Every band has songs in their repertoire that are not of their own making — cover songs is the term for them. Some bands do nothing but covers, others adapt them to their own style.
Native played tunes by The Clash, Chuck Berry, and Taj Mahal at our very first gig. Of course, we were very motivated to write original music, but were aware from the start that a good cover version says a lot about you to your audience.
Over the years, we took on a lot of cover tunes, some for our own amusement, others as requests. We played everything from Jimi Hendrix, to The Beatles, to Pink Floyd… shoot, we even did a U2 song at someone’s wedding. And then there’s Hava Nagila!!
But, the band we loved to cover the most was The Funky Meters from New Orleans. The mostly-instrumental numbers they came up with had a bubbly, percolating patina that distinguished their brand of funk with that ‘something extra’ that we learned from constantly.
When we added John Epstein to our roster, it enabled us to really dig into The Meters style even more so than before. Everybody, it seems, does a version of Cissy Strut, but, with Epstein’s organ prowess giving us that funky undergroove, we were playing Funky Miracle, Fiyo On The Bayou, Look A Py Py, Pungee, and many more.
So, the day Epstein came in with a yen to do an all-out monster version of Stevie Wonder’s Ordinary Pain ( from the Songs In The Key Of Life album) we hopped on that train and rode it all the way to Funkville.
So, today we offer up this Motown epic, done Native-style. Recorded by John Fitzwater in the spring of 1995 at our luxurious studio accommodations known as Marmfington Farm, located on the sunny plains of West 26th Street in Manhattan.