Now you have to know I’d love a story that starts like this one in the Brooklyn Paper recently:
Mavis Staples is the queen of reinvention.
The Chicago-based singer and civil rights icon has been a staple on the gospel circuit for over 50 years, making her name foremost in spirituals with her family’s group, the Staple Singers, who added “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” to the American music lexicon. But on her own, she has continually put her stamp on pop, rock and folk worlds thanks to her work with such varied artists as Prince, The Band, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan (who once asked for her hand in marriage; she declined).
Though it’s a different plot line, this reminded me of a New York magazine profile I read last year on Sharon Jones:
After three decades of near obscurity, Jones is in demand; she and Brooklyn soul curators the Dap-Kings will release their fourth album, I Learned the Hard Way, on April 6. In recent years, she’s sung with Lou Reed in the stage version of Berlin and with Phish for their re-creation of Exile on Main St.; she duetted with Michael Bublé on Saturday Night Live and sings a funkified version of “This Land Is Your Land” in the opening credits of Up in the Air. “I feel like I asked God, and it took me a while,” says Jones. “So instead of ‘Why?’ I say, ‘Thank you.’ ”
Maybe the common element is strong, talented women who are doing what they love well into their mature years — and instead of doing some county fair greatest hits tour, coasting on past successes, they’re bringing new energy to their craft.
And while we’re at it — Jack White loves the older ladies, eh? Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn