The Best of the Staple Singers
Culled from their tenure on Stax, the best of these Staples Singers gems boast airtight accompaniment by the incredible Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. The Staples' close musical relationship with the band is heard on "I'll Take You There" when Mavis sings, "Play it, Barry." And keyboard king Barry Beckett leans harder on the ivories before she comes back calling for "Daddy" (Eddie Hinton) to come in stronger on his guitar, and then again she sings out for David Hood to unleash some of his buttery bass lines. But the Staples' uncanny chemistry with the musicians is only half the reason why this collection deserves its "Best Of" title. The genetic chemistry that musically bonds Roebuck "Pops" Staples to his daughters is much more moving, especially on their lush, string-arranged version of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay" and on their gospel-funk cover of The Band's "The Weight." The songs aren't sequenced chronologically, and nothing recorded past 1974 turns up here, but that's hardly a bad thing, especially since the recurring lyrical themes of trying to get along during difficult times and spreading more love in the world are just as relevant today as they were when these treasures were first recorded.