Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Hey, Pocky A-Way" / The Meters

Happy Mardi Gras!! Even if you can't be down in New Orleans for the fesitvities, you can always bring the festivities right into your own home -- all it takes is a few funk-laden tracks from the Meters, and you're ready to strut your stuff.

Here's the recipe: Throw together a couple chunky guitars, a cupful of honky-tonk piano, a dash of horns just to spice things up, and stir it all up with some soulfully sung refrains. Pour it into a syncopation-crazy percussion section that uses everything from congas to hand claps (courtesy of the divinely-named drummer Zigaboo Modeliste), and there you are -- you've cooked up the sort of music that absolutely requires you to get up out of your chair and do a little parading.

Nobody has better New Orleans credentials than the Meters. Art Neville (of the Neville Brothers) was their frontman when they first formed in 1965, forging a new musical sound from jazz and R&B and Afro-Caribbean rhythms that would eventually become known as funk. Not only that, they were the house band for the masterful producer Allen Toussaint for years. I love Allen Toussaint too -- there's nobody on this planet more souful and elegant -- but today I felt like dancing. On days when I feel like dancing, the Meters will always win out.

I can teach you the lyrics in ten seconds -- "Hey Pocky A-Way" is most of it, sung in a call-and-response that dances from speaker to speaker. There is a verse, if you want to get literary: "Little bitty boy, with a heart of steel / You know you can't boogie now / But your sister sure will / Feel good music in your soul / Makes your body wanna rock, wanna rock 'n' roll." The other verse has us listening to the good music in a car, but the basic idea's the same. Hardly profound.

But hey, it's Mardi Gras. We have all of Lent ahead of us to be profound in. Today, put on the Meters and have a party.

Here's 30 seconds of it, just to make you hungry for more: http://www.smokecds.com/track/134164

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