Personnel: Cyril Neville (vocals, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, background vocals); Darryl Johnson , Mahalia Jackson (vocals); Mike Napolitano (guitar, keyboards, synthesizer); Diego (guitar); Tim Green (saxophone); Mervin Campbell, Rev. Curtis Watson (trumpet); Emanuel Steib (trombone); Norman Caesar (piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Terry Manuel (piano); Willie Green (drums); Alonzo "Baba" Mcalpine, Carlos Martinez (percussion).
The high social consciousness of the Neville Brothers shines through each of the four brothers in unique ways. Brother Cyril Neville and his Uptown Allstars express their desire for one world of justice and peace through a marriage of funky New Orleans Afro-Caribbean rhythms and the reggae sound of the island of Jamaica. The result is a joyous dance groove mixed with thoughtful lyrics. The title cut says it all: If we don't get it together, it will indeed be "The Fire This Time." "Genocide" laments the perceived dispensability of third-world peoples by an industrialized dominant culture motivated by greed and profit. Other tunes recall an important part of the heritage of New Orleans in "Congo Square," speaking of the place where slaves were allowed to congregate and celebrate on Sundays through dance and drumming. Cyril Neville has been instrumental in reestablishing the tradition of Congo Square. Hundreds of drummers meet there on a regular basis to communicate through the rhythmic heartbeat of the drums. There is a nod to the high priest of piano, Professor Longhair, with his tune about the Mardi Gras Indians, "Big Chief." The Nevilles share that heritage; their uncle, Chief Jolly, was the big chief of the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and all the brothers participated in the tribe's music and traditions. Joining Cyril Neville is an array of great New Orleans musicians, such as bassist Charles Moore, Emanuel Steib on trombone, Rev. Curtis Watson on trumpet, and Willie Green III on drums. Together, they tell it like it is from uptown New Orleans. ~ Rose of Sharon Witmer