April 07, 1986 12:00 PM

Aaron Neville

At first listen this LP sounds like a blast from three decades past—slow dance tempo, sad sax, acoustic guitar and piano chords, violin string surges and the high aching reach of the singer. You can almost smell the hair spray and hear the squeak of sneakers on the gym floor. But even if the ghosts of great voices past—Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke, Tim Hardin—do haunt the tracks, Neville’s vocals are lush, alive and very much his own. Producer Joel Dorn describes the “mix” of soul and doo-wop-style ballads as “a love song to the ’50s.” Listeners can only wish for more. Orchid is a frustratingly short four songs. But these soulful oldies, For Your Precious Love, The Ten Commandments of Love, This Is My Story and Earth Angel, never sounded so fine. For years a fixture in the New Orleans funk scene, Neville, 45, had a solo hit in 1966 with Tell It Like It Is and later joined siblings Art, Charles and Cyril to form the Neville Brothers. This is Aaron’s first solo release since teaming with his brothers. Hope it isn’t his last. (Passport/Jem)

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