I'll Take You There tells the story of Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, major figures in the music that shaped the civil rights era. The Staples straddled a range of 20th-century popular music, fusing gospel, soul, folk and rock. Their story goes from the Southern gospel circuit to Martin Luther King, Jr. marches, to the legendary Wattstax festival, to accompanying The Band on the song "The Weight" captured in the film, The Last Waltz. We learn about Mavis' life, from her love affair with Bob Dylan to creative collaborations with Prince and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.
Kot takes us back to the beginning, to Mississippi where Roebuck "Pops" Staples grew up on the same land where his grandfather had been a slave and his his father a sharecropper. Although forbidden by his parents from playing "sinners music" (the blues), "Pops" picked up the guitar and slipped out to local juke joints to hear neighbors Charley Patton and Howlin' Wolf. Leaving Mississippi, "Pops" came to Chicago, worked in in the slaughterhouses, and found new musical influences like Sam Cooke and Mahalia Jackson in his South Chicago neighborhood.
Greg Kot is the Chicago Tribune music critic and co-host of Sound Opinions, "the world's only rock 'n' roll talk show," on national public radio, nationally syndicated out of Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ-FM 91.5. Kot's previous books includeWilco: Learning How to Die and Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music.
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