Thursday, November 1, 2007

No. 218: Look-Ka Py Py

Band: The Meters
Album: Look-Ka Py Py
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The house band for Allain Toussaint's New Orleans recording shop, the Meters made funky instrumentals that take as much from Sly and The Family Stone as they did from jazz greats.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The Meters are largely forgotten in the public consciousness. Hip hop producers haven't forgotten them, but they're not held in the same place as other funk bands of that era.
Best song: The title track is amazing as is "Funky Miracle."
Worst song: They're all pretty great.
Is it awesome?: It's pretty good.

The Meters make their second and final appearance on the list with the band's second record. In comparison to "Rejuvenation," "Look-Ka Py Py" is more laid back. "Rejuvenation" is more based around the emerging Parliament-style funk that was popular, while the organ/drums-based sound on "Look-Ka Py Py" reflects a huge influence from bands like Booker T. And the MGs.

Specifically, the guitar on the record is clearly influenced by Steve Cropper's guitar work from the MGs. The easy rhythmic chords of "This Is My Last Affair" falls into the one or two-line riffing of "Funky Miracle." It's the sweet transition from James Brown's funk to George Clinton's.

Also notable is the start/stop of Ziggy Modeliste's drumwork. Like the great band of Freddie Hubbard, the Meters are able to keep a beat because of Modeliste's devotion to the beat. A lack of overt soloing is striking, but the use of hi-hat augmentation ("Funky Miracle" specifically shows this) is the type of thing you only see in jazz drummers.

Every time I listen to this record, I enjoy it more. It's really the type of thing that works equally as background -- the Meters backed up Dr. John, Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer at different points -- or in the forefront. Complex and funky, "Look-Ka Py Py" is amazing.

1 comment:

kellydwyer said...

The Robert Palmer album they played on, 'Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley,' is probably in my top 20. Perfect blue-eyed soul with a funky backdrop, with guitar from Lowell George. The grooves are just as deep as on Meters albums. Fabulous disc.