Tippi-Toes (1970)

The Meters

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Great ju-ju here. “Tippi-Toes” goes well beyond the geographic range of New Orleans to find its roots and influences. Think T-Bone Walker (of Texas) and his classic version of bluesman Joe Williams’s scorching “Goin’ To Chicago.” Think Booker T. & The M.G.s funking it up out of Memphis, backing Otis and Wicked Wilson Picket, and making a smash of their own “Green Onions.”)

Yet “Tippi-Toes” surprises with a supremely cool-ass set of grooves from a hiccuping lead guitar, a mamba-snake bass line, and a “talking” organ that seems to play off 1960s game-show arpeggios. (You’ve just won a brand new carrrrr!)

The drumming is extra-special. It’s bright, heavily syncopated, giving the listener a remember-when whiff of Ragtime, which, for all intents and purposes was born in New Orleans.

As in so many songs by the Meters, the title and underlying instrumental go heavy on the sexual innuendo. You know, if your toes don’t curl, or in the case of the shorter partner, if she doesn’t stand on tip-toes for that kiss, well… it ain’t got that zing.