Neville Brothers

Gold

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AllMusic Review by

This two-disc set does a wonderful job of presenting the nearly 50-year recording history of Art, Charles, Aaron, and Cyril Neville -- the Neville Brothers -- without sacrificing the pacing that makes for a good and varied listening experience. Opening with "Mardi Gras Mambo" from 1954 by Art's first group, the Hawketts, then picking up on a couple of Aaron's early singles, the Allen Toussaint-produced "Over You" and Aaron's unofficial theme song, "Tell It Like It Is," before moving on to the bayou funk of the Meters for "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py," Gold gets things exactly right. All four brothers actually didn't appear on record together until 1976's marvelous The Wild Tchoupitoulas album, which is represented here by "Brother John" and "Meet de Boys on the Battlefront." They officially became known as the Neville Brothers a year later, and their hybrid mix of funk, soul, gospel, rock, country, and New Orleans street music is both inspired and fun, with tracks like "Fire on the Bayou" and "Hey Pocky Way" quickly becoming Louisiana classics. Other highlights on this fine collection include a scorching live take of "Voodoo" from 1994's Live on Planet Earth release, an impassioned version of the Melodians' Jamaican hymn "Rivers of Babylon," and the 21st century psychedelic funk of "Walkin' in the Shadow of Life" from the 2004 album of the same title. Until a box set comes along, this two-disc compilation stands as the best overall introduction to the long history of the Neville Brothers, who show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Hawketts
2:13
2
feat: Art Neville
2:38
3 2:18
4
feat: Art Neville
3:14
5 2:42
6 3:58
7
feat: The Meters
3:04
8
feat: The Meters
3:16
9 3:41
10
feat: The Meters
4:08
11
3:23
12 3:33
13 3:14
14 4:01
15 4:12
16 3:46
17 5:16
blue highlight denotes track pick