Various I Believe To My Soul: Session 1

In the first of what promises to be an outstanding series of recordings featuring R&B and gospel legends, producer Joe Henry has again weaved the magic he conjured to revive the careers of Solomon Burke, and most recently, Bettye LaVette. Here, he gathers Mavis Staples, Billy Preston, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint and Ann Peebles, featuring each on a handful of tracks and allowing collaboration of a few others. For those already familiar with Henry’s reverential production approach, this album will go down like honey, especially after one listen to Peebles’ heart-melting rendition of Bob Dylan’s "Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You.” But of the entire cast, it is Toussaint who asserts himself most forcefully, contributing several new songs that show off his legendary New Orleans funk chops. With any luck, this ongoing tribute to a long-neglected genre of American music will continue to produce such dynamic results. (Rhino)