The Meters “Cissy Strut” (1969)

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**Celebrating the music of New Orleans for Mardi Gras week**

If you like New Orleans music, you surely owe something to The Meters. If you enjoy funk music, you undoubtedly owe a lot to The Meters. And if you revel in New Orleans funk music, well, you pretty much owe it all to The Meters. This is the unrivaled Crescent City quartet that started it all, the godfathers of the genre, the founding fathers of funk. They were made up of the incomparable George Porter, Jr. playing pulsating bass lines, master syncopater Zigaboo Modeliste (what a name!) on drums, scratching harmonic rhythms by Leo Nocentelli on guitar, and eldest Neville brother, Art Neville riffing on keyboards. Together they created tight, melodic, off-beat grooves that no one in New Orleans, or anyplace else, had ever heard before.

While they rarely achieved significant mainstream success – their most successful song was 1975’s ‘They All Ask’d For You’, an unexpected regional radio hit which subsequently came to be regarded as the unofficial anthem of New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo – they are widely recognized as defining New Orleans funk, originators of a style, a sound, a feel, that has been hugely influential on countless bands, contemporaries as well as up to the present day (and I specifically say ‘influential on’ rather than ‘imitated by’ because really, practically nobody could approach their level of playing¹).

Here’s one of their most recognizable tunes, the 1969 funk instrumental ‘Cissy Strut’, inducted in 2011 into the Grammy Hall of Fame which, per the Grammy organization, honors “recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance.” Ah, let’s not short this fantastic funkmeister foursome, Grammy’s, how about we make that “recordings of lasting qualitative AND historical significance,” alright?

Alright then, maybe you know how this one begins: “Ayyyyy-YAH!”


¹The New Mastersounds, a currently operating British band, are one such group that quite impressively can.


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