
Creep Along Moses
The Weight
You Are Not Alone
Freedom Highway
Only The Lord Knows
Losing You
Too Close To Heaven
Last Train
12-Instrumental Jam
I Belong To The Band
I’ll Take You There
I’ll Take You There

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Mavis Staples

This is Staples’ appearance on Letterman. Jeff Tweedy is in the band here and they do CCR’s “Wrote a Song For Everyone”.

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