Mavis Staples, 'You Are Not Alone' (Anti-)

6
You Are Not Alone
Critical Mass
Label: Anti-

by David Menconi

Everyone from Prince to Ry Cooder has had a crack at producing the iconic Staple Singers frontwoman over the years, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy does the honors here by staying the heck out of the way. Staples takes us to church on a collection of mostly straight-up gospel, including remakes of three Staples oldies. Tweedy's influence shows primarily on the two songs he wrote, especially the stoic title-track ballad. Yet the album's best moment belongs solely to Staples -- a spare version of Randy Newman's "Losing You" that might well stand as definitive.

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