Royal Southern Brotherhood is an entirely appropriate moniker for this surprising assemblage of highly talented mainstays and relative newcomers. Devon Allman, son of the mega-famous Gregg, will of course be the most noticeable name, but the presence of Cyril Neville, of the often unearthly good Neville family, was an extremely wise choice, as the guy brings a lot of soul to the primarily rock sound. The first cut's a fairly predictable anthemic chart candidate, but the CD really gets underway from the second track forward.
Don't get me wrong, New Horizons is a decent track, but the famed rhythmics of the Allmans and Nevilles gets fully stoked with Fired Up!. New Horizons is more a Sixteen Tons gig, cool for what it is and composed of a Billboard simplicity but not emblematic. Fired Up! shifts gears, centering in Cyril's percussives and Yonrico Scott's drums, taking on more the Allmans/Nevilles cast with a broad touch of Sea Level's swing (Chuck Leavell being a card-carrying member of Southern royalty for decades). Everything then cools out for the steamy swampy funky Left my Heart in Memphis.
Not sure who handles which guitar duties in any particular place, especially the leads, credited chores split between Allman and Mike Zito but not noted in the liner, but there are some drop dead delicious lines often reminiscent of Ernie Isley going on here, burningly luminescent. The blues creep ever more heavily into the mix, as Moonlight over Mississippi demarcates, thickening up the atmosphere appreciably. And, yep, except for the first cut, which is a typical lead-in chart signifier, this is a CD worthy of its name. Royal Southern Brotherhood should prove to be a good deal more than just another in a long line of supergroups and actually start restoring some of the luster that the Southern scene has been losing for too long.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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