Soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples is set to release Your Good Fortune, a new four-song EP produced by the acclaimed young cross-genre soul explorer Son Little. The record will arrive in stores on April 21st. The EP coincides with the recent premiere of a full-length documentary on the singer entitled “Mavis!” Listen to the title track care of Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/news/58970-mavis-staples-announces-ep-shares-your-good-fortune/
The songs on Your Good Fortune inventively merge Staples’ iconic and soulful voice, renowned as part of The Staple Singers and as a Grammy winning solo artist, with Little’s talent for reconfiguring the sensibilities of genres including soul, hip-hop and heavy rock. The resulting tracks retain every bit of Staples’ emotional delivery, while adding an array of modernist sounds created with the cut and paste methodology of contemporary hip-hop.
"I’m always excited to do new songs,” Mavis says. “And this young man wrote two just for me. Seemed like we were a team made in heaven. He writes from his heart; he's a great singer who sings from his heart, and he reached my heart. I'm so glad we got to work together. The whole experience right down to the finished product was just extraordinary.”
The disc features two original Son Little compositions, “Your Good Fortune” and “Fight,” paired with two reinterpreted classics, the Blind Lemon Jefferson composition “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” (previously recorded by The Staple Singers as “Dying Man’s Plea” in 1962), and the Pops “Roebuck” Staples-penned gospel classic “Wish I Had Answered” first recorded by The Staple Singers in 1963. The Staple Singers 45 RPM release on Riverside Records had as its B-side their take on Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” making them the first African-American artists to record a Dylan song.
The title track of Your Good Fortune revisits the folk gospel of early Staple Singers with assemblage recording, taut minimalist percussions and deep low-end bass. “Fight” references the energetic protest funk of classic seventies Staple Singers with a vocal delivery, at times, so rapid it’s as if Mavis is rapping. Staples’ rendition of “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” features a raw distorted guitar, electronic percussions and Staple’s voice on the verge of breaking. The EP ends with “Wish I Had Answered” which stands out for Mavis’ fiery vocal delivery.
As Son Little says, “Aside from being one of the greatest singers ever, Mavis brings a positive energy unlike anything I've experienced. The thing I'll remember forever about working with Mavis is her voice. Standing in the studio, holding her hand, I watched as each time she began a take. Everyone in the room jumped when we heard her voice. Chills. A metaphysical experience every time.”
The film Mavis!, a full length documentary on the life of Staples directed by Jessica Edwards, recently premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin generating rave reviews from both audiences and press.
Acclaim For The Film Mavis!
“Mavis took the stage afterward (“I’ve cried off all my mascara”) to answer questions from a rapt audience, and then she and guitarist Rick Holmstrom closed with a riveting version of “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” At 75, Staples is not slowing down.“ - Austin Chronicle
“Taking in the Sunday-morning screening was akin to going to church, as viewers applauded some of the filmed performances, nodded their heads to the music and rose for a standing ovation at the end.” - NY Times
“It was a surreal, rare privilege to be able to watch the world premiere of Mavis!, the documentary about the inimitably significant career of 75-year-old soul legend Mavis Staples.” - The Nerdist
“First-time doc director Edwards set spirits soaring at SXSW with “Mavis!,” a celebration of the life and music of living legend Mavis Staples. Artfully entwining archival material, newly filmed interviews and live performances, she fashions a fascinating in-depth portrait sprinkled with amusing revelations – Mavis indicates that, during their salad days as entertainers, she and Bob Dylan were more than good friends – and rich with historic detail. Mavis remains an electrifying force of nature, and it is very much to Edwards’ credit that “Mavis!” is a cinematic biography worthy of its iconic subject. “ - Variety