Gospel Legend Mavis Staples Gets Political

Uncut fave Ry Cooder is onboard on the new record too

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One of the original Stax recording artists, Mavis Staples is to release “We’ll Never Turn Back” – her ninth and most polemical album of her career.

The album, produced by Uncut favourite, Ry Cooder, features raw, emotional and updated versions of traditional freedom songs from the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Talking about the new record, Mavis Staples says, “Like many in the Civil Rights movement, The Staples Singers drew on the spirituality and strength of the church to help gain social justice and to try to achieve equal rights.


She adds, “With this record, I hope to get across the same feeling, the same spirit and the same message as we did then – and to hopefully continue to make positive changes. Things are better but we’re not where we need to be and we’ll never turn back.”

As well as these personal and political songs, “We’ll Never Turn Back” will also feature two new songs, written by Mavis Staples and Ry Cooder.

Rob Bowman, author of “Soulsville USA: The Story of Stax Records” says about Mavis and the new album, “With ‘We’ll Never Turn Back,’ Mavis Staples has come full circle, singing songs that were seminal to a movement and time that helped form her as an artist.


Alongside songs that were inextricably part of the Civil Rights movement – many of them associated with the Freedom Singers – Mavis co-wrote the title track with producer and guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder. She also sings a Cooder original, ‘I’ll Be Rested’, and opens the CD with a cover of bluesman J.B. Lenoir’s ‘Down in Mississippi’, connecting the disc to her own roots down South.”

Musicians involved in the new recordings include Ry Cooder himself – along with his son Joaquin, drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Mike Elizando.

Singers helping create a soundscape for Staples’ vocals include South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo and many of the original Freedom Singers – the group that formed in 1962, whose songs and music played an important role in the Civil Rights movement.

“We’ll Never Turn Back” is to be released on Anti-Records on April 23, 2007.


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