In the late 90's, according to Mavis Staples in Greg Kots's I'll Take You There, Roebuck "Pops" Staples knew his days of performing with his family were coming to an end. Already into his 80s, "I just gotta get one more record out" he'd tell Mavis. Weak in body but determined in mind, the sessions concentrated on capturing Pops leaving daughters Mavis, Yvonne and Cleotha to add their vocals later.
A few days short of his 86th birthday in November 2000, Pops fell outside his home and died from concussion. It's taken until now for the album to be completed, finished by Mavis and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Released this week, Don't Lose This, is beautiful record and one lovingly made. Wherever the joins are, I can't hear them. Pops's vocals are as captivating as they ever were, as if coming direct from heaven.
Watch this emotional short film about the record (if you shed a sneaky tear, it's okay...) and then go and buy it. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a forthcoming documentary Mavis! by Jessica Edwards coming this spring.
Don't Lose This by Pops Staples is released by Anti- Records, out now.