Everybody Plays The Fool
It Feels Like Rain
Don’t Go, Please Stay
With You In Mind
That’s The Way She Loves
Close Your Eyes
La Vie Dansante
Warm Your Heart
I Bid You Goodnight
For the record, my memory is generally pretty sharp. Some have even said it’s photographic. I’m in my 40s now, but in my early 20s, it was phenomenal. However, in early 1991, I became pregnant for the first and only time with Mini-DD. Shortly into the pregnancy, I lost my ever lovin’ mind — literally. I could barely remember my name and where I lived at times. So forgive me, but I have no recollection of how I came to purchase Aaron Neville’s Warm Your Heart CD. It may have been my particular fondness of the single hit, Everybody Plays the Fool, or perhaps I heard it at my friend’s annual 4th of July pool party or maybe it was hearing Somewhere, Somebody on the new AC Radio Station in town. Regardless, if someone put a gun to my head I couldn’t tell you how I came to possess Warm Your Heart.
I can tell you that it became one of my “viral” records. You know, one that you get and play over and over and over until you know every lyric and every beat and what song comes next, etc. I happily played this CD every Saturday when I was cleaning house, Saturday nights when we bar-b-qued outside and Sundays after mass while reading the paper. Very rarely listened to music during the week back then as I was exhausted from working all day and when I got home I usually sat with my big, swollen feet propped up for a while then we ate dinner and passed out by 9:00pm. Back then, we also didn’t have a CD player in our cars, so I was confined to playing it on our new 6-disk changer CD in the house.
I love his CD. Aaron Neville is so thoroughly Louisiana and so thoroughly Soul. I like virtually every song on the CD and they are all very different from one another. Of course, the opening song of Louisiana 1927 is well-known thanks to Hurricane Katrina, but I fell in love with it back in 1991.
Aaron Neville, Louisiana 1927 — Hurricane Katrina Relief Benefit
As most of you know, I love all things Louisiana, so I was immediately drawn to this song. So much so that I actually researched the flood of 1927 and interviewed both of my grandmothers who were still living and were 90 and 85 at the time. This song, for me, is a testament to the metal and defiance of Louisianians. While it may appear to be a sorrowful recantation of a profound tragedy, I believe that it’s about triumphing over adversity and not letting them “wash us away”. Maybe it’s because I know, first hand, of the tenacity of the people of Louisiana and its rich history, but that’s what I get from the song.
Here are a few song samples along with my thoughts….
It Feels Like Rain Written by the great John Hiatt, this song is a slow burn delivered exquisitely.
Somewhere, Somebody I swear that this song was in a movie but it was at the time of my FBD (Fetal Brain Drain) syndrome. Regardless, I do know that it’s one of the reasons I wanted the CD. I love the old throwback soul style of it.
With You in Mind Along with That’s the Way She Loves, this song was written by the legend, Allen Toussaint. Part of the perks of growing up in New Orleans Music royalty provides working with the likes of Toussaint, John Hiatt, and even Jimmy Buffett, who wrote the quaint La Vie Dansante.
Showing wonderful diversity, this tune blends a nice Calypso feeling and Aaron’s signature styling.
Angola Bound One of my favorites of this CD, this tune hits you the way Marc Broussard’s Home does. Aaron’s brother, Charles, spent a bit of time up at Angola Prison and helped Aaron to write this song…
- I got lucky last summer when I got my time, Angola bound
- Well my partner got a hundred, I got ninety-nine, Angola bound
- You been a long time coming but you’re welcome home, Angola bound
- And go to Louisiana get your burdens on, Angola bound
- Oh Captain, oh Captain don’t you be so cruel, Angola bound
- Oh you work me harder than you work that mule, Angola bound
Close Your Eyes Aaron has done several duets with Linda Ronstadt and this one wonderfully highlights both of their voices. This song has a lot of Marcia Ball influence, to me.
I also love the fact that Aaron Neville is unabashedly Catholic. Sometimes it’s not easy putting that out there in this increasingly secular world, but Aaron wears the big cross for the meaning and talks in the book, The Brothers, how he prayed to St. Jude to turn their fortunes around after a particularly tough patch. Also, Aaron wrote a song, Song of Bernadette, for another CD about St. Bernadette. Though he’s never mentioned it or called attention to it, every CD in his recent past ends with a religious song as the 13th song — Ave Maria on this one, The Lord’s Prayer on another, Cryin’ in the Chapel on another. If you don’t have Aaron’s Christmas CDs, do yourself a favor and add those to your collection, as well as this one.
I Bid You Goodnight This song can be taken a few ways and I particularly like the acoustic nature and harmonies. There is a religious message there, but’s very subtle.
Warm Your Heart This title track is magnificent. It’s New Orleans music 101. I can picture all kinds of “special guests” like Irma Thomas and Marcia Ball sitting in on this one while I sit at a sidewalk table in Jackson Square watching the artist do tourists’ portraits under the gaze of Andrew Jackson.
TODAY’s TRIVIA: Warm Your Heart was written by the brilliant Ahmet Ertegun, President of Atlantic Records…an accomplished songwriter in his own right.
Here is a Rolling Stone Review of Warm Your Heart that captures the essence of this wonderful compilation quite well. This is a great listening CD and will provide you hours of enjoyment. It’s available at iTunes and Amazon. Also, you can visit Aaron’s website at www.aaronneville.com.