Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pops Staples -- Don't Lose This

The backstory for Pops Staples' posthumous release is almost as interesting as the album itself. To be honest, I only really knew about -- and appreciated -- Mavis Staples with her "comeback" album You Are Not Alone. (My parents pretty much only listened to the Beatles. No R&B for me.) But I know her main body of work was created with her father and siblings as the Staples Singers. Don't Lose This was the last album Pops recorded. Recently, Staples unearthed the masters with her longtime collaborator Jeff Tweedy to finish the album, adding rhythm guitar, vocals, drums, and bass.

The album itself is a treat to listen to. Tweedy kept the arrangements sparse, featuring Pops' vocals and guitars. However, it's easy to tell which parts were laid down after the fact. I don't think this is a bad thing, though -- it gives Pops' warnings against temptation a ghostly, ethereal quality that makes them all the more meaningful. The man lived a long and storied life -- he speaks with authority about the bad times and about the strength and faith you need to get you out of it.

Pops Staples -- Official Page on Anti- Records, Purchase from Anti-, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon

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