The Staple Singers were an American gospel and soul vocal group.
Roebuck Staples was born in 1915 in Mississippi, and early in his career he performed as a solo blues guitarist. In the 1930s he began singing and playing in gospel groups, and in the 40s he took his family north to Chicago in search of a better life. He began singing in local churches, and introduced his children Mavis, Cleotha and Pervis to a huge response, and so The Staple Singers came to be. He was from then on known as 'Pops' Staples.
In 1952 they signed a recording contract with United Records, but not much came of it, and 1955 saw them move to Vee-Jay Records. It was here that they had their first successes selling records. A number of albums were recorded for Vee-Jay in the late 50s and early 60s, an accurate discography made confusing as certain songs were repeated across different releases. These recordings showed them to have a brilliantly raw style of southern gospel, with the vocals of Mavis, Cleotha and Pervis carried on Roebuck's bluesy, tremolo-laden electric guitar. The arrangements were sparse, with the guitar occasionally accompanied by subtle drums and bass. Mavis Staples emerged as the clear lead vocalist, and her soaring voice was a vital ingredient in their sound from the beginning. Roebuck also sang lead on various numbers. Their two big hits for Vee-Jay were the traditional number "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" and their own "Uncloudy Day".
This is a compilation of Vee-Jay material - thirty-two songs in all, taken from a number of albums. It is by no means a complete collection, but it might not be far off. The years 1955-1962 might also be not quite accurate, as there is quite a bit of conflicting information.
|> Great Day: The Riverside Years (1962-1964)
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