We are thrilled to announce legendary R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples as our 780s Series music storyteller for 2018. She is a Grammy Award winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, and Kennedy Center Honoree.
Ms. Staples will spend an evening in Lawrence on April 4th to share stories from her 60+ year music career. A time and location will be determined soon.
“The 780s Series with Mavis Staples” is scheduled for Wednesday, April 4, 2018 and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“Mavis Staples is the embodiment of the gospel impulse in music,” said Brad Allen, library executive director. “She has sung songs of that have lifted people up for over 60 years, both as a member of the Staple Singers and as a solo artist. With April 4th marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, I am humbled and awestruck at our opportunity to bring to Lawrence such an iconic legend of both African American music and the 1960s Freedom Movement.”
A time and location will be announced soon. The program is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.
Here’s Mavis singing for the Obamas at the White House!
Ms. Staples began her singing career in 1948 at age nine, a small girl with a big voice in her family gospel group, The Staple Singers. The Staple Singers emerged as one of the biggest gospel acts of the 1950s, evolved to become an important part both of the 1960s African American freedom movement and folk music scene, and finally ending up as a chart-topping soul group in the 1970s. Their biggest hit, “I’ll Take You There,” has been called “the epitome of the Muscle Shoals sound” and ranks #276 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Now let’s go back to 1972 with “Respect Yourself” from the Wattstax Concert with Mavis, Pops and her sisters…
Ms. Staples, now 78, continues to make records and perform live. She won her first Grammy with the 2010 album, You Are Not Alone, produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo fame. Her most recent recording, If All I Was Was Black, another collaboration with Mr. Tweedy, was released in November 2017 and is one of her best, commenting directly on our current racial struggles in the United States.
ABOUT THE 780s SERIES
Named for the Dewey Decimal range for music, the 780s Series is a gift to our community from the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation. The Series brings prominent music storytellers to Lawrence to share the stories behind their music. Previous guests have included Booker T. Jones (2015), Kim Gordon (2016), and Jimmy Webb (2017).
We’re so excited to announce that songwriter Jimmy Webb is the library’s 780s Series music storyteller for 2017.
Webb is a songwriting legend.
Rolling Stone has called him one of the 50 greatest songwriters of all time and he’s worked with music megastars like Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, Richard Harris, The Fifth Dimension, and Art Garfunkel. He also wrote the soundtrack for The Last Unicorn.
Webb will take the Liberty Hall stage on Wednesday, July 19 at 7 PM to share stories and songs from his 50+ year music career. Named for the Dewey Decimal range for music, the 780s Series brings prominent music storytellers to Lawrence to share the stories behind their music. Previous guests have included Booker T. Jones (2015) and Kim Gordon (2016).
Made possible by the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation.
Kansas Public Radio’s Laura Lorson will host this year’s 780s Series and visit with Gordon about her life, musical career, and what it was like to witness punk rock enter the music mainstream in the 1990s.
Our 780s Series is an annual event celebrating a notable life in music. In the Dewey Decimal system, 780 marks all things music, a literary reference to tie in our annual library speaker series that brings musicians to Lawrence to tell the stories that influenced their music. The 780s Series is made possible through a generous private donation from the Harrison Family Fund of the Douglas County Community Foundation, and in partnership with Eleven Productions Presents and The Lawrence Public Library Foundation.
Raven Book Store will be selling copies of Kim Gordon’s New York Times best-selling memoir, Girl In A Band, for a book signing at the conclusion of the evening’s event.
TUE | May 17 | 7:30 PM | Liberty Hall
FREE — DOORS OPEN AT 6:30 PM NO TICKETS — GENERAL ADMISSION
OK, I’ll admit it. Up until about a month ago, I knew very little of musician Kim Gordon or her band, Sonic Youth. Yes, get your jaws off the floor. I know this makes me sound terribly old and decidedly unhip. Read More..
Did you miss our first installment of the 780′s Series with Booker T. Jones? Well, we’ve finally got it up on the interwebs for you! So kick your feet up and enjoy the stories behind the legend that is Booker T. Jones.
Libraries have connected their communities with authors forever. It’s what we do. People love to hear beloved authors talk about their process, maybe read a chapter from a book. It’s fun stuff to see an author. As I sat at my desk one morning, I began to think about our lovely town of Lawrence, Kansas, and what other kinds of folk our community would be interested in seeing in person at the library. We’re a music town, and I thought perhaps people would get a kick out of hearing the stories of musicians. And thus, the 780s Series was born.
From a young age, I was always intrigued with learning the stories behind the music I loved. One of the earliest music books I read was The Love You Make, a biography on The Beatles (not the best one, but the only one I knew of as a kid). Since then, I’ve read dozens of books about rock, folk, jazz, blues, soul, and funk. My fascination with knowing the stories about music I loved led all the way to writing an oral history of a funk band as a Master’s thesis. I love the stories behind the music, and I am so excited to begin this new series bringing some of the best musicians around to Lawrence for us to hear their stories.
I am so thrilled to have Booker T. Jones visit Lawrence, Kansas, for the inaugural event in our 780s Series. His life and his music stand at the convergence of pop, rock, and soul music from the 1960s and onward. Booker T. and the MG’s were one of the first integrated rock and soul bands in the United States and as the “house band” at Stax one of the greatest backing groups of the soul music era. You may know Booker T. and the MG’s from their own hit “Green Onions,” but they are the band that plays on hundreds of songs from the Stax/Volt catalog, including hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and many others.