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With Mavis Staples, San Diego's 'Not Alone'

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With Mavis Staples, San Diego's 'Not Alone'

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WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 30: Singers Mavis Staples (R) and Jeff Tweedy perform during the Comedy Central 'Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear' on the National Mall October 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Tens of thousands of people filled the east end of the mall to see comedians, musicians, sports stars and others perform during the televised event. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mavis Staples;Jeff Tweedy

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R&B legend Mavis Staples will play the Belly Up on Nov. 4.

The Chicago-born Staples is touring behind You Are Not Alone, her 2010 collaboration with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. She began her career in the 1950s as part of the Staples Singers ("I'[ll Take You There"), a family group led by her father, "Pops" Staples. In the 1960s, Pops and his singers contributed to the soundtrack of the civil rights movement, reworking socially conscious songs like Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."

In her five-plus decade career, Staples has released 13 albums, including collaborations with Curtis Mayfield, Prince, Booker T. and the MGs, and John Scofield, and her voice has been sampled by such hip-hop legends as Ice Cube and Ludacris. Staples has also remained close with Dylan; a 2003 collaboration with the Pulitzer-winning bard earned her a Grammy nomination, and in 2008, Staples confessed on NPR that Dylan had once asked Pops for his daughter's hand in marriage.

This year's Jeff Tweedy-produced You Are Not Alone has earned Staples critical praise across the board; Mojo called it "a definite contender for 2010 Album of the Year," and Rolling Stone credited her performance at Lollapalooza with "[lighting] a fire under the sleepy crowd." Most recently, Staples performed with Tweedy at the hugely successful Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C.

That's the long way of saying that Staples' Nov. 4 show with harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite is a "don't miss." Get your tickets here.

T. Loper is a writer and photographer for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.

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