Album: Neville Brothers, Authorized Bootleg: Warfield Theatre San Francisco (Hip-O Select/A&M)

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The Independent Culture

The Neville Brothers were once one of the best live bands in America.

But by the time they were hitting their studio peak with Yellow Moon in 1989, their New Orleans funk/soul gumbo was becoming somewhat overripe, as this contemporary live double album demonstrates. The opening twosome of "Fire on the Bayou" and "Hey Pocky Way" revisits material that some brothers had already treated with more spicy brio as members of The Meters, while elsewhere due tributes are paid to Little Richard and their Mardi Gras Indian roots. But while it's always a pleasure to hear Aaron Neville's blissful melisma, the supporting music here leans too heavily towards tired jazz-funk, with brother Art favouring insipid 1980s keyboard tones over the sturdier piano and organ parts he'd previously used.

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