Pickin' and a Grinnin'
Jeff | Seattle, WA United States | 03/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once you have The Meters hits, like "Cissy Strut" and "Sophisticated Cissy," you should pick up this CD. More lighthearted and fun, it's an ode to the Crescent City. Also, this CD's version of "Good Old Funky Music" is a flawless, enjoyable jam and Pickin' and a Grinnin' is not only a song you can't help but smile to, it's also got some of the finest guitar work I've heard on any song in the funk genre."
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 06/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the dawn of the CD era, Rounder's two compilations of Meters odds and ends seemed like a godsend, since the original band had broken up in 1978 and their remarkable catalog seemed unlikely to reach print on compact disc any time soon. But in recent years that label's two brief (under 40 minutes each) collections have dated badly. Recently, Sundazed has done an exemplary job remastering all of the Meters' Josie and Warner Bros. albums, so the seminal band's catalog is now finally available, with superb and faitfull remastering, original graphics, previously unissued bonus tracks and annotation by the always reliable Bill Dahl. In addition, Sundazed has issued two of its own collections of rarities that render the Rounder sets superfluous, "Zony Mash" (with recently unearthed Josie material plus all 8 single sides issued in 1970 - 71, during the year following the group's third and final Josie album, and leading us up to 1972, when they signed with Warner Bros.). "Kickback" is their second rarities set and includes all relevent Warner Bros. outtakes from the mid-70s, in much improved sound. The earlier Rounder collections now seem deceptive: the annotation is minimal and even inaccurate, and some material - specifically several cuts that we now know were issued as Art Neville solo singles on Sansu during 1967 - 68 (backed by the Meters)which have also been anthologized in recent years, by Sundazed on a pair of superb various artist New Orleans comps and on the Fuel 2000 label's Art & Aaron Neville collection. These are not really Meters tracks in the true sense. What remains on those Rounder cds, then, are newly remixed (as of the early '90s) versions of a three late period Josie single sides (and such remixes rarely hold up as well as the originals), and a couple of oddities worth tracking down for completists: "Good Old Funky Music", for example, was issued in a two-and-a-half- minute mix on the final Meters single for Josie during the fall of 1971; Rounder includes an interesting, nearly five minute rough mix that has a unique sound and power of its own, a work in progress before the final editing and mixdown took place. Also the Leo Nocentelli guitar feature "Pickin' and Grinnin" has some impressive effects, though it runs out of steam after a couple of minutes, and has not been resurrected by Sundazed. The truly spooky closer "Voodoo" is the true gem, again yet to appear since the Rounder set, it sounds like nothing so much as the Meters meeting "On The Corner"-era Miles and Sun Ra head on, and at three minutes feels too short. "Voodoo" sounds like nothing else The Meters ever released. (I wonder when it was recorded). So there you have, worth five bucks if you're intrigued. Otherwise stick with Sundazed's 10 cd reissue seeries, one of the major catalog rstorations in recent years."