(The following article was originally published in September 2013 by Immersed Audio, an online music site that has since been closed.)
New Orleans Funk – New Orleans: The Original Sound of Funk 1960-75
I think it’s fair to say that Soul Jazz Records have been pretty bloody generous to us over the years. Rather like a considerate lover who knows what you like and just keeps on giving it.
‘New Orleans Funk – The Original Sound of Funk 1960-75′ is a particularly sumptuous Soul Jazz Records offering. Served up originally in 2000 but still giving unquestionable pleasure in 2013.
Legendary, pioneering (and heavily sampled) funk band The Meters are a key ingredient here in this musical gumbo with two of their finest classic tracks on this record, ‘Handclapping Song’ and ‘Just Kissed My Baby’.
The Meters were key to the whole scene. Like Motown’s Funk Brothers, they were the backing band for other artists who also feature on the record, such as Dr John. They were also the house band for Allen Toussaint when he was churning out big hitting soul classics earlier in the era. Toussaint’s ‘Get Out of My Life Woman’ features on this record, and it’s also interesting to note that he co-produced all of The Meters work of this period.
Art Neville, founding member, vocalist and keyboard player of The Meters was later joined in the band by his brother Cyril. An incredible solo track by Cyril Neville, ‘Tell Me What’s on Your Mind’, features on this album too. These were the guys who went on to be the Neville Brothers from the late 70s onwards. Aaron Neville’s ‘Hercules’, a ’73 recording, is a classic featured on this collection as well.
But this record isn’t solely a Neville Brothers affair, oh no. There’s more. Another key figure is the late, great Eddie Bo. Two of his tracks are on here, ‘Hook ‘n’ Sling (pt II)’ and ‘Check Your Bucket’. But, in addition to this, one of my favourite tracks on the whole album is Mary Jane Hooper’s ‘I’ve Got Reasons’, which Eddie also arranged. Furthermore, he wrote and produced the stand out track by The Explosions, ‘Garden of Four Trees’, which is truly essential listening.
Other artists and tracks worth mentioning include The Gaturs – with their deep funk dance groove ‘Gator Bait’ – and Professor Longhair, one of the father figures of this musically incestuous, potent and influential scene, with his ‘Big Chief’. To be honest, there aren’t any fillers here, you’re getting your money’s worth time and time again. Go on, indulge yourself with this solid slab of New Orleans Funk. You know you want to.