Monday, May 18, 2009

Brand New Blues reviewed by Steve Jones

Brand New Blues
Cyril Neville
MC Records
10 tracks

This is the first new solo album in over eight years from Cyril Neville, the youngest of the famous siblings and probably the most socially conscious of the Neville Brothers. He wrote or co-wrote half the songs on this CD and it really sounds fresh and new. Even the covers of songs like Jimmy Reeds “I Found Joy” and “Blue, Blue Water” and Brooks Benton’s “I’ll Take Care of You” get a very fresh sounding coat of paint in this nice little CD.

The style is certainly blues delivered pretty much straight up, with Cyril backed up by the likes of brothers Art and Ivan on B3 organ, Brian J and fellow Wetlander Tab Benoit on guitar, and Johnny Sansone on harp. This is not a funked or tricked up New Orleans album, it is raw blues served up hot and steaming. No clinkers here, just some great blues.

The tile track features Cyril describing all the types of blues he’s lived through, but when his new woman walked into his life he experienced some “Brand New Blues.” He gets a little funky and quite bluesy in this new track. “Shake Your Gumbo” is as funky as it gets here, with the heavy percussion grinding out a beat on this track.

We are way beyond the concept of double entendres with the tracks “Cream Them Beans”, another new song. Suffice it to say that Cyril and co-author Brian J give us a song that the band can get down and dirty with.

The album closes with “Slave Driver,” featuring a stinging solo blues guitar by Brian J and some emotional vocals by Cyril on this Bob Marley song. A very bluesy rendition of a reggae song!

This is a strong effort by the youngest Neville Brother, if “young” is appropriate for a man born in 1948. It is a great set of tracks delivered with a variety of emotions from love and pleasure to anger and pain.

Neville Brothers fan will love this album as will blues fans. It is a solid, well produced and musically superb set of tracks. These post-Katrina inspired blues are hard hitting and show us the great stuff transpiring with the blues scene as it evolves down in the Big Easy. This CD is well worth adding to your blues music collection!

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