Song:A House Is Not A Home
Album:Mavis Staples/Only For The Lonely
Of course Mavis Staples is best known as lead singer of her family group The Staples Singers. Today she is considered a living legend still active recording and touring. But even when The Staples Singers were topping the charts back in the 60s, record labels including Stax wanted to spin Mavis off as a solo artist. Mavis recorded these two albums and they were unsuccessful but you don't want to overlook them. Mavis was born July 10, 1939 in Chicago and she began singing with her family in 1950. Her first solo recording was the single Crying In The Chapel for Epic Records in the 60s. When The Staples Singers moved to Stax in the late 60s, Stax president Al Bell decided to make a real effort to spin Mavis off as a solo artist. The 1969 album Mavis Staples was produced by Steve Cropper so the band is the MG's, Cropper on guitar, Duck Dunn on bass with Isaac Hayes on organ. The songs are pop songs sung in Mavis' trademark gospel style. A House Is Not A Home was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and it was recorded in 1964 by Dionne Warwick and Brook Benton performed it in the film A House Is Not A Home. The song was not a hit at the time but it became a standard anyway. The second album Only For The Lonely was released in 1970. That album was produced by Don Davis who at the time had success producing Johnnie Taylor. This album is a mix of standards and originals. Part of the album was recorded at Stax with Steve Cropper and the rest was recorded at Muscle Shoals led by Barry Beckett. Fortunately Stax has released these two albums as a twofer budget CD. You can't beat that. Mavis wouldn't record solo again until 1977. Her latest CD Livin' On A High Note was released Feb. 2016. And of course be sure to check out the documentary Mavis! which I reviewed on the blog Nov. 2015. Here's Mavis Staples introduced by her dad Pops Staples performing A House Is Not A Home on Soul Train in the 70s.