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The Neville Brothers


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Biography from The Neville Brothers offical website

Throughout their long careers as both solo performers and as members of the group that bore their family name, The Neville Brothers have proudly carried the torch of their native New Orleans' rich R&B legacy. Although the four siblings - Arthur, Charles, Aaron, and Cyril - did not officially unite under The Neville Brothers aegis until 1977, all had crossed musical paths in the past, while also enjoying success with other unrelated projects: Eldest brother Art was the first to tackle a recording career, when in 1954 his high school band the Hawketts cut "Mardi Gras Mambo," a song that later became the annual carnival's unofficial anthem. Both Aaron and Charles later joined the Hawketts as well, and when Art joined the Navy in 1958, he handed Aaron the group's vocal reins.

Two years later, Aaron scored his first solo hit, "Over You"; in 1966, he notched a pop smash with the classic "Tell It Like It Is," a lush ballad showcasing his gossamer vocals. Art, meanwhile, returned from the service to begin his own solo career, and recorded a series of regional hits like "Cha Dooky Doo," "Zing Zing" and "Oo-Whee Baby." In 1967, he formed Art Neville and the Sounds, which included both Aaron and Charles as featured vocalists and quickly became a sensation on the local club circuit.

In 1968 producer Allen Toussaint hired the group as the house band for his Sansu Enterprises; minus Aaron and Charles, the Sounds evolved into a highly regarded rhythm section which backed artists as diverse as Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer and Labelle before eventually finding fame on their own as The Meters. Soon, Cyril joined The Meters at Art's urging - and became the group's lead vocalist, thereby beginning his career with the brothers. Consequently, Aaron resumed his solo career, also working as a dockhand to help pay the bills. Charles, meanwhile, relocated to New York City, where his saxophone artistry led to tenures with a variety of jazz units.

In 1975, The Meters backed the Wild Tchoupitoulas, a group led by the Nevilles' uncle, George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry. Both Aaron and Charles were enlisted for the session, as was youngest brother Cyril. When The Meters disbanded the following year, the four brothers backed the Tchoupitoulas on tour, and in 1977 they officially banded together as The Neville Brothers...[more]

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1976 - Wild Tchoupatoulas - More Information

1977 - Neville Brothers - More Information

1981 - Fiyo on the Bayou - More Information

1984 - Nevillization - More Information

1986 - Treacherous vol.1 - More Information

1987 - Uptown - More Information

1989 - Yellow Moon - More Information

1990 - Brothers Keeper - More Information

1992 - Treacherous vol.2 - More Information

1992 - Family Groove - More Information

1994 - Live on Planet Earth - More Information

1996 - Mitakuye Oyasin - More Information

1997 - The Very Best of - More Information

1999 - Valence Street - More Information

1999 - Uptown Rulin - More Information

2004 - Walkin' In The Shadow of Life - More Information

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The Neville Brothers: Past, present and future of funk collide on 'Walkin' in the Shadow of Life'

New Orleans' First Family of Funk returns with a second generation on board and most personal lyrics to date

The Neville Brothers, the family band many call the "Founding Fathers of New Orleans Funk," return October 19, 2004, with 'Walkin' in the Shadow of Life.' Produced by Milton Davis (John Mellencamp, Dionne Farris), the Back Porch Records/EMI release looks back on the band's 26-year history with its most personal lyrics to date, while it welcomes a new generation of Nevilles into the fold.

Ending the band's five-year hiatus from recording, 'Walkin' in the Shadow of Life' marks the welcome return of the group's smoldering funk and R&B. The record features the classic Nevilles lineup -- Aaron Neville (vocals, percussion), Art Neville (vocals, Hammond B3 organ, keys), Cyril Neville (vocals, percussion) and Charles Neville (vocals, tenor sax, flute) -- along with Aaron's son Ivan Neville on keys and Art's son Ian on guitar.

While there is no shortage of party anthems, such as the hip-hop flavored "Can't Stop the Funk," 'Walkin' takes on personal topics of substance abuse, family conflict and spirituality with the passionate tracks "Junkie Child," "Brothers," and the stirring "Kingdom Come" which was written by Cyril Neville and Bono of U2. 11 of the album's 13 songs were either written or co-written by the Neville Brothers.

One exception is the record's first single, a thumping version of the Temptations' 1970 classic "Ball of Confusion." "When we started recording this record one of the first songs that popped into our heads was Ball of Confusion ­ based on everything that is going on in the world today. The lyrics speak to the entire human race ­ we all need to do our individual parts to help make this world a better place to live in. If we don't start making changes... We're going to be stuck in a world that is just that... a Ball Of Confusion..., " said Aaron Neville.

Beginning with Art Neville's founding of the Meters in 1966 as the house band at Allen Toussaint's New Orleans studio, the Nevilles have been towering figures on the funk landscape. After the Meters' breakup in 1976, Art formed the Neville Brothers, whose fifteen albums make up one of the genre's most celebrated catalogs.

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Nevilles Return, Critics Cheer

The Neville Brothers Return To Their Roots To the Critics' Delight on New Album, 'Walkin' in the Shadow of Life

Although the Neville Brothers waited five years to release their new album, 'Walkin' in the Shadow of Life,' (Neville Nation/Back Porch/EMI) they are reminding critics that they they still know how to make it funky.

Just in stores, the 13-track album, led by their hit remake of the single, "Ball of Confusion" which they will perform on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on November 1, is becoming the critics choice.

The Associated Press names it:

"...a stunning representation of the brother's versatility and talent dabbling in various genres."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"Blending some contemporary touches with what is essentially a post-psychedelic funk sound, the first family of New Orleans funk comes on strong with political anthems and earthy social portraits."

Philadelphia Daily News notes:

"...the great remake of the Temptations' protest classic "Ball of Confusion."

The Boston Phoenix calls it:

"...[the] answer to their best album, 1989's 'Yellow Moon.'"

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