Happy Birthday George Porter Jr.: Performing ‘Sailin’ Shoes’ & ‘Sneakin’ Sally’ At Gathering Of The Vibes 2012

Funk legend George Porter Jr. celebrates his 74th birthday today. Born on December 26, 1947 in New Orleans, George and his childhood friend drummer Zigaboo Modeliste joined a group consisting of guitarist Leo Nocentelli and keyboardist Art Neville as well as vocalists Cyril Neville and Aaron Neville who went by the name of the Neville Sounds. Cyril and Aaron would leave to pursue other projects and the remaining core four went on to form the groundbreaking and highly influential New Orleans funk band The Meters in 1965 after catching the ear of fellow NOLA legend Allen Toussaint while performing six nights a week at Crescent City club Ivanhoe.

The Meters were progenitors of funk glued together by Geroge’s perfectly placed pocket playing and locked-in grooves from his childhood friend Zigaboo Modeliste. As such, The Meters were also in demand sessions musicians performing on well-known songs like Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time,” the ​​Patti LaBelle-popularized “Lady Marmalade” and Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights.” The quartet also added their funky expertise to another Toussaint-penned number, “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley,” originally recorded (with The Meters) by Lee Dorsey for his Allen Toussaint-co-produced 1971 album Yes We Can.

Three years later, The Meters would reprise their role on “Sneakin’ Sall Through The Alley” for Robert Palmer’s 1974 debut solo album of the same name. The LP also boasted work from Little Feat founding guitarist Lowel George, whose song “Sailin’ Shoes” (also the title of Feat’s 1972 album) opens up the record. Over the years, George Porter Jr. has included both songs in his live repertoire with his various post-Meter groups.

In 2012, the bassist’s George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners delivered both “Sailin’ Shoes” and “Sally” at the Gathering Of the Vibes Festival. GPJ added his characteristically pocket bass lines and also sings harmony.

To celebrate George Porter Jr.’s birthday, watch the legendary bassist perform “Sailin’ Shoes” and “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” at Gathering of the Vibes in 2012 below for this edition of Sunday Cinema: