The Meters Should Be In the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
This is getting to be a Mardi Gras tradition around here – an hour-long live radio show from 1977, featuring the funky, funky Meters. This magic recording was cut at the Showboat Lounge in the Fat City entertainment district of Metairie, which is a suburb of New Orleans, by WNOE radio.
The band – featuring Art Neville on keyboards and vocals, Zigaboo Modeliste on drums, George Porter Jr. on bass and Leo Nocentelli on guitar (Cyril Neville may or may not have been an official member of the band, and he wasn’t at this gig) – ripped through some of their Mardi Gras anthems and some seriously greasy second-line funk.
In 1977 the Meters were about as big as they were gonna get: they had put out four albums on Warner Bros., they had opened for the Rolling Stones on their big 1975-76 world tour, they played Paul McCartney’s Venus and Mars party on the Queen Mary in 1974 and later in 1977 they were going to appear on “Saturday Night Live.” But here they are, in a small joint doing shout-outs on the radio. Only in New Orleans. Unfortunately, later in 1977 the Meters would also break up.
This recording captures one of American music’s great bands, tight as high-tension wire but playing as loose and funky as humanly possible. The recording has amplifier hum as well as that weird FM noise and a really smooth DJ cuts in every once in a while to let you know who dat. There are also a couple of very minor skips and drops (toward the end of “Hey Pocky Way”), but nothing can take away from this great music.
As Art Neville says, “It’s Mardi Gras time all the time, as far as we’re concerned.” Cook up some red beans and rice or cue this up in the car … and wonder why these guys aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If that omission pisses you off as much as it does me, do something about it and electronically sign this petition to get those buttheads up north to do the right thing and put this great American band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Song order: “Just Kissed My Baby”/ “Big Chief”/ “Jungle Man”/ “They All Ask’d For You”/ “Hey Pocky Way”/ “People Say”/ “Ain’t No Use”/ “Po Boy Jam” /”Feel Da Groove”