Remembering Cleotha Staples of The Staple Singers

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A founding member of the Chicago soul group, the Staple Singers, Cleotha Staples, died on Wednesday after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer's, Rolling Stone report.

Known for their hits, “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself” and “Uncloudy Day,” the Staple Singers recorded 9 charted albums in their pomp, with 1972’s Be Altitude: Respect Yourself the most successful, reaching 19 in the U.S Charts, and 3rd in the R&B Charts. Lets do it again reached number 1 in the R&B Charts, too. "I credit Pops' guitar and Cleedy’s voice with making our sound so different," Mavis Staples said. "Her high voice – Pops would take her to a minor key a lot. A lot of singers would try to sing like her. Gladys Knight’s background singer [in the Pips], William [Guest], would tell Cleedy, 'I'm trying to sound like you.' Her voice would just ring in your ear. It wasn't harsh or hitting you hard, it was soothing. She gave us that country sound. The way we sang was the way Pops and his brothers and sisters would sing down in Mississippi. Those were the voices they would use to sing after dinner out on the gallery."

Family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter, said, "When Pops used to sit them in a circle and play music with them he was sort of feeding off of her voice, it was high in a light way, sort of soothing and velvety so his guitar playing bounced off of that."


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