Here is a record that might not be on all blues radar screens, but should be. Mavis Staples is back singing classic social protest songs that were a major part of the Staple Singers' repertoire in the early 60s.
But this album is much more than a blast from the past.
Ry Cooder does a VERY impressive job in the production of this album. His sparse down home bluesy minimalist accompaniments would provide some good lessons for the people at Fat Possum. Ry Cooder has been involved in many impressive musical projects, and this is clearly another triumph for him, maybe one of his greatest.
If you think that J.B. Lenoir owns "Down in Mississippi," get ready to think again. The version that leads off this album has made me forget about all other versions. Mavis' 99 1/2 can stand with other great versions of this gospel classic. Her original "My Own Eyes" is an excellent piece.
Mavis is in good voice. Ry Cooder's touch is a stroke of genius. The album is a blast. Recommended.