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You Tube Gold: The Band And The Staple Singers

It was called The Last Waltz and it was a pretty good way to say goodbye.

The Band Portrait Session
The Band in their heyday

From 1968 to 1977, The Band was a successful and immensely influential band that took some fairly basic music and transformed it into enduring myth. Songs like The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and The Weight are still as good as anything that has been recorded since rock n roll went from being party music to something more considered.

In 1976, they had their last performance which was filmed by Martin Scorcese and called The Last Waltz.

Among the guests: the Staple Singers.

The two groups performed The Weight together and while parts of this - particularly Rick Danko - are really uneven - the overall fusion between the groups really taps into something gorgeous.

Mavis Staple was the powerhouse of her family group. She said once that when she was still young and small they’d trick audiences into thinking her older sister was singing then they’d reveal little Mavis as the booming singer. Knocked ‘em dead.

She grew up to be one of the great soul and gospel singers of all time and really adds something amazing to this performance.

Also here is her father, Roebuck “Pops” Starbuck, who was highly influential himself as a guitarist, singer and arranger. Check out the Staple Singers on their version of Tear This Building Down. It’s hypnotic. Also consider their take on the old classic Will The Circle Be Unbroken and compare it to the highly influential version the Carter Family recorded in 1935 which they called Can The Circle Be Unbroken. Maybelle Carter’s guitar style was also hugely influential.

It’s all American music and it’s all gorgeous.