Little Feat: 40 Feat, The Hot Tomato Anthology 1971-2011 (Proper/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Little Feat: Apolitical Blues
Little Feat: 40 Feat, The Hot Tomato Anthology 1971-2011 (Proper/Southbound)

As with Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat seem a band loyally followed by many . . . but largely overlooked by contemporary critics or those who never fell for their particularly imaginative gumbo of sleazy rock, New Orleans funk'n'voodoo, psychedelic country, dirty blues and whatever else made you feel good right at that moment.

The drug death of Feat's expressive singer, slide guitarist genius, songwriter and former member of Zappa's Mothers of Invention, Lowell George in '79 at 34 cast a shadow over the band's subsequent career (even though he had quit for a solo career just months previous).

The Feat carried on without George with an evolving line-up around original members Bill Payne (keyboards), Paul Barrere (bassist) and drummer Richie Hayward, and decades-long players like guitarist Fred Tackett.

In fact, George's time in Little Feat was remarkably brief in their 40 year career.

In 2002 the Feat formed their own Hot Tomato label for fans and specialised in live recordings, which made sense because they were best experienced live.

This chronological arranged three-CD anthology (40 songs over 40 years) is drawn from their live HT releases and if two thirds of it comes from the post-George years it serves to remind of the creditable and consistently funky role the others have played.

The first disc with George contains some remarkable material however: He comes off as part funky-filthy post-Zappa on the time-changing The Fan from '71 about crabs ("I heard you got an infection, from a guitar player of great renown"); part Dr John (Cat Fever where Payne rocks the joint); part dissolute Jagger'n'Richards circa Exile (the magnificently lo-fi but rudely authentic Apolitical Blues) . . .

Some of these are raw or cheap recordings (within a few years they had gone from playing to a dozen in a Houston bar to sell-out concert halls) but that hardly detracts from their power, charm or rollicking good time feel. They also remind you (as on Lafayette Railroad) how integral Payne's keyboards were right from the start. Together George's guitar and Payne's piano/organ dove-talied like Duane and Greg Allman.

The two post-George disc are of superior sonic quality (by the late Eighties they were a stadium band with an expanded line-up) and if some of George's funk and funny edges had been sacrificed they still delivered soulful r'n'b rock (some of it a little workmanlike) and there's no denying Barrere, Payne and Tackett.

Purists will forgivably bitch that the versions of Willin' and Roll Um Easy etc here are post-George and so on, but this is the long-running Little Feat live, sometimes lo-fi and sometimes loud.

No Little Feat anthology can substitute for the four-CD Rhino collection Hotcakes and Outtakes set of 2000, but these three live discs sit neatly alongside that without over-lapping tracks.

That cannot be a bad thing.

Ever.

Little Feat's Essential Elsewhere album is Dixie Chicken and you can read about that here. And longtime survivor Bill Payne is interviewed here

Share It

Your Comments

Andrew Lovrin - Sep 25, 2011

I remember gettting their double live LP "Waiting for Columbus' and playing one side at a party full of NZ cognesci (including Buster and Bones) in Herne Bay years ago one evening. To an icy reception, wasnt cool enuff apparently, tossers.

AngelaS - Sep 26, 2011

Always loved them, bought an actual CD a while ago - might have to get more. Gosh he sounds like Mick Jagger.

Clive - Oct 22, 2011

Have got all the George Feet and their last studio Cd from a couple of years ago so will def check this out. Go the Feet -Got Buffalo'ed in Buffalo !

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Hacienda Brothers: Arizona Motel (Southbound)

Hacienda Brothers: Arizona Motel (Southbound)

A sad shadow hangs over this album by a traditional country outfit whose two previous albums have found a place at Elsewhere: singer-songwriter and frontman Chris Gaffney died of liver cancer in... > Read more

Beth Hart: War in My Mind (Provogue/digital outlets)

Beth Hart: War in My Mind (Provogue/digital outlets)

 Let it be said clearly: the 2015 Powerstation concert by American soul-blues singer Beth Hart was one of the most enjoyable, gripping, cathartic, vocally impressive and sometimes very funny... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Tania Giannouli Ensemble: Transcendence (Rattle)

Tania Giannouli Ensemble: Transcendence (Rattle)

The previous album by Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli which appeared at Elsewhere was a duet recording Forest Stories with saxophonist/flautist and clarinet player Paulo Chagas and -- for no... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

At the very end of the Nineties, David Bowie released one of his best album in years, Hours. Unfortunately by that time fewer and fewer people were listening to him. He'd started the decade... > Read more