With the musical triumph of Soul Folk in Action the Staples decided to go for a somewhat different musical approch on their second Stax album. The overall sound and the band haven’t changed too much,except for the addition of Marvell Thomas (son of Rufus) on keyboards but aside from featuring an album composed of primarily original material here the Staple’s excersise their gifts as interpretive singers,largely concentrating on cover material done up in their new style. Some are done pretty close to their own style while others have flavors more in keeping with the sound of the originals.
The two originals in the title track and the self written “Tend To Your Own Business” are classic Memphis style soul-funk as bright,energetic and meaningful as the Staples would ever put to wax. The cover material here does tend to follow the contemporary message song concept that the group were making something of their stock and trade all on their own.
A1 We’ll Get Over 2:55
A2 Give a Damn 2:16
A3 Everyday People 3:16
A4 The End of Our Road 2:34
A5 Tend to Your Own Business 2:19
A6 Solon Bushi (Japanese Folk Song) 1:33
B1 The Challenge 3:42
B2 God Bless the Children 3:55
B3 Games People Play 3:11
B4 A Wednesday in Your Garden 3:06
B5 The Gardner 2:23
B6 When Do We Get Paid (For the Work We Did) 2:38
The Staple Singers’ second Stax album produced by Steve Cropper offers another batch of supreme Southern Soul – most of the time raw, rough and dirty, at times a bit glossed up a la the Detroit and Chicago Soul school.
The magnificent opener “We’ll Get Over” is a fat and funky, deeply righteous, anthemic groove, with Mavis at the lead and Pops Staples putting in a divinely bluesy, cracklin’ guitar solo.
The group almost sounds like a rawer version of The 5th Dimension on the heavily orchestrated “Give a Damn“, and another message driven tune, the hard driving soul strut “The Challenge” probably is the greatest example of the Memphis/Detroit cross-fertilization experiment Stax head Al Bell was going for at the time. On the other hand, The Staples take out pretty much all of the poppiness of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People“, giving it a far more churchy groove. Their take on the Guess Who’s “A Wednesday in Your Garden“, however, stays close to the original.
Mavis is on another roll on the mid-paced loper “The End of Our Road“, with Pops adding the razor sharp guitar chanks, and the latter turns in a fabulous country-blues-soul stomper with “Tend to Your Own Business“. Aside Pops’ vocal skills, his chops as a guitarist come to the fore here.
The cultural weight of the band is demonstrated with a catchy take on the traditional Japanese folk song “Solon Bushi“, and its socio-political consciousness is fully on display through such message driven tunes as the intense “God Bless the Children” and the baroquely arranged “The Gardener“.
For gutbucket soul jammin’, The Staples put some gospel fire in Joe South’s already explosive “Games People Play” and go for the ‘telling it like it is’ stance on the LP’s last track, the poignant “When Will We Be Paid (For the Work We Did)“.
The album nor its singles charted, despite the superior quality of the music, and Pervis would leave the music business after these sessions. He would be replaced by sister Yvonne, and the family decided to head down to Muscle Shoals for its future recordings.