1966 LP Tell It Like It Is (US Parlo P-1)
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 the first recordings of Neville, in the early and mid-'60s, were arranged, produced, and often written by the brilliant Allen Toussaint -- another talent only later being really appreciated. Most of these sides were cut for the Minit and, later, Parlo labels. Songs like "She Took You for a Ride" and "You Think You're So Smart" on Parlo are masterpieces. While his more recent work, including that with Linda Ronstadt, makes for pleasant listening, it lacks the sheer persuasion of his early songs. Neville has re-recorded his early work often, and it is important to hear the originals. The early sides are just waiting to be heard. (by Michael Erlewine)
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