Through his work in the 1960s and ’70s as a member of the Meters and a regular studio guitarist for Allen Toussaint, Leo Nocentelli helped build the modern R&B sound of New Orleans and bring it to the world.
He held down classic singles by local legends like Lee Dorsey, wrote the Meters’ best-known riffs including Cissy Strut, and went on to record with the likes of Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle and Stevie Wonder. Nocentelli’s songs have been sung by Etta James and the Neville Brothers and sampled by hundreds of hip-hop artists.
More than 50 years have passed since Leo Nocentelli recorded Another Side, a studio album at Cosimo Matassa’s Jazz City Studio between 1970 and 1972. Unreleased and untouched for decades, the tapes were recently discovered at a swap meet in California. The unearthed album showcases a largely acoustic, more contemplative side of the legendary guitarist, who is best known for his hard-edged funk licks.
What makes Another Side extraordinary is the fact that the album — which could have easily become a classic in the ‘70s singer-songwriter era — sat untouched for decades, miraculously surviving the devastating blow of Hurricane Katrina.
Noncentelli joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen to talk about it.