Thursday, 27 December 2018

The Meters - The Meters (1969)

Here comes the meter man....


Released May 1969


1. Cissy Strut
2. Here Comes The Meter Man
3. Chug Chug A-Lug (Push And Shove)
4. Live Wire
5. Art
6. Sophisticated Cissy
7. Ease Back
8. 6V6 LA
9. Sehorn's Farm
10. Ann
11 Stormy
12. Sing A Simple Song                            

Initially created as a house band for Allen Toussaint, the Booker T. & The Mgs-influenced funk quartet soon created their own New Orleans-style funky identity, almost launching a genre themselves with their cooking hot brand of instrumental funk. Vocals would be added in The Meters' later albums, but this debut was instrumental, raw and edgy.

The album kicks off with the now much-sampled "Blaxploitation" classic slab of urban funk in Cissy Strut. Here Comes The Meter Man is another smokin' hot cut, full of funky guitar and swirling Booker T-style "fat" organ breaks. Just check out the rumbling, rich bass intro to Chug Chug A-Lug (Push And Shove). Intoxicating or what. The drum sound is excellent too. All these cuts are quite minimalist in many ways, but in other respects they are full of detail and nuance. There are still a few lingering sixties influences to the sound, such as on 6V6 LA but basically this is prototype seventies down 'n' dirty, gritty funk. Listen to a track like Live Wire and its sublime guitar sound, interplaying with the drums and the organ. this is the blueprint for the whole album. There is not too much analysis that can be done, track by track, however. Some, like Art, have more of an upbeat swing and are more Booker T.-ish, but others have that New Orleans "bayou funk" feeling that was to make The Meters unique.

Personally, I feel they got even better when, alongside the copper-bottomed funk cuts, they added vocals and laid down some underrated soul numbers, their albums became more rounded and fulfilled then. Nevertheless, this is a masterpiece of its kind - a whole album of classic instrumental funk tracks that have not dated all these years later. Just put on Sophisticated Sissy as a great example of languid, effortless infectious funk, or the addictive groove of Ease Back.


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