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IT'S ALIVE: Mavis Staples "The Weight" (London, 2017)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

Today we celebrate soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples, born on this day in 1939. Staples began singing with her family group as a child in 1950; they were led by her father Roebuck "Pops" Staples, and also included her siblings siblings Cleotha, Yvonne, and Pervis. Once Mavis finished high school in 1957, The Staple Singers began traveling as a band, and the group gained popularity as "God's Greatest Hitmakers". By the mid-1960s their music helped to define the soundtrack of the civil rights movement (due in part to Pops' friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr.).

The Staple Singers achieved commercial success after signing to Stax Records in 1968 and releasing hits like "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again". During that time, Mavis was also building what would become a decades-long solo career, beginning with her self-titled debut album in 1969. Her 2010 album You Are Not Alone earned Staples her first Grammy award and number one placement on a Billboard chart.

Staples has famously performed The Band's "The Weight" throughout her career; this clip features the soul icon performing the tune with Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra for his 25th annual Hootenanny to ring in 2018.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org

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