- Released: April 24, 2007
- Originally Released: 2007
- Label: Anti
Rolling Stone - p.116
Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007".
Q - p.1293 stars out of 5
-- "[A]n album that aims to rekindle the spirit of the '60s civil rights movement....Persuasive..."
Down Beat - p.533.5 stars out of 5
-- "Her singing has never lost the crazy potency that it had when she was younger, and it's still as beautiful and haunting as ever on this new CD."
Dirty Linen - p.56
"These are songs of hope and protest....The power, strength, and heartfelt sincerity in the delivery drives the disc home."
Living Blues - p.43
"WE'LL NEVER TURN BACK features Staples applying her throaty, emotive contralto to a program that includes spirituals..."
No Depression - pp.78-79
"In purely musical effect, the power, passion and conviction that permeate this project cannot be denied. Nor resisted."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1124 stars out of 5
-- "[A]n assemblage of liberation cries, as passionate and relevant today as then..."
- 1.Down In Mississippi
- 2.Eyes On The Prize
- 3.We Shall Not Be Moved
- 4.In The Mississippi River
- 5.On My Way
- 6.This Little Light Of Mine
- 7.99 And 1/2
- 8.My Own Eyes
- 9.Turn Me Around
- 10.We'll Never Turn Back
- 11.I'll Be Rested
- 12.Jesus Is On The Main Line
Personnel: Mavis Staples (vocals); Ry Cooder (guitar, mandolin); Mike Elizondo (piano); Jim Keltner (drums); Joachim Cooder (percussion); Betty Fikes, Charles Neblett, Rutha Harris (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Martin Pradler.
Liner Note Author: Rep. John Lewis.
Recording information: Sound City Studio, Van Nuys, CA.
Author: Mavis Staples.
Photographer: David Bartlett.
Arrangers: Ry Cooder; Joachim Cooder; Mavis Staples.
Mavis Staple's 2007 album, WE'LL NEVER TURN BACK is a stunning achievement from one of soul and gospel's most revered singers. Produced by Ry Cooder, the album is built around freedom songs of the civil rights movement--some are traditional ("Eyes on the Prize"), some are appropriated for the theme ("99 and 1/2"), while others are originals ("I'll Be Rested"). As much a celebration of hard-won freedom as a reminder of past and current injustices, the album features stirring gospel choir vocals from both Ladysmith Black Mombazo and original members of the SNCC Freedom Singers.
Yet the album is first and foremost a platform for Mavis Staples's stirring voice, one that is as much a liberating force as any protest. Cooder, to his credit, keeps things appropriately raw and immediate, and the band always positions Staples at the front of the line. As deeply moving as any album made in 2007, WE'LL NEVER TURN BACK is at once a call to arms, a new cadence for a new march, and the celebratory soundtrack for the jubilee on the other side of the mountain.