The Staples – 1976 – Pass It On

The Staples and Curtis Mayfield – working together here in a very Curtom groove! This great little set picks off where the group’s work on the Let’s Do It Again soundtrack left off – taking The Staples far past their Memphis sound of the Stax years, into a hipper, more adult kind of mode – one that has plenty of modern soul and light funk touches.

Arrangements are by Curtom maestro Rich Tufo, and the album’s got some very full backings that seem to urge the group’s vocals on even more than ever.

Tracks
A1 Hang Loose 4:10
A2 Let’s Go To The Disco 7:00
A3 Color Me Higher 3:50
A4 Boogie For The Blues 4:03
B1 Family Tree 4:49
B2 What You Doing Tonight 3:35
B3 See A Little Further 3:21
B4 I Honestly Love You 7:24

AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger

After a brief stint on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records in 1975 which yielded the number one pop hit “Let’s Do It Again,” the Staple Singers entered into a deal with Warner Bros. Shortening their name to the Staples, Pops, Mavis, Cleotha, and Yvonne decided to continue their relationship with Mayfield, asking him to produce their first Warner effort, 1976’s Pass It On. While the album lacked a surefire hit like its predecessor, it continued to blend the group’s signature gospel sound with soul, R&B, pop, and disco.

Standout track “Sweeter Than the Sweet” is a classic uptempo gospel/soul rave-up featuring some of group’s strongest vocals, and the title track features a deep, soulful groove courtesy of Pops’ and Mayfield’s dueling guitars and the impassioned vocal interplay between Mavis and Pops. While the Staples would never again reach the upper echelons of the pop charts, Pass It On is a solid release by a veteran group who could produce classic soul music like no one else.

The Staples Singers have been making religious and secular music albums for a long time. They got a few national hits out of Memphis with Stax records but their finest albums were recorded in Chicago. “Freedom Highway” on Columbia/Epic, and the two Curtis Mayfield productions “Let’s Do It Again“, and this record “Pass It On” are of the Staples very best work.

This particular recording posesses all of the elements of soul starting with compositions and guitar accompaniment of Curtis Mayfield with Pops, Mavis and the Staples family singing with abandon. The band including Phil Upchurch, Lucky Scott and Master Henry Gibson burn on every track.

This is some real top shelf soul.

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Bonus

The Staples ‎– 1977 – Family Tree

The Staple Singers pick up a great Chicago soul groove – with production by Eugene Record and arrangements by Tom Tom Washington – all in a sound that’s almost as if they’d left Stax Records and started to record for Brunswick! The groove’s every bit as soaring and joyous as Record and Washington crafted a few years before in the Chicago indie scene – with perhaps just a few more late 70s elements to round things out, including some tightly funky guitar bits and a few quick-stepping rhythms that nicely push the Staples towards the dancefloor!

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