Cyril Neville: Magic Honey Review

Cyril Neville’s Magic Honey is an album dripping with blues as sweet as the title suggests. Formerly a vocalist for The Neville Brothers, The Meters, and currently for Royal Southern Brotherhood, Cyril Neville croons sweet blues on Magic Honey alongside guitarist Cranston Clements, drummer “Mean” Willie Green, Bassist Carl Dufrene, and keyboardist Norman Caesar. Additionally, Magic Honey features guest appearances by pianist Allen Toussaint, organist Dr. John, guitarist Walter Trout, and Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood bandmate and guitarist, Mike Zito.

On the opening track, “Magic Honey,” Neville declares over a traditional blues riff: “My baby is a queen bee—she makes magic honey night and day.” The next track, “Swamp Funk,” is a dirty, bluesy, funky tune with lyrics referencing musical genres ranging from jazz to rock-and-roll, R&B to ragtime. “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” is a heavy guitar-driven track that showcases both the talent of the guitarists and Neville’s powerful vocals. In “Another Man,” Neville brings us blues tinged with a hint of salsa. “Still Going Down Today” is one of the album’s strongest track, with shredding guitar solos and Neville’s classic blues vocals. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” is a fast-paced track that gets things moving a little bit quicker, followed in turn by the super-funky “Invisible.” “Blues Is The Truth” is an ode to the genre itself and its versatility, power, and verity. Dufrene gets groovy with the bassline on “Working Man,” while “Money And Oil” is a busy track with an eclectic array of sound and simple, somewhat anti-capitalist lyrics. Slow Motion is a reggae-influenced closing track that wraps up the album in a laid-back and relaxed fashion, with an appropriate fade-away that seemingly sends the track and the album floating off down a slow and steady-moving river.

Cyril Neville’s Magic Honey is a good, honest blues album that attests to the fact that the genre is still alive and doing quite well. Taking a dynamic approach to his music, Cyril Neville creates a unique sound that is soulful, moving, and down-right funky. Accompanied by a group of highly talented musicians, Neville is able to deliver the sweet blues of Magic Honey in a way that only an experienced and highly proficient musician can.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Magic Honey
– Swamp Funk
– Something’s Got A Hold On Me
– Still Going Down Today

The Big Hit

– Magic Honey

Review by Eileen Quaranto

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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