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The Meters – Trick Bag

 
Trick Bag

Sundazed has done it again. This particular release is only one in a large series of CDs released by this fine band. And they did a great job with them all. Original liner notes mix with recollections by the band, and who can doubt the music? If you’re not familiar with the major-league funk and R&B of the Meters, start here.

Powered by the wonderful Leo Necentelli on guitar, George Porter, Jr. on bass, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums, Cyril Neville on drums, and Art Neville on keyboards, this band put together some high-powered music that, aside from the classic “Cissy Strut,” never charted as high as it should have.

This release of the 1976 album shows a band at its peak. Disco was just getting under way, and the band pays tribute with the opener “Disco is the Thing Today.” It’s an okay cut, thankfully, it’s the only straight-ahead disco track and it just helps to highlight how good the rest of the tracks were. The slow funk of “Find Yourself” has a killer groove with Nocentelli giving a clinic on the “popcorn” funk guitar style. On cuts like this one and “I Want to Be Loved By You,” Porter shows off some hellacious bass chops while really holding the groove in line. In fact, the rhythm section work thoughout is amazing! Nocentelli, by the way, is much more than a one-trick pony. Check out the gorgeous octave and single-line work on an instrumental version of James Taylor’s “Suite for 20 G.” Incredible stuff. They also re-do “Hang ‘Em High,” the spaghetti western classic, in a Santana-esque groove where he also shines. And, their cover of “Honky Tonk Women” showcases not just Leo’s rock chops, but the entire band’s. The set also has a blistering version of Earl King’s “Trick Bag.” Monster stuff.

Check out any of the Sundazed re-releases of the Meters stuff. As fine a funk band as you’ll want to hear.



This review originally appeared in VG‘s March ’01 issue.

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