To put it rather bluntly Aaron Neville has never been one of my favorite recording artists. As far as I was concerned a little bit of Aaron Neville went a long way. While I always enjoyed his great 1966 hit "Tell It Like It Is" I found much of his later post Neville Brothers solo work to be rather dreary. His hit singles with Linda Ronstadt in the early 1990's were OK but the idea of listening to an entire album of Aaron Neville never appealed much to me. Frankly, I found his voice to be rather annoying after a while, especially on ballads. A few months ago I caught wind of a new project Neville was working on at Blue Note Records. Not only was Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones going to play on this album but he was going to produce it as well. When I took a look at the track listing I immediately became intrigued. I thought to myself "Now this is the kind of material he should have been recording all along". It turns out that my initial instincts were right on. "My True Story" offers up a dozen of some of the finest doo-wop and R & B tunes ever written. I like this album more every time I hear it.
There is an awful lot to like in the mere 38:35 minutes of "My True Story". Songs were much shorter back in the day. The set opens up with a rollicking version of The Drifters smash 1953 R&B hit "Money Honey". The producers have also mined a few other terrific R&B gems for this one including "Ting-A-Ling", "Gypsy Woman" the venerable Hank Ballad tune "Work With Me Annie" and Aaron does an outstanding job on the old Thurston Harris tune "Little Bitty Pretty One". Much to my surprise, I actually preferred it to the original! What I was not at all surprised about was Aaron Neville's amazing take on The Jive Five's 1961 hit "My True Story". This is one of my 3 or 4 favorite doo-wop songs of all time. No one can do this tune like Eugene Pitt of The Jive Five but Aaron Neville comes awfully close. Neville also hits all of the right notes on such perennial doo-wop favorites as "Tears On My Pillow", "Under the Boardwalk" and most especially on "Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams)". The late Jesse Belvin would definitely approve!
All in all I was very pleased with most of what I heard on "My True Story". I thought that "Be My Baby" was OK but sounded a bit out of place given the other material on this disc. And while I was never a big fan of "Ruby Baby" I thought that Aaron Neville did a fine job on this number as well. "My True Story" would be a great disc to keep in your car and one people of all ages would enjoy hearing at a party. Aaron Neville is definitely on his game and the background music is superb. A solid four star offering. Highly recommended!
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