The Staples Jr. Singers
When Do We Get Paid
When the Staples Jr. Band formed in 1971, the iconic Memphis label Stax had The Staple Singers as one of their main acts, singing, if not strictly gospel, inspirational soul material drawing on the group’s deep gospel roots. Their success obviously inspired three teenagers down in Mississippi to form their own family group in 1971.
Comprising Edward, A.R.C., and Annie Brown (then aged 13, 12, and 11 respectively), they took inspiration from the soul-styled approach of the hit-makers, though sticking to gospel lyrics and often keeping the guitar-based approach prominent, mixing it with the general Stax sound. Listen to “I’m Looking For A Man” for example – and the title is misleading perhaps, as the group are in fact looking for a man “from Galilee”.
This album was recorded in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1975, and was originally sold by the group themselves out on the road as they played gospel shows across the only recently-desegregated South, or just to people calling on them at home. Listening to the album it is difficult to keep in mind that these singers were still only in their teenage years.
David Byrne’s label has now rescued this minor classic of soul-gospel, with its deep soul resonance, such as on the very bluesy “Trouble Of The World”, or on the title track, more then-contemporary soul-styled material. Listen to the rather hip soul groove of “I Feel Good” with some truly stunning vocals throughout.
There’s more good news too. The singers are all still active and should be touring internationally in 2022. I’ll be looking out for them near me – definitely.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: THE STAPLES JR. SINGERS – WHEN DO WE GET PAID