The Staples Singers, fifty years later in pristine audiophile vinyl…
The Staples Singers – Be Altitude: Respect Yourself – Craft Recordings/ Stax Records #CR00511 – ****1/2
The Staple Singers have been a gospel group that has stayed loyal to their roots in the church, yet have crossed over to broaden their appeal to mainstream acceptance in the soul, R & B, and folk music genres. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Led by the iconic, Mavis Staples (who is still going strong well into her 80s as a solo act), the Staples family was made up of their father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and daughters, Cleotha, Yvonne, and Mavis. (Earlier in their career, their brother, Purvis, was a member as well.)
To honor the 50th anniversary of their iconic hit record, Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, originally released on Stax Records, the boutique label Craft Recordings, (a subsidiary of Concord Records), is putting out an audiophile LP release of the album. It features all analog remastering from the original stereo tapes, and it is being pressed on 180 gm vinyl. This was their third album for Stax Records, and the group was backed by the iconic Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and The Memphis Horns. Their six year period with Stax Records (1968-1974) was the highlight of their recording career. They were marketed well, and given full arrangements to highlight both Pops Staples blues guitar skills, and Mavis and her sisters’ gospel/soul talents.
Two monster hits came from this album that have stood the test of time: “I’ll Take You There,” and “Respect Yourself.” To hear them both today, a half century later in the best acoustics possible, is such a treasure. The label’s brilliant rhythm section, Eddie Hinton (lead guitar), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), David Hood (bass), Barry Beckett (keyboards), and Roger Hawkins (drums) provide the Staples the backing they deserved to complement their “go to church” gospel vocals.
This is a rare opportunity to experience The Staples Singers at the peak of their career in record studio acoustics. If you only own one Staples Singers album, this is the one to have…
Name the Missing Word
I’ll Take You There
This Old Town (People In This Town
We the People
Are You Sure
Who do You Think You Are? (Jesus Christ the Super Star)
I’m Just Another Soldier