Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Hammond Organ: Sophisticated Cissy

The Meters: Sophisticated Cissy


When I think of the sound of New Orleans, I think of great piano players long before I think of the organ. But one of the greatest bands the city has produced featured the organ on many of its songs, including hits like Sophisticated Cissy. That band was the Meters. In 1969, following a tour as a supporting player for his brother Aaron, Art Neville returned to New Orleans to form the Meters. Art was the organ and piano player, and the group was dedicated to instrumental funk. Sophisticated Cissy was the answer song to their big hit Cissy Strut. Presumably, the addition of the organ is what made her sophisticated.

Now maybe you know this history, or maybe you picked up on my clue, when I mentioned Art Neville and his brother Aaron. In time, the Meters would have shifts in their line-up, and they would add vocals. This laid the foundation for the Neville Brothers. But, if you want to hear New Orleans organ, those early Meters albums are the best place to look.

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