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CYRIL NEVILLE

MAGIC HONEY

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Ruf (RUF1192)

Not one to easily pigeon-hole is our Cyril and here he is again, defying expectations and turning out a simmering new album that throws up surprises and pleasures at every turn. At the age of 64, I'd have thought he could be forgiven for resting on his laurels for what he has achieved as a Neville Brothers and Meter but seemingly this is not his way at all.

From the sexy funk of the title track which opens this set, right through to Caribbean lilt on the closer, Slow Motion, this album is a whole potpourri of musical styles and grooves. Not surprising I guess when you   bring in contributions that variously range from the heavy-duty guitars of Walter Trout, David Z and Mike Zito to the New Orleans piano and organ of legends Allen Toussaint and Dr John. Despite these guests though, it is the core band of Cranston Clements (guitar), ‘Mean' Willie Green (drums), Carl Dufrene (bass) and Norman Caesar (keys) that do most of the musical heavy lifting here and impress in their ability to shift in and out of styles, from the contemporary blues rock of You Can Run But You Can't Hide and Invisible (written by Warren Haynes) and then glide effortlessly through the New Orleans groove of Swamp Funk.

Despite the inter-changing personnel and variety of musical styles served up, this very much impresses as a coherent and cohesive album, held together and focussed around Cyril's commanding voice and personality. Despite the strength of contributions across the piece, it is very much Cyril's album. Nice one Cyril!

Review Date: October 2013

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