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If All I Was Was Black

by Mavis Staples

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1.
Little Bit 03:50
This life surrounds you The guns are loaded This a kind of tension Hard not to notice Right Do what your told Gotta keep your eyes Wide on this long narrow road A little bit too high A little bit too low Get a little bit out of line My baby won't make it home Poor kid they caught him Without his license That ain't why they shot him They say he was fighting So That's what we were told But we all know That ain't how the story goes High! Little bit too high A little bit too bold A little bit out of line Now baby wont make it home Life surrounds you Hard not to notice Pay attention To the path before us A little bit too high A little bit too low Little bit out of line My baby won't make it home You feel surrounded Maybe you're confused Maybe you're confounded What is there to do Little bit from you And a little bit from me Simple as it gets We set each other free
2.
If all I was was black Looking at you You might look past All the love I give (Got love to give) I've got natural gifts (Got natural gifts) Got a perspective (Got a perspective) Might make yours shift (The way you look at it) I've got love I've got love If all I did was cry If all the feeling got left behind I'd worry about you (What's in your mind) I'd never live my life (I'd be wasting my time) Oh I won't be afraid (I won't be afraid) If that's how you want to stay (How you want to stay) I've got love I've got love If all I was was black Don't you want to know me More than that All the love I give (Got love to give) I've got natural gifts (Got natural gifts) I've got a perspective (Got a perspective) Might make yours shift (Might make yours shift) I've got love I've got love And it's time for more love Oh it's time for more love
3.
When I Carry my load When I cry I don't feel it any more It's like a rainy day That never goes away Am I alone Am I the only one Now hold back My my don't explode We don't want to rock the boat Who told you that? They lie And they show no shame Now hold back My my don't explode We don't want to rock the boat Who told you that? Who told you that? Who told you that? Who told you that? Stop acting up You know it won't change a thing That's how it is and how it's always been Who told you that? Who told you that?
4.
Sometimes I get so worried I don't know what to do But all of the things I worry about Very few of them come true And when they do I call on you Every time I get crowded Sometimes I just can't breathe I try not to think about it When I feel it coming over me I know exactly what I need Ain't no doubt about it I'll always be your friend Ain't no doubt about it I can count on you to the end Sometimes I feel like talking And then I don't know what to say Sometimes I have the answers But my questions get taken away That's when I always call your name Ain't no doubt about it You'll always be my friend Ain't no doubt about it I can count on you at the end Ain't no doubt about it I'll always be your friend Ain't no doubt about it I can count on you at the end Every time I get worried When I don't know what to do I think of all the things I've worried about How few of them ever came true If that don't work I call on you
5.
I had a simple dream My heart filled with hope A little more and again than the past And I may never know What broke those chains But if I don't pass it on It won't last Peaceful dream x 3 Come and share my peaceful dream Oh I know I did complain Even on sunny days I know I moaned about Some little things But I kept my spirits up And I set aside enough Love to keep us dry When it rains (Chorus) Oh I had a heavy mind Now I feel ok I have more than I need To survive I'll keep it here for you So we could make it through All of the darkest days Of our lives (Chorus) Oh I'll keep it here for you So we could make it through All of the darkest days Of our lives (Chorus)
6.
No time crying No time for tears Got no time for crying Got no time for tears We've got work to do x 4 People are dyin' Bullets are flyin' No time for tears No time for tears We've got to do x 4 We've got no time for crying We've got work to do We've got no time for tears We've got work to do People are dyin' Bullets are flyin' We've got work to do x 3 There's still work to do Are you with me? You with me? Keep coming There's work to do We've got no time for crying We've got work to do We've got no time for tears We've got work to do People are dyin' Bullets are flyin' We've got work to do x 4
7.
I'm tired of us living so lonely I think I know what to do Gonna build a bridge right over the mountain I will walk right over to you Look around at our city Look at us out on the street Got kids looking over their shoulders People looking down at their feet I'm tired of us living so lonely I hope I know what to do Gonna build a bridge right over the ocean I'm coming right over for you When I say my life matters You can say yours does to But I betcha never have to remind anyone To look it at from your point of view Gotta build a bridge right over the mountain Gotta build it right over the sea Gonna build a bridge right over the ocean So you can walk right over to me Look around at our country At the people that we don't ever see Standing side by side us divided Lonely in the land of the free I'm gonna pull the shades off of my window I'm gonna let the sunlight right in I'm gonna open my heart to a stranger I think I know where to begin I'm gonna build a bridge right over the mountain I think I know what to do Gonna build a bridge right over the ocean I'm gonna walk right over to you I'm gonna walk right over to you I'm gonna walk right over to you
8.
We Go High 03:26
We go high When they go low I know they don't know What they're doing When they tell their lies Spread around rumors I know they're still human And they need my love Gonna stand side by side Our hearts in command Love as our guide We go high When they go low I know they don't know What they're doing I have a mind To bury them whole When they go low To tell you the truth I wait for the time When we are all brothers Holding each other Heaven on earth Gonna stand side by side Our hearts in command Love as our guide We go high When they go low I know they don't know What they're doing We go high When they go low I know they don't know What they're doing
9.
Try Harder 03:51
There's evil in the world And there's evil in me There's evil in the world And there's evil in me Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be Don't do me no good to pretend Don't do me no good to give in Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be Gotta try harder Gonna try harder Gotta try harder Gonna try harder Don't do me no good to pretend Don't do me no good to give in Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be I gotta live in forgiveness We gotta give each other hope Cause there's evil in the world And there's evil in me Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be Don't do me no good to pretend Don't do me no good to give in Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be Gonna try harder Try harder I'm gonna try harder Gonna try harder I'm gonna try harder Try harder I'm gonna try harder I gotta try harder Don't do me no good to pretend Don't do me no good to give in Don't do me no good to pretend I'm as good as I can be
10.
Time is slow And the world gets cold Sometimes I have regrets But I ain't done yet I'd do it all over again With the stars all closing in I'd set out on the old ocean I'd dream the same dreams I'd do the same things My friend I'd do it all over again All over again

about

Mavis Staples has again joined forces with songwriter-producer Jeff Tweedy for a new album entitled If All I Was Was Black, out this November 17th.

The history Mavis recalls from her early years touring with her family as The Staple Singers, the prejudice, ugliness and danger, well it’s all still here. In response, the singer has delivered If All I Was Was Black, ten songs about contemporary America today, a present day filled with ghosts of the past. "Nothing has changed," Mavis remarked in early August, just days before neo-Nazis marched with swastika flags in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a young woman was murdered. "We are still in it.”

If All I Was Was Black is Mavis' third collaboration with songwriter and producer (and Wilco frontman) Jeff Tweedy. Their first partnership in 2010, You Are Not Alone, won a Grammy Award for Best Americana album. Their second effort together, One True Vine, was a Grammy nominee. But If All I Was Was Black marks the first time Tweedy has composed an entire album of original songs for Mavis' legendary voice and a nation she's uniquely poised to address.

credits

released November 17, 2017

Recorded and Mixed at the Loft, Chicago 2017
Produced by Jeff Tweedy
Engineered and mixed by Tom Schick
Mastered by Bob Ludwig - Gateway Mastering
Assistant Engineer - Mark Greenberg
Cover Photo by Zoran Orlić
Cover Art - Mark Greenberg, Spencer Tweedy, Trevor Hernandez

Mavis Staples - vocals
Jeff Tweedy - guitar, bass, percussion, vocals
Spencer Tweedy - drums, percussion
Donny Gerrard - backup vocals
Vicki Randle - backup vocals
Kelly Hogan - backup vocals
Akenya Seymour - backup vocals
Rick Holmstrom - guitar
Jeff Turmes - bass
Stephen Hodges - drums, percussion
Glenn Kotche - percussion
Scott Ligon - clavinet, piano, organ, Wurly, guitar

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