The Staple Singers – Let’s Do It Again

 

Title: Let’s Do It Again
Artist: The Staple Singers
Label: Omnivore
Formats: CD
Release date: June 5, 2020

 

In June, the reissue label Omnivore released four expanded editions of classic albums by the Staple Singers, including Family Tree (1977), produced by former Chi-lite Eugene Record; Unlock Your Mind (1978), produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett at Muscle Shoals; and Pass It On (1976), produced by Curtis Mayfield. The fourth release was another Curtis Mayfield production—the soundtrack to the 1975 film, Let’s Do It Again, which featured an all-star cast led by Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Ossie Davis and Jimmie Walker. Recorded three years after Mayfield’s critically acclaimed soundtrack for Superfly, Let’s Do It Again used many of the same personnel from his Curtom house band: Mayfield on lead guitar, Joseph “Lucky” Scott on bass, and Master Henry Gibson laying down the funky conga and bongo parts. The album represented the Staple Singers’ first post-Stax Records release, and features five songs and three instrumentals that Mayfield composed for the film.

In the liner notes, Stax historian and author Rob Bowman relates how Curtis Mayfield managed to convince Pops Staples to sing the title track about “carnal love” while surrounded by his three daughters. Though the Staples had departed from their strict gospel roots to pioneer the secular soul folk sub-genre in the 1960s, Mayfield’s songs took them out of their comfort zone. First and foremost, Pops was “a church man,” but his three daughters were eager to hear their voices on the silver screen and managed to persuade their father to proceed with the sensual lyrics. Though no doubt surprising to today’s listeners, “Let’s Do It Again” with Mavis’ repeated tag, “do it, let’s do it again,” was pushing the boundaries of the airwaves at the time, but that didn’t keep the song from hitting the top of the charts.

This new edition from Omnivore also includes three bonus tracks: the single edits for “Let’s Do It Again,” “After Sex,” and another popular hit from the album, “New Orleans.” If you don’t already own these 1970s releases from the Staple Singers, Omnivore’s reissues—all featuring bonus tracks and liner notes by Bowman—are highly recommended.

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss