The Staples Singers - I'll Take You There
August 9, 2013 3:08 AM   Subscribe

From the 1973 Grammys, here are The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There

Ever since I put it well inside my Soul Train post, I have found myself coming back to this one over and over -- and it deserves its own place at the head of the line. No lip synch this, Mavis Staples is most definitely in the spirit on this one, the very definition of the incantatory....

Then, from back in the day:

In 1963:

The Staple Singers -- Sit Down Servant

The Staple Singers - Great Day

And in 1968: Staple Singers - Wade in the Water


As for Roebuck “Pops” Staples, here is an early homage to Mr. Staples's tremolo guitar stylings: Sandy Bull - Gospel Tune

And regarding the riff of I'll Take You There, which originated as Harry J All Stars - The Liquidator, well, here is How to Play 'I'll Take You There" Staple Singers guitar by secret YouTube treasure soul guitar riff master par excellence mnaicck aka Tony Mowatt who will even get you started From Dead Scratch

As for the lyrics, well, apart from perhaps the better part of one stanza...
posted by y2karl (36 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
I never realized where "there" was before now!
posted by Iteki at 3:26 AM on August 9, 2013


Yes, a true Staple of 60s Soul...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:37 AM on August 9, 2013


Sitting at the laptop in my kitchen, trying to work and staring out of the window at a very grey London, this is exactly what I need to get me through this afternoon. Thanks!
posted by joboe at 4:05 AM on August 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Glorious!

I can't help but flash forward fifteen years: Prince sleazewhispers to Mavis in the studio, "No, no. I want the 'uh-huh' to sound more like the third 'uh-huh' you sang at the 1973 Grammys," and Mavis thinks, "I've made a huge mistake."

And in 1968: Staple Singers - Wade in the Water

Also glorious! The handclaps Pervis does two minutes and twenty seconds in made me temporarily believe in God.
posted by jack_mo at 4:53 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really love their version of A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall
posted by ghharr at 5:08 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me that I'll Take You There *might* have been the first tune by a US group to make the US charts that featured an overt Jamaican reggae influence. The introduction, Wikipedia informs, is "lifted from a Jamaican instrumental reggae tune titled "The Liquidator". And actually, the Wiki page on the song is quite interesting all around, good background info (the Muscle Shoals crew fucking ruled, as we know), so check it out.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned instrumentsl, The Liquidator is notable for the participation of one of the tightest Jamaican rhythm sections of all: bassist Aston 'Family Man' Barrett and drummer Carlton Barrett, who went on to greatness with Bob Marley and The Wailers. Here's the Wiki page for The Liquidator.

Oh, and after all that... you gotta listen to The Liquidator. It's way cool.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:16 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hah! And after that lengthy comment, I see I should've read y2karl's post a *bit* more thoroughly! I now see he included the Liquidator! Oh well! Great post, y2karl!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:22 AM on August 9, 2013


I have a collection of their early recordings (can't seem to find the title right now) that's just Pops playing a tremolo-d guitar, the daughters belting out the sweetest, most sorrowful gospel vocals, and a snare with brushes, all soaked in the most delicious vintage reverb. Absolutely gives me chills every time I play those songs.

So thanks for sharing.
posted by Rykey at 5:35 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you ever have a chunk of day to piddle away in search of awesomeness, head over to YouTube and just watch Mavis sing the hell out of "The Weight" with just about everybody: Wilco, Arcade Fire, Billy Bragg, The Decemberists, Glen Hansard, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Andrew Bird, North Mississippi All Stars, Bonnie Raitt...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:41 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


...I now see he included the Liquidator!

Yes, but I forgot to include the Sound on Sound page CLASSIC TRACKS: The Staple Singers I'll Take You There, which, like the links you provided, also got quite granular on the recording details of the song, but I managed to omit including it in the post, so thank you for the reminder....
posted by y2karl at 5:49 AM on August 9, 2013


It occurs to me that I'll Take You There *might* have been the first tune by a US group to make the US charts that featured an overt Jamaican reggae influence.

I've always wondered about that. There's already something lovely about a US R&B group borrowing from a Jamaican group released on (recording for?) a British label. Er, 'lovely' if you're thinking about the history of Jamaican music - obviously that's the most horrifying triangle on the world map in pretty much every other context.
posted by jack_mo at 6:10 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that I'll Take You There *might* have been the first tune by a US group to make the US charts that featured an overt Jamaican reggae influence.

Paul Simon's Mother and Child Reunion was released at about the same time.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:13 AM on August 9, 2013


Somebody help me! Thanks, y2karl; that's just the lift I needed on this dreary morning.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:20 AM on August 9, 2013


Paul Simon's Mother and Child Reunion was released at about the same time.

Indeed. Both songs came out in February of 1972 and with Mother and Child Reunion being released on February 5th, it quite possibly was first. Then one can split hairs as to which was more reggae sounding, in which case, I'll Take You There noses back into the lead. Whereas I Can See Clearly Now, coming out in November of the same year, comes in third either way.
posted by y2karl at 6:24 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since everyone else has the awesome musical angle covered, can I dish on those amazing dresses for a minute? The purple is like wild blueberries or plums; it's dark and rich but also fresh and young. There's enough skin showing at the top to be incredibly sexy without being exhibitionist, and the crossed straps give them all the freedom of arm movement they could desire without having to resort to boob or strap glue. The white at the top sets off their skin perfectly. The precise measuring and fitting they would have had to do to get those white bands at the bottom to hit perfectly just above the floor and all be the same width is practically unheard of today outside of a major Broadway or West End show.

I had to look up what network aired this show, because that backdrop had me instantly thinking, "NBC Peacock."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Their soundtrack song from the movie Let's Do it again is about as perfect a song as there is.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:08 AM on August 9, 2013


It occurs to me that I'll Take You There *might* have been the first tune by a US group to make the US charts that featured an overt Jamaican reggae influence

Hmm, quite a challenge, Flap. Lessee, here's what I got:

Israelites, Desmond Decker, 1968. A big hit in the US, but the artist is Jamaican.

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Beatles (actually McCartney), 1968. Inspired by a Jamaican acquaintance, and the artist is, of course, British.

Black and White, Three Dog Night, American artist, but a cover of a Jamaican record, released late 1972.

How about, I can see Clearly Now, Johnny Nash, American artist and song, released June 1972.

Ah ha! Mother and Child Reunion, Paul Simon, American artist and song, released February 1972.

Indeed. Both songs came out in February of 1972 and with Mother and Child Reunion being released on February 5th, it quite possibly was first.

Well, there ya go. Apparently, in 1972 it was time for America to embrace reggae.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:10 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, god, I looove the Staple Singers! Thanks for this! I once tried to set up a Staple Singers/Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose station on Pandora. It started repeating itself after about 5 songs. :(
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:29 AM on August 9, 2013


Great post, y2karl. The Staple Singers also recorded what is probably my favorite version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."
posted by Rangeboy at 7:33 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Earworm city, and I remembered I need to buy a new stapler. Thanks!
posted by tilde at 7:53 AM on August 9, 2013


If you ever have a chunk of day to piddle away in search of awesomeness, head over to YouTube and just watch Mavis sing the hell out of "The Weight" with just about everybody: Wilco, Arcade Fire, Billy Bragg, The Decemberists, Glen Hansard, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Andrew Bird, North Mississippi All Stars, Bonnie Raitt...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:41 AM on August 9


Mavis Staples and The Weight:

The master version with The Band
With The Staple Singers
With Wilco & Nick Lowe (I like Nick Lowe singing Pop Staples' verse)
With Billy Bragg
With Andrew Bird
With Cyndi Lauper
With Win Butler of Arcade Fire
With Michael Franti
With The Decemberists (just the organ solo)
With Glen Hansard
With Elvis Costello
With the North Mississippi Allstars
posted by elmer benson at 8:08 AM on August 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mavis Staples is still touring (I heard her last summer on a bill with Dr. John), and in an interview last week, she said, apropos of playing "I'll Take You There," that the audience wouldn't let her leave the stage if she didn't sing it. Understandably.
posted by kozad at 8:10 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder what it's like to be so expressive.
posted by vapidave at 9:33 AM on August 9, 2013


I hate seventies music.

I make a serious exception for the Staples Singers.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:01 PM on August 9, 2013


I remembered I need to buy a new stapler.

Mmmmm, I know a place. . .
 
posted by Herodios at 12:11 PM on August 9, 2013


I just saw Mavis Staples performing at the North Atlantic Blue Fest a few weeks ago and she was awesome, powerful and kickass - despite having a bad knee injury. And it was about 102 in the shade the day she performed but she and her band had everyone on their feet throughout the set. Hearing her do I'll Take You There, The Weight, Let's Do It Again, I Like the Things About Me - well, it was a peak experience. I had seen Pops Staples live with Bonnie Raitt years ago but I had never had seen the Staples Singers or Mavis live.

This top clip wasn't from the show, but it is her performing with her current band. (There are also clips from all the performers who played that weekend - it's a dynamite ocean-side festival every July - I go often so if there are any other mefi blues buffs who would like to hear more about the fest, just memail me. )

If she comes to your town, run don't walk to see this legend - she still has it.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:53 PM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and thank you for this post, y2karl. You still have it, too ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 12:53 PM on August 9, 2013


The only problem I've ever had with this song is that it needs to be about two hours longer.
posted by uosuaq at 1:48 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


They're billiant and they got better as the 60's progressed
posted by BlueMarble72 at 4:46 PM on August 9, 2013


Their appearance and on the 'Last Waltz' was a pinnacle to me.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 4:52 PM on August 9, 2013


And once, a friend of mine went to a blues festival in Duluth where she was playing and got a cd autographed for me. That was nice.
posted by elmer benson at 5:33 PM on August 9, 2013


I hate seventies music.

There was plenty of dreck, for sure. Tony Orlando and Dawn. The Captain and Tennile. Other dreadful stuff that'll make you wanna wretch.

But, hey: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Allman Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Captain Beefheart, Can, Stevie Wonder, War, Steppenwolf, the Temptations, Al Green, Aretha, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Ramones, P-Funk, Neil Young, Marvin Gaye... and so many more. The decade was a goddam treasure chest, a cornucopia of incredible pop music of various genres.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 PM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hate seventies music.

Huh? That's like hating German engineering. Unless this opinion is a subset of your more general hatred of all music, I don't understand.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:16 PM on August 9, 2013


Ann Peebles, King Floyd, the Meters, Johnny Guitar Watson, the Band, Bobby Charles, Geoff & Maria Muldaur, Dr. Buzzards Savannah Band, Chic and Merle Haggard, to name but a few more, had some of their best years in those ten, too.
posted by y2karl at 9:17 PM on August 9, 2013


Not to mention teh reggae....

but OK, OK, post in haste, repent at leisure...

/shooting fish in barrel
posted by y2karl at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2013




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