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Arts & Culture

Art Neville: In Memoriam Playlist

Art Neville in 2014.
Erika Goldring
Getty Images
Art Neville in 2014.

Art Neville's life in music can be described as a straight line, connected directly to rock and roll's first notes. In the first half of the 1950s, musicians were recording R&B tracks — the foundations of rock and roll — at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studios, led of course by Fats Domino, who recorded his first record there in 1949. Art was never a Fats, but nonetheless was foundational to helping shape the contours of popular music.

Although his early recordings did not break out of New Orleans, and time on the road with proto-rockstar Larry Williams ("Slow Down," "Dizzy Miss Lizzie") kept his profile low as well, Art became widely known following The Meters' self-titled first album in 1969. And then, of course, he later saw his shadow lengthen throughout a long recording career with his brothers in The Neville Brothers, who had been playing and recording for years before their first album as a group. Art sings on some of these tracks, but pay most attention to the organ and piano, lyrical and funky. Always his.

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