Aaron Neville - Gospel Roots

Published Wednesday 17th August 2005
Aaron Neville - Gospel Roots
Aaron Neville - Gospel Roots

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 12934-2532
LABEL: EMI Gospel EGD60987
RRP: £12.99

Reviewed by Andy Cooper

If you are a big Neville fan, be aware that this release includes the material from two of his previous gospel albums ('Devotion' 2000 and 'Believe' 2003). There is no doubt that Aaron has the most amazingly flexible and wide ranging voice and sings with a lot of emotion, but there's also no escaping the fact that the sound of his voice, with its endless ascents into acrobatic melisma, is an acquired taste. One seems to either love it or hate it. If you love it, you are in for a two-CD treat, with Aaron covering many styles and influences, including Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel covers, some traditional gospel quartet material and more recent R&B stylings. I have to say that the more traditional styles with the tight vocal harmonies à la Five Blind Boys seem to best suit Aaron's vocal character. The trouble is, it shows up the less inspiring performances on the more mundane R&B and soft reggae offerings. "Mary Don't You Weep" is a highlight with minimal backing and impressive falsetto leaps from the oral gymnast, but perhaps the closing rendition of "Amazing Grace" with just a Hammond organ for accompaniment is the perfect platform for Aaron's dazzling vocal demonstrations.

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