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Warm Your Heart….Aaron Neville

05 Aug

 

aaron_warm.jpg
Louisiana 1927
Everybody Plays The Fool
It Feels Like Rain
Somewhere, Somebody
Don’t Go, Please Stay
With You In Mind
That’s The Way She Loves
Angola Bound
Close Your Eyes
La Vie Dansante
Warm Your Heart
I Bid You Goodnight
Ave Maria

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.

 

 

 

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14 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2007 in Good Stuff, Influences, memories, Soul

 

14 responses to “Warm Your Heart….Aaron Neville

  1. colette

    August 5, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    How prophetic that Aaron Neville record was! Thank you so so much for bringing it back into my bloodstream too. His voice is a heartbreaker.
    I imagine you know that “Louisiana 1927” was written by Randy Newman, who was born in NOLA and grew up there in part. He also sang it after the Katrina disaster, and it was also very moving in his rendition.
    I won’t get political, but the utter shameless neglect of the dead and dying in Katrina still makes my blood boil. As the country mourns the terrible bridge disaster in Minneapolis, I can’t help but remember that a great many of the more than 2,000 dead in New Orleans could have been saved, had not there been the utterly inhumane indifference of certain people in high places.
    I was in NOLA for Jazzfest this year, and had a terrible loss there of a beloved friend. It somehow connected me with the larger tragedy of the place, and the ongoing difficulties many natives spoke to me about.
    I can only pray that the Nevilles and others in positions of influence keep reminding us of how much work is left to be done to bring NOLA back to the vibrant community it was — not just the French Quarter, and not just the wealthy, but the humble people of all races who created the culture we celebrate.

    sorry for the sermon, this one is so emotional for me…….

     
  2. morewines

    August 6, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Maven,
    I was in New Orleans in May.
    Here is a video clip I took of some local
    musicians. http://vimeo.com/23093
    Music exudes from every street corner in that city.

    There is a lot of reconstruction going on
    in New Orleans due to hurricane Katrina two
    years later. What caught my attention was the
    very expensive homes have already been
    rebuilt. For those that live in less expensive
    homes and apartments well, they live in
    government issued trailers. This is two
    years after Katrina. It is a case of the haves
    and the have nots.

     
  3. music maven

    August 6, 2007 at 6:58 am

    I’m in NOLA about every two weeks on business (at least before when I could drive). I drive through East New Orleans (the slowest to come back), each time. It will come back but it’s difficult for a city THAT large with only 60% of its population (and tax base) to move very quickly.

    morewines — how fast did SF get completely rebuilt after the Earthquake? Just curious.

    Also, if any of you remember Hurricanes Camille and Andrew, some areas took 10 years to re-build and re-populate and sadly, some areas never did.

    While I’m not saying that the response has been what we’ve all wanted, if you look at coastal Mississippi and Alabama (sadly forgotten in this tragedy), you’ll find that it’s nearly as slow to go.

    Lastly, I ask that we keep this about Aaron Neville and his wonderful talent. This post was intended to share this music and not to dwell on Katrina. Maybe it’s selfish, but I live with it 24/7 as it’s all around us on the Gulf Coast…not to mention that it’s Hurricane season.

    p.s. Colette — I should have mentioned the Randy Newman writing credit but there’s been so much talk about the song lately that I figured it was redundant. However, if you’d like a fun New Orleans song by Randy, try New Orleans Won the War. Maybe that can become the new anthem for New Orleans.

     
  4. huckleberryfriend

    August 6, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I bought this CD about 10 years ago. Aaron’s singing of Ave Maria has to be one of the most beautiful and haunting songs ever recorded. It reminds me of my mother who was Cajun, Catholic, and a big Aaron Neville fan. It still brings a tear to my eye every time I hear Aaron sing it.

     
  5. music maven

    August 6, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Huck — The only better version I’ve heard is my nephew singing it at my Grandmother’s funeral. I first learned all the words to Ave Maria from listening to Aaron’s version over and over.

     
  6. Shrewspeaks

    August 6, 2007 at 8:33 am

    How utterly NOLA Aaron is to me. This cd in particular, was my first introduction with the fair culture that makes up Louisiana. Warm, soft, compelling and stalwart…a people and a place that just won’t let life be anything less than mirthical. How I wish I were from that culture rather than the land of acid wash jeans and Sopranos (although, I prefer to associate myself with Greg House’s NJ)

     
  7. morewines

    August 6, 2007 at 10:28 am

    “morewines — how fast did SF get completely rebuilt after the Earthquake? Just curious.”

    Maven,

    They are still working on the Bay Bridge. The
    Loma Prieta quake occurred in 1998. The housing
    issue has been taken care many years ago. There
    was clearly a different attitude. Maybe because
    the people in the houses in the Marine District
    of SF were of the affluent kind. Believe me
    the Marine District is an affluent area of
    SF.

    When Katrina hit it showed the Nation
    poverty they did not know existed.
    Before Katina, New Orleans to most people out side of the area was considered “Party Town USA”.

     
  8. colette

    August 6, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    MM: I know there’s action, but I was stunned to find out while in NOLA that people in Mississippi had received most of the Fema money promised in them — while only a small percentage of NOLA folks did. I don’t believe it was a deliberate conspiracy, and I know NOLA has always had a lot of civic problems. But when you’re poor you don’t have much of a voice….

    And thanks for the Randy Newman tip! Love him, and will look up that tune….

     
  9. Laurita

    August 7, 2007 at 2:36 am

    morewines,
    i’m sure you meant to type “1989” (not 1998), for the date of what’s known as the “Loma Prieta Earthquake”.. it took them much longer to fix the devastation of that quake in places like Oakland, where I now live, than in the hi-income places in S.F…

    btw, that was the day I moved to the Bay Area from Mexico! I was unpacking and starting to watch the World Series when the quake struck.. bizarre and unforgettable.. I grew up in Miami with hurricanes my whole life, and Katrina/Rita were heartbreaking to witness. We sent truckloads of donations from her in No. CA…

    Meanwhile, DD, thanks for this reminder about this amazing album of Aaron Neville’s – one of my alltime favorites too.. I’ll never forget seeing the full Neville Brothers band at the NOLA HOB during JazzFest back 10 years ago.. it was completely insane/out of this world, til past 3 a.m. 😉

    (d- i got chills reading what you wrote about your nephew…)

     
  10. Laurita

    August 7, 2007 at 2:56 am

    P.S. My other favorite CD of Aaron’s is his Bring It on Home… The Soul Classics CD from last Fall, 2006…

    Last track is “A Change is Gonna Come”.. so fine..

    From the Amazon product description:

    “…his interpretations of 13 universally loved soul classics, including Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” The album also features special guests Chaka Khan, Chris Botti, Mavis Staples, David Sanborn and Art Neville…”

    I just went to YouTube to find his “Change… come”, and didn’t see it, but instead found one of my most beloved songs ever! Leonard Cohen’s “Song of Bernadette”, sung by Aaron and Linda Ronstadt:

    Jennifer Warnes’ version of this song, from her L. Cohen tribute album “Famous Blue Raincoat”, is even more extraordinary, imho:

    http://jenniferwarnes.com/pages/video_bernadette.html

    whew!

     
  11. Laurita

    August 7, 2007 at 3:05 am

    P.P.S. Can’t resist!:
    Just found on Jennifer’s site that “The 20th Anniversary Edition” of Famous Blue Raincoat, Remastered on Compact Disc (with 24 page booklet), is being released this week (coinciding with Grace Potter’s release!)

    http://jenniferwarnes.com/index.html

    There are 4 previously unreleased tracks added for this new CD..
    I think I’ll call Fred at Laser’s Edge and get him to send me one…

    Wow, not much could make me happier 😉

     
  12. my music blog

    August 7, 2007 at 7:43 am

    If I’m not mistaken, Aaron Neville is also the voice behind the “All My Life” song. A duet with Linda Ronstadt. I’m not that old but I just love the sound of old songs to my ear.. It’s only now, I’ve come to discover his other songs. Thanks a lot for sharing it!

     
  13. brc

    August 7, 2007 at 8:28 am

    I have always loved Aaron Neville. I was unfamiliar with this album. His voice is truly a God-given gift.

     
  14. colette

    August 7, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Heard her “Famous Blue Raincoat” on the radio yesterday, and it really held up. I love Leonard’s version best, but Warnes did a fine job.

     

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