There was a kid at the radio station I ran that loved jam bands. He was always talking about Phish, wanting to listen to Phish, playing Phish on his shows. I remember being in my office one night listening to his show while I was working and he played a song that I hadn’t heard before but was curious about. When I asked him about it, I found out that it was a Meters song called “Just Kissed My Baby.” How come I didn’t know who these people were? We talked about them for a minute and I intended to come back around to them but I was always inundated with incoming music so I didn’t get around to it until almost two years later. Today.
I was making my blog rounds today and over on The Hood Internet they had a mash-up of Gorilla Zoe and The Meters cutely renamed “Jungle Figga.” Now, I want to throw an assortment of rotten fruit at Zoe as much as the next guy but I do have to give a nod to the kid who thought to mix the two.
Jungle Man – The Meters
Sophisticated Cissy – The Meters
The Meters were a four-piece funk band from New Orleans and started recording music in the 1960s and continued through the late 1970s. They were originally the house band for Allen Toussaint who was a big New Orleans R&B singer [and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee] and later produced for The Meters.
These two tracks are probably two of my favorite of theirs but most, if not all, of their songs showcase quality musicianship and creativity. “Jungle Man” is a soulful, funky groove with vocals, heavy bass and guitar vocals. It starts out with some humble percussion followed by the effortless entrance of the other instruments. They kind of sneak in and then envelope the entire track. “Sophisticated Cissy” is an instrumental track with guitar, bass, drums and organ. The organ kind of moans into the track and is layered beneath the other instruments but still adds a lot to the song.
Jody’s Walk – The Mighty Imperials
Kick the Blanket – The Mighty Imperials
These kids [literally kids] should naturally follow The Meters as they site the band as their major influence. These 16-year olds [SIXTEEN!!!!!!!] from New York said that hearing “Cissy Strut” changed their lives and their album Thunder Chicken was the result. It’s bleeping incredible considering the level of musicianship and how they crafted their songs. I am thoroughly, thoroughly impressed. They recorded this album years ago but it wasn’t released until 2004. I am generally not at a loss for words when it comes to music, but these kids blow my mind.
Instead of listing the tracks on the back of their album it says:
heavy gut-bucket soul,
or generally having a good time.”
So, so true.
Up For the Down Stroke – Parliament
Can I speak the word funk and not mention Parliament/Funkadelic? No, I know better. These cats were out of control and I like that. According to them, a Funkadelic is “someone…who encountered eternity on LSD and vowed to contain it in a groove.” That’s a statement. Can anyone deny that they captured that in their music? Or, if nothing else, that George Clinton dabbled in Albert Hofmann’s creation? Probably not.
This track is a fun, light-hearted jam. The first time I heard it I thought the CD was skipping when they changed time signatures but then realized it was just genius I couldn’t fit in my head right then. What else can I say? It’s Parliament. Listen to it.