Somewhere up past New York City’s 77th Street, digging deep into the Harlem past and roundabout cool, there is a place in which the Blues can be heard to be more than a memory, more than being a place in which the lure of the quick and easy buck can nestle alongside reminisce and virtue. Somewhere in the deep heart of New York’s five boroughs is still the sound of piano driving home the call to the San Francisco coast and the Mississippi heartlands of the put upon working class, that Blues is still a God to reckoned with, that Mitch Woods is still one of the purveyors of the sad lament and truthful bible and with the help of Friends Along The Way, the sound never will diminish in its importance and heart breaking purity.
No limits, that’s all you can ever truly hope for in life. To be able to live with the knowledge that all that you have done is all that you could physically do; that there was no quarter given, no hidden page left unread and sequel available as every possible plot point and character development had been written in to the life story. Records and music is like that also, except that where the blood sweat and tears of one album runs deep into the furthest recess of the heart, there is always room for more of the same, or even a deviation from the artistic norm, of a second “difficult” album.
There are expectations that have to be met when listening to a live album. The first is that the sound recreated on a stage, possibly many hundreds of miles from wherever you are fortunate enough to actually listen to the gig, has to be able to make the imagination run riot, to revel in the flow and thrust of the guitar, to feel the sweat run down your neck in anticipation and to envisage the person infront of you in the audience nervously sweating along with you. The taste of the gig has to be captured just right, else it is lost and abandoned like an errant Victorian child left at the Poor House.
If music be the food of love, then let Cyril Neville forever play on. Cyril Neville is a music legend, a man who makes music sound as deliciously entertaining as it should be heard and whose latest album, Magic Honey, has all the ingredients of a mix of songs that have been well prepared and seasoned to enjoy in only way that the man can.