Royal Southern Brotherhood review….06-12-11…

ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD

ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD

RUF RECORDS 1180

NEW HORIZONS–FIRED UP!–LEFT MY HEART IN MEMPHIS–MOONLIGHT OVER THE MISSISSIPPI–FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN–WAYS ABOUT YOU–GOTTA KEEP ROCKIN–NOWHERE TO HIDE–HURTS MY HEART–SWEET JELLY DONUT–ALL AROUND THE WORLD–BROTHERHOOD

 

What started as a few informal jams at various clubs in New Orleans has led to the fusion of two legendary “families” known for some of the finest blues, funk, and Southern rock of our generation, creating a literal supergroup that continues the music of their heralded bloodlines.

 

With their self-titled album released by Ruf Records, the Royal Southern Brotherhood, consisting of Cyril Neville on vocals and percussion, Devon Allman and Mike Zito on guitar and vocals, Charlie Wooton on bass, and Yonrico Scott on drums, successfully blend the blues-rock borne of the Allman Brothers with the polyrhythmic funk of the “first family” of New Orleans roots, the Meters.  Add to the mix St. Louis native Mike Zito, winner of a Blues Award along with Cyril for their collaboration on “Pearl River,” giving this set a truly “royal” air before even a note is struck!

 

The music herein is fantastic, folks.  The set starts with the brooding, percussive, “New Horizons,” where the “world is at the crossroads where truth and time collide,” and it’s time to “make a stand and choose peace over politics.”  The dueling guitars of Devon and Mike permeate “I Left My Heart In Memphis,” while you can hear the anguish in Cyril’s voice in “Ways About You,” where he sadly realizes “I know I’m in the past”  with his lover.   “All Around The World” sees hope for the future, while no album of this stature would be complete without a jammin’ instrumental, as the set closes with “Brotherhood.”

 

We had two favorites, too.  Cyril travels “through muddy water and runs thru icy rain” to get back to his beloved home, using only the “Moonlight Over The Mississippi” to travel from St. Louis to New Orleans.  And, Cyril takes his paramour to Tipitina’s, Vaughn’s, and darn near every place in the French Quarter, trying desperately to get a slice of her “Sweet Jelly Donut!”  This one is full of gritty slide guitar and Meters-style funk that rocks from start to finish!

 

The bands from whence the members of Royal Southern Brotherhood draw their heritage are more than just a group of musicians–they are icons whose souls are the very origins of Southern rock and roots.  With this album, they carry on the bloodline into the next generation.  If you listen to anything else this year, by all means make it “Royal Southern Brotherhood!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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