Since the 1960s, pioneering New Orleans-based funk band The Meters has influenced a nearly countless number of musicians who have developed with the groove-centric style the band is famous for. Original members keyboardist Art Neville, bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste will reunite on April 22 in their hometown at the Orpheum Theater for concert coinciding with the start of Jazz Fest. While many of the group’s catalog of original compositions have become standards of funk, The Meters also covered the work of many other artists, including singer-songwriter Neil Young.
Many are familiar with The Meters cover of Young’s “Birds” from the Canadian musician’s 1970 album After The Gold Rush. The Meters version of “Birds” was recorded and released in 1972 on their popular fourth album Cabbage Alley. A perhaps lesser-known Neil Young cover recorded by The Meters was their take on his classic “Down By The River” from Young’s 1969 LP with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
Likely recorded during The Meters’ recording sessions for their 1976 album Trick Bag, the cover went unreleased for many years. Issued as a bonus track in 2001 on a digitally remastered release of Trick Bag and also on the rarities compilation album Kick Back, the cover of “Down By The River” runs more than nine minutes.
Below stream The Meters covering Neil Young’s “Down By The River” as well as their take on “Birds”:
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