Aaron Neville

Mojo Soul

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A generous single-disc, 18-song selection of Aaron Neville's late-'60s and early-'70s solo recordings for New Orleans producers Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, Mojo Soul shows that Neville's emotive, tremolo-laden vocal style is not a recent approach. Neville's voice wavers, breaks, and bends in all the right places here, and if he isn't exactly a soul shouter in the Otis Redding mold, there is no denying his soulfulness, and when nestled into Toussaint and Sehorn's lush, swampy arrangements, the singing oozes up on you like sweet honey. Neville's signature tune, the beautiful "Tell It Like It Is," is here, along with the confidence and freedom of "Strutting on Sunday" and the Curtis Mayfield-like story-song "Hercules." Then there are the love songs, like the impressive "You Can Give But You Can't Take" and the elegant "Where Is My Baby," which make up most of the set. Love songs are Neville's true calling as a singer, and he mixes tenderness with regret and a kind of pure loneliness in his vocal approach, making these songs feel full of a whispered intimacy. A nice set, rich and varied.

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