The Meters – "Rejuvenation" – Reprise Records – 1974
Why this Meters album, why not the half-dozen other ones that rip? “Cabbage Alley”? “Fire On the Bayou”? Even the famed music critic Robert Christgau picked “Cissy Strut” as the Meters lone “A”-grade album. Not a bad pick, but he’s wrong. “Rejuvenation” is the Meters Led Zeppelin 4 – or whatever that album is with “Stairway to Heaven” and the crazy symbols is called. Maybe it isn’t the band’s “Physical Graffiti,” but “Rejuvenation” holds the most tunes from the Canon of New Orleans funk.
Picking that one Meters record, that one you have to have is, in itself, an impossible mission, the music is simply too good, like picking your favorite son.
And we could only pick one record from each artist or group (If we didn’t, the list would have ended up overloaded with one artist or group. We wanted that essential, desert island recording for each artist.). And this album has “People Say,” “Just Kissed My Baby,” “Jungle Man,” “Hey Pocky A-Way,” “Africa,” and a mind blowing 11-minute version of “Ain’t No Use” – Art’s voice is pure honey on this track, and that’s not even counting him crushing the organ.
It’s an album like this that shows how this was no backup band, but likely one of the best – not just New Orleans’ best – but big time best, like the Rolling Stones .
These songs represent the who’s who of New Orleans funk – above all from the Meters’ catalog. And no surprise, once again, Allen Toussaint’s fingerprints are all over a major New Orleans album, producing this record at the famed Sea-Saint Studios.
So, really, in the end, it ain’t even close. Sorry, Robert.