Aaron Neville possesses one of the strongest and most unique voices in American music, high, clear, and with a carefully modulated vibrato that he uses to powerfully dramatic effect. While he's best known for his work in pop and rhythm & blues (as well as his long tenure with his siblings in the Neville Brothers), Neville has also recorded a handful of gospel albums, and this collection brings together 11 of his most memorable spiritual performances. Along with pop songs that touch on spiritual themes ("Let It Be" and "A Change Is Gonna Come"), The Best of Aaron Neville Gospel also includes fresh interpretations of several gospel classics, including "Amazing Grace," "Oh Happy Day," and "Ave Maria," as well one original composition, "Steer Me Right." Most of these tracks are polished Contemporary Christian productions, not far removed from Neville's more pop-oriented secular work, but he gets a fittingly churchy sound out of his renditions of "Jesus Loves Me," "Amazing Grace," and "Touch the Hem of His Garment," while "Ave Maria" walks a tightrope between classical and gospel sounds and succeeds on the strength of Neville's performance, which is both impassioned and technically superb. Given how Aaron Neville has always drawn on the musical traditions of blues and R&B, which often cross paths with gospel, it's no wonder he sounds so comfortable with this material, and fans of Neville's secular work who are eager to investigate his spiritual music will find this a fine introduction, while gospel enthusiasts will almost certainly be impressed with the skill of his vocals.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming