You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

Along with Mavis Staples' considerable talents, part of her recent success comes from picking worthy and sympathetic collaborators. On her last album, 2007’s outstanding We’ll Never Turn Back, she worked with Ry Cooder. This time she’s joined by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who does a fine production job by placing Staples’ rich, gritty, and resonant voice up front where it belongs. Simply put, she’s in terrific vocal form, a glorious combination of toughness and tenderness. Together they selected some choice material including songs by Randy Newman (“Losing You”), Allen Toussaint (“Last Train”), John Fogerty (“Wrote a Song for Everyone”), and a couple from Tweedy himself (“You Are Not Alone,” “Only the Lord Knows”). She also offers fresh readings of such traditional gospel tunes as “Creep Along Moses” and “In Christ There Is No East or West” and a pair of classic Staples Singers cuts (“Don’t Knock,” “Downward Road”) written by her late father, the great Roebuck “Pops” Staples. You Are Not Alone is a solid and highly enjoyable release that brims with Staples’ soul, grace, and indomitable spirit.

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