Music

MAVIS STAPLES BRINGS THE ELECTION DAY ANTHEM

November 6, 2018

Few musicians are as qualified to deliver the deeper messages that ALL people need to hear on Election Day, as the legendary Mavis Staples. For nearly 70 years, the music she’s recorded on her own and as an integral part of the Staples Singers, one of America’s musical first families, has brought a moral quality to the nation’s jukeboxes and playlists, helping to gospel-power the Civil Rights movement and cutting through all the stereotypes to wind-up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s voices like Mavis’ that we need now more than ever, and her newest anthem, the simple and direct “No Time For Cryin’,” returns just in time.

Recorded live at London’s Union Chapel in July of 2018, “No Time For Cryin'” could not be simpler if it tried: an electric guitar rolls out a mid-tempo, blues-boogie groove, while Ms. Staples and her back-up singers exalt this as “no time for tears,” and — in a timely reinforcement of the theme of AFROPUNK’s latest mixtape — that, “we got work to do.”

But that air of vague, musical-do-gooder protest gets mighty specific by the song’s end, when Ms. Staples steps up with the preacher’s-daughter moral authority she earned long ago, and professes a new take on the old gospel-blues theme of “motherless children.” “It’s a mean old world that we’re living in, taking babies away from their mothers,” she riffs over her band, a clear declaration of the moment when Tr*mp’s Southern-border stormtroopers and ICE agents are using family separation as an anti-immigration tactic. “I don’t know about you, but I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna march right up to that big house,” she riles the audience.

“Music is powerful, it’s healing, and I would love to see today’s artists give that message,” says Staples on the album’s press release. “I can’t be the one to do it — I’ve been singing these songs all my life, and I’m gonna keep on as long as I’m here. That’s what I feel like I’m here for.”  And you know exactly which side of history Mavis Staples is on.

Mavis Staples’ Live In London will be released by ANTI- Records, just in time for Black History Month, on February 8, 2019. Find it here.

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