Personalities | The Staple Singers | Sixties | Rock
(Vocal group, 1968–85)
Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples, born 1915, migrated musically and geographically from Mississippi blues to Chicago gospel. In the late 1950s, he was leading a vocal group with his children, and by 1968 had signed with Stax. With lead vocals shared by Pops and daughter Mavis, and backed by Booker T. And The M.G.s or The Muscle Shoals Band they blended gospel, R&B and blues with civil-rights issues on tracks like ‘When Will We Be Paid (For The Work We’ve Done)’. Their uplifting 1972 anthem ‘Respect Yourself’ struck a chord with the equal rights movement and was a US pop No. 2.
Mavis has periodically recorded solo, most recently a well-received gospel R&B effort, 2004’s Have A Little Faith. In 1992, aged 77 Pops, a fine blues guitarist, released his first solo album Peace To The Neighbourhood. Steeped in tradition and acclaimed a national treasure, he died in 2000.
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