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Tell It Like It Is - The Par Lo Years

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Album Review

Though not as carefully compiled or lovingly packaged as one might like (perfunctory liner notes, no musician credits, no information about the songs' original releases, etc.), this is a pretty good and attractively priced collection of songs from the great Aaron Neville's early and middle career. You won't find any of his hits from the last decade or two — no Linda Ronstadt collaborations — but you'll find the legendary title track and his appealingly bare-bones arrangement of "Cry Me a River," and you'll marvel at his ability to make you listen all the way through to such sappy 1970s fare as "Baby I'm a Want You" and even the dread "Feelings." The bottom line remains what it always is: there are few musical pleasures as great as listening to Aaron Neville sing a love song — or sing an R&B song, or a sacred hymn, or a random page from the phone book for that matter. The sound quality on this cheapo two-fer runs the gamut from dodgy to acceptable, but that angelic voice cuts through the lackluster production without a scratch — note in particular how the fuzzy, saturated, poorly balanced instrumental intro to "Waiting for a Bus" suddenly loses its ability to annoy when Neville's sweet tenor comes in on the first verse. There are much better Aaron Neville compilations out there, but this one's not a bad place for the budget-minded to start.

Customer Reviews


"Tell It Like It Is" is actually TRACK ONE here, making all the other titles wrong by one song. Thus, "Jailhouse" is track two, "You Think You're So Smart" is track three, "She Took You For a Ride" is track four, "Since You're Gone" is track five, "Love, Love, Love" is track six, "Space Man" is track seven, and "Why Worry" is track eight. When itunes fixes this problem, you can disregard this review!


Born: January 24, 1941 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Aaron Neville is often compared to singer Sam Cooke in terms of sheer vocal refinement, he has a voice and style uniquely his own. He is well known as part of the New Orleans sound of the Neville Brothers. Yet, aside from the 1967 number one R&B hit "Tell It Like It Is," few have heard his incredible early solo recordings. Many of those first recordings, in the early and mid-'60s, were arranged, produced, and often written by the brilliant Allen Toussaint -- another talent only later being...
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Tell It Like It Is - The Par Lo Years, Aaron Neville
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