Mavis Staples with Ben Harper, “We Get By” (B. Harper), published 5/15/19
Live (TV show), published 5/21/19
Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe
—album title, saxophonist Albert Ayler, 1969
(Taking a break—back in a while.)
That gospel feeling is in all of this music.
Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music, Episode 2: Sam Cooke, with Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack, Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, et al., BBC, 2005
art beat: more from Friday at the Art Institute of Chicago
Arshile Gorky (1904-1948), The Plough and the Song, 1946
Here’s a variation, from the 1960s civil rights struggles, on the gospel song we heard Sunday.
SNCC Freedom Singers (AKA The Freedom Singers), “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Freedom,” live, Turkey, 2007
We started singing songs at the mass meetings. Songs of the movement gave you energy–a willingness and a wantingness to want to be free. Whenever there was a march to be taken place, there were songs that we would use to motivate the people to get in the line. One such song was “I Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom.” Most of the songs from the movement were taken from spirituals, gospel, and rhythm and blues–any type of music. Someone in the audience would start and say, “Come and go with me to that land. Come and go with me to that land.” And the rest would just repeat it.
And here’s another take on the original.
Mavis Staples, “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Jesus,” recording (One True Vine), 2013
Danny Lyon (1942-), Atlanta (Toddle House), 1963
Mavis Staples, “I Like The Things About Me” (R. Staples & M. Stubbs), One True Vine, 6/13
Language, no matter how much it’s used, never seems to get used up. Take this sentence, for instance, which opens Donald Ray Pollock’s story collection Knockemstiff: “My father showed me how to hurt a man one August night at the Torch Drive-in when I was seven years old.” Not one of these words is unusual, nor is the syntax. But this particular set of words, in this particular order, never existed before. How improbable is that?