February 04, 2005

"Hey Pocky A-Way" (L. Nocentelli/A. Neville/J. Modeliste/G. Porter, Jr.)
The Meters, from Rejuvenation, Reprise, 1974

And away they go

An obvious choice for Mardi Gras Indian influence and a great groove any way you look at it, “Hey Pocky A-Way” sums up the seriously casual, fun-loving spirit of New Orleans funk music and lifestyle better than any other recording I can think of. And what better version to feature than the original. Using the Indian’s chant phrase as it’s hook, the song was built on the foundation of a groove that drummer Zig Modeliste first laid down with the Meters on Dr. John’s 1973 album, In The Right Place, for the song, “Shoo Fly Marches On”, according to the Rejuvenation CD notes by Bunny Matthews. Obviously, it was a groove the Meters did not want to loose; and their song has become one of the standards for Carnival time and New Orleans music in general.

The Meters - Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Leo Nocentelli and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste - were in their collective prime at the time Rejuvenation appeared. Recruited at the end of the 1960’s by Allen Toussaint to be a recording session unit, their inspired studio jams caused them to get a deal of their own, resulting in a string of instrumental funk hits in the next few years. By 1974, the four were an influential recording and touring group whose confluence of talents had created a unique niche in their city’s music history that still can’t be touched, though many continue to try.

I haven’t posted any of their tunes up to now, because the group is so well-known; and their catalogue is readily available on Sundazed’s commendable CD series. But definitely ‘tis the season for some Meters. It looks like there may finally be a Meters reunion in the works for this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Let’s hope so. Wouldn’t it be a funky miracle to be able to catch ‘em live again?

PS – The horn section on this tune is not credited on the album or CD re-issue; and I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing anything about them. If you know who they are, let me know.

5 Comments:

Blogger Deep Soul Junkie said...

hell yeah! Say, what do the Meters cats do these days anyway?

11:00 AM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Art Neville has had severe back problems the last few years; but he is again playing with the Neville Brothers (check out their new CD - best in years); and he also performs with the 'funky Meters' (an offshoot of the original band) with George Porter, Jr, Brian Stoltz on guitar (formerly of the Neville Bros band), and hot-shit drummer David Russell Batiste. George Porter, Jr. also has his own band, Runnin' Pardners, with several CDs out, and does session work (he was on a bunch of Tori Amos CDs!). Leo Nocentelli has his own band, Nocentelli, and works out of San Francisco still, I think. I just saw them here in Lafayette before Xmas - very funk infested. They put out a live CD a few years back. Zig Modeliste has several solo CDs out and plays around NO from time to time. I think he's got his own website, so google him. And Cyril Neville, who became an "official" Meter kind of late, though he played percussion on alot of their earlier records, still plays with the Neville Bros and has his own long-running band, the Uptown Allstars, who've done some CDs, too. I'll be posting some of that solo stuff and funky session work by these guys later on, I'm sure.

11:20 AM, February 04, 2005  
Blogger The Reaper said...

I've been listening to Rejuvenation all week. My band learned Just Kissed My Baby (and a couple of older Meters tunes) in honor of Mardi Gras. Classic grooves!!! Might be the Meters' best album. I got to record a track at Sea-Saint studios, where Rejuvenation was recorded. What a thrill! I couldn't make my drums sound like Zigaboo's though.

BTW, check out George Porter on an album with Johnny Vidacovich - it's called We Came To Play. You can get it from Louisiana Music Factory.

3:25 AM, February 05, 2005  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yeah, We Came To Play, also has June Yamagishi on guitar, who's in Papa Grows Funk - and I just saw him with the Wild Magnolias here in Lafayette last night!
Porter and Vidacovich still do their trio funk gigs around NOLA (a for a while in Baton Rouge, too) from time to time, using guest soloists.

I'm sure recording at Sea-Saint was awesome. And I'd have to agree that Rejuvenation is their best album, just edging out Fire On The Bayou. By the way, what band are you in, Reaper?

10:45 AM, February 05, 2005  
OpenID normalrog said...

What does "Hey Pokey A-Way" mean?
Thanks,

Normalrog@aol.com

1:21 PM, October 22, 2010  

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