Adam Harris Published

Pops Staples – "Why Am I Treated So Bad?"

Pops Staples on Mountain Stage in the early 1990s.
Mountain Stage Archive

Our Song of the Week is the title song for this week’s special episode of Mountain Stage. Larry has curated a show in four parts, turning an ear to songs about the oppressed, the overlooked, and the experiences of those who are misunderstood.

Roebuck “Pops” Staples (December 28, 1914 – December 19, 2000) was the patriarch of the gospel-soul family band The Staples Singers. Pops performed twice on Mountain Stage, in 1992 and 1994, and both times he performed his song “Why Am I Treated So Bad?”

Staples performed the song while traveling with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he tells in his introduction, that King called it “My song.”

This episode is called “Why Am I Treated So Bad” and highlights songs about experiences of people of color, Native Americans, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, women, and those living on the economic edge.


Credit Mountain Stage Archive
Mavis Staples, acclaimed singer and daughter of Pops, also appears on this week’s broadcast, singing one of her father’s songs.

We also hear from Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, John Trudell, Odetta, Amy Ray, Rhiannon Giddens and others.

Check out the playlist to see what’s in store, and make plans to tune in or stream through one of these stations starting Friday, Sept. 11.

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