We'll Never Turn Back - Mavis Staples
We'll Never Turn Back Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: Ry Cooder produced this new set of songs for the 66-year-old civil rights activist and member of famed gospel group the Staple Singers.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Her great success is making these protest songs personal, and she does it in a most profoundly moving way.
  2. [It] seems like the album the 66-year-old singer was born to make
  3. 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.
  4. While the overall arc is inspirational, the album takes an unflinchingly dark view of the civil rights struggle.
  5. 70
    A successful fusion of tradition and modernism.
  6. We'll Never Turn Back is the kind of album we need at the moment, one that doesn't flinch from the tradition but doesn't present it as a museum piece either.
  7. If her album is musically uneven at times, her artistry and strength continue to shine as undimmed beacons.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. HiNumber
    May 8, 2007
  2. BradleyP
    Apr 30, 2007
    Outstanding work. At 66, Mavis Staples takes most young R&B singers to school and shows them "how it's done" with rock solid grit and charisma. As a friend said when he heard it, "there is absolutely nothing wrong with her singing!" - he meant it as a joke because she is so relentlessly perfect in her delivery. Every note drips with that "Rock of Ages" experience. Ry Cooder provides the funk and atmospherics we expect, exceptionally tasteful and organic. The political content is pronounced and self-evident, and her observations are spot-on in 2007. A real treat. Expand
  3. rub
    Apr 29, 2007
    critics don't know shit - the music is simply amazing. simple.
  4. RonJ
    May 3, 2007
    Mavis and Ry Cooder!....To my old ears, this is simply amazing. Important and funky....Best I have heard in years....
  5. D.C.
    Apr 27, 2007
    Mavis's voice may crack in places, but her heart and grit are as strong as ever. This album is really a Staples/Cooder joint venture, and given Katrina and New Orelans, the NY shootings, Obama's candidacy, etc., etc., the freedom songs that are featured here are all relevent, and, abobe all, all brimming with angry, hopeful, proud, inspiring soul. Mavis testifies in the best of gospel tradition, and together with Cooder's slide guitar, channels her father, Pops Staples' message. All in all, one of best releases so far this year. Expand
  6. StefB.
    May 26, 2007
    A long overdue album, soulful and moving. Mavis Staples is revisiting the songs and give them power, she gives us food for thoughts. Great masterpiece. Expand
  7. KenS
    May 9, 2007
    One of the best of the year so far. Cooder's production and playing are perfect, as usual.