Neville Brothers

The Neville Brothers

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In the 1980s, the Neville Brothers would become New Orleans' musical ambassadors, not just to the rest of the U.S., but to the world at large. Though there are Crescent City fingerprints on everything the band has done, their 1978 debut album is a bit less New Orleans-centric than some of their later releases. The rock, funk, and soul elements of the band's sound are less syncretic in this early stage; the John Hiatt tune “Washable Ink” and the Lieber & Stoller oddity “Dancin' Jones” bear a little less of the overt swampy mojo that would become the Nevilles' stock in trade, But other tracks are Big Easy all over. One of the Nevilles' most powerful weapons, Aaron Neville's tremulous R&B choirboy vocal delivery (which would eventually come to seem like an overused affectation) is soft-pedaled here, and seems all the more effective for it. While this release undeniably finds the Neville Brothers in an embryonic state, they were nevertheless already an ensemble with which to be reckoned, and it's an intriguing chapter in the band's history.

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