vinyl condition: VG
| Moving from Mississippi to Chicago (as part of The Great Migration), Roebuck Staples worked in steel mills and meatpacking plants while his family of four children grew up. The family began appearing in area churches in 1948. Their first public singing appearance was at the Mount Zion Church, Chicago, where Roebuck's brother Rev. Chester Staples was pastor.
The Staple Singers signed their first professional contract in 1952. While the family name is Staples, the group used "Staple" commercially. Roebuck formed the group with his children Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis. Yvonne replaced her brother when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and again in 1970.
During their early career, they recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with various labels. Eventually a move to Epic produced a highly-successful a run of gospel albums, including the live in-church Freedom Highway album produced by Billy Sherrill; the title track of which was a civil rights movement protest song penned by Pops Staples.
It was on Epic that the Staple Singers developed a style more accessible to mainstream audiences, with WHY (AM I TREATED SO BAD) and FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH.
In 1968, the Staple Singers signed to Stax Records and released two albums with Pervis returning for them. After Cropper left Stax, Al Bell produced their recordings, conducting the rhythm sessions at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and cutting the overdubs himself with engineer/musician Terry Manning at Memphis's Ardent Studios, moving in a more funk and soul direction.
After Stax's 1975 bankruptcy, The Staple Singers signed to Curtis Mayfield's label, Curtom Records, and released LET’S DO IT AGAIN, produced by Mayfield; the song became their second number-one pop hit in the U.S. In 1976, they collaborated with The Band for their film The Last Waltz, performing on the song THE WEIGHT (which The Staple Singers had previously covered on their first Stax album). However, they were not able to regain their momentum, releasing only occasional minor hits.
The 1984 album Turning Point featured a cover of Talking Heads’ SLIPPERY PEOPLE, which reached the Top 5 on the Dance chart.