The Staples Jr. Singers

Searching (Luaka Bop)

Contact Sam McAllister about The Staples Jr. Singers

Staples Jr. Singers — the family gospel trio of siblings Edward Brown, R.C. Brown, and Annie Brown Caldwell — announce their first new album in nearly 50 years, Searching, out June 14th via Luaka Bop, and share its lead single, “Lost In A World of Sin.” Following Luaka Bop’s “powerful” (The Guardian) reissue of the family’s 1975 debut, When Do We Get Paid—a remarkable set of “plaintive, rural blues, stomping shuffle-beat soul, and ecstatic, electrified chants” (Aquarium Drunkard)—the Singers recorded Searching live over two evenings in October 2023 from a single-room church in West Point, Mississippi called The Message Center. Produced by Ahmed Gallab, who performs as the artist Sinkane, and engineered by Albert Di Fiore, the siblings—Edward, R.C., and Annie, alongside their rhythm section (R.C’s son Gary, his grandson Jaylin, and Edward’s son Troy)—sat in a semicircle, some even on pews, playing their music in a room as it was meant to be played. “The process was very easy,” said Gallab. “There’s nothing like a family bond/band. It was so special to watch how locked into each other everyone was. You can hear and feel that on this record.”


Today’s single, “Lost in a World of Sin,” sees Edward on lead vocals with his youngest son Troy on backing vocals. A song about the power of faith and discovering salvation, the two generations of Browns sing together: “I search your heart (found him) / Yes I will, yes I will / I keep on searchin’ (found him) / Yes I will, yes I will / Until I found him (found him).”


Back in 1975, when the Staples Jr. Singers were just teenagers growing up in the small, rural town of Aberdeen, Mississippi, they made a single record together, When Do We Get Paid—which, because of its rarity, became coveted by gospel soul collectors. In 2022, Luaka Bop reissued When Do We Get Paid to a wealth of praise and the Singers finally had their time in the sun: The Boston Globe named it #7 Best Album of the Year, and UNCUT (8/10) said that it was “music that deserves your attention.” To make the response all the better, the Singers were around to witness it. But how often does the rediscovery of a beloved recording happen when the band is still around? And how often does it lead to a new album? That’s the surprising circumstance behind Searching.


The Staples Jr. Singers are the Browns, a family of ten who came of age in the ’60s in northeast Mississippi between the black prairie and the pines. Back then, the South was desegregated on paper but not always in practice. Their parents found refuge and support in the church against the backdrop of an unwelcoming town (and nation), while their kids found refuge and a greater purpose in life in the music. Every weekend, the family would pile into their van and travel across the Bible Belt to gospel programs and talent shows in the region. Most of the siblings were in the band at one time or another, but now Edward, R.C., and Annie — all in their 60s — are the siblings who have survived. And while the Browns continued to play together after making When Do We Get Paid, they never made another full-length album together.


Until one warm evening in October 2023, when the family gathered at The Message Center after their work days were done. There, across the street from Annie’s house, they played songs they had written nearly fifty years before — though now they carried a different message.  As on their first record, the three original members of the Jr. Singers took turns singing lead.


“It was good to be able to go back and look back over our life,” says Annie. “Some of the same songs that we had sung, those songs have a new meaning to me.”


The musical family behind the Jr. Singers are now going on four generations. “I feel like I was able to witness part of this family’s continued story and legacy in real time,” Gallab said. “That was a very special thing to witness.”


Since the recent success of When Do We Get Paid, the Singers have now concluded four successful tours of Europe—before that they had never been on a plane, let alone left the South—including celebrated appearances at Le Guess Who?, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and WOMAD UK, as well as sold out shows in Köln, Stockholm, and Paris, among so many others. This July, they’ll return to Europe for a tour that begins in Paris on a double bill with Gregory Porter, and then takes them to Roskilde, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany.


“We want to go on tour and do many things that we didn’t get the chance to do in the beginning of life,” said Annie, “Because the time and money wasn’t there. It all came late, being in our sixties now—but it looks like it’s just beginning, you know? Life is just beginning for us.”