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Uptown Rulin' - The Best of the Neville Brothers

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Album Review

The Neville Brothers had always been critic's favorites, but never more so than during their tenure at A&M Records during the late '80s and early '90s. They released their first album, Yellow Moon, for the label in 1989, a few years after the acclaimed Rhino compilation Treacherous: A History of the Neville Brothers appeared on the shelves. Treacherous contained selections from all the Neville Brothers — not just group recordings but side-projects and solo cuts — and helped cement their reputation among record collectors and critics, which in turn set the stage for the enthusiastic reception of Yellow Moon. That enthusiasm failed to wane over the next few years, as each subsequent album was greeted by critics with open arms. The problem was, each record was pretty much the same. With producer Daniel Lanois, the Nevilles attempted to create grand, mythical albums, heavy with import and meaning. Lanois didn't abandon his trademark hazy, murkily mysterious production — a style that wasn't necessarily suited for the organic Nevilles, even if it did result in some evocative sonic hybrids. Consequently, each of the A&M albums functioned best as a series of moments, even if they were designed to work as individual albums (the prototype, Yellow Moon, unsurprisingly standing as the lone exception to the rule). That's why Uptown Rulin': The Best Of is a solid addition to their catalog. By collecting highlights from the A&M albums, it offers fans a good summary of these intriguing but mixed years. It isn't on the same level as Treacherous or its sequel, but it's a nice addendum to fans of that groundbreaking compilation.


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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