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Brother's Keeper

The Neville Brothers

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Album Review

Why doesn't more R&B sound like this? Although hampered by a poor mix, Brother's Keeper is nevertheless a classic example of what makes the Neville Brothers so good — and so frustrating. Tracks like the booty-shaking funk of "Brother Jake" or the gospel-tinged "Steer Me Right" are full of soulful vocals and wonderful harmonies. Aaron Neville's timeless voice is displayed beautifully on "Fearless," where he is joined by Linda Ronstadt for one of the strongest tracks on the record. The Neville Brothers' ecumenical spirituality permeates every second of Brother's Keeper, making for a few awkward moments (like the head-scratching opener "Brother Blood," for example), but a few moments of true sublimity (as when Art Neville spits "Pro choice-no choice/We're sending our sons and daughters to their slaughter" on "Sons and Daughters"). The pop material on Brother's Keeper, such as Link Wray's "Fallin' Rain," works well, but other tracks, like "River of Life," seem forced. If the Neville Brothers showed a little discretion with regard to their lyrics and cut a couple tracks, they would have had a much stronger album, which in a way is as good a statement as one could make about their entire career.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Throughout their long careers as both solo performers and as members of the group that bore their family name, the Neville Brothers 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...
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Brother's Keeper, The Neville Brothers
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