Man, these guys really did it for me back in day. Hard driving boogie, with a Zappa-esque twist. Lowell George, Roy Estrada (on the first two albums) Richie Hayward and the incredibly funky keyboard chops of Bill Payne. There were few bands that could pull this off- a sort of unpolished, but “right in the groove” sound, any looser and it would fall apart but these guys were tight. The first album, with the Lowell George-penned “Willin’” may be the rawest of the bunch- not a fabulous recording, but lot’s of good songs: “Truck Stop Girl” takes the standard big rig lament to new depths, and the singing doesn’t get taken down by irony. (In fact, few bands could get away with some of the absurdity of the song titles and lyrics and be so damn serious about it!). “I’ve Been the One” is gorgeous- melancholy rarely reaches such heights. Ry Cooder and Sneaky Pete too!
Sailin’ Shoes is an obvious progression- the band is edgier- “Easy to Slip” and “Tripe Face Boogie” are stand-outs. The album is also famous for its cover art, by Neon Park. Lot’s of other goodies here-
Dixie Chicken is probably the band’s best (with the exception of some of the live tracks discussed below). Estrada is gone, and a number of other players join: the first side is almost perfection. (Bonnie Raitt throws her voice into the mix). George takes over production duties.
A white label promo copy above; standard issue Warner “green” below
The next few studio albums don’t grab me as much, and Lowell George dies.
But, Waiting for Columbus reprises so many of their great songs, and is well recorded too! Side 3, with “Dixie Chicken” and “Tripe Face Boogie” is a classic. The record was originally mastered at TML (The Mastering Lab) so make sure your copy bears those marks in the deadwax. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention- it’s “live” so there’s that special energy that comes from a band when playing well (and these folks played really well) before an audience. (“Live audience” is sort of overkill, don’t you think?)
I haven’t followed Little Feat since Lowell George’s death- all good, but not the same.
I caught these guys back in the day- they were very loud. Roy Buchanan opened for them- a/k/a the best guitarist you never heard of. Sadly gone, too. Thankfully, we have these records. Enjoy them.