The Staple Singers
The Staple Singers, who brought messages of love, hope, and peace to audiences for half a century, built their distinctive sound on gospel and blues traditions from the Drew area. Family patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914-2000) was born near Winona and around 1923 moved with his parents and siblings to Will Dockery’s plantation near Drew, an important breeding ground for Delta blues. Staples was inspired to take up guitar by local blues artists Charley Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Dick Bankston, and Jim Holloway, and was soon performing at local juke joints. By fifteen he was singing with gospel groups, and continued to do so after moving to Chicago, where he formed
The group gained national attention with the 1956 hit "Uncloudy Day" on the Vee-Jay label, and in the early ‘60s were refashioned as a “folk gospel” group. They became active participants in the civil rights movement, recording anthems including "Freedom Highway" and "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)," a favorite of their close friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1968 the Staples signed with Stax Records, where they had numerous hits with positive message songs including "I’ll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself." Pervis left the group to pursue artist management and song publishing and was replaced by sister Yvonne (b. 1937). The group's last major hit was the Curtis Mayfield-penned "Let’s Do It Again" (1975). Both Mavis and Pops later had successful solo careers.
Artists who lived in the Drew area in the post-World War II era include guitarist Boyd Gilmore (c. 1910-1976), whose early ‘50s recordings for Modern featured Ike Turner on piano and included covers of Robert Johnson songs. Gilmore also recorded for Sun and later moved to California. Drummer Kansas City Red (Arthur Lee Stevenson, 1926-1991) played with Robert Nighthawk before moving to Chicago, where he led bands and ran nightclubs.
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 141.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. A significant historical year for this entry is 1936.
Location. 33° 48.635′ N, 90° 31.682′ W. Marker is in Drew, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is on North Main Street north of West Shaw Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Drew MS 38737, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within Drew, Mississippi (here, next to this marker); Fannie Lou Hamer (approx. 5.4 miles away); a different marker also named Fannie Lou Hamer (approx. 5.4 miles away); William Chapel (approx. 5.4 miles away); Ruleville Depot (approx. 6 miles away); Jimmy Rogers (approx. 6 miles away); "Greasy Street" (approx. 6 miles away); Birthplace of the Blues? (approx. 7.6 miles away).
Also see . . . Wikipedia article on the Staple Singers. (Submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 36 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 28, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.