Aaron Neville - Christmas Prayer

Published Saturday 4th March 2006
Aaron Neville - Christmas Prayer
Aaron Neville - Christmas Prayer

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 14206-11032
LABEL: EMI Gospel EGD73631
RRP: £12.99

Reviewed by Gareth Paul Taylor

Classic soul fans will love this New Orleans soul man's yuletide offering. Reworked traditional carols sit alongside mainstream fare ("White Christmas") and some excellent new offerings. The reggae vibe of "Christmas Everyday", co-written by Neville and co-producer Milton Davis, could soon grace alternative Christmas compilations with its clear message:- "Messiah, help us to know you, not only on Sunday./On your birthday we celebrate.but sometimes we forget what you gave up for love." The Blind Boys Of Alabama feature on another highlight, "Joy To The World", lifted from their own marvellous 2003 Christmas album. Neville's voice, still soaring soulfully with characteristic vulnerability, strikingly resembles Antony Hegarty of Antony And The Johnsons fame. Not bad for a grandfather of six - (this year marks the 40th anniversary of his first American hit, "Tell It Like It Is"!) Schubert's "Ave Maria" even gets the unmistakeable Neville stamp: a beautiful arrangement highlighting his versatility and strong Catholic upbringing. New Orleans' recent devastation seems ever close: the American Red Cross will benefit from CD proceeds; "Amazing Grace" closes the album, a wordless verse of soulful, lamenting vocal improvisation leading into the rarely-heard verse "The world shall soon dissolve like snow/The sun forbear to shine/But God who called me here below/Will be forever mine." A stunning Christmas album.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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