50 Years Later, Leo Nocentelli’s First Solo Album ‘Another Side’ Finally Arrives (ALBUM REVIEW)

The story of Leo Nocentelli’s first solo album arriving fifty years after it was recorded is amazing, a stroke of good luck which gives life to a lost relic from a bygone era. Another Side is so unlike anything else in the legend’s historic back catalog that he himself forgot he even did it. Now that it sees the light of day (through Light In The Attic records) the collection shows off a softer, singer/songwriter side of The Meters funk guitarist. 

The acoustic picking starts from the first notes as “Thinking Of The Day” floats out effortlessly and proves that Nocentelli, who rarely took the microphone for his main band, can sing and turn a phrase expertly. The track’s easy acoustic flow and hopeful vibe are bright and would have certainly fit into radio rotation when it was recorded in the early seventies.  

For an unearthed record the sound quality and production are pristine, the instruments sing and sound great with every strum and fill. Leo brought his friends from the Meters (George Porter Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste) to help fill out and producer Allen Toussaint also contributed on keys. 

The New Orleans get-down vibe does not completely get pushed away as songs like “Riverfront” have that Toussaint bounces to it and the acoustically funky “Give Me Back My Loving” is a gas as piano, upbeat six-string and drumming make for an album highlight. Modeliste’s drumming has always been the secret weapon and even on a singer/songwriter record it shines on efforts like the poppy, La-La-La accented “Getting Nowhere”. 

The light country twang of “I Want To Cry” is a nice shifting of pace while the talking blues of “Pretty Mittie” goes on too long and “Tell Me Why” sounds a bit blasé, but with songs like the chooglin’ “Till I Get There”, complete with upbeat shaking and some of Leo’s best guitar work on the record, the minor misses don’t add up to much.   

Nocentelli has said James Taylor was a major influence at the time and you can hear that on the falsetto augmented “You’ve Become A Habit” while Leo and the crew give Elton John’s “Your Song” a pleasant stroll before cutting loose and jamming excitedly to end.  

The fact that Another Side even exists is a miracle, the fact that it is so well done is less so as Nocentelli and his Meters brothers were in the groove making killer music in the early seventies. This collection just shows off exactly what the title states, you could add the word ‘Successful’ in-between Another and Side and be all set. 

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