My True Story, by Aaron Neville

November 20, 2013

Now in his seventies, Aaron Neville can still locate the incredibly sweet spot between full voice and falsetto. The R&B legend’s singing remains mellow but quietly forceful—as if he could let loose at any moment but chooses not to. He just sounds great.

My True Story is a collection of doo-wop covers, taking Neville back to one of several musical strains that formed him. Doo-wop was formative for lots of musicians, black and white alike. Enter Keith Richards, the British rock star who, decades ago, loudly embraced rock ’n’ roll’s African-American backstory while Stateside rockers were mostly erasing it. Richards is the coproducer (with Don Was) and guitarist-bandleader here, and he approaches the material like a reverent fan. The crack band is similarly conservative, and why not? The songs are classic, the singer peerless. No new ground needed here.