It's been 32 years since the breakup of the Meters, the funkiest combo to come out of New Orleans. Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr., and Art Neville have cut quite a few records, but those by Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste — the funkiest drummer on the planet, in the opinion of many — have been few and far between, which makes the release of this cause for celebration, even with its shortcomings.
Recorded at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans in 1980 — before he settled in Oakland — the five-song EP is short on time (about 29 minutes) and the sound is rather muddy. The drummer is surrounded by six instrumentalists, including keyboardist Ivan Neville, and two featured vocalists in a set of Zigaboo originals, including the "Let's Get Fired Up," a catchy ditty originally commissioned by Popeye's Chicken as a fight song for the New Orleans Saints. The grooves of that and two other up-tempo tunes are more akin to the proto-disco style that he played on LaBelle's 1974 smash "Lady Marmalade" than to the earlier funk of the Meters. "I Don't Know Why," a Bobby Womack-inspired soul ballad sung either by Earl Smith or Reggie Cummings (the credits don't say), is followed by "I Know You Don't Know," a molten mid-tempo slice of Crescent City street funk with Zigaboo in all his syncopated glory. (JZM Records)
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