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Charmaine Neville Band: Before the Storm

Updated on August 20, 2015
Charmaine Neville: Before the Storm.
Charmaine Neville: Before the Storm. | Source

The Neville family of New Orleans

If you're a fan of New Orleans music, then the Neville Brothers will need no introduction. But what about the female side of the family? One of my favorite singers is Charmaine Neville and whereas the brothers are known for funk, soul and R & B, I consider her to be a jazz singer.

It all started in New Orleans

Yes it began in New Orleans for Charmaine and for me. Charmaine because she was born there and for me because that's where I first saw her perform in, I think, 1995 - and there's a funny story - can read about it further down the page.

The CD or MP3s

The great thing about this product is that you can buy the full CD or you can download single MP3 tracks. That's what I did at first because they are only 99 cents. The one I downloaded was one of my favorite jazz classics - Night in Tunisia. As you might imagine, this just whet my appetite and made me determined to own the entire CD.

Snug Harbor and Hurricane Katrina

This music was recorded at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, which delights me because that's where I first saw her perform - it brings back the atmosphere. This project began just three months before Hurricane Katrina hit the city.

The goal of the project was to record her weekly residency gigs at Snug Harbor (with her amazing band.) The devastating hurricane put paid to the original six month plan but the recordings already made form this album.

Some new, some familiar

I love the way that this features some classics that most of us know, such as Fever, with some music that is also well known, such as Tell Me Something Good, mixed with less familiar numbers.

I was a little concerned when I saw that the track list included Yellow Submarine and Over the Rainbow, but I shouldn't have worried; they received the full Charmaine Neville treatment.

A fun lady

Watching her perform, you can see that she has fun. She genuinely loves her music, her audience and her musicians. Her sense of fun was equally shown on that first occasion I saw her sing at Snug Harbor. See below!

My first Charmaine Neville concert

OK, I know this is a bit of an unconventional story but by 1995, I was happily divorced and living in Florida.

It had been an amicable split - this wasn't one of those nasty divorces - and my ex was visiting from the UK.

He was a jazz musician and we'd always wanted to go to New Orleans. So we did - to Mardi Gras. Well, it isn't too far from Florida.

I could write a book about that single trip. (Maybe I will one day, I have some great stories!) We'd always said that Snug Harbor was somewhere we wanted to go to and it was incredible, actually sitting there at last.

Then, the ex approached the stage and spoke to Charmaine between numbers.

Oh dear,oh dear ... what on earth was he up to? I saw her throw back her head and laugh. Oh no, what was coming?

She introduced her next number by saying 'Well, I've just had a request for this next song. 'This guy' (she pointed to him and a spotlight was turned onto him) 'has just asked for it for his ex-wife' (she pointed at me - yes, and the spotlight) and burst out laughing. I guess that made it pretty obvious to everyone that the reason he was an ex-husband was what I shall politely call his um, 'dalliances'.

You can listen to it below. Its name?

You Got the Right Key but You Put it in the Wrong Keyhole.

Oh yes...

Charmaine Neville


© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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