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Be Altitude - Respect Yourself CD


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Be Altitude - Respect Yourself + Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get [Stax Remasters] + Do the Funky Chicken [Stax Remasters]
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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 May 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B000026EVA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,574 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. This World
2. Respect Yourself
3. Name The Missing Word
4. I'll Take You There
5. This Old Town
6. We the People
7. Are You Sure
8. Who Do You Think You Are?
9. I'm Just Another Soldier
10. Who

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BBC Review

This is the album on which The Staple Singers’ consolidated their gentle folk-gospel into something altogether funkier, and delivered with enough wit and variation to make people stand up and take notice. Until then, the family quartet of Pops Staples and his kids enjoyed a reputation as an acoustic gospel group, who took their subtle harmonising into the 1960s folk scene. That’s where they acquired their penchant for powerful, universally accessible protest songs, allowing them to slot into post-Civil Rights black sensibilities without alienating the late-model hippies at the more righteous end of rock. All they needed was a great album, and after two uneventful efforts on Stax came this one: a classic.

Stax co-owner Al Bell produced it, and straight away parted company with brother Pervis Staples to bring in the middle sister, Yvonne, tightening their harmonies, and providing a clearer platform for Mavis’s super-soulful lead vocals. It created a gospel sound that you didn’t need to go to church to be moved by, defining the soul of one of the groups that defined the protest soul of that era.

Be Altitude jumps straight into solid syncopated southern funk with The World, then eases into what became the group’s theme song, Respect Yourself. It’s an almost five-minute version and, pushed on by the music behind her, Mavis works herself up into a foot-stomping testifyin’ frenzy that manages supremely angry and monumentally uplifting at the same time. Similar is their other anthem, I’ll Take You There, one of the most joyous soul songs ever written, which seems even more spirit-raising in this full length form. The Memphis sound is well-represented, with the wah-wah guitars, drawling horns, swirling organs and fat bass lines of Name the Missing Word, Who and Who Do You Think You Are?, while the country soul element is there with Are You Sure and We the People.

In every respect, this album was one of the label’s triumphs. Maybe their best set that didn’t involve Isaac Hayes, it set a modern funk agenda but never lost sight of old-time values. But actually none of that would have counted for much if the group hadn’t been so spectacularly soulful.

--Lloyd Bradley

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
In 2004 the Fantasy Group acquired the entire Stax catalogue and its precious original mastertapes and through their 'Concord Music Group, Inc' Division they've begun to drip-feed CD reissues for the famous American Soul label out into a hungry marketplace. Every title features brand-new 24-bit remasters, bonus tracks, updated booklets and each mid-priced CD carries the generic logo "Stax Remasters" on their spine to differentiate them from previous issues.

Released May 2011 - Concord Music Group, Inc 0888072328761 (Barcode 888072328761) breaks down as follows (49:38 minutes):

1. This World
2. Respect Yourself
3. Name The Missing Word
4. I'll Take You There
5. This Old Town (People In This Town)
6. We The People
7. Are You Sure
8. Who Do You Think You Are (Jesus Christ The Superstar)
9. I'm Just Another Soldier
10. Who
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "BeAltitude: Respect Yourself" released March 1972 in the USA on Stax STS-3002 and April 1972 in the UK on Stax Super 2325 069

Tracks 11 and 12 are "Walking In Water Over Our Head" and "Heavy Makes You Happy (Alternate)" - both are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

The new 12-page booklet has very knowledgeable and affectionate liner notes by ROB BOWMAN (author of "Soulsville U.S.A. - The Story Of Stax Records"). You get the original artwork and production credits also and there's a collage of 3 photos on the inlay beneath the see-through tray and the disc itself pictures the group too. But it's a shame the booklet goes no further - there's no new photos, none of those magical Stax sevens pictured nor any memorabilia. It makes the inlay feel workmanlike at best - even a little dull - when it should have spread its wings a little. But the big news is the SOUND...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I thought I'd found something with The Staple Singers; something new; but now I realise that they're a little-known classic group. It's just that I seem to recollect everything that they sing. I've been listening to them for years without realising who I was listening-to. They sound so contemporary; it's hard to believe they're not still around.
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By blackie on 30 May 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Very well put together album that I had many years ago on vinyl and was destroyed by my kids with a pen
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Perfection -- what more can you ask for? 29 Aug. 2003
By Tom Garretson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ah, the Staple Singers. The soul group that brought me to soul. As an old punk rocker, old Bowie fan, and more, I just LOVE the Staple Singers. The musicianship is par excellence, and the singing is the sound of deep, moving musical moments. You cannont listen to this album and not be moved. Its just soooooo good. So good production, and the remastered version is absolutely fantastic. GET THIS ALBUM. Your life and soul will be greatly improved. I just wish there was more Staple Singers albums to listen to. They are all fantastic. Even live!!!!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Staple Singers make their biggest hits and best album 16 May 2011
By hyperbolium - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Staple Singers had been a together for nearly two decades when they landed at Stax in 1968. They'd recorded old-school spirituals for Vee Jay and folk-influenced sides for Riverside before finding a new direction with the Memphis soul powerhouse; not only did the Staples adapt to the soul and funk energy of Stax, but they evolved their material from the pointed social topics of the folk era to less specific, but highly empowering "message music." Their first two Stax albums, 1968's Soul Folk in Action and 1970's We'll Get Over, featured backing from the label's house band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and mixed terrific material from Stax songwriters with Staples' originals. Despite the quality of each release, nothing clicked on the charts, and the group's third long-player, 1971's Staple Swingers, found Stax executive Al Bell taking over production chores from M.G.'s guitarist Steve Cropper.

Even more importantly, Bell began recording the Staples' backing sessions in Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section: Eddie Hinton (lead guitar), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), David Hood (bass), Barry Beckett (keyboards) and Roger Hawkins (drums). Hood's deep bass lines and Hawkins' rhythm touch anchor this album, solidified by Johnson's chords, Beckett's vamping and Hinton's inventive fills; the Memphis horns add texture and accents without ever needing to step out front to announce themselves. Produced at a time that Stax was evolving from its soul glories of the `60s to its funkier output of the early `70s, the Staples hit a third gear as they built the album's tracks, particularly the hit singles "I'll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself," from perfectly intertwined strands of soul, funk, and gospel. Also blended in to "I'll Take You There," as Rob Bowman astutely observes in the liner notes, is the reggae of the Harry J All-Stars' instrumental "The Liquidator."

The album's original ten tracks include longer versions of the singles, stretching each to nearly five minutes. You can understand why the extra vocalizing of "Respect Yourself" was trimmed for radio play, but Staples fans will treasure the full-length production. Concord's 2011 reissue adds two previously unreleased bonus tracks: the cautionary "Walking in Water Over Our Head" and an alternate take of Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom's "Heavy Makes You Happy." The latter forgoes the horn arrangement of the original single, emphasizes the rhythm section (as did all of engineer Terry Manning's album mixes), and adds forty-three seconds to the running time. These are great additions to an album that's already the best full-length of the Staples' career, and one of the best Stax ever produced. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great Stax album of the Staple Singers from 1972!! 9 Feb. 2007
By Matt Tawesson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This was the first album of the Staple Singers that I purchased on CD. I mainly got it to find out how their hit Respect Yourself sounds as well as I'll Take You There. I'm sure pleased that I did get this CD. Respect Yourself is almost five minutes long (while the single of it was only three and a half); this song is one of my favorite of theirs, as it tells you that if you disrespect anybody that you run into, you are disrespecting yourself as well. That is a great song. I also love I'll Take You There. The single of it is about three and a half minutes long, but on this album, you get the song in extended form. Love this song too!! I also like: This World, Are You Sure, We the People, I'm Just Another Soldier, and Name the Missing Word. Love this group. I have every one of their Stax album titles on CD. These folks are full of soul!!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Another Stax Classic 8 Aug. 2000
By MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Staple Singers get Right here.The Stax Musicianship is in High Gear here.this is When Soul Music was Soul Music.Great Arrangements&So Much Feeling that you can't turn it off.the Music is So Deep&Rich that it will Bring Tears Of Joy To Your Heart&Soul.Genius in front of The Mic&Behind it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"...My Mind Holds This World In Its Hand..." 28 Aug. 2011
By Mark Barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In 2004 the Fantasy Group acquired the entire Stax catalogue and its mastertapes - and through their 'Concord Music Group, Inc' Division - this release is the first of 3 inaugural CDs re-launching the famous Soul label. They all feature brand-new 24-bit remasters, bonus tracks, updated booklets and are pitched at mid-price. The other two titles so far are "Tailored In Silk" by JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1973) and "McLemore Avenue" by BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'s (1970). Each title carries the generic logo "Stax Remasters" on their spine to differentiate them from previous issues.

Released May 2011, Concord Music Group, Inc 0888072328761 breaks down as follows (49:38 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Be Altitude: Respect Yourself" released March 1972 in the USA on Stax STS-3002 and April 1972 in the UK on Stax Super 2325 069

Tracks 11 and 12 are "Walking In Water Over Our Head" and "Heavy Makes You Happy (Alternate)" - both tracks are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

The new 12-page booklet has very knowledgeable and affectionate liner notes by ROB BOWMAN (author of "Soulsville U.S.A. - The Story Of Stax Records"). You get the original artwork and production credits also and there's a collage of 3 photos on the inlay beneath the see-through tray and the disc itself pictures the group too. But it's a shame the booklet goes no further - there's no new photos, none of those magical Stax sevens pictured nor any memorabilia. It makes the inlay feel workmanlike at best - even a little dull - when it should have spread its wings a little. But the big news is the SOUND...

24-bit remastered from the first generation tapes by JOE TARANTINO at Joe Tarantino Mastering in Berkeley, California - the audio quality is truly GORGEOUS. Having had previous versions of this great Soul album on CD from the mid 1990's - the sound was good rather than great - hissy in places too. That's all gone - and it's not loud for loudness sake either - but clear and warm and full of presence. The bass is beautiful as is the rhythm section - and the powerhouse vocals of Mavis Staples now take centre stage in a way they've never done before. "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There" are so common to our ears that it comes as a genuine shock to hear them sound this good. The other single off the album "This World" is so clear and muscular too (lyrics above). A fantastic job done.

The bonus tracks are way better than I had expected - the 'Alternate' version of Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom's "Heavy Makes You Happy" was recorded August 1970 at their first session in the Muscle Shoals Studios and sounds like a live rehearsal - it's excellent. You can clearly hear EDDIE HINTON on Guitar and BARRY BECKETT on Keyboards and the end of the song hears them ad-lib for a full minute longer than the finished single did. But then we get the real deal - an outtake that could easily have been an album track. Recorded in Muscle Shoals in October 1972 and written by PHILLIP MITCHELL, TERRY WOODFORD and OSCAR FRANCK - it features the other in-house band members for the album DAVID HOOD on Bass and ROGER HAWKINS on Drums and it's a winner. "Walking In Water Over Our Head" is a fully finished upbeat song that could easily have been recorded yesterday. Genuinely - after all these years - to hear any new material by The Staples Singers from that stunningly creative period is an out-and-out blast.

To sum up - as a voracious lover of the label, these reissues are incredibly exciting to me. With this properly realised sound quality - I immediately order the other two. As for The Staple Singers - their uplifting Soul and Funk music combined with their message of love and positive thinking have resonated with generations of listeners for decades now - and at last - both the group and their admirers can get to hear their efforts at Stax really shine...

A bit of a forgotten Soul classic frankly and recommended big time.

PS: titles in the "STAX REMASTERS" series are (all reviewed):
1. McLemore Avenue - BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S (1970)
2. Woman To Woman - SHIRLEY BROWN (1974)
3. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - THE DRAMATICS (1972)
4. Be Altitude: Respect Yourself - THE STAPLE SINGERS (1972)
5. Taylored In Silk - JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1973)
6. Do The Funky Chicken - RUFUS THOMAS (1969)
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