By Don Wilcock
It’s been 50 years since The Staples Singers first released their clarion call to take us there. Mavis Staples will do just that on the banks of the mighty Mississippi Friday night, October 7th, third night of the four-day King Biscuit Blues Festival, for more than three decades, the south’s premier showcase of America’s music.
It’s been three years since the last King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas; half a century since The Staple Singers took “I’ll Take You There” to number one; 23 years since the song was inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame. But that was then. This is now. Rory Block sings the fabled anthem on her new album Ain’t Nobody Worried, due for release the day Mavis plays the Biscuit. Mavis also duets with Buddy Guy on “We Go Back” on his new album The Blues Don’t Lie.
Thursday night’s headliner at the Biscuit, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, take us back to their 1986 hit “Tuff Enuff.” A rallying cry for nearly four decades, the song has never meant more than it does right now.
Talk about taking us there! The half-century legacy of southern rock’s premiere band The Allman Brothers with their treasured classics “Whipping Post” and “Midnight Rider,” lives on in Saturday night’s headliner the Devon Allman Project, featuring Gregg Allman’s son Devon. His credits include tours with The Allman Brothers and three albums with Cyril Neville and Mike Zito in The Royal Southern Brotherhood. Joining The Devon Allman Project on stage will be Jimmy Hall, best known for the Wet Willie hit “Keep on Smilin’.” Jimmy has been a vocalist and bandleader for Hank Williams, Jr. since 1992. Larry McCray is Devon’s other special guest. He was awarded The Sunshine Sonny Payne Award for Blues Excellence at the 2015 King Biscuit Blues Festival.
Four days and five stages of more than 100 acts that offer attendees a tableau of the best in blues cradled on the banks of the Mississippi River, a stone’s throw from the town’s main street hosting the ghosts of a storied past dating back to before the first King Biscuit Time radio show in 1941.
Escape to a world time left behind with music that’s as timely as it is carrying an American legacy, a Disneyland for blues lovers!