Mavis Staples is a great American hero. I want her to adopt me so she can be my kid’s grandma. She is the absolute best.
“We Get By” is the title track from her new album featuring songs written and produced by musician and skater Ben Harper.
Mavis’ optimism is inspiring. If Mavis Staples can still believe that things are going to get better, who the fuck am I to sit around moping and grumping about the sorry state of the world? “It’s what I love to do,” she says in the intro to this video. “To sing a song that’s going to help somebody, to sing a song that’s going to bring somebody closer.”
Thank you, Mavis. Your songs do help. And your Vans are super dope, too!
Mavis Staples is 78 years old and she’s been singing professionally for 70 of those. Thank about that. She’s been getting paid to sing since before most Baby Boomers were even born. She’s a national treasure. This is the title track to her third album produced by Jeff Tweedy.
Director Zac Manuel told Rolling Stone, “The intent of this video is to highlight black excellence, and to provoke and encourage a larger public appreciation of the labor – physical and emotional – the people of color often are expected to bear. Using the symbolism of the ‘monument,’ a contemporary point of debate, I hope to steer conversation toward the acknowledgment of actual greatness; by replacing a negative and reinforcing a positive, this video will alter the image of who we often see immortalized in our country’s history.”
If it was up to me, I’d just replace every statue in America, confederate or otherwise, with a statue of Mavis Staples. Oh, mercy.
Chuck D - Give We The Pride ft. Mavis Staples (Official Video)
Chuck D continues to rule. The Public Enemy leader comes to Chicago to hang out with Mavis Staples and to showcase 2120 South Michigan Avenue, the former home of Chess Records. Also featured prominently in the video is Tribune/Sound Opinions critic Greg Kot’s Mavis biography, I’ll Take You There. Chuck’s new album, The Black In Man, is available now via Rap Central Station.
This is one of my favorite CCR songs. Shoot, it’s one of my favorite songs, period. The way John Fogerty’s lyrics tackle hugely complex subjects and make them personal, while acknowledging his inability to communicate with the person he loves, is heavy and perfect. It’s no wonder Jeff Tweedy picked up on this song: it essentially encapsulates the entire theme of his own masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. What took Wilco a whole album to say, “Wrote a Song for Everyone” does in under five minutes. Even if you can write songs that connect with thousands of people, it’s still tough to be honest with the people you love.
Saw the people standin’ thousand years in chains.
Somebody said it’s different now, look it’s just the same.
Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.
They could have saved a million people, how can I tell you?
There are only two songs written by white folks that take on the subject of slavery and handle it in an effective way. This one and Bob Dylan‘s “Blind Willie McTell.” I hope Tweedy gets Ms. Staples to do that one on their next collaboration. You Are Not Alone is due September 14 on Anti.
So this was my final Lollapalooza as a Chicago resident. From now on it will be a destination festival that requires me to actually travel to a destination. Which might be fun. But will it be worth it? Is a three day music festival worth the hassle if you can’t take the el back to your own comfy bed? I don’t know…I’ve never had to do it.
Of the past six Lollapaloozas, this was by far my most ADHD experience. I only watched three complete sets. The average time I spent with any band was 20 minutes. This might be normal for journalists who feel a professional obligation to “cover” as much as possible, but that’s never been my attitude. I like to take it easy and have a good time. Carefully select what I want to see and blissfully ignore the rest.