Tell It Like It Is

Tell It Like It Is was Aaron Neville’s first hit and remains one of his signature songs.

It was written by George Davis and Lee Diamond in 1966.Tell It Like It Is rocketed to the top of the pop and R&B charts. Aaron didn’t get rich from the song, but it gave him a taste for success. There would be more hits to come.

We begin with the Aaron Neville studio original followed by the Neville Brothers live at Tipitina’s in 1982.

Stax soul deities Otis Redding & Carla Thomas cut an early cover of the song.

Etta James. Say no more.

When I think of Aaron Neville, I also think of the late Freddy Fender. They’re both big burly guys with gorgeous tenor voices. I miss Freddy but Aaron is still with us.

Nina Simone recorded Tell It Like It Is in 1988 but it wasn’t released until 1998.

Finally, Heart had a hit with the Davis-Diamond classic in 1980.

I couldn’t find any instrumental versions of this week’s tune that met my standards for this feature. Instead, we have a Wayne Shorter composition with the same title recorded when he was a member of The Jazz Messengers.

That’s it for this week. Let’s raise our glasses and toast the second weekend of Jazz Fest. It’s what Aaron, Art, Charles, and Cyril would want. Never argue with them.

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