Album: Ivan Neville

Scrape, Evangeline
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The Independent Culture

Ivan Neville's contacts book must be a wonder to behold, judging by the credits to his latest album. Augmenting his dad Aaron's old New Orleans R&B connections with new friends acquired as part of Keith Richards' band, Ivan has amassed a stellar line-up of funk, rock and blues accompanists, with the list of backing vocalists alone including Keef, Aaron, Bonnie Raitt, Bobby Womack, and the Was (Not Was) team of Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens. (Mercifully, executive producer Bruce Willis refrains from adding his talents to the pool of vocalists.) As you'd expect, the music is rooted in itchy New Orleans funk, with the title-track instrumental a direct homage to the skeletal groove style of The Meters, and tracks such as "What You Want From Me" and "Ugly Truth" built on abrupt rhythms that echo the distinctive style of Meters drummer "Zigaboo" Modeliste. Elsewhere, "Life's Been Good" is Sly-style funk, and "Dance For Free" a febrile funk jam featuring the clavinet of George Duke. With a couple of songs borrowing lines from Marvin Gaye, there's a Seventies retro-soul feel about Scrape, which is no bad thing. This music fits together like a 3D jigsaw, the complementary guitar styles of Keef, Waddy Wachtel, Robben Ford and Leo Nocentelli combining with an infectious charm, and Neville fronting the proceedings with aplomb.

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