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The Staple Singers: Faith and Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 [Bonus Tracks]

Track List

>It Rained Children
>I Just Can't Keep It to Myself
>Each Day
>God's Wonderful Love
>If I Could Hear My Mother Pray
>I've Got a New Home
>Uncloudy Day
>Come on Up in Glory
>I Know I Got Religion
>Swing Down Chariot
>I Had a Dream
>Help Me Jesus
>Low Is the Way
>This May Be the Last Time
>So Soon
>I'm So Glad
>Pray On
>Good News
>Downward Road
>Don't Drive Me Away
>Will the Circle Be Unbroken
>Don't Knock
>Medley: Too Close/I'm on My Way Home/I'm Coming Home/He's Alright
>Swing Low
>Calling Me
>Stand by Me
>Hammer and Nails
>Hear My Call, Here
>Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
>New-Born Soul
>Dying Man's Plea
>Great Day
>There Was a Star
>Use What You Got
>Let That Liar Alone
>I Can't Help from Cryin' Sometime
>Blowin in the Wind
>This Land
>I Know I've Been Changed
>Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, A
>Masters of War
>What Are They Doing (In Heaven Today)
>I Wish I Had Answered
>I'll Fly Away
>Tell Him What You Want
>Be Careful of the Stones You Throw
>Samson and Delilah
>As an Eagle Stirreth
>Freedom Highway, The
>Why (Am I Treated So Bad)
>John Brown
>Waiting for My Child
>It's Been a Change
>For What It's Worth
>Let's Get Together
>Crying in the Chapel
>Long Walk to D.C.
>Got to Be Some Changes Made
>Slow Train
>I See It
>Ghetto, The
>When Will We Be Paid
>God Bless the Children
>Challenge, The
>Brand New Day
>Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)
>I Like the Things About You
>You're Gonna Make Me Cry
>Respect Yourself
>I'll Take You There
>World, The
>I'm Just Another Soldier
>Are You Sure
>If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)
>Touch a Hand (Make a Friend)
>Back Road Into Town
>Let's Do It Again
>Weight, The
>Respect Yourself
>Faith and Grace
>These Are They

Album Notes

Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 isn't career-spanning, as stated by the Concord label. The proof is right there, in the title. Throughout the latter part of the '70s and during the mid-'80s, the Staple Singers recorded strong material for the Warner Bros. and Private I labels. Nonetheless, as of 2015, this box set was easily the most comprehensive Staples anthology. Physical copies consist of four discs, as well as a re-pressing of an early-'50s single, "Faith and Grace" b/w "These Are They," which was produced in a one-time limited edition of 500 copies, sold at Staples performances. That alone is enough to stir the interest of longtime fans. Even without those two songs, Faith & Grace would be almost as close to essential as it gets for a box set. It covers the group's stints with Vee-Jay, United, Riverside, Epic, and Stax, a rich period during which they evolved from an acoustic gospel-folk group that performed in small churches into a genre-crossing main attraction for 110,000 people at the Los Angeles Coliseum (as documented on Wattstax). The selection of highlights is thoughtful, if imperfect. There are '50s A-sides like "It Rained Children" and "I Had a Dream," and the charting '60s cuts "Why? (Am I Treated So Bad)" and "For What It's Worth," the latter of which they made their own as much as anything written by Pops Staples. While the Stax-era material includes the major classics "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," and "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)," there are some peculiar omissions. Neither "This World" nor the Wattstax version of "Oh La De Da" made the cut, even though both were Top Ten R&B hits. The previously unreleased material isn't revelatory, though it's fascinating to hear a demo of Mack Rice and Luther Ingram's "Respect Yourself" fronted aggressively by Rice. Packaged folio style with an abundance of photographs and liner notes, it's a generous overview -- track-selection flaws notwithstanding -- of a crucial 20th century musical institution. ~ Andy Kellman


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