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EP Review: Mavis Staples – Your Good Fortune

2 min read

Following on from her Grammy Award winning One True Vine, Gospel and RnB legend, Mavis Staples, returns with a dark take on Gospel and the Blues. Your Good Fortune is a four track EP produced by Little Son, a young and rising talent in RnB and Soul.

The 75 year old Mavis Staples continues to tear through our souls with that voice. Deep and rough, spiritual and political, she has been doing the same thing since the Staple Singers first became big in the late 1950s. The Staple Singers, who spent the majority of the 60s and 70s putting the messages of Martin Luther King to gospel music, lifted Mavis to the public light, allowing her to express her huge voice to the world. Mavis has been resurging over the last 15 years, working with artists such as Bob Dylan, Patty Griffin and Jeff Tweedy.

Your Good Fortune, focuses mostly on the darker tones in Staples’ voice. It is a de-constructed and stuck back together form of gospel music, with a healthy injection of blues. Piercing snares crack through the mix on many songs, with droning guitars and wobbling bass lines dancing with Staples’ moaning and howling voice. There is a big dose of experimentation on this record both in tone and rhythm. Strange beat hops and sampled sounds frequent the majority of the tracks. Although I respect experimentation, in this case, I wish it was toned back a touch. There are moments when Son Little’s production is just distracting from the intensity of Staple’s voice.

Staples’ voice does manage to shine through on the title track, as well as the traditional gospel, Wish I Had Answered. The other two tracks seem more a display of Son Little’s production skills, than Staples’ epic and timeless voice. It just seems that Son Little (despite having an amazing musical mind) does not compliment Mavis the same way that Jeff Tweedy or Patty Griffin have on previous records.