Friday, May 9, 2008

Cover of the Week – Neville Brothers "Fly Like an Eagle"

It's been a busy week for me so far, so I want to apologize in advance for the lack of updates.

I also want to go back to a post I started last week, but couldn't get around to finishing due to the time constraints of enjoying New Orleans in all its newfound glory.

As I stated earlier this week, because my wife and I used miles to get to New Orleans, we had to leave Saturday afternoon and missed a lot of stuff at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – most notably the festival-closing appearance of the Neville Brothers (above in a New Orleans Times & Piscayune photo).

The brothers, the city's first family of funk, hadn't performed together at the festival since Hurricane Katrina had her way with the city in 2005. In fact, of the brothers, only Art remained in the city after the hurricane destroyed their home. Aaron relocated to New York, Charles headed to Boston and Cyril moved to Austin, Texas. Though he remains in the city, Art still hasn't returned to his house. Aaron (who just lost his wife of 49 years) will soon move to nearby Covington.

From all accounts, it was a heckuva show in many respects. Sure, it had its tearful reunion aspects to it. You could also call it make-up sex because lots of New Orleanians have apparently been mad at the band for seeming to abandon the Jazz Fest. From what I've read, there was also some great music on the stage. They played some of their great songs such as "Fire on the Bayou" and "Yellow Moon." They brought up fellow festival participant Carlos Santana to play on "Ain't No Use."

So what does this have to do with today's long overdue post? Not much. Except that it gives me an excuse to post this smoking cover of a favorite song by one of my favorite musicians. Seal did a nice version of this song for the Space Jam (1996) soundtrack, as did Les Paul on his Les Paul & Friends (2005) album, but in my mind the Neville Brothers have recorded the definitive cover of "Fly Like an Eagle" Included on their 1994 album Family Groove, this song not only boasts the participation of Miller himself but goes back to the song's roots. As I stated in an earlier post, Miller originally wrote this song in 1972 as a hard-edged form of political protest – the demo I posted several months ago proves that fact. This version, part of an album full of songs pleading for political and social justice, sheds some of the optimistic sheen that Miller himself placed on his final 1976 version of the song.

In other words, the song is finally brought full circle. By a group that itself just went full circle by returning to the city of its birth.

Nice, huh?

Play "Fly Like an Eagle" by the Neville Brothers

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