Father Father

by: Pops Staples

Pops Staples was 78 when he recorded Father Father, which was only his second solo album. The patriarch of the Staples family was always a team player, and providing solo albums was something he didn't do until he was well into his seventies. Although Father Father won Staples a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, this isn't strictly a blues offering; true to form, Father Father is the work of an artist who had long kept one foot in secular music and another in gospel. This CD, in fact, has as much to do with gospel and R&B as it does with the blues. Staples' secular side is heard on his cover of Sir Mac Rice's "Getting Too Big for Your Britches," but the singer's spirituality asserts itself on everything from "Glory Glory" and the traditional "Jesus Is Going to Make Up My Dying Bed" to a remake of the Impressions' civil rights anthem "People, Get Ready." To be sure, Staples' voice had declined considerably over the years: comparing his performances on this album to his work with the Staple Singers in the '60s and '70s, it becomes obvious just how much his voice had thinned out. Even so, Staples manages to deliver an enjoyable and meaningful album, but one that -- despite its assets and Grammy-winning status -- is less than essential. Not for the casual listener, Father Father is primarily for completists and die-hard fans. ~ Alex Henderson

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.