Doing a 180: Dr. John and The Meters

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Doing a 180: Dr. John and The Meters

It’s a New Orleans kind of week here at Rhino, with a pair of classic ‘70s albums from folks who hail from the Big Easy getting the 180-gram vinyl treatment.

Dr. John, In the Right Place: He was born Malcolm John Rebennack, his friends call him “Mac,” but you probably know him as Dr. John, and if you’re familiar with his music at all, then you know this album, which remains the most commercially successful effort of his career. Produced by Allen Toussaint, In the Right Place also includes the good doctor’s biggest single, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” which kicks off the proceedings in suitably funky fashion. For many, this album was their first introduction to the sounds of Nawlins, and all we can say to that is that there are plenty of worse places to start: songs like “Traveling Mood,” “Life” (a Toussaint composition), and “Shoo Fly Marches On” aren’t just the perfect soundtrack to your next Mardi Gras party, they’re a gateway drug into Dr. John’s discography, and, boy, are they addictive. Plus, it’s on colored vinyl, so it looks pretty awesome, too.

The Meters, Fire on the Bayou: Most people know about the Neville Brothers, if only because of the tremendous success that one of the brothers – we speak of Aaron, of course – has had as a solo artist, but before the Brothers formalized themselves as a musical unit, Cyril and Art Neville were busy making music as members of The Meters. Some may remember the group predominantly for their singles “Sophisticated Cissy” and “Cissy Strut,” which did big business on the R&B charts, but they also made a name for themselves as a backing band for other artists, including Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer, Labelle, and the gentleman we just wrote about a paragraph ago, Dr. John. If you only own one non-compilation album by the group, though, Fire on the Bayou is the way to go. It is, in a word, funky, from start to finish, and this reissue is the coolest possible way to add it to your collection, as the vinyl is done up in a starburst swirl of red and orange.