THE ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD
THE ROYAL GOSPEL
RUF RECORDS RUF CD 1232
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S FIRE–I’VE SEEN ENOUGH TO KNOW–BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER–I WONDER WHY–I’M COMIN’ HOME–EVERYBODY PAYS SOME DUES–FACE OF LOVE–LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS–SPIRIT MAN–HOOKED ON THE PLASTIC–CAN’T WASTE TIME–STAND UP
The Royal Southern Brotherhood continues to make a mighty tasty gumbo of swampy-blues mixed with strong doses of funk, R & B, and, on their latest release for Ruf Records, entitled “The Royal Gospel,” even some sanctified sounds!
Evolution has been kind to the Brotherhood. Cyril Neville is still the driving force, but the other band members are encouraged to contribute to the songwriting aspect throughout. On guitars and vocals, we have Nashville’s own Bart Walker as well as Tyrone Vaughn, the son of Jimmie Vaughn. Darrell Phillips is on bass, with Norman Caesar on B-3. Yonrico Scott is on drums and percussion, and Cyril also is on percussion.
Cyril proudly proclaims that the late Allen Toussaint “wrote the soundtrack to my life,” and you can sense those influences all over this set. Leading off is the in-your-face, grungy guitars of “Where There’s Smoke, There’s (usually) Fire,” as Cyril worships a lover with “the face of an angel, and a body that’s divine!” Killer slide guitar runs throughout the autobiography of this band and their lives spent on the road, looking ever-forward to “I’m Comin’ Home.”
The band has always been about making a joyful noise, but they are acutely aware of what’s goin’ on in society, and use their music as a forum to bring this to light. Check out the scratchy funk of the tale of things we all have to deal with on a daily basis, “Everybody Pays Some Dues.” Cyril strikes a deep chord on “I’ve Seen Enough To Know I’ve seen too much,” with people “sellin’ their souls for that piece of the rock!” Another stone shot of funk has a party-anthem beat with a strong underlying message. If you’re “Hooked On The Plastic,” you’ll likely “do somethin’ drastic” when it’s time to pay the piper!
The set closes with our favorite. Cyril comes at ya like a hell-fire-and-brimstone preacher, urging us all to “come together and Stand Up” to make a difference!
The Royal Southern Brotherhood have crafted a down-home sermon that preaches love for one another, forgiveness, tolerance, and standing up to right things that are wrong. “The Royal Gospel” brings it all full-circle! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.