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Little Feat


Little Feat - Little Feat - 1971 - Warner Bros. Records

Little Feat was the eponymous debut by the American rock band Little Feat, released in January 1971. Cobbled together from a variety of recording sessions mostly between August and September 1970, its sound can be best described as the antithesis to any of the group's classic recordings (such as 1973's Dixie Chicken and 1978's Waiting For Columbus.) Featuring the Mk. 1 line-up of the group, with Roy Estrada on bass, it was the first of eight albums by the group before their 1979 break-up. The blues which accented the group's later recordings were in full force on Little Feat. Utilizing slide guitar legend Ry Cooder, the group knocked off a medley of two Howlin' Wolf songs, "Forty Four Blues" and "How Many More Years". The coming together of bizarre lyrics and superb instrumentation that dominated all Little Feat albums through Lowell George's tenure as leader were debuted with the dark "Hamburger Midnight". The brilliant slices of American life that were present on each album were debuted with "Strawberry Flats" and "Willin'" (the latter destined for a reworking on Sailin' Shoes). The tender side of the group was exemplified with tracks like "Truck Stop Girl" and "I've Been The One". The cover shows a mural in Venice, painted by the L. A. Fine Arts Squad in 1970 - "Venice in the Snow". Due to its relative failure commercially (only selling about eleven thousand copies), the group never again attempted to record anything like it. (From Wikipedia).
If you really want to know what Little Feat were all about, check out their magnificent " The Last Record Album ", truly one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded.


"Snakes on Everything" (Payne) – 3:04
"Strawberry Flats" (Payne, George) – 2:20
"Truck Stop Girl" (Payne, George) – 2:32
"Brides of Jesus" (Payne, George) – 3:20
"Willin'" (George) – 2:24
"Hamburger Midnight" (George, Estrada) – 2:30
"Forty-Four Blues / How Many More Years" (Chester Burnett) – 6:25
"Crack in Your Door" (George) – 2:16
"I've Been the One" (George) – 2:20
"Takin' My Time" (Payne) – 3:45
"Crazy Captain Gunboat Willie" (Payne, George) – 1:55


Lowell George - vocals, lead, rhythm and slide guitars, harmonica
Richard Hayward - drums, backing vocals
Bill Payne - piano, keyboards, vocals
Roy Estrada - bass, backing vocals


Russ Titelman - percussion, backing vocals, piano on "I've Been The One"
Ry Cooder - slide guitar on "Willin'" and "Forty Four Blues / How Many More Years"
Sneaky Pete Kleinow - pedal steel on "I've Been The One" Kirby Johnson - string and horn arrangements


Little Feat was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1969 by Lowell George and Roy Estrada. Both were former members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. The original lineup was completed with the addition of Richard Hayward on drums and Bill Payne on keyboards. Their first two albums were Little Feat (1971) and Sailin' Shoes (1972). The albums were critical successes but failed by commercial standards.

The group split up briefly for a period in 1971-72 but reformed with new members that included Paul Barrere on guitar and percussionist Sam Clayton. Roy Estrada, who had left the group, was replaced on bass by Kenny Gradney. The first album from the new lineup was to be their most popular yet: Dixie Chicken (1973). No doubt the single of the same name, which is arguable their most well known song, was a prime reason. But the funkier, tighter sound and more prominent jazz influences, which defined this lineup, were no doubt welcome dimensions. They continued their success with Feats Don't Fail Me Now (1974) and then The Last Record Album (1975). Purportedly by then Barrere and Payne had taken over much of the song writing due to the effects of Lowell George's drug use.

Although the group had gained in popularity they did not enjoy broad commercial appeal but rather sort of a cult following. Their next release was Time Loves a Hero in 1977 and it was on the tours following that album in 1977-78 that they recorded and released the much heralded double live album Waiting for Columbus (1978). It was shortly after this period, frustrated with the bands direction that founding member Lowell George started a solo project the result of which was the album Thanks, I'll Eat It Here. With its release George declared Little Feat broken up and embarked on a solo career. Sadly, George died shortly thereafter of a heart attack in 1979. Little Feat's final album with George, Down on the Farm, was released after his death in 1979. In 1981 a rarities collection called Hoy-Hoy! was also released.

Members of Little Feat worked on various side projects and had stints in other bands after Little Feat broke up, but in 1988 Payne, Barrere, Hayward and Bradney decided to reform the group. They were joined by vocalist/guitarist Craig Fuller and guitarist Fred Tackett. Their first new release in 1988, Let It Roll, was a commercial success eventually going gold. But subsequent albums Representing the Mambo (1989), Shake Me Up (1991) and Ain't Had Enough Fun (1995) didn't quite measure up. On Ain't Had Enough Fun and albums thereafter the voice of Fuller, plugged in to sound a measure like Lowell George, was replaced by female lead Shaun Murphy. The band has since followed with albums Under the Radar (1988), Chinese Work Songs (2000), Late Night Truck Stop (2001) and Kickin' It at the Barn (2003). The group still tours to this day. © 2000 - 2007 rateyourmusic.com s.42