The Como Mamas
THE COMO MAMAS
Sisters Angela Taylor and Della Daniels have been singing with their friend Ester Mae Smith since they were all children in the Mt. Mariah Baptist Church in Como, Mississippi. If the name of that town sounds familiar—and given Como’s population of less than 1500 people, it probably doesn’t—it’s likely because of the quiet impact that Como has made on music history: Mississippi Fred McDowell grew up nearby, Luther Perkins of Johnny Cash’s Tennessee Two called it home, and Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers has run a studio there since 2007.
Taylor, Daniels, and Smith—who go by The Como Mamas—are the latest group to hail from the small town forty-five miles south of Memphis, but unlike their predecessors, their music careers feel largely accidental. Back in 2006, Daptone Records set up shop at Mt. Mariah and recorded anyone who came along. The Como Mamas made such a strong impression on the resulting compilation, 2008’s Como Now: The Voices of Panola Country, Mississippi, that they ended up cutting an entire album of gospel songs for the New York label, the acapella Get an Understanding.
When their label invited them to sing at the Daptone Super Soul Revue in December of 2015, they stuck around for a week and laid down an album at Daptone’s House of Soul in Brooklyn. The result is Move Upstairs, a heavy set of grooving, shaking gospel. Today, we’re thrilled to be premiering the album’s title track. It begins with the Mamas shouting a rave-up to the heavens that gives way to a ridiculously tight turnaround groove. If they experienced any discomfort as they transitioned to being backed by a band, Taylor, Daniels, and Smith don’t show it—instead they command the players behind them, taunting and goading them through the shuffle. “We get so happy in spite of all our toils and cares,” they sing, and every word of that line rings true.