Music: Don’t Look Back – Royal Southern Brotherhood

Michael Buffalo Smith

Michael Buffalo Smith

Buffalo hails from Spartanburg, SC. Officially the "Ambassador of Southern Rock," he has written for many publications including Rolling Stone, Relix, Goldmine and his own Kudzoo Magazine. He is also a recording artist and author of six books, the latest being "Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock."
Michael Buffalo Smith

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royal southern brotherhood - dont look back album

For their third studio album, Royal Southern Brotherhood ventured down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at the legendary FAME Studios. Since Devon Allman left the band to concentrate on his solo career, the RSB seems to feature much more of the vocals and songwriting of Cyril Neville, bringing Louisiana swagger and Muscle Shoals soul to the forefront. This may well be my favorite RSB album to date.

Produced by the extremely talented producer/writer/musician Tom Haimbridge and FAME founder Rick Hall, Don’t Look Back finds the RSB with two red hot guitar players added to the line up, Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan (son of Jimmie Vaughan). The resulting album is a joy to behold, from the seventies soul sounds of “Better Half,” to the soulful lover’s plea of “Anchor Me” and the New Orleans vibe of “Bayou Baby.”

RSB at FAME Studio

Neville’s autobiographical “Come Hell or High Water” has the FAME/Shoals stamp all over it. It’s like the second coming of Wilson Pickett. The variety of music on this release is amazing, with “Hard Blues” rockin’ to beat the band, and “The Big Greasy” throwing down some serious old-school, wah-wah pedal fueled funk. The title track, “Don’t Look Back,” sung by new member Bart, is a banjo-fueled countrified tune with a good, rocking vibe.

The album is not without its special guests. The legendary Jimmy Hall blowing harp on several tracks and Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville on keyboards/organ. With the truck-load of talent onboard, and recording at FAME Studios, it was almost a given the album would rock, but I am here to tell you it doesn’t just rock, it rocks hard. I predict this one being the best album of the year. Make a note of it.