Aaron Neville - Tell It Like It Is (1966)

Aaron Neville is an American soul singer.

In the early 60s Aaron Neville had recorded for the Minit label, and had a hit with "Over You" in 1960. However there were no follow-up successes, and he didn't see much in the way of financial rewards, and so for the next few years had to work manual labour jobs to make a living. In 1966 a new New Orleans label called Par-Lo was started by George Davis, who invited Neville to record for him. The new material, mostly written by Davis with arranger Lee Diamond, was recorded at Cosimo Matassa's studio and featured local musicians including keyboard player Willie Tee and sax man Red Tyler. A full album of material was recorded, and there was one song that was destined to be a huge hit. The haunting ballad "Tell It Like It Is" quickly became a massive seller, and Neville went to tour across the country behind it alongside established R&B stars such as Otis Redding, Billy Stewart and The Drifters (his older brother Art went with him as his keyboard player, and his band also featured New Orleans guitarist Alvin Robinson). By early '67 the song had topped the national R&B chart, and also got to #2 on the pop chart.
Despite having such a huge hit on his hands, success was not coming easy for Aaron Neville. The Par-Lo label fell apart just as the song became a smash, and he didn't see much at all in the way of royalties. His touring was interrupted when he returned to New Orleans following the death of his father. And there were no follow-up hits to capitalise on the song's success. Back in New Orleans he formed a group with his brothers Art and Cyril - Art Neville & The Neville Sounds were for a short period of time the hottest live act in the city. It was from this group that The Meters developed, leaving Aaron and Cyril to form a new act they called The Soul Machine. It would still be many years before all four brothers finally performed together as The Neville Brothers.

|> Orchid In The Storm (1986)
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