Get this crazy baby off my head!


Little Feat

Little Feat - Highwire Act Live In St. Louis 2003 - 2004 - Hot Tomato

Essentially, this double-disc set is the soundtrack to the DVD of the same name. Sonically, it is sublime; the subtleties of a live performance are all left in. The interplay between guitarists Fred Tackett and Paul Barrére is exceptional, as are the drop-dead-on-a-dime fills of keyboardist Bill Payne. The track selection leans a little more to the classic side of Little Feat's vast catalog, with many tracks from the 1970s in the set, including "Time Loves a Hero," "Skin It Back," "Old Folks Boogie," "Oh Atlanta," "Spanish Moon," "Dixie Chicken," "Tripe Face Boogie," "Fat Man in the Bathtub," "Willin'," and "Feats Don't Fail Me Now." The latter material is served well, too, particularly "I'd Be Lyin'," by new lead vocalist (though she has been with the band for a decade) Shaun Murphy, and Bill Payne's "Cadillac Hotel." And while it's fair to say that this is the band's best live outing since Waiting for Columbus, it in no way gets to the emotional and performance heights that classic slab did, even if the band does play "better" now. This set will not likely win the band any new fans, but if you're one of those who stuck it out after the passing of Lowell George, this collection might just be the thing you're looking for. © Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Little Feat, one of the more accomplished and underrated bands of the last several decades, has released Highwire Act in St. Louis, a live release showcasing the band at their very best. With full knowledge that the performance would be released as a live album as well as a DVD, the band opted to open with a subtle nod to long-time fans with "Time Loves A Hero," with a scintillating segue into "Day or Night." For those less familiar with the band, Little Feat's sound is difficult to pigeonhole, spanning bluegrass, honkey tonk, and straight-up rock. They are a true band in that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; each musician weaves their sound into the tapestry. The first notable jam of the night happens in "Spanish Moon," featuring remarkable interplay between guitarists Fred Tackett and Paul Barrere near the eight-minute mark. The searing guitar solos eventually morph into fan-favorite "Skin It Back," to the obvious delight of the audience. The band then chose to shake things up a bit with the bluegrass-infused sounds of "Cajun Girl." What is perhaps most intriguing is that the music sounds so effortless and fluid--the band makes it look easy. Most acts have enough trouble figuring out their own sound, while Little Feat has managed to master a number of genres over the years. The second disc of the show features the band moving through some of their more exploratory jams of the evening. "Exploratory" should not be misinterpreted as a negative. Indeed, the band remains highly focused and winds up building a great deal of momentum in the process. The highlight of the show was a seventeen-minute version of "Dixie Chicken," easily the most experimental track off either disc. Here Bill Payne takes charge on keys and leads the band through a hot jam before returning to the chorus. Tackett and Barrere then take the reigns and push the song to its outermost limits with lighting-quick licks. They push the band into double-time and segue into "Tripe Face Boogie," a song that explodes out of nowhere after about five minutes. The other main highlight of the second disc is an outstanding version of "Fat Man in the Bathtub," featuring more excellent key work by Payne. The only minor gripe is with the vocals--to some extent they detract from the music itself. Even though the very average vocals can get in the way, they are vastly overshadowed by the brilliance of the musicianship. For those thinking that they should go see Little Feat perform for "old time's sake" or novelty value... go ahead. The band will proceed to ever so politely blow your mind. © Mathan Rodriguez, JamBase Colorado, JamBase Inc. All Rights Reserved. © Copyright 1998 - 2009

What can you say about Little Feat that hasn't been said already. This great album captures LF playing the blues, R&B, and rock, as only they can, with A1 musicianship. The great Little Feat formed in 1969,and are still rockin' all over the world with their unique sound. This is one of the best live concerts you will ever hear from one of the best rock bands you will ever hear. Little Feat play a fabulous selection of their best songs, including "Let It Roll," "Dixie Chicken," "I'd Be Lyin'," "Spanish Moon," "Time Loves a Hero," "Fat Man in a Bathtub," and many more. The late, great Lowell George would have been proud to be involved with this concert. A DVD version of this concert is also available, and is well worth buying. This album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to Little Feat's magnificent "The Last Record Album". Magical stuff !


Disc 1

1."Time Loves a Hero" (Paul Barrère, Kenny Gradney, Bill Payne) – 5:58
2."Day or Night" (Payne, Fran Tate) – 9:47
3."Cadillac Hotel" (Payne, Bill Wray) – 6:46
4."Spanish Moon" (Lowell George) – 8:25
5."Skin It Back" (Barrère) – 6:40
6."Cajun Girl" (Kibbee, Payne) – 6:42
7."Night on the Town" (Barrère, Fred Tackett) – 5:59
8."I'd Be Lyin'" (Creamer, Mariani, Shaun Murphy) – 5:35
9."The Blues Don't Tell It All" (Murphy, Payne) – 6:20

Disc 2

1."Old Folks Boogie" (Barrère, Barrère) – 7:18
2."Oh Atlanta" (Payne) – 4:52
3."Dixie Chicken" (George, Martin Kibbee) – 17:44
4."Tripe Face Boogie" (Richie Hayward, Payne) – 7:18
5."Fat Man in the Bathtub" (George) – 11:44
6."Let It Roll" (Barrère, Kibbee, Payne) – 9:29
7."Willin'" (George) – 8:06
8."Feats Don't Fail Me Now" (Barrère, George, Kibbee) – 5:23

N.B: Some tracks have been faded out using mp3Trimpro software, due to the abrupt ending of some tracks. However, it won't spoil your enjoyment too much.


Paul Barrere - Guitars, Vocals
Fred Tackett - Guitars, Trumpet, Mandolin, Vocals
Kenny Gradney - Bass, Vocals
Bill Payne - Keyboards, Vocals
Richie Hayward - Drums, Vocals
Shaun Murphy,Sam Clayton - Percussion, Vocals


The compact rock 'n' roll funk displayed by Little Feat put them out of step with other Californian rock bands of the early 70s. By combining elements of country, folk, blues, soul and boogie they unwittingly created a sound that became their own, and has to date never been replicated or bettered. The original line-up of the band in 1969 comprised the brilliant slide guitarist Lowell George (b. Lowell Thomas George, 13 April 1945, Hollywood, California, USA, d. 29 June 1979, Arlington, Virginia, USA; guitar/vocals), who had already had experience with the earthy garage band the Standells and the Mothers Of Invention, Roy Estrada (b. 17 April 1943, Santa Ana, California, USA; bass), Bill Payne (b. 12 March 1949, Waco, Texas, USA; keyboards) and Richie Hayward (b. Richard Hayward, 6 February 1946, Clear Lake, Iowa, USA; drums). Although they signed to the mighty Warner Brothers Records in 1970, no promotional push was given to the band until their second album, Sailin' Shoes. It remains a mystery as to why Little Feat was given such a low profile. George had already been noticed as a potentially major songwriter; two of the songs from their excellent self-titled debut, "Truck Stop Girl" and "Willin'", were covered by the Byrds. Little Feat would prove to be the most blues-orientated of the band's albums (featuring a medley of the Howlin' Wolf songs "Forty-Four Blues"/"How Many More Years"), but George's American-influenced lyrical quirks were already to the fore on "Hamburger Midnight" and "Crazy Captain Gunboat Willie". Payne was also evident as a songwriter, co-writing a number of tracks with George and providing the excellent opener "Snakes On Everything". The album sold poorly and, quite inexplicably, so did Sailin' Shoes (1972) and Dixie Chicken (1973). The former introduced the distinctive sleeve covers of artist Neon Park that would grace the rest of the band's output, with the design on Sailin' Shoes an allusion to Fragonard's The Swing. Park's surreal landscapes proved the perfect visual foil to George's increasingly quirky lyrical forays, which shone through on the title track of Sailin' Shoes and "Kiss It Off" and "Fat Man In The Bathtub" from Dixie Chicken. The latter album featured a revised line-up including Paul Barrère (b. 3 July 1948, Burbank, California, USA; guitar), Kenny Gradney (b. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; bass) and Sam Clayton (b. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; percussion), but minus the departed Estrada. The band's sound had also evolved, with a rich vein of New Orleans funk and soul now running through the music (Dixie Chicken even included a terrific version of Allen Toussaint's "On The Way Down"). The band was understandably depressed by its lack of commercial success and began to fragment. George began writing songs with John Sebastian amid rumours of a planned supergroup featuring Phil Everly. Fortunately, Warners made a further advance to finance the boogie heavy Feats Don't Fail Me Now. Deservedly the band made the album charts in the USA, although the excellent material was no better than on the three previous albums. Feats Don't Fail Me Now marked the emergence of the other members as songwriters and George's role began to diminish, although he would remain in the producer's chair (a role he had assumed on Dixie Chicken) and contributed the stand-out tracks "Rock & Roll Doctor" and "Spanish Moon". The European critics were unanimous in praising the band in 1975 on the "Warner Brothers Music Show". This impressive package tour featured Graham Central Station, Bonaroo, Tower Of Power, Montrose, Little Feat and the headliners, the Doobie Brothers, who were then enjoying unprecedented acclaim and success. Without exaggeration, Little Feat blew everyone off the stage with a series of outstanding concerts, and, from that moment onwards, they could do no wrong. The Last Record Album in 1975 saw the first signs of Payne and Barrère's guidance of the band into jazz rock territory, most notably on the vapid "Day Or Night". George contributed only three tracks, all excellent, and including his finest (albeit short) winsome love song, "Long Distance Love"; the sparseness of the guitar playing and the superb change of tempo with drum and bass, created a song that evoked melancholy and tenderness. The opening question and answer line: "Ah hello, give me missing persons, tell me what is it that you need, I said oh, I need her so, you've got to stop your teasing" - is full of emotional pleading. George, meanwhile, was overindulging with drugs, and his contribution to 1977's Time Loves A Hero was minimal (the low-key slide workout "Rocket In My Pocket"). Following the terrific double live Waiting For Columbus and abortive sessions for a new album, the band disintegrated and George started work on his solo debut, Thanks I'll Eat It Here. The album highlighted George's vocals rather than his distinctive guitar playing, and only included four original compositions (including the wistful "20 Million Things") alongside material by Allen Toussaint, Rickie Lee Jones and Jimmy Webb. During a solo concert tour, however, George suffered a fatal heart attack, the years of abuse having taken their toll. The remaining band re-formed for a benefit concert for his widow and at the end of a turbulent year, released the final George sessions as Down On The Farm. The record became a considerable success, as did the compilation Hoy-Hoy! In 1988, almost a decade after they broke up, Little Feat re-formed to record Let It Roll. Long-term side man Fred Tackett (b. Arkansas, USA; guitar/mandolin) and ex-Pure Prairie League member Craig Fuller (b. USA; guitar/vocals) were recruited to replace George, and the musical direction was guided by the faultless keyboard playing of Bill Payne. A second set from the re-formed band came in 1990, and although it disappointed many, it added fuel to the theory that this time they intended to stay together. Shake Me Up saw the critics accepting that the band was a credible force once again and could claim rightful ownership of both its name and history, without forgetting Lowell George's gigantic contribution. Fuller departed in 1994 and was not present on Ain't Had Enough Fun, the band having recruited occasional backing vocalist, Shaun Murphy (b. Cheryl Murphy, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, as their new lead singer. Little Feat continues to perform and record, latterly through their Hot Tomato Records label. Even though most of the original members are still involved, the absence of George leaves a hole that even the considerable individual talents of Hayward, Payne and Barrere are unable to fill. © IPC MEDIA 1996-2009, All rights reserved (© NME.COM, & © 1989 - 2008, muze.com)