Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Meters - Fire On The Bayou (1975)

Talkin' 'bout New Orleans....


Released July 1975

This is a gritty mix of funk and soul from The Meters. There is a lot of typical New Orleans funk, great drumming and intoxicating funky guitar sounds. It is their most "swampy" New Orleans-style album. The group now include vocal tracks on all their albums, and the product is now far more diverse, not that the early funk instrumental albums were not appealing, for they were, but these mid-seventies albums are really top quality. As with all their albums, there is nothing that sticks out notably, simply a succession of immaculately played, atmospheric funk and soul numbers that never fail to please. It has been said that the music simmers constantly, full of flavours, but never gets to the boil. That is not necessarily a bad thing. The funky aroma is constant.


1. Out In The Country
2. Fire On The Bayou
3. Love Slip Upon Ya
4. Talkin' 'Bout New Orleans
5. They All Aks'd For You
6. Can You Do Without?
7. Liar
8. You're A Friend Of Mine
9. Middle Of The Road
10. Running Fast
11. Mardi Gras Mambo                                  

Out In The Country is a catchy piece of country rock/funk, sort of Boz Scaggs meets mid seventies Traffic with lyrics influenced by The Band. It is actually quite different to those early funk instrumental numbers from a few years earlier. Fire On The Bayou is a swampy slice of cookin' funk with a Dr. John feel about it and hints of fellow funkers War as well. It has infectious shuffling drums and sort of skanking style guitars. Love Slip Upon Ya is a guitar and organ-driven grinder, seriously funky. Talkin' Bout New Orleans is typically New Orleans horn-driven funk, as you would imagine. You can almost feel the heat and smell the cooking. They All As'd For You is a slightly incongruous piece of New Orleans cajun light-hearted jazzy fun.

Can You Do Without? sees the funk return with a totally delicious, deep bass line and addictive funky beat. Liar is a mid-tempo rock funk number. You're A Friend Of Mine is an Al Green-ish slow soul number enhanced with some killer guitar in the middle. There is some wonderful slow soulful funk on this track. Middle Of The Road is a lengthy, delicious concoction of laid-back jazzy guitar-driven groove. It is an instrumental with a sensual late-night feel to it. The guitar is superb from Leo Nocentelli. All of The Meters were/are incredibly talented musicians.

Running Fast is a strangely short funker with echoes of Sly & The Family Stone in its vocal. It fades out just as it has got going, however. Mardi Gras Mambo is a suitably upbeat party song to end this enjoyable album. One of The Meters' best offerings. It was actually to prove to be their last great album, however.


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