Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

Cyril Neville: "This Is My Country"

From Dallas Morning News columnist Thor Christensen on the new New Orleans Social Club release:

“…some of the album’s most powerful moments are etched with post-Katrina pain: Willie Tee’s ‘First Taste of Hurt,’ John Boutte’s version of Annie Lennox’s hit ‘Why’ and Cyril Neville singing Curtis Mayfield’s 1968 civil rights anthem ‘This is My Country.’

‘That song taught me that we, the people, have a right to change the [expletive] that’s going on,’ says Cyril, 57. He’s sipping Tazo Calm tea, but it doesn’t seem to work. ‘We have a right to be pissed off–and to say whatever I feel, even if other people get pissed off at me for saying it.’

He speaks from experience. First, he came under attack for wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Ethnic Cleansing in New Orleans’ during a hurricane benefit show in New York. Later, he became a target for The New Orleans Times Picayune’s Chris Rose, who devoted two columns to ‘The Bitter Neville Brother From Austin Who Besmirches Our Name.’

‘Cyril, baby, the storm is where it’s always been: In your head,’ Mr. Rose wrote. ‘Leave us behind, if you want. But don’t trash us. Not now. Not ever.’

Mr. Neville admits the columns stung: ‘When I start thinking about Chris Rose, I have to put on Jay Z’s ’99 Problems’ and sing along.'”

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