Nobody sells a redemption tale like Mavis Staples, as this sneak peek into the forthcoming soundtrack for Take Me to the River amply illustrates.
Combine her force-of-nature vocals with the edgy grit of the North Mississippi All-Stars, and “I’ve Been Buked” speaks both to the city of Memphis’ broad musical legacy but also to its still vibrant future — perfectly echoing the documentary’s larger theme. As such, it’s no surprise when Mavis begins to feel something larger than the moment at play. “Mercy!” she crows, recalling her father’s famous growl, as “I’ve Been Buked” comes to a thunderous end. “Oooh boy, you’re banging on that guit-fiddle!”
This isn’t the last time Take Me to the River makes those kind of cross-generational connections — though, admittedly, it will be hard to top Mavis. (It always is.) Elsewhere, Stax legend William Bell combines with Snoop Dogg, Bar Kays with 8Ball and MJG, the late Bobby “Blue” Bland with Yo Gotti, and Lil’ P-Nut with Otis Clay.
The film Take Me to the River is due on September 12, 2014; with the soundtrack arriving on September 9 via Stax Records. Charlie Musselwhite and Bobby Rush also appear. First-time director Martin Shore is a Grammy-nominated former Bo Diddley sideman.