For his debut album (of jazz standards, that is), the high-ranged voice of Neville never sounded so sweet. You’ve witnessed the four-time Grammy winner perform an R & B version of the national anthem, now hear him tell it like it is on classics like Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night” and Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” which reunites him with his “Don’t Know Much” singing partner, Linda Ronstadt.
MEAT LOAF Couldn’t Have Said It Better (Mercury)
Marvin Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf, will soon turn off his microphone to focus on his acting career. But his musical swan song is full of high notes, including a worldwide 15-month farewell tour (www.meatloaf-oifc.com/meat/oifc1.htm) supporting his last recording, a set that’s already gone gold in the U.K. and contains signature big-finish epics and dynamic love songs.
THE DEL MCCOURY BAND It's Just the Night (Sugar Hill)
This “First Family of Bluegrass” has been playing its down-home style of music since the 1960s, when leader Del McCoury noodled around with the legendary Bill Monroe. Catch the group on the jam band circuit, or, if you miss them live, this CD offers energetic fiddle, stand-up bass, mandolin, and smokin’ banjo on 14 finger-pickin’-good songs.
— JAMES E. MAYFIELD