I have come to the conclusion that she may well be.
We went to the David Lean arts cinema here in Croydon this evening (completely run by local Croydonian volunteers) to see Mavis! The Documentary about the super talented Mavis Staples. The David Lean rarely lets us down if at all.
Richness, warmth and tenderness pulse from this lovely documentary. It is a study of Mavis Staples, the gospel singer and former member of her family group the Staple Singers, known for – among many other hits – I’ll Take You There. At 76, she is still touring, with as much energy as ever.
The film tracks Mavis’s instinctive meshing of gospel and blues to create something passionately sensuous without being crudely sexual. It charts her relationship with her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, who was not the stereotypical showbiz tyrant but a gentle, loving man and a real musical innovator. And film-maker Jessica Edwards touches on what must be one of the great hidden love stories in music history. Bob Dylan fell head over heels in love with Mavis when he was a young man and she was a radiantly beautiful young woman, and actually proposed marriage. That never happened, although Mavis admits to some “smooching” with Dylan, and leaves it to us to wonder what exactly that means. Were they separated by music, background, or indeed race? If so, they were the star-crossed lovers of the age, and their relationship might need a documentary or indeed fiction feature of its own. This film deserves that exclamation mark in the title.
And so to bed – Night Night.