Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Monday ~ Aaron Neville

A clutch of male singers have birthdays today, 24 January :
Doug Kershaw, the Ragin' Cajun, born 1936.
Ray Stevens, country, pop songwriter/singer born 1939. He's currently involved in the Tea Party (quel horreur!) singing songs on their behalf (available at YouTube).
Neil Diamond born 1941 (a favourite, about whom I've already written).
Aaron Neville, soul/R&B singer born same day as Neil in 1941.
Warren Zevon born 1947 rock singer/songwriter, died in 2003.
And Jools Holland from the UK, born 1958: pianist, bandleader, singer, composer, and television presenter.

Quite a collection !

Who's going to get "the treatment"?

Aaron Neville. An unforgettable voice - so delicate, so unlike the kind of voice you'd expect to hear coming from this big guy - a rough, tough-looking character.

Aaron Neville was born in New Orleans, 24 January 1941, son of a merchant marine sailor. His childhood, though happy, was poverty-stricken. He got in to trouble early on, did a stint in prison for car theft, and another for burglary later on. There were years of heroin addiction too. But through it all his music and a long (48 years long) happy marriage to Joel sustained him. Aaron and Joel lost their New Orleans home to hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Aaron lost Joel to cancer in January 2007. He re-married last year.

A 1967 hit, Tell It Like It Is was prelude to later successes for Aaron and, from 1977 onward for recordings and tours with his band of siblings - The Neville Brothers: Art, Charles and Cyril.

Their New Orleans background of "Big Easiness" is saturated in all types of music: jazz, blues, country, reggae, standards and pop all have a place there, and in Aaron's varied repertoire. His renditions of Kris Kristofferson's For the Good Times; Bob Dylan's With God On Our Side and Leonard Cohen's Bird on a Wire were all revelations to me! His duet with Linda Ronstadt Don't Know Much has become a classic standard, and a later duet with Trish Yearwood on country classic I Fall to Pieces is equally notable. His delicate and refined tenor blends so very well with the female voice. His brothers' input, especially saxophone solos from Charles, jazz-influenced, sets his recordings apart from others, and lifts them well above common-and-garden "covers".

In researching this post, a new fan was born! You know what? I reckon these guys were born before their time. I don't think they have been nearly well-enough appreciated!

Aaron Neville was born 24 January 1941, with Sun and Mercury in Aquarius, Venus in Capricorn, three planets in Taurus and a Grand Trine in Earth signs linking Neptune/Uranus and Venus. Aaron is a combination of Earth and Air. Depending on whether he was born before or after 11:00 AM natal Moon could be in either Capricorn (more Earthiness) or in Sagittarius along with natal Mars, adding an extra spark of Fire to the mix.

Natal Aquarius Sun is in fairly close opposition to Pluto in Leo, with both ends of the opposition line in challenging square aspect to the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Taurus - these aspects together form what astrologers call a T-square - often indicative of on-going challenges in life. Possibly this is reflecting Aaron's troublesome, challenge-filled years.

Long marriages in show-biz are not the norm, and 48 years is long by any standard! Aaron's prominent Fixed planets Sun/Mercury in Aquarius and Saturn/Jupiter/Uranus in Taurus reflect his loyalty and steadfastness in marriage to Joel.

It's surprising, given the emotional pull in his performance, that he has no planets in Water signs. Perhaps Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces was rising as he was born, but without knowing a time of birth this can't be discovered.

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