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‘Samson and Delilah’ Uncovers Another Side of the Staple Singers

It's part of nearly a half hour of unreleased material on the 'Freedom Highway Complete' reissue

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Staple Singers’ live record, Legacy Recordings is reissuing Freedom Highway Complete, which features nearly thirty minutes of previously unreleased material, including the recently premiered “View the Holy City.” Alongside sermons and gospel standards, one standout track is a cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Samson and Delilah.” In the context of the Selma-Montgomery freedom marches and the rampant police brutality that ensued, the song takes on an angry and rallying tone. The call-and-response chorus repeats: “If I had my way / I’d tear this building down.” Alongside gospel classics like “We Shall Overcome” and “When The Saints Come Marching In,” the album serves as an important musical document in civil rights history.

Stream “Samson and Delilah” below, and look for Freedom Highway Complete when it sees release on March 3.