"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.