One Another. . .
"Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further" (A. Toussaint)
Lee Dorsey, from Yes We Can...And Then Some, Polydor CD, 1993
Thought I’d slip this in before the Christmas rush. An LP track on Lee Dorsey’s 1970 Yes We Can album, “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further” was written, produced and arranged by Allen Toussaint and features the the Meters as backing band, who played on many Toussaint production projects in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. They were in the midst of their heyday of hit singles at the time this album was recorded and released; but Toussaint pretty much gave them strict arrangements to play on sessions for others. It’s my guess that the conga player is Cyril Neville, who wasn’t an official Meter yet, or maybe Uganda Roberts. And the sax player is probably Gary Brown. If you have better information, please let me know. Also, that's Toussaint singing backing vocal, as he often did on artists he worked with.
I’m featuring this in honor of the conjunction of December birthdays associated with it: Lee Dorsey (12/24/1924); Art Neville (12/17/1935); George Porter, Jr. (12/26/1947) and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (12/28/1948). Of course, those last three were keyboardist, bassist and drummer of the original Meters respectively, with guitarist Leo Nocentelli being the birthday odd man out. You can learn a little more about this seminal New Orleans funk outfit at that link I gave you, if you need it. And, if you read any of the Idris Muhammad interviews, then you know that he and Art Neville started out in the Hawketts together as teenagers. I’ve featured Lee Dorsey previously from a later project of his, Night People. So, you can refer back to that, too.
This CD is out of print, sad to say. It was a great one, too, having the entire Yes We Can album plus several of Dorsey’s Polydor single sides of the era and several unreleased songs. Find it used somewhere and scarf it up. [Note, 2008: Yes We Can has since been re-issued again on CD combined with Dorsey's Night People album.] I am sure I will post more from this collection later. But, for now, let this tune demonstrate the righteous way Toussaint, Dorsey and the Meters interacted. It's a movin’ groover, prime HOTG material. So enjoy.
[Of course, post-Katrina Elvis Costello and Toussaint collaborated on River In Reverse, which contained new versions of a number of Toussaint-penned gems, including this one.]