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Mavis Staples & Levon Helm – Carry Me Home (LP)

29 30  inc. VAT

Neither Staples nor Helm knew that this would be their last performance together—the collection marks one of Helm’s final recordings before his death—and listening back now, a little more than a decade later, tunes like “This May Be The Last Time” and “Farther Along” take on new, bittersweet meaning. The result is an album that’s at once a time capsule and a memorial, a blissful homecoming and a fond farewell, a once-in-a-lifetime concert—and friendship—preserved for the ages.

“It never crossed my mind that it might be the last time we’d see each other,” says Staples. “He was so full of life and so happy that week. He was the same old Levon I’d always known, just a beautiful spirit inside and out.”

The pair’s mutual love and admiration is on full display on ‘Carry Me Home’, which features a mix of Staples’ and Helm’s bands operating at the peak of their powers as they work their way through an eclectic setlist of tunes made famous by the likes of Nina Simone, The Impressions, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones.

“My dad built The Midnight Rambles to restore his spirit, his voice, and his livelihood,” says Helm’s daughter, Amy, who sang backup vocals with her father and Staples at their performance. “He’d risen back up from all that had laid him down, and to have Mavis come sing and sanctify that stage was the ultimate triumph for him.”

Opened to the public in 2004, Levon Helm Studios—which still hosts regular concerts and recording sessions to this day—is a magnificent, rustic space with broad wooden beams and a soaring, vaulted ceiling. Helm and fellow Band-mate Garth Hudson designed the room to be both sonically and socially perfect, an intimate gathering place where musicians and their fans could join in a shared night of musical transcendence.

When it was all over, Staples could hardly believe how quickly the time had flown. She dreaded the thought of leaving Woodstock, of leaving Levon, but duty called her back on the road, and so she ended her week the way it began: with a long embrace.

Label: Anti

Pre-Order / Release Date: 2022-05-27

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