Friday, May 11, 2012

40 Year Itch : The Metric System

As The Meters, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, keyboardist Art Neville, bassist George Porter Jr and drummer Ziggy Modeliste backed just about every artist who found his way to New Orleans and producer Allen Toussaint : Dr. John, LaBelle, Robert Palmer even Paul McCartney. When the label for whom they made three instrumental records, Josie Records, went backrupt The Meters signed with Reprise and released their first album on May 11, 1972.  Cabbage Alley brought percussionist Cyril Neville on board and the album combines the  New Orleans  funk ingrained in The Meters' DNA as well as some Caribbean island flavor
(especially on "Soul Island"). 

"Do The Dirt" ( pronounced "Doit" in that Jersey-like New Orleans accent)  offers a better glimpse of what the Meters would be doing down the road: earthy funk that would hit its peak on 1974's Rejuvination ( a rare 5-star album according to The Rolling Stone Record Guide). But if Josie failed The Meters by going bankrupt, Reprise wouldn't be doing The Meters much of a solid either. All of the Reprise records quickly went out of print. When I ran into George Porter in the mid-90's, he said his only copy of Rejuvination was on a squeaky cassette tape. 

Since 2000,  Sundazed Records has earned the worship and hard earned money of music fans by  releasing The Meters catalog. I would suggest buying Rejuvination first, one of the instrumental albums second ( maybe Meters over Look A Py Py), and Fire On The Bayou before you get Cabbage Alley.

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