Art Neville was the eldest of four brothers (the others being Aaron, Charles and Cyril) who grew up surrounded by music in New Orleans. He learned piano, and during the 50s led a group called The Hawketts, who had a regional hit in 1954 with "Mardi Gras Mambo". He also recorded some singles as a solo artist, the best being the Allen Toussaint ballad "All These Things", which was a hit in 1962. In 1966 he formed a new band, Art Neville & The Neville Sounds, which featured his brothers Aaron and Cyril on vocals, and a new lineup of musicians. They never recorded but for a short period of time were one of the hottest live act in New Orleans.
The Neville Sounds did not last, as Art found he had a particular musical connection with the rhythm section, and they went out on their own. This lineup of Art (organ), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), George Porter Jr. (bass) and Zigaboo Modeliste (drums) developed a distinctive sparse and funky sound, and were hired by Allen Toussaint as the backing group for artists he was producing, including Lee Dorsey and Betty Harris. They soon began recording instrumentals by themselves, and settled on the name The Meters.
In 1969 they had two Top 10 R&B hits on Josie Records with the instrumentals "Sophisticated Cissy", which got to #7, and "Cissy Strut", which reached #5. A full album featuring these and other instrumentals came out the same year, showcasing their unique and brilliant brand of New Orleans funk.|> Look-Ka Py Py (1970)
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