We'll Never Turn Back

The engine of ’70s gospel-pop hitmakers the Staples Singers gets a rootsy makeover on We’ll Never Turn Back, via a label very good at this sort of thing (Merle Haggard, Bettye LaVette). Guitarist/producer Ry Cooder’s tasteful, unfussy arrangements are sometimes saved from predictability by son Joachim, whose digital loops add frisson to songs using the civil rights movement as inspiration and backdrop. But Mavis Staples’ voice outshines all: rich, weathered, and full of fire, sometimes resolving in a cracked tone or a dark, knowing chuckle, her eyes still on the prize. B+

We'll Never Turn Back
  • Music