Is there a God? Or is God everything? In times as volatile as these, belief might just be what we need. We’re not trying to be prescriptive—we want you to believe whatever you want to believe. All we mean to say is that faith, like music, is a human enterprise, and it’s one of the things that can keep us connected.
So, when the storm of your life is raging, or when the Knicks are losing, or when you’ve just missed your train, or when you’re feeling lost or down, remember that there’s music. Music, as Pastor Champion would say, can make a way.
Going on Home to Glory: Pastor Champion
A lot of us in the Luaka Bop family have been looking forward to the release of Pastor Champion’s “I Just Want To Be a Good Man” for a long, long time. And while we’re very happy that after five years and countless stops and starts the album is out in the world for all of you to hear, it’s been bittersweet—because we didn’t get to share this moment with Pastor Champion himself, who died just a few months ago.
→ Listen to our recent Pastor Champion special on NTS to hear some of our favorite moments from the making of "I Just Want to Be a Good Man,” including the process, the false starts, and his instructions to other musicians.
But the record’s reception—from the press and from all of you—has been heartening: rave write-ups in MOJO (four stars), Record Collector (four stars), Uncut (7/10), San Francisco Chronicle, Vinyl Factory, and Pitchfork (7.5), whose writer Stephen M. Deusner explained the record almost better than we could have ourselves. This project almost got shelved several times, and by the time it came out we weren’t sure if anyone would actually care about it—but Stephen totally got it.
Pastor Champion was a complicated man, and he wanted to serve people who were just as complicated as him: “I Just Want to Be a Good Man prizes humility and understanding over shame and scolding [...] It’s not perfect, but it’s all we have from [Pastor Champion]. In that regard, it sounds like a small miracle.” If you’d like to read something nice today, check out what Stephen wrote.
“I Just Want to Be a Good Man prizes humility and understanding over shame and scolding [...] It’s not perfect, but it’s all we have from [Pastor Champion]. In that regard, it sounds like a small miracle.”
—> Watch a short film we made of Pastor Champion performing Storm of Life at the 37th Street Baptist Church in Oakland, California, in 2018.
Staples Jr. Singers LIVE on Saturday April 23!
The past two months we’ve been working hard trying to put together some live shows for the Staples Jr. Singers. It’s been a little tough, because their album isn't out yet and nobody knows who they are. But the thing is, they are so darn great that anyone who sees them is bound to be blown away — whether that’s in a parking lot, an alleyway, or just passing them by on the street.
That’s why we are very proud to announce the Staples Jr. Singers’ first-ever appearance in NYC on Saturday April 23! Traveling all the way from Aberdeen, Mississippi they’ll be playing not one, not two, but three shows (in one day!) to celebrate the re-release of their rare 1975 record When Do We Get Paid.
It’s an ambitious series—three shows in one day! Their first trip to New York!—but just watch this trailer we made with them to see what’s in store.
This will be the most emotional show you’ll see all year.
You can get tickets and RSVP at their website—a special prize awaits those who make it to all three!—and if you pre-order the record now, you can pick up a signed copy when you come to see them live. An easy way to save on shipping ;)
We’re also excited to tell you that the Staples Jr. Singers released a new song this week: It’s called “I’m Looking for a Man,” and it’s a fiery, funky anthem for the seekers among you. If you have a moment today, we’d love it if you would listen to it, or watch the music video we made with them.
We shot it at a small church in West Point, Mississippi, this past January.
We hope it lifts your spirits.
See you soon.