This is a song from one of my mother's LPs*, played frequently during my childhood; I didn't much care for her taste in music (but what does a little kid know anyway?), but I never raised a fuss when she put this one on the ol' Victrola. Now I'm the proud owner of the disque**; if I had a turntable with me, I'd play it, scratches and all. "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There" were two hits that defined the Staple Singers for the vast secular audience they were then reaching, aided and abetted by producer/exec Al Bell, who, ironically, helped preside over the demise of the label (Stax Records) despite efforts like this. The musicians involved were many of the same Muscle Shoals folks who put together a dour-er version of the Staples' sound for another gospel legend, Bob Dylan. (TWAJS).

If you disrespect anybody that you run into
How in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect you
If you don't give a heck 'bout the man with the Bible in his hand
Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing
You the kind of gentleman that want everything your way
Take the sheet off your face, boy, it's a brand new day

Respect yourself
Respect yourself

If you don't respect yourself Ain't nobody gonna give a good gahoot, na na na na

Respect yourself
Respect yourself

If you're walking 'round think'n that the world owes you something cause
You're here you goin' out the world backwards like you did when you first come here
Keep talkin' 'bout the president, won't stop evolution
Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that'll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around women and you don't even know their names
And you dumb enough to think that'll make you a big ol' man

Respect yourself...

-- Mack Rice and Luther Ingram, from The Staple Singers' Bealtitude: Respect Yourself (1972)

*No, my mother isn't Mavis Staples; I'm referring to a record in Mum's collection.

**No, this doesn't mean Mum died and bequeathed a Staples LP to me; she is very much alive, and if she's reading this, I hope she'll honor my request to SEND MONEY. (TWAJS).

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