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Mavis Staples|Carry Me Home

Carry Me Home

Mavis Staples and Levon Helm

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After Levon Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, the end of not only his performing career but also his life looked imminent. But after intensive radiation Helm eventually recovered both his voice and the desire to perform onstage again. In 2004, Helm began to host live performances—which he called Midnight Rambles—at the Barn (now Levon Helm Studios), which he had constructed on his Woodstock, NY, property in the early '70s.   Seven years later, Mavis Staples (who, as part of The Staple Singers, could be seen in Martin Scorsese's epochal documentary about The Band's last ever concert, The Last Waltz) arrived in Woodstock as the evening's special guest. Recorded that night, this is a special Ramble for many reasons, beginning with the instrumental forces assembled. There were 17 musicians on stage that night, including three killer electric guitar players in Rick Holmstrom, Jim Weider, and Larry Campbell. Both Helm and Stephen Hodges are behind the drum kit. Adding timely accents along the way are Helm's horn section of Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Jay Collins (tenor saxophone), and Erik Lawrence (baritone saxophone). Carry Me Home, engineered by Justin Guip, has clearly been edited as most tracks have no intro and the crowd noise is almost non-existent. While the sound may have been tweaked, it has excellent balance and presence throughout. And being the pro that she is, Staples never sings a note off mic. Her voice, and inimitable way with a line of lyric, is at the center of it all.  Throughout, Staples shows why she's a cultural treasure who has been called "one of America's defining voices of freedom and peace." The setlist lends itself to her talents, opening with a virtuous cover of Curtis Mayfield's "This is My County" where she riffs on those who were "mixing up the Kool-Aid y'all" and questioning Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship. The gospel standard, "Farther Along" gets a devout a cappella performance aided by Mavis' three background singers: her sister Yvonne Staples, Donny Gerrard, and Vicki Randle. Mavis forcefully works her way through "Hand Writing on the Wall" by the great gospel singer-songwriter Dottie Peoples. While the bluesy "Move Along Train" (written by patriarch Roebuck "Pops" Staples) gets a soulful sway and Larry Campbell's gospel chant "When I Go Away" is covered with high energy, Carry Me Home ascends to another level in the closing number and encore–Bob Dylan's "You Got To Serve Somebody" and The Band's most famous tune, "The Weight." Helm's singing—now higher and reedier—on "The Weight," less than a year before his death, is the highlight of this lively and special evening with two titans of American roots music. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Carry Me Home

Mavis Staples

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1
This Is My Country
00:04:34

Larry Campbell, Producer - Curtis Mayfield, Composer, Lyricist - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Co (BMI), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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2
Trouble In My Mind
00:05:04

Larry Campbell, Producer - PUBLIC DOMAIN, MusicPublisher - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Richard M. Jones, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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3
Farther Along
00:04:22

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - W.B. Stevens, Composer, Lyricist - Bridge Building Music (BMI), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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4
Hand Writing On The Wall
00:04:06

Dottie Peoples, Composer, Lyricist - Larry Campbell, Producer - Harvey Lee Watkins Jr., Composer, Lyricist - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Copyright Control, MusicPublisher - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Brendan McDonough, Engineer - Dottie Peoples Publishing (BMI) / International Atlanta Music (BMI) / Peer Music III LTD (BMI), MusicPublisher

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5
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
00:03:42

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - BILLY TAYLOR, Composer, Lyricist - Dick Dallas, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Brendan McDonough, Engineer - Duane Music Inc. (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

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6
Move Along Train
00:03:27

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Staples Music (BMI), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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7
This May Be The Last Time
00:04:38

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Staples Music (BMI), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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8
When I Go Away
00:05:16

Larry Campbell, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Brendan McDonough, Engineer - Larry Campbell (BMI), MusicPublisher

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9
Wide River To Cross
00:05:08

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Julie Miller, Composer, Lyricist - Buddy Miller, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - BMG Rights Management, MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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10
You Got To Move
00:02:41

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Reverend Gary Davis, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Mississippi Fred McDowell, Composer, Lyricist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Tradition Music Co (BMI), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer - Chandos Music Company (ASCAP), MusicPublisher

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11
You Got To Serve Somebody
00:05:36

Larry Campbell, Producer - Bob Dylan, Composer, Lyricist - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Universal Tunes (SESAC), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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12
The Weight
00:05:56

Larry Campbell, Producer - Mavis Staples, Producer, MainArtist - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, Composer, Lyricist - Levon Helm, Producer, MainArtist - Justin Guip, Engineer - Universal Tunes (SESAC), MusicPublisher - Brendan McDonough, Engineer

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Album Description

After Levon Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, the end of not only his performing career but also his life looked imminent. But after intensive radiation Helm eventually recovered both his voice and the desire to perform onstage again. In 2004, Helm began to host live performances—which he called Midnight Rambles—at the Barn (now Levon Helm Studios), which he had constructed on his Woodstock, NY, property in the early '70s.   Seven years later, Mavis Staples (who, as part of The Staple Singers, could be seen in Martin Scorsese's epochal documentary about The Band's last ever concert, The Last Waltz) arrived in Woodstock as the evening's special guest. Recorded that night, this is a special Ramble for many reasons, beginning with the instrumental forces assembled. There were 17 musicians on stage that night, including three killer electric guitar players in Rick Holmstrom, Jim Weider, and Larry Campbell. Both Helm and Stephen Hodges are behind the drum kit. Adding timely accents along the way are Helm's horn section of Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Jay Collins (tenor saxophone), and Erik Lawrence (baritone saxophone). Carry Me Home, engineered by Justin Guip, has clearly been edited as most tracks have no intro and the crowd noise is almost non-existent. While the sound may have been tweaked, it has excellent balance and presence throughout. And being the pro that she is, Staples never sings a note off mic. Her voice, and inimitable way with a line of lyric, is at the center of it all.  Throughout, Staples shows why she's a cultural treasure who has been called "one of America's defining voices of freedom and peace." The setlist lends itself to her talents, opening with a virtuous cover of Curtis Mayfield's "This is My County" where she riffs on those who were "mixing up the Kool-Aid y'all" and questioning Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship. The gospel standard, "Farther Along" gets a devout a cappella performance aided by Mavis' three background singers: her sister Yvonne Staples, Donny Gerrard, and Vicki Randle. Mavis forcefully works her way through "Hand Writing on the Wall" by the great gospel singer-songwriter Dottie Peoples. While the bluesy "Move Along Train" (written by patriarch Roebuck "Pops" Staples) gets a soulful sway and Larry Campbell's gospel chant "When I Go Away" is covered with high energy, Carry Me Home ascends to another level in the closing number and encore–Bob Dylan's "You Got To Serve Somebody" and The Band's most famous tune, "The Weight." Helm's singing—now higher and reedier—on "The Weight," less than a year before his death, is the highlight of this lively and special evening with two titans of American roots music. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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