Aaron Neville - Bring It On Home: The Soul Classics (2006)

Aaron Neville
AaronNeville_Bringiton.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

In the almost unfathomable number of classic soul covers albums that have hit the market over the past 3 years, the difference between the great and the not-so-great has largely been song selection.  A well conceived mixture of well known and deserving lesser-known cuts has become the backbone of the best collections.  And that's the bug-a-boo that most hurts Bring In On Home: The Soul Classics, Aaron Neville's entrance into the covers morass.  Neville is clearly one of the most distinctive vocalists of his generation, but it is tough to create something fresh out of predictable, overly recorded songs like "You Send Me," "Stand By Me," "My Girl" and "Dock Of the Bay."  And the generally subdued production by Stewart Levine (Simply Red, Joe Cocker, Jamie Cullum) does little to help distinguish the material.

In the almost unfathomable number of classic soul covers albums that have hit the market over the past 3 years, the difference between the great and the not-so-great has largely been song selection.  A well conceived mixture of well known and deserving lesser-known cuts has become the backbone of the best collections.  And that's the bug-a-boo that most hurts Bring In On Home: The Soul Classics, Aaron Neville's entrance into the covers morass.  Neville is clearly one of the most distinctive vocalists of his generation, but it is tough to create something fresh out of predictable, overly recorded songs like "You Send Me," "Stand By Me," "My Girl" and "Dock Of the Bay."  And the generally subdued production by Stewart Levine (Simply Red, Joe Cocker, Jamie Cullum) does little to help distinguish the material.

The album leads of with its finest cut, a wonderful remake of Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia," but gets bogged down after that with a series of tame, trite ballads before briefly recovering on nice duets with Mavis Staples ("Respect Yourself") and Chaka Kahn ("Let's Stay Together") and a mildly jazzy handling of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready".  At age 65, Neville's voice sounds unchanged from twenty years ago, and works particularly well on the album's more intimate cuts.  Unfortunately, most of the 13 cuts simply don't reach the level that would be expected of the talent that is behind the album, and the lack of overall creativity unfortunately results in Bring It On Home being just another in the seemingly endless supply of listenable but not particularly memorable covers albums.

by Chris Rizik

 
Choice Cut - Kenya - "Favorite Things"
Choice Cut - Sy Smith - "Camelot"
Featured Album - Conya Doss - CLEAR
See The Nominees! - SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards

Leave a comment!