A couple of weeks before the album topped the US R&B chart on December 6, 1975, the title song from the Staple Singers’ soundtrack to the comedy film Let’s Do It Again had already given them a No.1 soul hit. After replacing Silver Convention’s “Save Me” on that survey, it would then become the last pop No.1 of the year just after Christmas.
The single and the album represented an irresistible combination of two great American talents, with the record performed by the Staples and written and produced almost entirely by Curtis Mayfield. After the family group’s run on Stax Records, which had begun in 1968, the soundtrack appeared on Mayfield’s Curtom label — some consolation for the fact that Curtom made a bid to sign the Staples long-term, but lost out to Warner Brothers.
It was the latest in a series of successful film soundtracks by Mayfield, after his own, million-selling Superfly and the Claudine collaboration with Gladys Knight & the Pips. “Let’s Do It Again” is rather better remembered than the film it soundtracked, which starred Sidney Poitier (also the director), Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker.
The LP was the group’s only No.1 R&B album, and also reached No.20 on the Billboard 200, something they only achieved on one other occasion, with 1972’s Be Altitude: Respect Yourself. The Let’s Do It Again score also provided another top-five soul hit for the Staples, again written by Mayfield, with the song “New Orleans.”
The soundtrack album also gave Mayfield the chance with a group that he had tried to sign. As Marv Stuart, his manager and partner in their Curtom label, recalled: “We bid on the Staples and lost [to Warner Brothers], and ended up producing them.”
“Let’s Do It Again” is on the Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 anthology, which can be bought here.
Follow the Stax Soul Explosion playlist.