Underplayed Vinyl: The Neville Brothers

It’s the 66th birthday of Aaron Neville, who had a hit single in the 1960s with Tell It Like It Is as a solo artist. I discovered him and his brothers, with their second album, Fiyo on the Bayou. Let me tell you about my copy.

As I’ve mentioned, I loved one radio station in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an eclectic station known as Q-104. What I don’t think I mentioned is that at different times, and briefly at the same time, I lived with a couple of weekend/fill-in DJs from the station at 264 Western Avenue in Albany, which, once upon a time was a Jewish fraternity house. One was Mark, who also briefly employed at the comic book store FantaCo, where I worked, and the other was John; no Matthew or Luke, though. One of them gave, or sold to me cheaply, the station’s copy of the Neville Brothers’ Fiyo on the Bayou.
Side A
1. Hey Pocky Way
2. Sweet Honey Dripper
3. Fire On The Bayou
4. The Ten Commandments Of Love
Side B
1. Sitting In Limbo
2. Brother John/Iko Iko
3. Mona Lisa (Dedicated To Bette Midler)
4. Run Joe
I no longer remember why the station was getting rid of the LP, which they acquired on June 29, 1981 – perhaps they changed music format, or maybe they just got the CD – but the LP has a big card on the cover – covering up the large reptile – describing the DJs’ comments.
“Beat me! Oh God I’m sold on this!!
A1, A2, A3, B1, B2″
“One of the year’s best!”
A2 + A3
“David Fathead Newman on tenor sax. Funky horn section and New Orleans Soul make a great record. B1, a Jimmy Cliff song. A1 A2 and B1 especially. You’re gonna love it. Allen Touissaint-Little Feat sound or maybe that’s L. Feat-A. Touissaint have a Neville Bros. Sound.”
“Rolling Stones have done Neville Bros. songs. Meters have covered a lot too – Top drawer funky stuff. Put this in red. this is Q104, remember?”
“Give me a week and you got it (only kidding).”
“Anybody remember the Wild Tchopitoulas(spelling?). The Album Network called this stuff reggae, believe it or not!”
“Sure wish we had some Meters!”
“We do, and there’s some in my LPs.”.
(Just for the historical record, the Meters were a band in the 1960s and 1970s featuring Art Neville, signed by Allen Touissaint’s label.)
Anyway I literally played the first three cuts over and over for weeks. I also played the fourth cut, a real change-up, featuring Aaron on vocal on that 1958 Moonglows tune. I listened to the second side much less, though the first two cuts are quite good, Mona Lisa (“dedicated to Bette Midler”) is a standard Aaron take on the Nat Cole classic fare, and I can never remember the last cut without playing it again.
Still, I saw it on Amazon for $7, and it’s worth getting. It was paired with their 1989 Yellow Moon album, and that’s DEFINITELY worth the $18 bucks.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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