Mavis Staples is a legend, but she's not stuck in the past. You probably know her work with her family band, The Staple Singers, which was all over the radio in the '70s with hits like "Respect Yourself," "Let's Do It Again" and "I'll Take You There" (which she excerpts in her performance here).
Several generations of nerds can chart the course of their lives against the career trajectory of "Weird Al" Yankovic. For me, his 1984 album In 3-D was the first record I ever owned, and his appearance at the Wausau County Fair in 1985 was the second concert I ever attended. I spent my 17th birthday being driven to the movie theater — by my mother, of course — to watch UHF, Yankovic's debut as a leading man, by myself.
This segment, from Jan. 18, 2008, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances. Here, we remember an Americana legend and drummer for the '60s rock group The Band, Levon Helm, who died in 2012.
Levon Helm first picked up a guitar at age 8, but soon switched to drums. Though best known as the famous drummer for the rock group The Band, Helm continued to influence music with his collaborations and solo works.
With all due respect to its terrific albums and kinetic, frenetic live shows, if The Avett Brothers could put on a three-song acoustic concert at every workplace in America, the band would be a world-beating colossus. For proof, take six minutes to don some headphones and listen to "Laundry Room," which opens this set at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.