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Books  >>  Biography

Greg Kot

I'll Take You There

Greg Kot I'll Take You There Mavis Staples The Staple Singers And The March
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Main description:

“A biography that will send readers back to the music of Mavis and the Staple Singers with deepened appreciation and a renewed spirit of discovery” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)—from an acclaimed music journalist and author.

This is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples—lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. One of the most enduring artists of popular music, Mavis and her talented family fused gospel, soul, folk, and rock to transcend racism and oppression through song. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers went on to sell more than 30 million records, with message-oriented soul music that became a soundtrack to the civil rights movement—inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.

Critically acclaimed biographer and Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot cuts to the heart of Mavis Staples’s music, revealing the intimate stories of her sixty-year career. From her love affair with Bob Dylan, to her creative collaborations with Prince, to her recent revival alongside Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, this definitive account shows Mavis as you’ve never seen her before. I’ll Take You There was written with the complete cooperation of Mavis and her family. Readers will also hear from Prince, Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, and many others whose lives have been influenced by Mavis’s talent.

Filled with never-before-told stories, this fascinating biography illuminates a legendary singer and group during a historic period of change in America. “Ultimately, Kot depicts the endurance of Mavis Staples and her family’s music as an inspiration, a saga that takes us, like the song that inspired this book’s name, to a place where ain’t nobody crying” (The Washington Post).

Review quote:

"[A] fascinating testimony. . . . Kot’s portrayal of Mavis is deft and balanced, worthy of a performance that, no matter how often you play it, never fails to live up to the promise of its title."

Review quote:

"Kot depicts the endurance of Mavis Staples and her family’s music as an inspiration, a saga that takes us, like the song that inspired this book’s name, to a place where ain’t nobody crying."

Review quote:

"Kot has a knack for distilling the stuff of interviews and research into pithy descriptions of the Staple Singers’ lean years."

Review quote:

“[I’ll Take You There] takes us deep into the golden age of Mavis and her marvelously talented group.”

Review quote:

“A biography that will send readers back to the music of Mavis and the Staple Singers with deepened appreciation and a renewed spirit of discovery…. Through it all, the ebullience of Mavis Staples and her music shine through.”

Review quote:

“A lively, engaging family biography, written with the Stapleses' cooperation and filled with vivid portraits, celebrity cameos and descriptions of music so evocative I kept wishing the book had come with a set of CDs.”

Review quote:

“A thorough and illuminating biography that offers plenty of revealing details about a group the Band’s Robbie Robertson once likened to ‘a lonely train in the distance.’”

Review quote:

“Emotional honesty resonates throughout I'll Take You There. Kot provides an unflinching look into the Stapleses' struggles to maintain their spiritual and artistic integrity… I'll Take You There is a biography that's well worth the heavenly journey.”

Review quote:

“Involving from beginning to end. . . . [Kot] charts the [Staples] family’s origins in gospel music; their gradual drift “Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers are a mighty river running through more than a half-century of song, connecting Sam Cooke to Prince and Bob Dylan to Wilco. Thoroughly researched and elegantly told, I’ll Take You There offers powerful and inspiring insight into not only American music, but American history.”


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