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Customer Review

Released Stateside in 1981 on Stax Records MPS 8511 while The Staples Singers were briefly signed to 20th Century - this notorious 8-track LP is actually a compilation of old recordings from the 1970's reworked and reissued without the band's approval (or even knowledge) - put out at a budget price and largely forgotten about. But amongst its 'embellishments' are absolute barnstormers - namely the near fanatical following given to "Trippin' On Your Love" in the UK.

This July 2013 CD is the first remaster of the album ever - and Ace Records/Stax CDSXE 139 is a typically brill reissue (33:23 minutes).

The remaster is by NICK ROBBINS at London's Sound Mastering and the 8-page booklet contains detailed liner notes by long-time Soul Fan and Ace Associate - TONY ROUNCE.

It starts out badly in my book - the "Live In Love" track probably dates from as early as 1969 or 1970 - so the instrumentation over it sounds up to date - while the vocal sounds way too distant and demo-ish. "This Time Around" slows it down with a "won't let my man down" lyric. It is pretty once it gets going - but again the instrumentation still feels tagged on. But things go stratospheric with "Trippin' On Your Love" which is just gorgeous.

"A Child's Life" is sweet but far better is the Side 2 opener "I Got To Be Myself" - muted at one point to be 7" single (Stax 0255) - but it legendarily never got released (not even a promo has been found). Recorded around 1975 - "I Got To Be Myself" is a proper Staples winner. And it's followed by 3 superb tracks - especially "When It Pours It Rains" and "If It Wasn't For A Woman" which contain stunning Mavis vocals ("...a house would never have been a home...if it wasn't for a woman...") and sympathetic arrangements.

So there you have it. In a ragbag like this - five out of eight tracks is not a bad tally in my book - and when it comes to The Staple Singers - I gotta have it.

See also CD reviews for "The Ultimate Staple Singers", "Be Altitude: Respect Yourself" and "We'll Get Over".
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