Saturday, January 5, 2013

138 Rejuvination. A Funky metric

Album: Rejuvenation
Artist: The Meters
Genre: Funk
Year: 1974


1. People Say
2. Love Is for Me
3. Just Kissed My Baby
4. What'cha Say
5. Jungle Man
6. Hey Pocky A-Way
7. It Ain't No Use
8. Loving You Is on My Mind
9. Africa

The great thing about Funk Music is that in order to review it you just have to work out if it succeeds or fails. Funk has an attainable aim and it's possible to determine whether it falls short of it's ojcetive or achieves it with meters to spare. In fact you can even conduct a scientific test and achieve results which could be plotted on a graph of some kind. All you have to do is put a funk album on in a room full of people and watch for the reactions. Head nodding and toe tapping denotes a success. If the majority of the room is grooving in some way then you can label it a win.

Rejuvenation is definitely the kind of album that gives you rhythm. It's had heads nodding for decades and shows no sign of stopping now. Young people of today might have their newfangled tablet devices and listen to music directly from a cloud but the beat is still primal and it still moves. You could have played Rejuvenation to people in medieval times and they might have burned you as a witch but they would have been nodding in time while they did it.

But while you might tap your toes, there isn't much to make you feel overjoyed on the first side of the album. It's funk and it works but it's also a bit tepid, it doesn't really cook. The first six tracks are all short songs which have a groovy bass line but you can't help but feel the band hasn't really taken off. They've captured a tune in a few minutes but never really gone anywhere with it.

Thankfully It Aint No Use comes along with almost 12 minutes of unleashed funk jamming which lets the band cut loose and shake off the shackles of a recording studio. They're no longer laying down tracks for an album they're just jamming and being moved in ways they can't possibly resist even if they wanted to. Guitar, bass, piano and percussion all work together to propel the track into uncharted waters that groove along and demand repeated listens. It's one of those songs that you can happily listen to four times in a row just to focus on each individual player in order to see what they're doing on their own.

Sadly It Aint No Use fades out instead of giving us a big finish and then even more tragically the album returns to some lightweight, controlled funk that's a real let down after the glory of It Aint no use.

If the entire of Rejuvination was as good as its standout track this would be one of my favourite releases. As it is it's a fine example of competent funk totally overshadowed by 12 minutes of inspiration.

Highlight: It aint no use
Lowlight: Loving is for me

Influenced by: Dr John
Influenced: The Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "If you ain't blown away by "Ain't No Use" and its extended funk workout, well, mebbe there's a history of rigor mortis in your family."

-I'd go so far as to say there's a history of rigor mortis in every family. I haven't dug up any of my ancestors to check but I'd be reasonably sure they all went fairly rigid after death.

So did this rejuvenate your or not? Let me know below.

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