Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Meters Drop Some NOLA Funk On “Just Kissed My Baby”

“Just Kissed My Baby” is a stone-cold banger by New Orleans funkmasters the Meters.  This cut showcases the band’s formidable skills at creating nasty deep-funk grooves. George Porter Jr. makes his presence felt in a big way with a mammoth bass line, and Zigaboo Modeliste burns up the pocket with his super-funky drumming, while Leo Nocentelli cooks up some wicked wah-wah voodoo on guitar. Art Neville infuses his Hammond organ work with massive dollops of Big Easy soul. And the horn section drops pure fire with some tight horn blasts. Also, Lowell George from the rock band Little Feat contributes some sweet slide guitar licks.

“Just Kissed My Baby” was written by Modeliste, Nocentelli, Porter and Neville.  It’s a track from the Meters’ influential and acclaimed fifth album Rejuvenation, released in 1974. The collection—co-produced by Allen Toussaint and the Meters—is filled with stellar funk and soul tracks, including the irresistible “Hey Pocky A-Way,” which peaked at #31 on the Billboard R&B singles chart. Rejuvenation was ranked number 138 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time.

Many hip-hop heads discovered “Just Kissed My Baby” via samples. Public Enemy sampled it on their track “Timebomb.” Other artists who sampled it include EPMD (“Never Seen Before”) and Fabolous (“Right Now & Later On”). It was also featured on the popular video game Grand Theft Auto IV’s soundtrack.

 The Meters dropped tons of great funk back in the day and built a sterling rep as one of the baddest funk outfits in the game. Although they didn’t attain the popularity or record sales of bands like P-Funk, Sly & the Family and the Ohio Players, the Meters left a huge musical legacy and are one of the most influential funk bands of all time. They brought a down-home New Orleans flavor to funk music that all funk lovers are extremely thankful for.

"Just Kissed My Baby" at Amazon

Monday, February 11, 2019

Janelle Monáe Tore The Roof Off The Grammys With Explosive, Funk-Filled Performance

R&B sensation Janelle Monáe further solidified her stature as one of the most exciting and dynamic artists/performers working today with an electrifying medley of songs from her critically acclaimed Dirty Computer album during Sunday night’s telecast of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. She brought the funk with both barrels, thrilling the audience with her amazing talent and powerful stage presence. 

Monáe kicked off the performance with the Prince-inspired “Make Me Feel.” She appeared onstage holding a pale-green Fender Stratocaster, flanked by her dancers, and proceeded to play the track’s funky rhythm licks as she sang the verses. After one of the dancers removed the guitar, Monáe really cut loose and delivered a stunning, roof-raising performance that was filled with nods to the legendary music holy trinity of James Brown, Prince and Michael Jackson. The medley also included “Django Jane” and “Pynk.” Her dancers even wore the famous vagina pants from the now-iconic “Pynk” music video.  

Other performance highlights included a dazzling unison moonwalk that was flawlessly executed by Monáe and her dancers, and the show-stopping finale where she burned up the stage to James Brown’s funk classic “I Got The Feelin’.”

Many people were floored by the performance with Monáe receiving tons of love across the Internet and elsewhere; music stars like Diddy, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga heaped praise on the performance. Even former first daughter Chelsea Clinton gave Monáe a shout-out on Twitter. And many entertainment and music publications wrote that the performance was one of the biggest highlights of the night.

Monáe was nominated for two Grammys this year: Album of the Year for Dirty Computer and Best Music Video for “Pynk.” Although she went home empty-handed, she was still a huge winner Sunday night. Just ask anyone who watched her performance.  

Related blog entry: Janelle Monáe Releases Prince-Inspired New Track "Make Me Feel."