Willie Green - drums; Tony Hall - bass, percussion, background vocals; Aashid Himmons - keyboards; Aaron Neville - percussion, keyboards, vocals; Art Neville - keyboards, vocals; Charles Neville - percussion, saxophone, background vocals; Cyril Neville - percussion, vocals; Kenyatta Simon - percussion; Brian Stoltz - guitar, percussion, background vocals
Though they have been making music in and around the Big Easy individually and in pairs since the late 1950s, the Neville Brothers became an American musical iconoclastic family in the late 1970s, when the Meters (featuring brothers Art and Cyril) disbanded, and all four Nevilles (which included solo star Aaron and saxophonist Charles) merged as the backing group for the traditional New Orleans rhythmic act, Wild Tchoupitoulas, which featured the Nevilles' uncle, George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry. Prior to this, the Meters had built a reputation as a great session group (having backed artists such as Labelle and other Allen Toussaint produced acts.) Aaron had a smash solo hit in the early 1960s with the song, "Tell It Like It Is," but had been struggling during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Brother Charles had moved to New York City to be a jazz saxophonist, but when he returned to New Orleans in the late '60s he was busted for marijuana possession and did three years in prison.
After the Wild Tchoupitoulas tour, the four began a regular stint at New Orleans hotspot, Tipitinas. Between 1980 and 1984, the group became the talk of the delta bayou, and a fave of the trendy music press. Friend and supporter Bette Midler helped them get a deal with A&M, but the group failed to see any substantial commercial success. They moved to EMI for one record, and then in 1989, under the direction of producer Daniel Lanois, returned to A&M.
The result was Yellow Moon, a critical rave and commercial success, thanks to the hit single, "Sister Rosa," written as a tribute to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. This show, taken from the Bill Graham archives, presents a brilliant and complete Neville Brothers show that has not been heard since it was broadcast once on KSAN in San Francisco in 1989. The group has remained together ever since, and also works as solo artists in between Neville tours. They were among the artists spearheading relief efforts to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Among the highlights of this show are a stunning version of "Yellow Moon," a soulful rendition of "Sister Rosa," and a fun medley of early rock classics from Little Richard, Larry Williams, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly.