Finally!  As promised in my February 12th entry about Art’s Alternate recordings, it’s now time to examine the differences between Aaron’s recordings and their alternate versions.

Over You

Original version (2:16)  /  Alternate version (2:06)  /  Original version –  alternate mix (2:17)

The differences between the original version and the alternate take are very obvious. The alternate take is MUCH faster and (as a result) is about ten seconds shorter than the single version.  Vocals are dry (ie they do not have any delay effect applied to them.)

If the speed isn’t a dead giveaway, the first verse is sung slightly differently between the two versions.  On the original 45, the lyrics are: “There’ll be some slow walkin’.  Gonna be some sad talkin’.  There’ll be some flowers bringin’.  Gonna be some sad singin’.  Over You…”  On the alternate version, the third and fourth lines are very slightly different:  Gonna be some flowers bringin’.  There’ll be some sad singin’.”

The third version is actually the same take as the original version except that there is no delay effect on the vocals and the song fades out (rather than coming to a cold ending as it does on the original 45 version.)

Get Out Of My Life

Original version (2:12)  /  Alternate version (2:03)

Here, the differences are a bit subtler.  For the most part, the main differences are with the lyrics.  The first line of the second verse (“You played a game, I was a fool”) is slightly different on the alternate version (“You played a game, I SAID I was a fool.”)

The improvised lyrics at the end are significantly different between the two versions.  The lyrics of the original single version are: “I said, let me go, baby. Come on, come on, let me go now. I said, come on, come on, come on, come on, whoa. a-ha, a-ha, a-ha a-ha, a-ha, a-ha a-ha, a-ha, a-ha. Come on, let me go”  On the alternate version, we hear Aaron sing, “A-come on, come on and let me go now.  I don’t want you around me no no.  A-come on come on… “

 

Show Me the Way

Original version (2:18)  /  Alternate version (2:31)

The alternate version is the same take as the original version except for two significant differences.  It is missing a vibraphone* overdub, which features prominently on the original version.  Also, the alternate, undubbed version features an extra 12 seconds during which the vocal “choir” (sans Aaron) sings a final “show me the way” at a much slower speed than the rest of the song, followed by a loud piano chord and softer, single bass note.

* If you are not familiar with it, a vibraphone (also called a vibraharp) is a xylophone-like percussion instrument, with metal keys.  Here is a video, featuring a vibraphone solo so you’ll know what sound to be listening for.

Even Though

Original version (2:43)  /  Alternate version (2:38)

Despite the timing difference, the two versions are the same take except that the alternate version is missing vibraphone overdubs, which are found on the original version.  It appears as though the timing difference is the result of the alternate version’s running a hair faster.

Don’t Cry (Aaron)

Original version (2:14)  /  Alternate version (2:10)

A couple significant differences make these two versions very easy to differentiate.  The original version features a melodic piano introduction with a predominant vibraphone part throughout the recording.  The alternate version starts with triplet arpeggios on piano and the entire track is vibraphone-free.

Humdinger

Original version (2:23)  /  Alternate version (2:35)

The two versions are identical through the first 2:17 of the track.  At that point, the single version features a prominent piano part with the backing vocalists repeating the song’s title, “humdinger” until the song fades out.  On the alternate (unedited master) take, the verse which begins “I bought my baby child a diamond ring. It was a humdinger” is repeated and faded out.

Wrong Number

Original version (2:47)  /  Alternate version (2:46)

This one is the trickiest to differentiate and some discs incorrectly identify which version they contain. Aaron’s phrasing is different between the two versions (and the backing vocals are mixed lower on the alternate take.)  The only lyrical differences are: (1) a single word during the first verse and (2) the improvised singing at the end, during the song’s fade-out.

During the first verse (“Every time the telephone rings I hold my breath.  Hoping that it’s you, I’m scared to death.  [The] phone went ring, my crippled heart cried.  Let it be you, on the line”) the word “the” preceding the word “phone” exists in the alternate version but NOT in the original, single version.

A somewhat more obvious clue can be heard during the song’s fade-out (following the lyrics “Hold on baby, ’til I tell these blues goodbye. ‘Til I tell these blues goodbye.”)  On the original, single version, Aaron hums (“mm-mm-mm”) while he SINGS “whoa whoa  yeahhh” on the alternate version.

For Every Boy There’s a Girl

Original version (2:48)  /  Alternate version (2:13)

The commercial version features a flute overdub that is missing from the alternate version.  There are places where the flute part is quite pretty while, at other points, it sticks out like a sore thumb.  The bridge (“I pray at night that you’ll come back to me.  I love you with all my heart and soul. Darling, I would never make you cry. I want you to come to my side”) is repeated on the original version, thus explaining the extra 35 seconds

I’ve Done It Again (Once Again)

Original version (2:47)  /  Alternate version (1:35)

To my ears, the two versions sound like variations of the same recording.  Besides the significant timing difference, the original version (again) features a flute overdub that is missing from the alternate version.  While the flute part on “For Every Boy…” is at least tolerable to my ears, it sticks out like a sore thumb here.  The entire song has a swinging feel to it, while the flute is played straight, making it sound all the more like it was an afterthought.  The original version is so much longer because it features an instrumental solo (again marred by the flute part) and a repeat of the song’s bridge (“I’ve been in love before.  I’ve been hurt before.  I thought I was through with being a fool, but I ended up in the same shoes once more.”)  The verse, which immediately follows the bridge the first time around (“Once again I sit alone, wondering and worrying all night long over you.

I’ve done it again”) is also repeated.

The Ticks of The Clock

Version 1 (3:07)  /  Version 2 (3:12)  /  Version 3

This one is tricky.  Not so much because the three versions are hard to differentiate, but because various sources describe certain versions differently. Ignore the weak liner notes and trust your ears!

According to some sources, a version of this song was released on the “Art and Aaron Neville” LP (Bandy 70013,) a “fact” which I reproduced on the NevilleTracks discography.  The song does NOT appear on my copy of that LP, nor on any copy I’ve ever encountered, so I can’t say for sure that it really exists.  I have found three versions of this song.

Version 1 (probably the closest thing to a “single version” that we have) seems to be nothing more than Version 2, faded out five seconds early.  Version 2 has a cold ending, rather than a fade out.  It ends with a “campy” piano/drum/sax tag.  The sax solo on both sound the same, but I suspect that’s because the sax player played the solo the same way both times.  The “tick tock” effect on this version sounds very different.  It sounds more like “tock tock” than “tick tock” because the pitch doesn’t vary the way it does on the “single version.”  This “tock tock” slows down a hair at the end and comes to a dead stop, rather than being faded out.

Lyrically, there are a couple significant differences to help the listener spot which version s/he is listening to.

The most obvious of these “tells” occur the second and third time the chorus (“She thinks that I’m-a lame”) is sung.  The second time around, Aaron sings, “You know, you think that I’m-a lame.”  The third time, it’s “She thinks, you know she thinks that I’m-a lame.”


Tell It Like It Is

Original version (2:41)  /  Remake (3:04)

Unlike any of the other recordings being discussed here, these two recordings were recorded at separate times for two separate record companies.  Quite often, particularly back in the 70’s and 80’s, a record label would ask an artist to re-record one of his/her big hits, giving the record buyer something “familiar” (and guaranteeing a certain amount of sales to folks who are familiar with the hit – or to those who are unaware that they are not getting the original recording.)

On the original  Parlo recording, the piano arpeggio at the very beginning is much slower than that on the remake.  The piano provides the rhythm on the Parlo version, with the guitar accenting the off-beats (2 and 4.)  On the remake, the guitar is not just providing accents; it is the prominent rhythm instrument.

Lyrically, Aaron takes a lot of liberties on the remake.  During the second verse, (“If you are serious, then don’t play with my heart, it makes me furious”) Aaron sings the lyrics as “If you are serious little girl, little girl, little girl, then don’t play with my heart, it makes me furious.” There are several of these lyrical improvisations throughout the song.

 

Mojo Hannah

Original Version (3:53)  /  Alternate version (4:30)

The 45 version features a continual trumpet part throughout the song (beginning just prior to Aaron’s first entrance.) There are no horns on the alternate version at all.  The single fades out during the lyric, “I’m gonna be waitin by the railroad tracks yes I am” while the alternate version does not fade at that point and continues for another 35 seconds or so.  During this extended ending, Aaron improvises while the backing vocalists repeat the “work it up, Hannah” “riff.”

Hercules

Original Version  (3:40)  /  Alternate version (4:10)

The original 45 version is a half minute shorter than the alternate version.  On most unauthorized reissues, it is the alternate version that is included and NOT the original single version.  The single version features string overdubs & double-tracked vocals, neither of which is on the alternate version.

The 45 fades out during the lyrics, “Beg, steal or borrow.  Somehow I’ve got to make it till tomorrow.”  The alternate version continues with another verse: “Can’t depend, on no-one else. Comin’ up the hard way I’ve got to save myself. Must be Hercules.  I must be Hercules.  Talk about me if you please.  I must be Hercules.”  Shortly after the vocals conclude, the song comes to a grinding halt.  (The recording is faded during the last few seconds but the cold ending is still very evident.)

How many of us have purchased an entire album, just to possess a single track from that album?  I’d dare bet that anyone who seriously collects the recordings of any musician or band has done this (and probably more than once.)  I can’t even count the number of discs in my collection, which I would never own otherwise,  if not for that one track… the one, which features a contribution from some musician I really like.  And the Nevilles alone are responsible for a significant number of these “never would have had them if not for that one track” discs.

Of course, this has happened less over recent years, thanks to many album tracks being made available individually via legal download services like Rhapsody, i-Tunes and Amazon’s mp3 store.  We can now fill in the holes in our collections more easily (and cheaply) these days, as long as we are willing to accept the lesser sound quality of the recordings available from these sources.

Wouldn’t it be great if some record company would just license ALL of these non-LP tracks and put together a boxed set, so we can have ALL of the Nevilles’ recordings in one place?  Well, I can safely say that will never happen, so here are the tracks you need in order to compile your own boxed set (with information about where those tracks can be found.)

This list does not include contributions made by the Brothers individually.  I am listing ONLY those tracks which feature at least three of them!

1978

  • If It Takes All Night

Vinyl 45 version with additional backing vocals not found on the LP version

1979

  • Sweet Honey Dripper
  • Dance Your Blues Away

Both sides of the rare Neville Brothers single on the Nevilles’ own Cookie Records label

1983

  •  Middle Of The Night  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • Money Back Guarantee  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)

Both tracks on Jimmy Buffett’s “Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads” box set

 1988

  • Homemade Music  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • Bring Back The Magic  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • My Barracuda  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • Great Heart  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)
  • Love and Luck  (w/ Jimmy Buffett)

Tracks 1-5 on Jimmy Buffett’s “Hot Water” LP.  Track 6 is an outtake from the “Hot Water” LP and was released in 1992 on the “Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads” box set

1989

  • Black Diamond Pearl
  • New Suit
  • San Nou Ki La (My Blood)  (with Les Freres Parentes)
  • Konbit (Working Together)  (with Les Freres Parentes)
  • The Maker  (with Daniel Lanois)

Track 1 released in the UK only.  Track 2 was released on a German CD single.  Tracks 3 and 4 can be found on the “Konbit: Burning Rhythms of Haiti” LP.  Track 5 is on Daniel Lanois’s “Acadie” LP.

1990

  • In The Still Of The Night
  • Bird On A Wire (extended version)
  • Shake Your Tambourine (live: WXRT)
  • Yellow Moon (live: Univ. of New Orleans 8/90)
  • My Blood (live: Univ. of New Orleans 8/90)
  • River Of Life (live: Univ. of New Orleans 8/90)

Track 1 on the “Red Hot + Blue” compilation. Track 2 on a German CD single and on a US promo CD. Track 3 on an American promotional CD. Tracks 4-6 on the Japanese “Fearless” EP.

1991

  • Sister Rosa (live: WXRT)
  • A Change Is Gonna Come (live: WXRT)
  • People Say (live: WXRT)
  • My Brother’s Keeper (live: Univ. of New Orleans 8/90)
  • Brother Jake (live: Univ. of New Orleans 8/90)
  • Tell It Like It Is (Dais-Toi Que Ça Existe) (with Eddy Mitchell)

Tracks 1-5 on the Japanese “Live!” EP.  Track 6 on the “Eddy Mitchell au Casino de Paris” LP

1992

  • Good Song
  • Litanie Des Saints  (with Dr. John)
  • My Indian Red  (with Dr. John)
  • Do You Call That A Buddy?  (with Dr. John)
  • Goin’ Back To New Orleans  (with Dr. John)

Track 1 on the German pressing of the “Family Groove” CD. Tracks 2-5 on Dr John’s “Goin’ Back to New Orleans”

1993

  • Let That Hammer Fall

From the “Posse” soundtrack

1994

  • Let The Good Times Roll
  • Come Together

Track 1 on the “Fast Track to Nowhere” soundtrack.  Track 2 on the “Woodstock ‘94” compilation

1995

  • Yellow Moon (live)
  • Born Under A Bad Sign  (with Buddy Guy)
  • Hold On, I’m Comin’

Track 1 on KFOG radio’s “Live from the Archives Volume 2” compilation. Track 2 is on the “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead” soundtrack. Track 3 on the “Money Train” soundtrack

1996

  • Ayiti
  • Over A Million Strong

Track 1 from the “Louisiana Live From Mountain Stage” compilation.  Track 2 from the the “Get On The Bus” soundtrack

1998

  • Yellow Moon (live)
  • Yellow Moon (live)

Track 1 on the “Austin City Limits: Big Blues Extravaganza” compilation.  Track 2 on the “ONXRT-Live from the Archives Volume 3” CD.

2000

  • Yellow Moon (live)

From the “Farm Aid – Volume One Live” compilation

2001

  • My Blood (live)  (with Carlos Santana)
  • Ain’t No Use (live)  (with Carlos Santana)

Both tracks on the “Breathing Fire” compilation

2002

  • Yellow Moon (live)

From KBCO Radio’s “Studio C – Volume 14” cd

2004

  • Your Life (Fallen Soldiers) (live)
  • Brothers (live)
  • Walkin’ In the Shadow of Life (live)
  • Rivers of Babylon (live)
  • Big Chief (Live)

Tracks 1-4 from the “From KFOG to i-Tunes” digital EP (available exclusively via download from i-Tunes.)  Track 5 from the “Lightning in a Bottle” compilation

2005

  • Streets Are Callin’ (live)
  • Brothers (live)
  • Voodoo (live)

Track 1 from the “Austin City Limits Music Festival: 2004” compilation.  Track 2 from the “Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now” compilation. Track 3 from KBCO radio’s “Studio C – Volume 17” cd.

2006

  • Carry The Torch
  • Hey Pocky Way (with the Meters)
  • Amazing Grace
  • When The Saints Go Marching In (with ensemble)
  • Yellow Moon
  • Fire On The Bayou
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • Rivers of Babylon (live)

Tracks 1-4 from the “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy” DVD.  Tracks 5-7 fro the “New Orleans Concert – The Music Of America’s Soul” DVD.  Track 8 from the “KGSR Broadcasts – Vol. 13” CD.

2008

  • Way Down in the Hole
  • Fire on the Bayou (live)
  • Voodoo (live)
  • Africa (live)
  • Fever (live)
  • Caravan (live)
  • Tipitina (live)
  • Brother John / Iko Iko (live)
  • Yellow Moon (live)

Track 1 from “The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter – Five Years of Music from the Wire” compilation.  Tracks 2-9 from the “Heart and Soul of New Orleans (Live)” EP

The Great Lost Neville Tracks (Part One) : As Documented by the US Copyright Office

Here’s another of my favorites from the NevilleTracks archive…  Originally published in August 2008 – Introduction updated February 2012

While the NevilleTracks discography focused primarily on recordings, which were released to the general public at one time or another, I have always wondered just how many songs were written but never recorded.  Or, better yet, how many were recorded but not released?  I recall once reading in a record collector’s magazine that A&M Records alone had enough unreleased Neville recordings to fill a 2-CD set!  There is a disc circulating among collectors, which includes the unreleased song “Louisiana Woman” (from the band’s debut LP on Capitol Records.)  In the early ‘90s, Ivan recorded a follow up CD to “If My Ancestors Could See Me Now” for Polygram Records, which was scrapped at the last minute (and some – but not all – of which ended up on his “Thanks” CD.)  And these were just the handful about which I already knew; presumably, there were others as well.

So, I decided to do some research.  Unfortunately, I have never been given any access to recording studio logs or any other “inside” information, so I would have to rely on sources of information, which are readily available to the general public.  The most useful sources I’ve found are the U.S. Copyright Office and the two main Performance Rights Organizations in the U.S., ASCAP and BMI.  (If my memory serves me correctly, I was originally referred to the Copyright Office’s web site by my good friend Dan Phillips, who runs the always-excellent (and HIGHLY recommended) “Home of the Groove Blogspot.”

The Copyright Office’s site is not without its flaws, but it’s still a great place to start.  And, as such, that’s where I decided to start my exploration of “Great Lost Neville Tracks.”  A second installment, which focuses on the information available on the ASCAP and BMI web sites (and which was also written back in 2008) will be posted here in the very near future.

Please note that I have added two entries (2010 & 2011) since the original appearance of this article.  I have NOT made any other changes although I do plan to review the Copyright Office’s web site eventually to see if there have been any additions since I did my initial research.

1972

In April of 1972, a song titled, “Going to See the Man” (composed by George Porter, Jr., Arthur Neville, Leo Nocentelli & Joseph Modeliste) was registered with the US Copyright Office. It was registered again on July 24, 1972. There is a mediocre-sounding recording of this song available from iTunes, Rhapsody and Amazon.com,  credited to on-again-off-again Meters member, Willie West. Dan Phillips (over at the aforementioned Home of the Groove Blogspot) contacted Mr West and was informed that he was NOT involved with the track and that he has no idea how his name got connected to it. To us, this sounds like a Josie-era, Meters recording with someone playing a second keyboard. Sadly, it’s not a particularly interesting song, but it’s always fun to discover a “lost” Meters recording. (Of course, our research has shown that there are still more unreleased Meters recordings, waiting to be found!)

1978

On September 25, 1978, three songs were copyrighted, which have never appeared on any Neville LP (although one of those tracks has made it into collectors’ hands, along with rough mixes of a half dozen of the songs on the “Neville Brothers” LP.) “Louisiana Woman,” the one song that has leaked out, was written by brother Charles. “I’m Burning Up” and “I’m Calling Your Bluff” are registered to “Neville Productions, Inc., employer for hire.” As such, we are unsure if either song was composed by one (or more) of the Nevilles, or if some outsider wrote them on behalf of Neville Productions. Nor are we sure if the songs were ever recorded.

1979

On August 20, 1979, “Cradle Days” (music by Tony Berg and Aaron Neville – lyrics by Aaron Neville) was registered. The song has never been released by any of the Nevilles although it was recorded and released by Bette Midler on her “Thighs and Whispers” LP in 1979.

1980

In May of 1980, a song titled “If You Want It” was registered to Ivan Neville, Cyril Neville and Nick Daniels. (The song is alternatively known as “If You Want It, You Can Get It.”) In July of 1980, Ivan and Reginald Cummings (who had written the classic Neville song “Dance Your Blues Away” a few months earlier, copyrighted their composition, “Let’s Get To It.” In August, brother Charles copyrighted his “Music from Shangri-la,” (which was written in 1979.) According to Charles’s biography on the official Neville Brothers web site, “…Drawing from his experiences at the Dew Drop Inn, Charles conceived and arranged the music for a musical called Shangri-La.” In late September, Aaron copyrighted a collection of his poetic works! Presumably, some of these poems have been used as song lyrics.

1981

In early June of 1981, Aaron copyrighted two more of these poems. Just a few days earlier, the original line-up of the Uptown Allstars copyrighted two audio cassettes’ worth of music! “The Collective Musical Works of the Uptown Allstars” is registered to Ivan J. Neville, Gerald Tillman, Nick Daniels III, Renard J. Poche & Willie Green III. This is not the same Uptown Allstars, which was made famous by brother Cyril in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Unfortunately, the individual song titles are not listed. I have NO doubt that there are MANY gems on this particular collection (even if the recordings are only of demo quality.)

1982

On February 12, 1982, both Ivan and Cyril registered new compositions. “Close Encounter (of the Worst Kind)” is credited to Cyril and Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John.) “I Believe” (which was written in 1981) was registered to Ivan Neville, Nick Daniels III & Fred Octavia In mid-June, Ivan’s song “Right Kinda Night” was copyrighted. In December of 1982, “The Time is Right” (which was a concert staple for the Nevilles in their early years) was registered to Ivan Neville, Gerald Tillman & Nick Daniels III. While no known authorized recording of this song exists by the Neville Brothers, it IS available on Rufus’s “Seal in Red” LP (with Ivan singing lead.)

1983

I’m A Big Boy Now” was registered on February 15, 1983 and was written by Aaron and Ivan. It appears as if the song was later recorded for “If My Ancestors Could See Me Now,” as it was reregistered at that time. “I Can See It In Your Eyes” (which would be recorded in the 90’s for the Brothers’ “Family Groove” LP) was registered at the same time. In mid-September of the same year, “All Day, All Night” (Ivan Neville, Ronald Jones) was copyrighted.

1984

1984 saw Ivan and Cyril registering several tracks each, which have never been released (if they were recorded at all.) First up was “Get You Tonight” (Paul Robert Walsh, Ivan Neville, James B. Hutchinson,) which had been written the year before and was finally copyrighted on March 16th. On April 10th, the songwriting team of Ivan Neville, Paul Robert Walsh & Leo Nocentelli registered two songs, “Slapjack” and “Breakout.” In late August, brother Cyril registered two compositions. The first of these, “Take a Chance on Love,” was penned solely by him, whereas “I‘m Saving My Love For You” (aka “I’m Savin’ My Love For You“) was the work of Cyril, Brian Stoltz, Darryl Johnson and “Mean” Willie Green. Mid-October saw the registration of three more Ivan Neville-Leo Nocentelli collaborations: “Love in China,” “Tell Me How You Feel” and “You Are The One.” (Paul Robert Walsh also contributed to the last two songs.) On November 20th, “Just Around the Block” (words & music: Brian Herbert Stoltz; music: Darryl Johnson & Cyril G. Neville) was copyrighted.

1985

January of 1985 saw the registration of a song titled “Love Zone” (words & music by Cyril Neville & Brian Stoltz.) This song WAS recorded by the Nevilles and released on the “Uptown” LP using a variation of the song’s alternate title, “I Never Needed No One Like I Need You.” On March 7, Poppa Funk registered his composition, “Stay With Me: I Love You” (aka “I Love You.”) In mid-June, “The Collective Works of Renard Poche” (originally created in 1984) was copyrighted (words & music: Renard Poche, Daryl Johnson & Ivan Neville.) Renard was a member of both the original Uptown Allstars AND the Neville Brothers’ band. In mid-August, the team of Ivan Neville and Leo Nocentelli registered another composition, “You’ll Never Say No Again.” September 19th found brother Cyril and Darryl Johnson (who played bass with the Neville Brothers in the mid-1980s) registered their song, “I Will Survive.”

1986

In May of 1986, Aaron teamed up with long-time Neville Brothers / funky METERS guitarist Brian Stoltz to compose “Love & Misunderstanding.” In mid-November, Ivan was (once again) teamed up with Leo Nocentelli (along with Paul R. Walsh and Nick Daniels) for the composition, “Buckwheat.”

1987

1987 saw more unissued songs registered than any other year. On March 31, “African American” (a song which we remember hearing the Uptown Allstars perform) was written by Cyril G. Neville, Sr., Daryl Johnson, Kenric Neville and Lyryca Neville. In mid-May, “Losing You” (a song which had been written the year before) was registered to “Ivan Neville; words & music (as employer for hire of Nicholas Tremulis & Roger Reupert.)” In September, Ivan registered three more compositions. “The Hype and the Hoopla” was written with Leo Nocentelli and Nick Daniels. “She’s Too Much” and “What Money Can By” (sic) were written with Steven Stewart. Most likely, the latter tune is the same as “Money Talks” (which was released on Ivan’s “If My Ancestors Could See Me Now” LP.

November 6, 1987 saw the registration of 27 compositions, many of which were recorded and released on Neville LPs. However, almost a dozen of those songs have never been commercially released. These are: “Take A Chance” (Cyril Neville, Gaynielle Neville & Liryca Neville); “Runnin’ Out of Time” (Art Neville, Aaron Neville, Charles Neville & Cyril Neville); “Stay With Me” (which had been registered in March of 1986 as well – by Art Neville); “One Thing” (Aaron Neville & Ivan Neville); “Big Boy” (possibly the same song as “I’m a Big Boy Now” – Aaron Neville & Ivan Neville); “Savin’ My Love” (Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson, Brian Stoltz & Willie Green); “Cajun Rock“(Art Neville, Aaron Neville & Rusty Kershaw) “Uptown Reggae” (Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson, George Sartain & Kevin Hayes); “Callin’ Yo Bluff” (perhaps the same song as 1978’s “I’m Calling Your Bluff” – by Charles Neville & Kathleen Kobran); “30 Degrees N x 90 Degrees W,” which was performed for the “Cinemax Sessions – Tell It Like It Is” video (Charles Neville); and “Pappa Wa Diddy” (Cyril Neville & Daryl Johnson.)

1988

In contrast, 1988 was a very lean year. “All in Good Time” (words & music: Daryl Johnson, Ivan Neville, Nick Daniels) was registered on May 2 and “Funky Promiseland” (words & music by Cyril Neville, Sr., Austin Tony Hall, Willie Green, Aaron Neville & Brian Stoltz) was registered on September 1st.

1989

The only unreleased song from 1989 was one which was copyrighted on June 27, “Alexis 3000” by Terrence A. Manuel, Vernon P. Manuel, and Cyril G. Neville (who helped with the lyrics.)

1991

On August 27, 1991, a song titled “Mind Games” was registered to Cyril Neville, Jr., Norman Caesar, Perry Dominguez, et al. / Deff Generation Music, Inc. In December of that year, “Terry Manuel Originals, ’91 (collection)” was also registered (Terrence A. Manuel, Mark Dubuleclet, Charles Moore, Willie Green, George Sartin, Cyril Neville & Vernon Phillip Manuel. These were previously registered in 1979.

1992

On March 5, 1992, a song written by Ivan Neville and Hawk Wolinski in 1990 (titled “Sound of Love“) was registered. In October 1992, the team of Art Neville, Eric Kolb, Chuck Sheefel & Dwayne Saint Romaine (who, along with Ron Cuccia, penned the Nevilles’ song “Line of Fire”) registered three compositions: “When the Boogie Comes Down,” “Funk ’em up!” and “On Your Own.” Doctor Charles registered some of his compositions in early November of that year. “She Loves the Clave” which was a staple at Neville Brothers shows for many years, has (unfortunately) never been commercially released. Fans of Charles’s solo work are familiar with his composition, “The Painter.” On November 6, Charles registered two similarly-titled songs, “The Painter (Her)” and “The Painter (Him).” It is unknown if either of these is the song included on the CD of the same name.

There were two other very interesting registrations made in 1992. They appear to be retroactive registrations for the compositions on “If My Ancestors Could See Me Now” and on Ivan’s second CD, which was slated for release in the early 90s but cancelled. Ivan has said that the best of the songs from that unreleased LP were rerecorded for his “Thanks” LP, but it sure would be fun to hear the unissued LP. On February 7, “After All This Time & 10 Other Titles” was registered and included 10 songs from the “Ancestors…” LP and one unissued song, “I’m a Big Boy Now” (written by Ivan Neville and Aaron Neville and previously registered on February 15, 1983.) As stated previously, it’s possible that this is the same song registered as “Big Boy” on November 6, 1987.

March 5, 1992 saw the registration of “Before My Time & 8 Other Titles” (which is presumed to be the unreleased LP, although we recall Ivan’s mentioning that the LP was to include some classic New Orleans R&B tunes in addition to his original compositions.) Rather than list only the songs, which were never released, we are listing all of the songs registered that day, hoping to give an idea what the track listing on the aborted LP might have been like.

Before My Time” (Co-writer: H. Wolinski)  /  “Sound of Love” (Co-writer: H. Wolinski)  /  “So the World Can Dance (We Got Rhythm)” (Co-writers: V. McCallum & M. Barsimanto)  /  “Run, Run, Run” (Co-writer: V. McCallum)  /  “Hell to Tell the Captain”  /  “Fallin’ in Love”  /  “Havin’ a Good Time”  /  “Hangin’ Out”  /  “Oh Now

1995

On May 30, 1995, “Reasons” (lyrics & music: Terrence A. Manuel, lyrics: Cyril G. Neville) was reregistered, having been registered previously on June 27, 1989

1996

On August 7, 1996, “This Is Your Last Time” (aka “The Last Time“) (music by Robbie Nevil and Bradley Spalter; words by Aaron Neville) was registered

1997

On June 27, 1997 “As the Sun Goes Down” was registered by Aaron. This appears to be poetry or lyrics, not a song.

2004

On July 2, 2004, a song titled “Itty Bitty’s” was registered to Melanie Bliden & Charles B. Neville.) “Why You Wanna Kill Your Brother?: A Stage Play” was copyrighted by Cyril’s wife, Gaynielle Housey-Neville.

2005

On February 18, 2005, “Fight (Ain’t Gonna Lose No More)” (by Malcolm Rebennack, Cyril Neville, D. Lee Carson) was registered and a collection of songs by the same three composers, “Tango: Ton Gris” was registered on September 26 of the same year.

2006

Gaynielle Neville’s Book of Poetry” was copyrighted on June 19, 2006.

2008

In March 2008, “The Bachelor Club” (a play by Cyril G. Neville, Jr., and Patrick John Marrero) was registered.

2010

In late May of 2010, a song titled “The Big Razoo” was registered to Windell A Curole and Cyril.  (I have never been able to locate a commercial release of the song, but it can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RpIUm3QUIc)

2011

August 17, 2011 saw the registration of Cyril’s son, Omari’s “Omari Neville’s Me” (which is described as 7 Sound recorded /compositions, performed and written by Omari Ahmed Neville.  All but 2 songs, “Fearless” and “Party People” were co-written and performed by Phil Burras.  The seven songs included on that recording were: “Alone,” “All I Need Is You,” “Party People,” “The World Is Mine,” “Fearless,” “Hallucinations” and “Man From the Underground.”

(This story appeared on NevilleTracks.com back in late 2005 and has subsequently been updated.)

I’m sure no one could have predicted how much record collectors would be paying for hard-to-find soul and R&B 45s, just a few decades after their original release. Original copies of Aaron’s “Hercules” single from 1973 often sell for at least $150 in near-mint condition (even though both sides of the disc are readily available on CD.) And, certainly, Art’s “My Babe” and “Little Liza Jane” singles on the Cinderella label (1963) are nearly impossible to find. (The former seems a bit easier to find and sells for around $25. The latter seems much rarer – I have only seen one copy ever – so I can’t even venture a guess as to its value.) And Cyril’s awesome “Gossip”/”Tell Me What’s On Your Mind” single from 1970 fetches $25 or $30 as well.

However, for the purpose of this discussion, I would like to ignore solo outings and discuss what is probably the rarest of all GROUP singles… the Brothers’ self-produced single from 1979 on their own Cookie imprint!

For those who are unaware of the history behind the 45, let me quote Don Snowden’s excellent liner notes (from the equally excellent “Treacherous, Too!” compilation – Rhino Records, 1991) …

As the Neville-ization albums suggest, the Nevilles never exactly sat around waiting for the phone to ring during those fallow periods when major labels didn’t have enough smarts to offer them a contract. The late ’70s period following the Capitol album was no exception – the Nevilles formed their own Cookie label and released the “Sweet Honey Dripper” / “Dance Your Blues Away” single. It marked the beginning of the period, circa 1980, when Aaron’s son Ivan played a key role in the band’s fortunes and pushed the sound more toward the dance floor.

I was lucky enough to acquire a copy of this great single in near-mint condition 15 years ago and immediately had it transferred to digital by a local recording studio. I kept watching for additional copies of this rare gem to be available for sale and was unable to find one for at least a dozen years.  (Of course, that was back in the pre-internet days, when finding rare items was not as easy as it is today.)

In the past few years, copies of the 45 have popped up sporadically on various internet auction sites such as eBay. Of course, the final selling prices have varied depending on condition and on the way the disc was described. Strangely, when sold as a Neville Brothers 45, it seems to fetch significantly less than when it is described as an Ivan Neville 45.  I saw one copy (in fair condition, and credited to the Neville Brothers) sell for $30, while mint-minus copies credited to Ivan fetch over $200 fairly regularly.

Naturally, I was puzzled as to WHY the disc was being described as an Ivan 45.  Sure, he is one of the lead singers on the track (sharing lead vocal duties with Cyril) but it’s actually a Neville Brothers single.  (The confusion seemed to be coming from the UK and I was determined to find out why!)

Back in late 2005, I corresponded with some individuals in the UK and learned a bit about their “Northern Soul” scene.

According to the on-line encyclopedia, Wikipedia … Northern Soul is a style of music with associated dance styles and fashions that developed in the north of England in the late 1960s. In the beginning the dancing was athletic, featuring spins, flips, and drops. The music originally consisted of obscure American soul recordings with an uptempo beat, very similar to and including Tamla Motown, plus more obscure labels (e.g. Okeh) from northern cities like Detroit and Chicago (in contrast to southern styles like Memphis soul). By 1970 British performers were recording numbers for this market, and the scarcity of soul records with the required beat led to the playing of stompers, or records by any artist which featured the right beat. The phrase ‘Northern Soul’ was coined by journalist Dave Godin sometime around 1971 when writing his column in Blues and Soul magazine.

According to Northern Soul fan Andy Jackson from the UK (who – at least at that time – owned what I believe is one of the rarest copies of the Nevilles’ Cookie 45), “In the early 80s, soul DJs announced the record as by Art Neville and this changed a few years later to Ivan Neville. That has been the case ever since. The company sleeve says it’s by the Neville Brothers but as you know there’s no real info on the record itself.”

So, it seems that the source of confusion is DJs relying on the info printed on the 45 (which, in fact, does NOT have the name “The Neville Brothers” printed on it!) So why doesn’t the record sleeve set things straight?  Perhaps because the “company sleeve” (as Andy described it) is even rarer than the 45 itself.

In fact, before speaking with Andy, I was unaware that a company sleeve even existed. The only copies I had ever seen (including my own) came in plain white sleeves.  Very likely, those 80s DJs who erroneously credited the single first to Art (and later to Ivan) never saw the company sleeve either.

On December 6, 2005, I posted a comment on the message board of Ivan’s Official website, asking him to clarify the credits on that single.  He graciously responded: “What a blast from the past…’Dance Your Blues Away’ b/w ‘Sweet Honey Dripper’ is definitely a Neville Bros. record….I wrote ‘Dance Your Blues Away’ along w/ Reggie Cummings (my padna ) & Art wrote ‘Sweet Honey Dripper’… on ‘Dance’ I share the lead vocals w/ Cyril while Art sings ‘Honey Dripper’… It was a real family project w/ me coming more up front!!!”

Sadly, I have never been able to find out how many copies of the 45 were pressed originally or how many went out in the company sleeve (pictured above.)  Nor have I determined how many copies went out as promos to radio stations or how many copies were actually sold.  Based on the number of copies I’ve seen change hands in the past fifteen years, I believe that the numbers aren’t very high and that few copies remain (and only a couple likely exist in the company sleeve!)

Honestly, I haven’t been watching the auction sites as much as I used to, so I haven’t kept up on the going price of this rare 45 in a while.  In June 2011, a mint minus copy sold for $260.00 through eBay.  If you find a copy of this little piece of the Nevilles’ musical history at a price you feel is reasonable, I highly recommend you grab it (regardless of its condition.) Not only is it a sought-after collectable, but it’s truly excellent music as well.

(Special thanks to Andy Jackson in the UK for record sleeve scans and information!! Thanks to Martin Dixon -also in the UK – for info about the Northern Soul scene there!!!)

Whether on authorized or unauthorized discs, almost all of Art and Aaron’s early releases have been made available on compact disc by this time.  Multiple versions of a handful of songs have been released as well, giving the listener a chance to hear different variations on some of these classic tracks.  Sometimes, the differences between the different versions are very obvious; sometimes they are much harder to detect.

So, how does one know which version s/he is hearing?  Let’s take a moment to explore some of these alternate versions, starting with Art’s Specialty Records recordings (plus one of his Instant tracks.)  (We’ll explore others at a later date!)

Please note: there are instances where the two versions are distinguished as “version 1” and “version 2” (rather than “original version” and “alternate version.”)  The description “original version” means the one that was released on 45 back in the 50s and 60s.  If both versions were released during later decades (as “vault releases”,) they are listed as “version 1” and “version 2.”

Of course, the differences would be much easier to illustrate if I were to post audio clips; but, due to the current legal climate with regard to on-line audio sharing, I’m going to hope that my descriptions are explicit enough to make the differences clear.

(Track lengths are based on the time shown by the Windows Media Player. The timing shown by other players might differ, so don’t think anything’s awry if the track lengths are off by a second or two.)

 

Oooh-Whee Baby

Original version (2:11)  /  Demo version (3:15)

In addition to being significantly longer, the demo is much slower in tempo.  It opens with piano, drums, guitar and (probably) bass accompanying Art’s vocals.  It includes a piano solo and very subdued horns play throughout the majority of the recording.

The single version opens with much more prominent saxophones playing a triplet pattern.  These saxes remain more prominent throughout the single and one of them performs a solo, beginning at approximately 1:05 into the song.

 

The Whiffenpoof Song

Original version (2:03)  /  Alternate version (TAKE 2) (2:25)

The original version is slightly faster (and 25 seconds shorter) than the alternate take.

Other than the track length, one difference that is immediately noticeable is the way the first “baa baa baa” is sung (immediately following the first line, “We’re poor little lambs who have lost our way.”)  On the original version, the pitch of the first “baa” is higher than that of the preceding word (“way.”)  On the alternate take, the pitch if the first “baa” is the same as that of word “way.”

Another dead giveaway is the lyric immediately following the saxophone solo.  The alternate take repeats the entire bridge (“Gentleman songster off on a spree. Doomed from here to eternity. Lord have mercy on such as we. Baa, baa, baa”) while the commercial version uses only the last two lines, (“Lord have mercy on such as we.  Baa, baa, baa.”)

 

Zing Zing

Original version (2:03)  /  Alternate version (TAKE 3) (2:02)

The two versions are almost identical in length and distinguishing between the two is somewhat tricky.  The sax solo differs between the two and Art enunciates many words more clearly on the alternate version, but these things only help if you have two versions on hand to compare.

The most obvious lyrical difference occurs during the last verse of the song, which begins at 1:32…  “She finally gave in and she came through nice. Now we’re living in paradise. And you can hear both of our hearts sing. You know that I love you, you fine, fine thing.”  The last line is sung as “Yes, I love you, you fine, fine thing” on the alternate version.

 

The Dummy

Version 1 (1:55)  /  Version 2 (1:55)

Again, both versions are the same duration, so we can’t distinguish between the two versions based on their length.

And, while the two versions are very similar, Art DOES take a fair amount of liberties with the melody, so the melodic differences can help us distinguish between the two.  During the opening two lines of the song (“Well you can talk about the seven wonders of the world.  You haven’t seen nothin’ till you see my girl”) the pitch of the words “till you see my girl” goes up dramatically on Version 2.

Also, after the saxophone solo, the first line of lyrics (“She can’t last much longer, that’s without any doubt”) is slightly different between the two versions.  The word “that’s” is omitted on version 1.

Another easily detected difference is the very ending which is much tighter on version one, where the snare drum and saxophone play the same rhythm (straight quarter notes) during the final word of the song.

 

I’m A Fool To Care

Version 1 (2:19)  /  Version 2 (2:23)

The vocals on version 1 feature a subtle reverb (or delay) effect.   The vocals on version 2 are completely “dry” (meaning that there has been no delay or reverb effect applied to them.)  (For a description of the difference between reverb and delay (aka echo,) there is an excellent one at http://makeshiftmusician.blogspot.com/2008/05/difference-between-reverb-and-echo.html.  And, even though this definition makes sense on paper, I still can’t HEAR the difference myself!

Art’s phrasing differs between the two recordings but the dead giveaway is the difference between lyrics during the bridges of the two recordings.  The lyrics on version 1 (at 0:55) are: “The mountains reach up and kiss the sky. The moonbeams come down and kiss the sea. Lovers find bliss in each others kiss. Then baby baby why why can’t you kiss me?”  On version 2, the last line is replaced with “Then DARLING why can’t you kiss me?”

 

Belle Amie (Bella Mae)

Version 1 (2:20)  /  Version 2 (2:22)

Again, the differences between these two takes are quite subtle.  The sax solo on Version 1 is better (in my opinion.)  The one on version 2 sounds slightly out of tune at first and squeaks a bit on the highest notes.

The lyrics are mostly the same until the final chorus (around 1:48 into the song.)  Version 1 features the lyrics “Belle amie, belle amie. Can’t you see can’t you see” while Art sings, “Belle amie, belle amie.  Come over here by me” on version 2.

The improvised vocals during the song’s ending fade-out are also different.   On version 1, Art sings, “Uh uh uh – ooh-whee belle amie.  Uh uh uh – don’t you know now baby” while on version 2 he sings, “Uh uh uh – mm – mm –mm baby Don’t cha know well-a well-a well-a baby.”

 

Let’s Rock

Version 1 (2:38)  /  Version 2 (2:39)

On version 2, the guitar and bass are louder than on version 1.  Also, during the song’s intro, the guitar and drums sound tighter (more together) on version 2.

There are a handful of minor lyrical differences.  During the opening lyrics (“Well now I don’t want to do the mambo, no no.  Don’t wanna do the cha cha too.”) the words “no no” are omitted from version 2.)

Art vocalizes more during guitar solo on ver 1 (“Whoa now,” “Don’t cha know-ow-ow” and “Mm.hmm, ya.”)  On version 2, he sings “yeah yeah now” leading into the guitar solo and “c’mon c’mon now” during the solo.)

If you missed those differences, he sings “yeah yeah now” after the final “Everything’s gonna be real cool” on version 1 but NOT on version 2.

 

All These Things

Original version (3:18)  /  Alternate version (3:09)

The two versions of this track are VERY similar.  The main difference is Art’s phrasing of the lyrics (which are almost identical, except for a couple obvious places.  The first time he sings the line “your love so warm and tender, the thrill is so divine” varies between the two versions. The 45 version is sung as above. The alternate version is sung “the thrill is so, so divine.)

The second time the lyrics, “your love so warm and tender” is sung (around 1:30,) it is again different on the alternate version where Art sings, “your love so warm, so warm and tender.”