The Staple Singers: Respect Yourself
This advice song, written by James Ingram and Mark Rice over at Stax records in the chaotic aftermath of the civil rights movement, was intended to serve as a message of empowerment for the black community. As a sign of its success and its relevance, it peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Top 100 when it was first released by the Staple Singers in 1971.
This would be even more impressive, were it not for the fact that, sixteen years later, long after most folks would like to believe that the days of white singers stealing the songs of the black community for even bigger mass appeal and profit were long gone, Bruce Willis managed to get the same damn song to number five on the same damn chart.
I may be a cover blogger at home, but even I know how to follow good advice, folks; I've heard Bruce Willis sing, and let me tell you, even with June Pointer on backup vocals, he's no Pops Staples. Instead, you'll have to be satisfied with the original, plus this bonus advice song, a gut-wrenching blues take on a traditional civil rights anthem from Mavis Staples' absolutely stunning We'll Never Turn Back, released just last year -- that's sixteen years again after Bruce Willis mangled her family band's earlier work -- and therefore doubly poignant in this context.
Mavis Staples: Keep Your Eyes On The Prize [purchase]
You tell 'em, Mavis.