Art Neville - All These Things (1955-1968)

Art Neville is an American singer and keyboard player from New Orleans, best known as a founding member of The Meters.

Art Neville was born in New Orleans in 1937, and grew up with his three younger brothers Charles, Aaron and Cyril surrounded by music. He took up the piano, and in the 50s led an R&B group called The Hawketts. They had a regional hit in 1954 with "Mardi Gras Mambo", which remains a much-loved New Orleans carnival anthem to this day. He also recorded as a solo artist for the Specialty label in the late 50s, but his music career was interrupted by a stint in the US Navy.  On returning in the early 60s, he recorded for Joe Banashak's Instant label, with Allen Toussaint producing and writing much of the material. The one song to become a regional hit was the wonderful Toussaint-penned ballad "All These Things". In 1966 his brother Aaron had a huge hit with the single "Tell It Like It Is", and Art went on tour with him as his keyboard player and manager. On returning to New Orleans, they formed a group with their youngest brother Cyril, and Art Neville & The Neville Sounds became one of the hottest live acts in New Orleans. Unfortunately they never recorded. The group split when Art found he had a unique musical connection with members Leo Nocentelli, George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste, and they went out on their own under the name The Meters. A couple of singles came out with Art singing, but by 1969 they were forging ahead as an instrumental group playing their own unique brand of stripped-down funk.
This short compilation brings together a number of loose ends from Art Neville's career prior to The Meters' first album, though it does not include his Specialty recordings as they can be found on an extensive compilation of their own. So here we have "Mardi Gras Mambo", followed by some of his 60s Instant recordings including "All These Things", and three songs with The Meters, including a great Bo Diddley cover.



Anonymous said...

that was good listen. Thanks for posting.

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