NPR : World Cafe

Filed Under:

World Cafe Looks Back: Blues And Gospel

Throughout the month of October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Cafe by revisiting some of the best and most memorable interviews of the past 20 years.

On today's show, host David Dye celebrates blues and gospel visionaries by resurfacing past conversations with guitar masters Buddy Guy and R.L. Burnside, gospel storyteller Mavis Staples and blues royalty Koko Taylor.

Widely known as "Queen of the Blues," Koko Taylor spoke with Michaela Majoun in 1994, after the release of Taylor's album Force of Nature. Discovered by producer Willie Dixon, Taylor landed a recording contract with Chess Records, rising to fame with her 1965 single "Wang Dang Doodle." Taylor died in 2009.

Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy came of age in the 1950s Baton Rouge scene, though his Grammy-winning 1991 album Damn Right I've Got the Blues remains one of his best-loved works. Guy visited World Cafe in 2005, the same year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

R.L. Burnside visited World Cafe in 2000. Although he played guitar and sang throughout his life, Burnside (who died in 2005) primarily made his living as a farmer and fisherman — that is, until Fat Possum Records gave his music career a boost in the 1990s. Hear a rollicking live performance from Burnside and his band, which includes his grandson Cedric Burnside.

Mavis Staples is another performer with strong family ties, having led The Staple Singers with her father Pops Staples in their church starting in the 1940s. By the 1960s, the group was touring the South alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., energizing the Civil Rights movement with freedom songs. She visited World Cafe in 2004 for one of the show's best conversations.

This story originally aired on October 12, 2011.

Copyright 2012 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit http://www.xpn.org/.

NPR

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids

A priest in Naples' tough Sanità neighborhood has put local kids — some from mob families — to work restoring underground catacombs full of early Christian art. The result? 40,000 tourists a year.
NPR

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
NPR

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make the Bible the state's official book, but critics say it is unconstitutional and would open Louisiana up to legal challenges.
NPR

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices

Parents often complain that smartphones keep their kids distracted from conversation. What happens when it's the other way around, when kids can't get their smartphone-glued parents' attention?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.