This week’s show is a funky one. Get the show started by clicking the Mixcloud arrow then read how Ohio scooped New Orleans on the funk
A recent NPR story about Dayton, Ohio having a Funk Hall of Fame took me a bit by surprise. It’s not that I have anything against Ohio though I resent the tendency of their vote for president seeming to count more than mine. And yes, there are some fine funk bands from Dayton (Ohio Players, Heatwave, Zapp, etc.).
Like many though, when I think of funk masters, I think James Brown, George Clinton and, well, The Meters. In the late 60’s, Art Neville (keyboards), George Porter, Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar) and Zigaboo Modeliste (drums) became the studio band for Allen Toussaint backing hits like “Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky,” sung by Lee Dorsey. And while they didn’t make it as big as some of the mid-70 funk bands, The Meters, along with James Brown, are widely considered to be the originators of the funk sound.
But its not that simple. The Meters were influenced by New Orleans parade rhythms, Professor Longhair, and Earl Palmer, who before moving to Los Angles to be part of the famed “Wrecking Crew,” was part of the Cosimo Matassa studio band that created many of the early R&B hits by Fats Domino and Little Richard. The same Little Richard sound that James Brown cited as being an influence on his funk sound.
So why isn’t the Funk Hall of Fame in New Orleans? Probably for the same reason there’s not a decent Jazz or R&B museum in New Orleans. Dayton made it happen and New Orleans didn’t. Well, least the music is good. Other acts on this show include Corey Henry, Galactic, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Dr. John, Eddie Bo, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Jon Cleary, Papa Grows Funk and Walter “Wolfman” Washington.