Tell It Like It Is

  Download Instrumental   There’s a certain vocal styling I just hate.  I call it the “Aaron Neville Slide”.  Neville started this foolishness in 1966 with this song – “Tell It Like It Is”.  You know what I’m talking about.  The singer ends a phrase and then slips and slides all over the final note until you don’t even know what the note was.  Drives me crazy.  That style ended after a few years, but then Whitney Houston brought it back with a vengeance and it never went away.  Just listen to someone sing the National Anthem.  They can’t help themselves.  Drives me crazy (I already said that, I know).

They call them “vocal runs”.  I call them “irritating beyond belief”.  Just stop it!  It’s not necessary!  End the phrase with a nice strong note that speaks for itself (a little vibrato would be nice).  I love this song – but NOT the Aaron Neville original.  I stumbled across a version by Don Johnson (yes, the Miami Vice guy – who knew?) and he doesn’t do all the vocal theatrics that have become so ridiculously popular.  He sings it straight and pure – the way any song should be done.

I used Johnson’s version as a guide and came close – with no real cigar.  I liked his arrangement mostly because of the sexy saxophone licks (that was fun to do).  I did, however, leave plenty of room at the end for all you singers who just insist on doing the “Aaron Neville Slide”.  But, please… just don’t.



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