Moodoo is the new live album by Porter, Batiste and Stoltz, otherwise known as PBS. The group is made up of New Orleans funk legends George Porter Jr., bass player for the original Meters as well as a solo artist, Russell Batiste Jr., drummer for the Funky Meters and Orkestra From da Hood, and Brian Stoltz, long time guitarist for the Neville Brothers as well as the Funky Meters. The three of them originally got together to form the Funky Meters with Art Neville and then veered off into PBS where they can do their own thing. The result is modern day hard-edged funk. On this first-ever live album by the group, recorded at a gig at Club Metronome in Burlington, Vermont, they are joined on four songs by original Phish keyboardist Page McConnell.
The album cranks it up right off the bat with the 9-minute “Ausnacious,” written by Porter. It is built on a steady groove laid down by all three musicians with Stoltz’ guitar front and center, Batiste’s drums steady and syncopated and Porter’s old school bass thundering underneath. A lot of these adjectives may sound over the top, but for those that have not heard PBS before, their music is thankfully as in-your-face as I am describing.
The second song, “Comin’ At Ya’,” is where the funk really hits the road in my opinion. There are not many bands out there playing true funk music these days, Freekbass and a few others, and this nearly 10-minute workout is a great example of the genre whose heyday was in the late 1960’s and 70’s. The tune rolls from one groove to the next and breaks down at about the 3:35 minute mark into a bass thumping clinic by Porter. A couple of minutes later Stoltz cranks his guitar up and kicks in the effects with Batiste rolling underneath throughout. This cut is worth the price of the CD alone.
Page McConnell is featured on four cuts, Porter’s “I Get High (every time I think about you),” the slower grooved cuts “All We Wanna Do” and “Message From PBS,” and Curtis Mayfield’s classic “Check Out Your Mind.” The album continues sans McConnell with a medley of three songs that includes The Meters’ “Funky Miracle” combined with Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” and Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women.” The album ends with a slow groove soul number called “Out In The Country” written by Leo Nocentelli, Art Neville, Cyril Neville and George Porter Jr.. Back in the 60’s and 70’s there would be albums that would come with liner notes that would read, to the effect, “Play This Record Loud.” Here is a new live CD that is worthy of some knob crankin’.