Aaron Neville

Power Play: 6 Big Hits

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Aaron Neville's edition in EMI’s Power Play gospel series is perhaps its finest entry, though one wonders why these sets amount to EPs rather than full-length CDs. With his signature tenor and beautiful falsetto, Neville lays down some high church standards like “Amazing Grace,” “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Ave Maria,” but there are also some wonderful curve balls: Sam Cooke's “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the gospel stomper “Mary Don’t You Weep,” and the age-old Eleanor Farjeon nugget -- that many claim for Cat Stevens -- “Morning Has Broken.” The music here is stirring and emotionally honest because that’s Neville's gift. It doesn’t matter what he’s singing; he brings not only his technical gift, but authenticity as well. That these songs have been part of his live concerts for years hints at something else: that these are more than well-known spiritual songs; these tunes mean something to Neville personally.

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