Mavis Staples

Have a Little Faith

If humanity ever needed to “have a little faith,” now’s the time. Faith in the essential goodness of your fellow man; faith that we’re not on the slippery slopes of hell; and faith that music like this can help to heal us all. That’s a tall order for one CD to deliver, but Mavis Staples is up to the task. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t fire-and-brimstone, televangelist-style haranguing. Rather, on the title track, after observing that “there’s evil all around,” Staples entreats us, “Fight the good fight/Win that war with love.” Mixed in with other songs dealing with prejudice, e.g., “Ain’t No Better than You,” and social awareness, e.g., “At the End of the Day” (“we’re all the same”), is an update of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See that My Grave Is Kept Clean” (“A Dying Man’s Plea”) and the very bluesy opening track, “Step into the Light.” This soulful CD ends with a rousing version of the first song her dad taught his kids, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”