Last week’s African-American Music Month show celebrated the many styles of music generated by New Orleans musicians of color. Just about every genre . . .except for funk. Today’s show is all about the funk starting with The Meters’ “The World Is A Little Under the Weather” from 1971. You got two hours of listening so you best get started now.
When you talk about funk, there’s James Brown (who was inspired by Little Richard’s New Orleans sessions) and then there is The Meters –formed in 1965 by Zigaboo Modeliste (drums), George Porter Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), and Art Neville (keyboards). Allen Toussaint used The Meters as his studio band, supporting Lee Dorsey on “Ride Your Pony” and “Working in the Coal Mine. By 1969, The Meters were doing their own thing with “Sophisticated Cissy” and “Cissy Strut.” In addition to Weather, you’ll hear the band’s “Zony Mash” and “Stretch Your Rubber Band.” You’ll also hear Eddie Bo with an extended version of his big hit “Hook and Sling.”
To continue to honor African-American Music Month, this show features black artists including Sierra Green, Chocolate Milk, Hot 8 Brass Band, Eldridge Holmes, Rebirth Brass Band, Glen David Andrews, George Porter Jr. and his Runnin’ Pardners, Cyril Neville, Mem Shannon, Dumpstaphunk and more. The two exceptions are songs are by Galactic that feature Irma Thomas and Glen David Andrews on vocals.
The Boswell Sisters start this week’s show with “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” a song that begins with the line “Change in the weather, change in the sea. From now on, there’ll be a change in me.” Like many Boswell numbers, the song smartly shifts tempo, and then serves as an anthem for personal change. A fitting song for the times — not to mention the weather. You can listen to that song and the rest of the show right now by clicking the side arrow below.
Earl King follows the opening song with “Love Can Change the World” and Debbie Davis, who once sang with the Pfister Sisters, a New Orleans group inspired by the Boswells, lays down a pointed song called “Your Racist Friend.”
Later in the show, I play a set of contemporary alternative rock by The Revivalists and The Iceman Special. The Revivalists are well known for a number 1 song called “Wish I Knew You” (when I was young). Instead though I play a nine-minute live version of “Soulfight.”
Near the end of the hour, you will hear a set of music handpicked by Mark and Edith, regular visitors to New Orleans but also listeners and supporters of KAOS. You’ll hear these Olympia residents explain why they love New Orleans. I very much appreciated their plug for supporting community radio. Here’s how you can join them in doing that for KAOS and KMRE .
My brass band guarantee for this show is a bit more jazzier than usual with original songs by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Soul Rebels. Later you’ll hear George Porter Jr. doing “Check Out Your Mind” — a nice counterpoint to the Boswell’s “There’ll Be Some Changes Made.”
As usual this show contains a mix of musical genres including vintage jazz, some swing, a bit of blues, rock, swamp pop, and Mardi Gras songs. I hope you enjoy. Please consider subscribing and feel free to leave a comment on the music you like.
Thank you Anch and Scott for covering my show the last two weeks while I journeyed the length and depth of Florida visiting relatives. My trip started with a couple of nights in New Orleans, including the last day of Jazz Fest. Here’s some pictures from that day. Don’t forget to tune me in this Thursday (May 24) to hear these folks.
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.
Picture yourself at Tipitina’s in the early 80’s preparing to catch some funk by Zigaboo Modeliste and George Porter, Jr., and just as the band is about to begin, a microphone descends from the ceiling.
You would have been witnessing an early, glorious moment in community radio. Located in the beer storage room above the uptown New Orleans night club was the nascent community radio station, WWOZ. With that simple, low-tech approach, the station was able to broadcast a live performance–launching a 30-year tradition of supporting local music.
WWOZ has come a long way from that beer closet and now is readily recognized as the “Guardian of the Groove” in New Orleans.
While serving a smaller market, KAOS has a similar reputation for supporting the often overshadowed music scene in Olympia.
Like many, I listen to more than one station. But I only pledge to KAOS and WWOZ. I pledge to KAOS because its my default station that I listen to the most, providing a wide range of music and programming. I pledge to WWOZ because I love New Orleans and its music. Listening to the station connects me, albeit remotely, to the city I was born in. Without WWOZ, I would not have had the confidence to launch Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa – a show that wouldn’t exist without KAOS.
Here are the features I like about these stations. They both are non-commercial, community radio stations. They both invite and train members of the community to volunteer as on-air hosts (deejays). While being “volunteer powered” means they’re not as slick as some commercial radio stations, the hosts convey an authentic, honest voice, portraying Olympia and New Orleans in a way that gives me a deeper understanding. These deejays work in the same community, walk the same sidewalks, drink at the same bars (you get the idea.).
Both stations are cheerleaders for local music, regularly announcing live music events, hosting studio performances and interviewing musicians and other performers. This boosterism can matter. In 1987, KAOS hosted the the first radio broadcast of Nirvana and this summer, Seattle’s Vaudeville Etiquette was written up by the music tracker CMJ because of airplay it received on KAOS.
Just last week, local musician Greg Black stopped by the KAOS table at Arts Walk and offered the station his new CD, recorded two blocks away at Dub Narcotic Studio. You’ll hear it, along with other local music, on KAOS.
Both stations offer more than music. WWOZ , owned by the same folks who bring us Jazz Fest, focuses on programs that delve into the music and culture of New Orleans. KAOS has a broader mission, providing alternative perspectives such as National Native News, Counter Spin and Workers Independent News. as well as locally produced public affairs programs like Parallel University, Speaking of Wellness and the one I contribute to, Community Connections Report.
Strong listener support for these stations are crucial. The additional funding helps enrich the quality of the programming. But it also demonstrates to underwriters and funders that the station is a valued resource worthy of their support. Please take the time to pledge to KAOS and pledge to WWOZ this week or whenever you read this.