The new album Carry Me Home, featuring an archival live recording of late Band singer/drummer Levon Helm and gospel/soul legend Mavis Staples performing together with their respective solo groups, was released Friday, May 20, on CD and digital formats.
The album was recorded in the summer of 2011 at one of the popular Midnight Ramble events held at Helm’s barn and studio in Woodstock, New York.
The concert featured performances of various vintage gospel, soul, folk and blues tunes, along with renditions of Bob Dylan‘s “You Got to Serve Somebody” and The Band’s “The Weight.” Mavis famously sang the latter tune with her family group The Staple Singers and The Band in the classic 1978 concert film The Last Waltz.
The Woodstock show marked the last time that Mavis performed with Helm, who died of cancer at age 71 in April 2012.
Coinciding with Carry Me Home‘s release, a video capturing Mavis singing an impromptu version of the traditional gospel song “This May Be The Last Time” at Helm’s house with him and members of his band has been posted at the ANTI- Records label’s YouTube channel.
Mavis, who spent several days with Helm in Woodstock before the show, notes, “It never crossed my mind that it might be the last time we’d see each other. 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.”
To celebrate Carry Me Home‘s release, Mavis and Helm’s daughter, Amy Helm, will perform at a concert Friday night in Brooklyn, New York, and on Saturday at the Levon-inspired Dirt Farmer Festival in Accord, New York.
A vinyl version of Carry Me Home will be released on June 17.
Here’s the album’s full track list:
“This Is My Country”
“Trouble in My Mind”
“Hand Writing on the Wall”
“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”
“Move Along Train”
“This May Be the Last Time”
“When I Go Away”
“Wide River to Cross”
“You Got to Move”
“You Got to Serve Somebody”
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