Saturday, December 08, 2007

Year’s Best: 99 and ½ by Mavis Staples

“It feels like 1960.” That’s not me talking, that is Mavis Staples on her 2007 record, “We’ll Never Turn Back.” She’s running. She’s trying to make 100 – percent, you know: complete and total inspiration – religious, that and more - in the middle of any day. Not a portion. Not an almost full portion. It is a full monte portion of God stamping on the serpent’s throat. This is a startling voice, one that found you when you were addling moronically through the supermarket. The voice is Mavis and it describes a God that wilo smite and smote and that’s what He wrote down a God that is about justice now. God’s characteristics.. such as Freedom God, conceptually mirror the Freedom movement. It’s also about Gospel crossing over to Soul. With a little Japanese guitar, and a marching male and female chorus . . this is a hit! First heard the mix from Wilson Picket, but of course it has roots in the Highway Travellers [friend of the Moon Travellers] and this is a new take, a new song, the song is ‘99 and 1/2.’ The Staple Singers had the most beautiul blues. A gospel blues, really. The blue note was their forte. They did it in harmony. Pops found some real unique keys, and had a tremelo thing on top. When Mavis addresses notes it is from such subtle angles. And not just one or two here and there. The whole magilla. And still boppin!

99 and 1/2 on Amazon [MP3] 99 cents
99 1/2 video on YouTube

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