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Various Artists: I Believe to My Soul

For his follow-up to 2002’s Grammy-winning album for Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up on Me, producer Joe Henry gathered together three soul-music icons in Ann Peebles, Billy Preston, and Mavis Staples and two New Orleans legends in Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint. Recorded in Los Angeles two months before Katrina, this soul-music compilation soon became a benefit recording after its release last October, with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to MusiCares Hurricane Relief.

While the production throughout is overtly slick, Toussaint’s Fess-influenced rolling piano work does cut through the mix on the instrumental “Turvalon,” and Peebles oozes tons of soul on the more intimate “When the Candle Burns Low.” But it’s Staples who steals the show on a chilling “You Must Have That True Religion” and on her foot-patting gospel feature “That’s Enough.”

Originally Published