Running the Meters

Example

The Meters –

Joseph ‘Zigaboo’ Modeliste (left), George Porter (second from left)

Example

Example

Listen -George Porter’s Joyride – Cissy Strut – MP3″

Listen -George Porter’s Joyride – Sneaky Freaky – MP3″

Listen -Zig and Gaboon’s Gang – Let’s Get Fired Up – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had a groovy weekend.
My medical procedure on Friday was actually not quite as bad as I thought it would be. Not exactly a hoot either, but grading on the curve, nothing I’ll have nightmares about.
The tunes I bring you today fell into my crates many years apart, but thanks to an obvious (and meaningful) connection it behooves me to present them to you in tandem.
Now… show of hands…who among you isn’t familiar with the Meters?
OK…those of you with your hands up, back away from the interwebs, slip on your digging shoes and head out into the field until you acquire any and all of their extremely easy to find 45s (the LPs not so much, but if you can find them cheap, good on you). Once you are in possession of some of the unfuckwithably funkiest music ever crafted in New Orleans, nay the world, and you’ve had a suitable time in which to restore the smooth contours to your brains, feel free to return to the discussion.
For the rest of you, we’ll just go ahead and rap.
The Meters, as stated above (and several times in this very space over the course of the history of Funky16Corners) were one of the greatest of classic era funk bands, laying down a few of what are undisputably (to any sane listener) the greatest grooves ever committed to vinyl.
If you’ve ever heard ‘Cardova’, and not had your spine rattle and shift (along with your general musical sensibility), then you are probably deaf.
That said, after several years – including a few before the Meters during which they were pretty much Art Neville’s band, recording on a wide variety of New Orleans records – and a number of albums for Josie and then Warner Brothers, they dissolved in 1978.
It was, coincidentally, two years further on up the road when bassist George Porter, and drummer Zig Modeliste got their own things together (separately), creating post-Meters bands.
Porter’s group, Joyride included guitarist Bruce McDonald, drummer Ricky Sebastian and keyboardist Sam Henry. They recorded one 45 for Deesu, and one for their own Chippewa label, as well as an albums worth of unreleased material.
Zig Modeliste formed Zig and Gaboon’s Gang around the same time with a band that included the young Ivan Neville on keyboards. Their actual vinyl output was limited to a single 45 for the Orleans International label (rumored to have been bankrolled/commissioned by a fried chicken chain), a New Orleans Saints “fight song” of sorts entitled ‘Let’s Get Fired Up’. They also recorded a live set that saw release many years later.
The recorded results of both of these 45s are evidence that while both of these musicians was crucial to the sound of the Meters, having gone their separate ways they took their music in new directions.
The George Porter’s Joyride record (though some comments over at the Home of the Groove blog suggest that the Deesu 45 is actually Porter backed by studio musicians) sees an updated (and less groove heavy) version of the Meters chestnut ‘Cissy Strut’, which employs some decidedly 1980-ish keyboard sounds and production. By no means is it a bad record, but laid side to side with the OG it tends to suffer in comparison. The flipside, ‘Sneak Freaky’ also bears a time-appropriate sound, but since it is a group original, the sound works much better in a funky synth bag with some great drumming. In retrospect the feel aspires to some of the un-loose looseness so indicative of great New Orleans records, especially the sounds of the Meters.
‘Let’s Get Fired Up’ by Zig and Gaboon’s Gang is an aggressive slice of commercial funk that sounds like it could have been created in New York or LA. The production and playing are tight, and the football-related lyrics manage not to overpower the proceedings. I wouldn’t hesitate to drop the needle on this one at a funk night.
As it is, neither of these bands appears to have survived more than a few years, with Porter working steadily as a studio musician, eventually reuiniting with Art Neville in the Funky Meters. Zig Modeliste also had a serious career as a hired gun, and is currently playing and recording with Zigaboo Modeliste and the New Aahkesstra.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

About these ads

6 Responses to “Running the Meters”

  1. dave wykoff Says:

    these are great, larry. hey can you stay with the new orleans thing and maybe give us bobby & the heavyweights’ “baby i love” or some more obscure eddie bo.

  2. funky16corners Says:

    Dave
    I can dig out the Bobby and the Heavyweights 45 sometime soon.
    Larry

  3. Julie O'Day Says:

    Hey, I am so glad to see you include our Meters in this. My husband, Kevin, is a New Orleans drummer . . he will play with George every now and then. We see George Porter, Jr play at the Maple Leaf around the corner from our house every Thursday night with some other New Orleans legends. If you ever come to town don’t forget that. I happen to post his video on my facebook yesterday. This is from Voodoo Fest a few years ago. The Meters played with the Chili Peppers. This video is actually part 2 of 1 that you can find on youtube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naKJ9JYxj7A

    Thanks for posting them. They are essential to funk.

  4. Julie O'Day Says:

    You need to look into some James Booker and some Lee Dorsey if you want to stay with the New Orleans thing . . . maybe even James Black. Earl Palmer, who recently passed away, was also a New Orleans legend who played a big part in the start of some big drum movements. Johnny Adams . . . and well if you going to do all that you need to look into Allen Toussaint. The dudes publishing is amazing. He has written a lot of songs that you know and love.

  5. Julie O'Day Says:

    So this is Lee Dorsey, Give it Up. Written by Allen Toussaint and backed by the Meters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM7gcOu2zeE

  6. funky16corners Says:

    Julie
    Here’s Lee:

    http://funky16corners.wordpress.com/2007/04/06/friday-flashback-3-funky16corners-radio-v13-everything-i-do-gohn-be-funky/

    And here’s Booker (scroll down):

    http://funky16corners.tripod.com/4_organ_groove_archives.htm

    Larry

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: