February 28, 1995
Rhythm & Blues, Funk, New Orleans R&B, Soul, Instrumental Rock

Album Review

Rhino's Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology was the first truly comprehensive and widely available CD retrospective of the groundbreaking New Orleans funk band's work. These two chronologically arranged discs run down virtually every important track the band recorded under its own name, finally allowing a more general audience to hear why the Meters had earned such a stellar reputation among die-hard funk collectors and sample-minded hip-hoppers. Disc one, subtitled "The Josie Years," traces the group's 1969-1971 beginnings as a Booker T. & the MG's-like outfit, cutting brief instrumentals with a similar guitar/organ/bass/drums lineup. There were important differences, though; the Meters' arrangements usually carried the melody in single-note guitar lines, which gave them a distinctive calling card, and their rhythms were notably funkier. In fact, drummer Joseph "Ziggy" Modeliste pretty much establishes himself as a monster groove machine right from the beginning; his is a dominating rhythmic presence. This is the lean, earthy Meters sound most often imitated by latter-day funk revivalists like the Soul Fire label. Group vocals and wah-wah guitars start to pop up over the second half of the disc, setting the stage for their more ambitious major-label sound, which is documented on the second disc ("The Reprise/Warner Bros. Years"). Nearly all of these tracks are vocal numbers, "songs" in the more traditional sense, but the group also opens its sound up, allowing the members to show off their individual chops as soloists. There's more flash in this music, including plenty of nimble-fingered unison passages demonstrating that the band can be as tight as they are loose. It's more proof that the Meters were the most telepathic funk ensemble this side of the J.B.'s. Those with a casual interest can safely content themselves with the fine single-disc Very Best of the Meters, but for devoted funk fans, Funkify Your Life should be considered essential listening.
Steve Huey, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Cissy Strut
  2. Here Comes the Meter Man
  3. Live Wire
  4. Sophisticated Cissy
  5. Ease Back
  6. Stormy
  7. Look-Ka Py Py
  8. Pungee
  9. Thinking
  10. This Is My Last Affair
  11. Funky Miracle
  12. Yeah, You're Right
  13. Little Old Money Maker
  14. Dry Spell
  15. Chicken Strut
  16. Same Old Thing
  17. Darling Darling Darling
  18. Tippi-Toes
  19. Ride Your Pony
  20. A Message from the Meters
  21. Zony Mash
  22. Stretch Your Rubber Band
  23. Groovy Lady
  24. (The World Is a Bit Under the Weather) Doodle-Oop
  25. I Need More Time
  26. Good Old Funky Music
  27. Stay Away
  28. Soul Island
  29. Do the Dirt
  30. Cabbage Alley
  31. People Say
  32. Hey Pocky A-Way
  33. Africa
  34. Fire on the Bayou
  35. Talkin' 'Bout New Orleans
  36. They All Ask'd for You
  37. Running Fast [Single Version]
  38. (Doodle Loop) the World Is a Little Bit Under the Weather
  39. Trick Bag
  40. Hang 'Em High
  41. Be My Lady
  42. Funkify Your Life
  43. Give It What You Can
purchase full album