Probably saw Little Feat 4-5 times. Had Bring the Family on the
turntable last night. Hard to beat Lipstick Sunset and Have a Little Faith back to back.
"...crank-case coo-kin’ -- that’s a man-i-fold des-ti-ny..."
Yeah; I bought that record . . what a let down. But we’ll always have "Bring the Family" to savor.
I’ve only seen Hiatt once. He didn’t bring along any sidemen on that tour and didn’t need any. He had us in palm of his hand for the entire show. A top-tier singer-songwriter, yes, but also a great entertainer.
Little Feat are one of my very favourite bands, only with Lowell George, of course.
Waiting for Columbus is one of those live shows where you'd be happy to walk out halfway through - shite happens.
Newcastle 1977 is far superior, if you can get it: https://www.discogs.com/release/13316257-Little-Feat-Newcastle-1977
Down On The Farm wasn't mentioned but truly great.
The crème de la crème is Lowell's solo album, "Thanks I'll Eat It Here" get the Japanese paper CD if you can.
Along with Zappa and Steely Dan, Little Feat make up the Holy Trinity of American rock greats.
Many other great bands but these three hardly ever put a foot wrong.
Bought the Rhino re-issue of Sailin' Shoes after reading your post. Next day delivery from Amazon and it arrived this morning. I own lots of Little Feat but that one was missing. Looked at the Box Set of Waiting For Columbus but thought, do I really need 8 CDs of what is essentially the same performance? 🤣
@bigtwin - I think they wouldn't be essentially the same performance as Little Feat was a 'jam band' and had instrumental excursions during songs that varied with every show, like the Grateful Dead. Set list might be similar, but those shows will sound different.
Yep Steve, on Discogs I found a Near Mint European pressing of the Little Village LP for 12 British Pounds plus 10 for shipping. It’s better sounding than the US LP, but that doesn’t cure the problem I have with the album: the material (songs).
In an interview with one of the LV members (I think it was John Hiatt, but it may have been Jim Keltner) I learned the reason for the weak material: the rule was no one could come in with already written songs, they would record only songs written in the process of making the album. Though some great songs have been written quickly, that is the exception not the rule. The songs on this album are not up to the standards the group members have in the past established for themselves.
Long ago Mick Jagger sang the "It’s the singer not the song". Nothing beats a great song sung by a great singer, but I would rather listen to a great song sung by a mediocre singer than a mediocre song sung by a great singer. Just as I would rather watch a great movie script acted by mediocre actors than a mediocre script acted by great actors. In the restaurant business the the credo is "Location, location, location." In the music business it’s "Material, material, material." That’s why the music of The Beatles will still be listened to long after the music of most of their contemporaries won’t. The big money in the music business is in song publishing. That’s why Robbie Robertson has become fairly wealthy while the other members of The Band didn’t.
I somehow missed Little Feat back in the 1970’s, not discovering them until the late-80’s. I had heard "Willin" in 1971 on the second Seatrain album and absolutely loved it, but didn’t know it was written by Lowell George. Aw well, better late than never! I Just found a copy of Lowell’s solo album (in NM condition for five bucks!), gotta give it some listens.
@palasr: At the risk of appearing to be posting the following in an attempt to impress ya’ll (Aw geez, here he goes again ;-), it’s just too "fun" to not share it with those who (hopefully) know me better than that.
I couldn’t help but smile when I read you say you had seen the members of Los Straitjackets eating lunch with Nick Lowe. Straitjackets’ bassist Pete Curry (he was the one who appeared subtly Irish, with pale skin and very light strawberry blonde hair. In costume he is the LS member whose mask resembles The Monster From The Black Lagoon) and I met in Homeroom on our first day in 7th grade, and were soon eating lunch together for the next three years (at which time he left Cupertino for Santa Cruz, so as to not have to---like David Crosby---cut his hair. Cupertino High School had a dress code---the boys’ hair couldn’t touch their ears or the collar of their shirt, Santa Cruz didn’t).
Pete was the first musician I met, and in 7th Grade he was playing snare drum in the Hyde Jr. High School Orchestra. I was taking guitar lessons, and we got together with a kid on my block who had an organ, doing some jamming on Ventures-type songs. Pete had a drumset, and after he moved a coupla blocks away from me in the summer between 7th and 8th grades we would walk to his house everyday after school, where I watched him playing along with British Invasion group records (The Kinks were a favorite).
He let me sit down and give it a go, but I had to play left handed on his right handed set (ala Dennis Wilson). He eventually relented, letting me switch around the set. I was soon hooked! In 9th grade he joined his first garage band (The Elements Of Sound), as did I (I replaced the departing Gary Andrijasevich---who was leaving to join the now-legendary Chocolate Watchband---in The Squires. Gary played snare drum in the Cupertino High School marching band and orchestra. He was three years ahead of Pete and I, a Senior while we were Freshmen). I was 14, and had just gotten myself a set of Ludwigs and Zildjian cymbals).
Pete not only gave me start on drums, but he was also the first audiophile I knew. By 1968 he had assembled a little system comprised of a Rek-O-Kut transcription turntable with a 16" green felt-covered platter (acquired from a radio station in Santa Cruz) with Shure M44 cartridge, an H.H. Scott 299 integrated tube amp, and a pair of 8" 2-way Scott bookshelf loudspeakers. Sounded real good to me! I followed his lead, getting myself an AR XA table with M91e cartridge, a Fisher X100A integrated tube amp, and a pair of AR 4x speakers. Even better!
As I was getting into high end audio the 1970’s, Pete was getting into recording. He got himself a Teac 3340 4-trk. machine and some mics, and started doing a lot of recording. I got myself a Revox A77 and a pair of consenser mics, and started making live tapes. In 1978 Pete moved to L.A., and encouraged me to do likewise (he told me about an L.A. band that had just gotten signed---The Knack ;-). In late-76 I had moved to Portland Oregon, to lick my wounds after spending two years recording demos with a songwriter who ended up deciding he wasn’t going to pursue a career in music (NOW ya tell me! ;-) . In Portland I was making a living playing music five nights a week, but playing in bars and taverns was getting old.
I arrived in the fall of that year, moving into the house in North Hollywood that Pete was sharing with the guitar played he was working with (the guy drank Vodka for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and made into only his late-30’s before croaking). He was drumming with the guy, but moved over to bass so we could finally play together in a band. It was a great trio, but the guitarists’ songs were not very commercial (no "hooks"). I moved back to San Jose, and Pete headed out to Arizona, where he worked in construction for a coupla years.
We lost touch for quite a few years, but reunited in L.A. in the mid-90’s, by which time he had become very involved in the SoCal Surf music scene, in which he had made quite a name for himself. He had his own 5-pc. band (The Halibuts), for which he wrote the songs, played lead guitar (Pete plays drums, electric bass, and guitar), produced, and recorded. He had progressed to a 3M 2" 16-trk. recorder, with all the great mics (Telefunken, Sennheiser, Sony, Electrovoice, etc.). He was also playing drums in a little 3-pc. instrumental combo named The Hillbilly Soul Surfers. When the bassist left the band Pete again moved over to bass so’s we could play together.
I believe Pete was still in the HSS when he got a call from Danny Amis of The Straitjackets, offering him the bass player position in the band, which he accepted. It’s hard to believe, but that was a quarter century ago! In the mid-2000's an old friend of Pete and I called and said The Straitjackets were playing on a cruise ship with The Ventures, heading from Long Beach down to Mexico. He talked me into it, and we spent a few days drinking lots of beer and listening to LS and The Ventures every night. The Ventures sounded pretty tired, The Straitjackets on fire.
Historical correction: If you look up The Chocolate Watchband on Wikipedia, you will see it stated that Pete was the original drummer in the group. That’s incorrect. What happened was the first Watchband show was organized and announced, but as fate would have it on the day of the show Gary suddenly became very ill, so Pete was hurriedly brought in to sub for him (the older brother of a friend of Pete and I was the organist in The Watchband). It was held near the beach in Santa Cruz, a mobile generator brought in to power the amps and PA. Garage Band fanatics turn green with envy when I tell them I was in attendance at the first Watchband show.
@bdp24 - Great story! Thanks for sharing. Los Straitjackets plays in the area frequently, as Eddie Angel was born in Albany NY. Aforementioned dive bar is in Troy NY (best chicken wings in the entire area, but I'm biased) and has a small concert venue across the street called Hangar on The Hudson. Quite a few interesting acts pass through those doors - NRBQ, Commander Cody, JD McPherson, The Cactus Blossoms, etc. Not bad for a capacity of 250.
@palasr: Now THAT’S a hip club! NRBQ came through Portland a while back, sounding great as ever.
Back when the albums were new Pete really liked the first Nick Lowe album, but I liked his second more. Dave Edmunds had become involved with Nick by then, to the benefit of both of them (Dave isn’t a songwriter, but he’s a hell of a guitarist and producer). Actually, on Dave’s second album (Subtle As A Flying Mallet) each LP side ends with a live cut, with Dave being backed by The Brinsley Schwarz Band at a club in Wales (Dave is Welsh), of which Nick was the bassist. And then Nick and Dave did Rockpile together. Now THERE was a band!
The last time I saw Nick live was at The Pantages Theater in Hollywood (a great Art Deco room), with his regular (at that time) band, all English guys. The reason he engages the services of The Straitjackets now is that they and he are both on Yep Rock Records, a great label with a fantastic roster of artists. Also on the bill at the Pantages were Dann Penn & Spooner Oldham, who were just as wonderful as you may imagine. Quite a night of hearing superior songs being played and sung!
Oh, and speaking of JD McPherson, I’ve been meaning to check him out for a while now. Seeing (and more importantly hearing) him playing lead guitar in the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss videos finally propelled me to pick up his Undivided Heart & Soul LP. Haven’t listened to it yet.
I still love the clubs, which thankfully is where most of the artists I want to hear perform. That and small theaters.
Little Feat is my all-time favorite band. Unfortunately I was never able to see them with Lowell George but saw them many times during the mid-80s Texas Twister era. Incredible musicianship and they gave you your money's worth. One of my most prized possessions is a 50 cent thrift store copy of Feets Don't Fail Me Now that is a Warner Brothers white label test pressing. It doesn't sound like anything else I own and I have over 2,000 albums. I love it so much that it has a slight Warp and I can't bring myself to have it repaired for fear of something bad happening. The Rhino reissues are intriguing but I have not bought anything on Rhino in many years because I had a run of bad luck with terrible pressings. I had to return three copies in a row of the Grateful Dead American Beauty album due to dirt pressed into the album as well as skips and pops. Perhaps their quality control is better now but for the money I am leery.
@lordmelton you might enjoy giving this a listen from Internet Archive. A SBD boot of Little Feat Live at London's Rainbow Theatre on 1977-08-02 w/ Tower of Power. Performed 4 or 5 nights after the Newcastle shows.
"Day at the Dog Races" and "Red Streamliner" by Little Feat are two of my favorite demo tracks.
If you're a Little Village fan, seek out a live recording (FM broadcast) from Denver called "Don't Bug Me When I'm Working." It is a 2 CD set that was recorded in April of 1992 and it is worth seeking out!
Little Feat were not a "jam band" which explains their dynamic shows. George wouldn't participate with the extended synth ("Day or Night" maybe) song as he didn't think it fit...he sang every note pretty much exactly as recorded originally, and his solos live were also very arranged. He was an inspiration (I've been a singer/songwriter since the late 60s, and my L.A. based cohorts as well as myself thought Feat were amazing) and I saw Feat live a few times...I love his solo album. George was a serious and intense studio nerd who labored over every note. His astonishing drummer Richie Hayward was killer live...it's interesting that some of Feat's biggest fans were English like Zep and the Stones (also Feat were known as basically the hottest live rock and roll act of the 70s). He famously refused to let Mick sit in with 'em at a live show as he thought MIck's harmonica playing sucked.
@wolf-garcia: I appreciate how you differentiate between a jam band and a "studio" band. The latter tend to play songs live as they were performed on the original studio recording, treating instrumental "solos" as song parts, not as an excuse to do extended, long flights of fancy.
When Clapton made his pilgrimage to the Big Pink house, he says he was sitting around, waiting to jam with The Band. Robbie Robertson finally told him "We don’t jam."
Rock bands and solo artists starting feeling the need to prove what good musicians they were (in terms of being able to solo well) during 1966 and 7, Cream and Hendrix of course leading the way. The Beatles remained a "song group", and the groups and bands I was attracted to were those whose members included superior song writers first and foremost.
My taste in musicians runs to those who play "In service to the song." That’s a skill much different than being able to solo on the level of a Jazz musician. Dylan started recording in Nashville in 1965 because of the way that town’s studio musicians could play a song. Another such town was Muscle Shoals, home to the likes of The Swampers (the superlative house band at Jim Hall’s studio). The more efficient route is go straight for the solo songwriters, who often have great taste in musicians.
Another thought came to me, but it was too late to get it in the above post.
My hunger and search for superior songs is most efficiently addressed by going straight to songwriters themselves, many of whom are not in a band or group. John Hiatt made his first appearance as a member of a group named White Duck. He wrote only two songs on their In Season album on Uni Records (released in 1972). The group went nowhere, and the other members were never heard from again. John Hiatt evolved into one of our best songwriters, a favorite of mine (and of his peers).
A fortunate trait of great songwriters is that they most often have excellent taste in musicians. So the recordings they make contain not only superior songwriting, but great musicianship as well. It was on the early albums of Ry Cooder and Randy Newman that I became aware of the L.A. studio musicians such as Jim Keltner
In the 1990’s I was living in Sherman Oaks, CA, as was songwriter/singer Billy Swan (writer of "I Can Help"). We became slightly acquainted, and I learned Billy had long served as Chris Kristofferson’s bandleader. He recounted to me the tale of Chris relenting to the pressure he was receiving to add a drummer to his road band. An audition was set up, and Billy said the guy (whose name he didn’t disclose) played like he was in a Rock band, "bludgeoning" his way through all Chris’ songs. Totally musically inappropriate, playing with no musical taste or sensitivity..
In the late-60’s (or was it the early-70’s?) I went to see Cajun singer/fiddler Doug Kershaw at a club in San Francisco. I loved his The Cajun Way album on Warner Brothers Records, recorded in Nashville with great musicians. When he and his very long-haired 3-pc. band kicked into their first song, I was flabbergasted: the band sounded like Blue Cheer! BC’s debut album is about the worst pos I’ve ever heard.
San Francisco is well known for it’s 1960’s Rock bands, which included both some of the best and some of the worst I’ve ever heard. Moby Grape were fantastic, Big Brother were terrible. But Blue Cheer? Ay carumba! The worst of the worst. Doug, baby, what were ya thinkin'?!
A former Blue Cheer groupie nursed me through a bad acid trip. True. I'm forever grateful. I saw Blue Cheer play in a nice little arena in Honolulu and thought it was sort of insane...3 Marshall stacks each for the bass and guitar resulting in a sonic mess (in the late 60's, pre metal amp heaps). Those guys must have gone deaf. Haven't thought about that in years. Another great SF band was the Sons of Champlain. Horns, great singing, and killer musicianship all around.
Many do not know this. Lowell George is a graduate of the Frank Zappa school of rock and roll and conceptual continuity. You might note the similarity of the art of some of Frank's record covers and that of the Little Feat Covers. Lowell love the cover of Weasels Ripped My Flesh and took the artist, Neon Park right along with him for Little Feat.
w_g: A bad trip is about a frightening experience as one can have in this life. When I had mine (on Lincoln’s birthday in 1968), the feeling of desperate terror was rapidly increasing just as Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow album was starting (my fellow tripper had put on that LP). I suddenly completely understood why some people had jumped off rooftops to end their bad trip nightmare.
I think my acid was cut with speed, cause I was buzzing like crazy (my three previous trips had been very calm and peaceful). Luckily, I felt sick to my stomach, and soon barfed all over the walls of the bathroom (when the vomit came out, it looked like the rainbow in the Yellow Submarine scene with the Blue Meanie. The stream looked like a solid, not a liquid ;-). I think throwing up actually saved my life, because soon after things calmed down, the fear subsiding.
Poor Syd Barrett, Skip Spence, Peter Green, and Brian Wilson were not so fortunate. I’ve been face-to-face with Brian twice, and when I looked in his eyes I saw that look of utter terror. I laughed out loud while watching the movie Ted when one of the characters reads the name of a particularly potent strain of weed: "This is forever" ;-). That was the fear I had at the height of my bad trip, to end up an acid casualty.
Yeah, The Sons Of Champlin were fantastic, one of the very few hippie bands I liked. Guitarist Terry Haggerty is a Jazz player, playing a big ol’ Gibson hollowbody (an L5 I believe). It saddened me to see Bill Champlin join Chicago, but I guess living poor got to be old. I’ve had the first two Sons albums since they were released, and just recently found four others for two bucks apiece at Music Millennium.
Another good San Francisco band was Dan Hicks’ Hot Licks. Originally a 3-pc (guitar, upright bass, and fiddle), when I saw them live in a converted movie theater right by San Jose City College in 1973 they had added a real good drummer, a Jazz player (using brushes a lot of the time). They swung like mad! The next time I saw fiddler Sid Page was when he appeared on stage with Van Dyke Parks, in the little theater in the rear of McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica.
And for Garage Band fans, I can’t leave out The Flamin’ Groovies. They had a new album released a few years back, and they still sound like they always have: 1950’s Rock ’n’ Roll mixed with Merseybeat. I love ’em!
At my advanced age, I have just gotten into Little Feat. I always liked Waiting for Columbus, but never got around to listening to their other stuff. Just received the Original Album Classics box set of their first five albums. Holy smokes! Really amazing music, and the discs sound really good with a wide dynamic range. I’m sold.
Thought I'd add someone to the mix here who was less commercially successful than Lowell et al but absolutely no less accomplished and that's Warren Zevon.
A true genius, singer and songwriter. His albums are very diverse but include several Mexican influenced tracks in the style of Little Feat e.g. "Veracruz" and "Carmelita".
However his pièce de résistance is definitely Steve Winwood's "Back In The High Life Again", Warren kills it.
So get past "Werewolves of London' and enjoy some fantastic albums.