Look-Ka Py Py
"The best . . . band in the world"—Mick Jagger
Break down the deceptively simple recordings of the Meters, and you will find the essential DNA of hypnotic groove music. On the New Orleans quartet's own titles and the many pop records the group played on (including the LaBelle smash "Lady Marmalade"), the key characteristic is restraint. Nobody works too hard on Meters records. The rhythm is built on a loosetight axis, with some elements (usually Zigaboo Modeliste's snappish drumming) pushing forward and other forces (the carefully articulated guitar lines of Leo Nocentelli or spare jabs from Art Neville's B3 organ) pulling back.
The result is James Brown–style funk with a little Bourbon Street shuffle in its step. Most of the songs on this satisfyingly greasy second album are just riffs, simple recurring phrases that expose the inner workings of the pulse—a marvel built on precisely interlinked parts. Bassist George Porter recalled that the title track was inspired by a problematic piston in the band van: "It kept going 'ooka-she-uh, ooka-she-uh,' over and over." The musicians began pounding and singing along, and wrote the song on the spot.
The Meters did this and two other albums for the small Josie label before moving to Reprise. Their later works are slick productions that helped connect this important band to a wider audience. While powerful, that music feels slight compared with the sizzle of the early Meters, works that gather funk, Mardi Gras Indian chants, and the sauntering swing of New Orleans backbeats of the highest order.
Released: 1970, Josie (Reissued 1999, Sundazed)
Key Tracks: "Look-Ka Py Py," "Oh, Calcutta!," "Funky Miracle," "Dry Spell," "Yeah, You're Right."
Catalog Choice: Funkify Your Life; The Original Funkmasters (UK)
Next Stop: The JBs: A Funky Good Time
After That: Little Feat: Waiting for Columbus
Book Page: 500
#1 from Smoe - 07/01/2012 11:17
No Tool? I would have thought maybe “Lateralus” would have made it?