‘Live In London’ is a testament to Mavis Staples’ legacy

‘Live In London’ is a testament to Mavis Staples’ legacy

Words by Bronius Zumeris

For a 79-year-old Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, championed by the likes of Prince, Jeff Tweedy, Nick Cave and countless others, it is quite inexplicable that this is only the second official live recording from Mavis Staples.

She certainly extends every element of the live experience here, and the line “There’s just no stopping me” during her rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ is undoubtedly accurate.

This album is pleasing all round, and  even the band introduction delivered during ‘Touch A Hand’ sounds exceptionally life affirming. The band are suitably wild; cacophonous and spellbinding, and it’s clear why Mavis Staples is so revered.

This recording fulfils all aspirations, bereft of all inessential gimmickry, leaving nothing but pure and imperial soul. Even the authority with which Staples tackles ‘Slippery People’ by Talking Heads works a treat.

This record is as good as it can get for those wanting an easily consumable taste of Staples’ vast legacy, opening the window to her bewitching, stirring world.

Tracks ‘Take Us Back’, ‘Let’s Do It Again’ and ‘Dedicated’ reap an artistic bounty with a monolithic voice and A-grade band. Even in her autumn years, Staples shows no hint of burning out nor fading away.

Clearly the audience relish the words as much as the sound. Every song is invested with care and guarantees that there are many moments to be treasured. In this record Mavis Staples takes on the world, and wins.