In February 2011, Mavis Staples received her first Grammy Award for her americana album ‘You are not alone‘. She cried and said : “This has been a long time coming“.
And did she deserve it, finally at the age of 71 !
I will have the honour and the pleasure to hear and see this lady this year at the Gent Jazz Festival, on July 9th, just 1 day before she will become 72.
The lady has a long musical background that goes back to 1950 when she, at the age of 11, started to sing locally and in churches as part of the family band. Her father (‘Pop’) had already a more than decent musical career behind him at that time. First named ‘The Staples’, when they hit the road in 1957 they called themselves ‘The Staple Singers’ : daddy and his 3 daughters. In the seventies, the Staple Singers had several hits.
They became enormously popular as gospel singers and grew out to a most influential spiritually based group that has put an important musical stamp on the American civil rights movement. The personal relation between ‘pop’ and Martin Luther King was not entirely strange to this success.
Mavis Staples became performing and recording as a solo-artist at the end of the sixties, and has turned out to be very successful. One of her album in the eighties has been produced by Prince, and her 1993- “The Voice” album has been proclaimed as one of the best of the year. She collaborated also with great success with her personal friend Bob Dylan. In 1997 Ry Cooder produced her majestic album “We will never turn back”.
Finally, then, in 2011 she got the dreamt recognition in the form of a Grammy Award : “This has been a long time coming“.
See you on July 9th !