Roebuck "Pops" Staples, founder of The Staple Singers, is a forgotten master--a singer, songwriter, bandleader and guitarist whose music formed a direct bridge between the likes of Charley Patton and the likes of Bob Dylan. Born in Winona, MS in 1915, Pops was a contemporary of Robert Johnson's; he grew up on the same plantation where Patton lived and performed; he was a pioneer of the electric guitar establishing an instantaneously recognizable, vibrato-laden sound. But Pops not only bridged eras, he also bridged genres, taking as his model Appalachian family groups like the Stonemans, Pops fashioned a sound and repertoire for the The Staple Singers that ran the gamut from gospel to country to rockabilly to Chicago blues and he influenced everyone within earshot. Levon Helm, whose lead vocal style owes much to Pops, famously said that The Band took the Staples' vocal style as their model for multi-part singing. And The Rolling Stones adapted Pops' gospel moan, "This May Be the Last Time," to their own secular purpose for one of their early hits. Today The Staples' secular hits for Stax and Curtom are well remembered--"Let's Do It Again," "I'll Take You There," "Respect Yourself." Less well remembered are the pioneering songs of the 1950s and early 1960s that placed Pops at the forefront of the creation of what Gram Parsons famously called "cosmic American music."