320 kbps | 82 MB | LINKS
Mavis Staples has been a steadfast presence in American music since the 1960s. Through her decades with the Staple Singers and into her solo career, she’s adjusted her sound and her collaborators to fit the times. Her third collaboration with Jeff Tweedy, If All I Was Was Black, suggests that Staples, now in her late seventies, is perhaps more sensitive to the world around her than ever, and has the right credentials to usher the younger generations through.
The album draws on her years as a proponent of the civil rights movement. She has always proudly reminded her audience of her legacy, and there’s a certain sadness in the fact that the voice that once sang freedom songs for Dr Martin Luther King is now putting her voice behind Black Lives Matter.
The sadness, however, ends there. If All I Was… represents a uniquely American sense of alienation, and while Staples — and Tweedy, who wrote and produced the album — fully acknowledges the feelings of helplessness engendered by a self-serving government and violence in the streets, she refuses to believe that the people really are helpless.