Kennedy Center Honors 2016

James Taylor: “I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century.”

martha-argerichAs I’ve noted often in this space, I watch the Kennedy Center Honors every year. It’s like a well-oiled machine, with the event taking place in early December (this year Sunday, December 4), then edited down for broadcast in a two-hour slot on CBS-TV the week between Christmas and New Year’s (this time, Tuesday, December 27. 9-11 p.m. EST).

The host of CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert, will return to emcee the Kennedy Center Honors 2016; this is his third consecutive year. This year’s honorees are Al Pacino, Martha Argerich, Mavis Staples and James Taylor and the Eagles. Continue reading “Kennedy Center Honors 2016”

S is for the Staple Singers

This century, Mavis Staples, who was the primary voice on so many of the Staple Singers’ songs, has been putting out several well-received albums.

Staple-SingersA major competitor of Motown serving up black music in the United States in the 1960s and early 1970s was STAX Records, which I wrote about extensively HERE.

One of the great groups on the label was The Staple Singers, “an American gospel, soul and R&B singing group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (1934–2013), Pervis (b. 1935), Yvonne (b. 1936), and Mavis (b. 1939)… While the family surname is ‘Staples’, the group used the singular form for its name, ‘The Staple Singers’.”

They had appeared on other labels before joining STAX, releasing songs such as For What It’s Worth [LISTEN], a cover of the Buffalo Springfield hit, that went to #66 in 1967 on Epic Records.
Continue reading “S is for the Staple Singers”

It’s 9/9

EVERYTHING the Beatles put out, including music that stiffed in 1962 or 1963, charted in 1964.

Have I mentioned how much I like it when the month and the day are the same? 9/9, for instance, reads the same whether one is in the United States or the civilized world.

Here are some 99 songs:
Continue reading “It’s 9/9”

Mavis Staples is 72

“I loved Bobby enough to marry him, but I just was not ready to get married.”


One of the great voices in music is Mavis Staples. First as lead singer of the Staples Singers, with hits such as Respect Yourself and I’ll Take You There, and currently with her blues/gospel fusion, she’s still performing.

This segment from CBS Sunday Morning in April 2011 noted that she STILL doesn’t know what keys she sings in, even after 60 years of performing. The story also revealed this:

Mavis Staples has a lot of stories to tell, but here’s one you probably didn’t see coming Continue reading “Mavis Staples is 72”