N is for the Neville Brothers

Got to see the Neville Brothers on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at
River Front Park in Albany,

NevilleBrothersThe Neville Brothers, an American soul/funk/rhythm and blues group, was formed in 1977 in New Orleans, Louisiana, consisting of Art (b. 1937), Charles (b. 1938), Aaron (b. 1941), and Cyril (b. 1948).

But long before then, the brothers were involved in music. The Meters formed in 1965, led by Art on keyboards and vocals, and later including percussionist/vocalist Cyril. They had some R&B hits, but they were best known for backing other artists, for which they were thrice nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including this past year.

Meanwhile, Aaron had hits going back to 1960. His biggest solo record was Tell It Like It Is [LISTEN], a #2 pop smash in 1967.

The first Neville Brothers music I heard regularly was the second LP, Fiyo on the Bayou, from 1981. I didn’t know then that, of the three songs that got lots of airplay on my favorite radio station at the time, Q104, two – Hey Pocky Way [LISTEN] and Fire on the Bayou [LISTEN] – had been Meters songs; the third song was Sweet Honey Dripper [LISTEN].

They were never a hits group but were a very popular touring band. Their albums from 1989, Yellow Moon, and 1990, Brother’s Keeper, were the most successful; LISTEN to the title track of Yellow Moon [LISTEN].

Aaron, by contrast, WAS more commercially successful, as a solo artist. His duet with Linda Ronstadt, Don’t Know Much [LISTEN], went to #2 in 1989.

Got to see the Neville Brothers on Thursday, August 6, 2009, at River Front Park in Albany, doing a mixture of Meters, Neville Brothers, and Aaron Neville songs, plus covers such as the Temptations’ Ball of Confusion [LISTEN].


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

If I had a ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

From CNN: “Grunge groundbreakers Nirvana, disco dynamos Chic and the costume-clad, Gene Simmons-led pop metal band KISS are among 16 nominees up for election in the museum’s Class of 2014. The deep selection also includes ’70s and ’80s hitmakers Hall and Oates; college radio heroes the Replacements; New Orleans funkmeisters the Meters; sweet-voiced Linda Ronstadt; and pioneering gangsta rappers N.W.A.

“Completing the list: the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies.”

CBS News adds: “Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, and The Replacements are among first-time nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

All eligible nominees released their first single or album at least 25 years before the year of nomination.

Fans can vote for up to five artists at rockhall.com and www.rollingstone.com and www.usatoday.com.

I’ve already made it clear that I would vote for Linda Ronstadt. Beyond that, there are probably seven artists for the other four slots. Pretty much a coin flip, my ballot would include:
Chic, which is newly chic, its sound still relevant.
Peter Gabriel, who was not only commercially successful in the 1980s, but put out great albums before that; if for the song Biko alone, which codified understanding of apartheid to the western world, he’d be deserving. I have a LOT of PG.
Hall & Oates, who not only had massive commercial success over a lengthy period – I am an unapologetic fan – but also are great proponents of music to this day. And though it ought not to matter in this context, I really love Daryl Hall’s solo album Sacred Songs.
Yes, in part as a paean to progressive rock, in hopes that King Crimson gets a nod next time out.

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

The Meters, which helped beget The Neville Brothers, was essentially the house band for Allen Toussaint and played on a lot of other people’s albums, so I’m hoping that they’ll get picked in the sidemen category, as Leon Russell did a couple of years ago.

My other pick in these fan ballots was Butterfield, whose three Bs (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop) were also individually important in rock

Not picking Nirvana, on their first ballot, who will get in anyway. I like them well enough; have three or four of their albums and their sound defined the early 1990s.
Hope the Replacements get in someday – it was their first year as well.
I had quite a bit of Cat Stevens in the day, and I’d pick him if there weren’t people I preferred.
Have the greatest hits of the Zombies, and I’m just not sure a few hits plus one great album warrants the band’s inclusion.
I know N.W.A. is massively influential, despite its limited output, but not feeling it yet.
Never cared for KISS.
Loved the hits of Deep Purple, but guess I don’t know the oeuvre well enough to decide if they merit inclusion.
Know LL Cool J better as an actor than a musician.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?