Mazzy loves Little Feat!


If you don’t (yet), her’s a primer on this great American musical institution:


While I’m at it, here’s another. Well, 3/4th’s American anyway; Nick Lowe is English. Little Village (just a coincidence ;-) live is one of the greatest musical experiences of my life. One of the few "Super Groups" (John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, Jim Keltner) who in my book actually lives up to that title. Their single album was a disappointment, they were better as a group on John Hiatt’s fantastic Bring The Family album. Here they are on The Tonight Show, the only time I can remember in which the musical guest is given the time to perform two songs:



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'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.

"Easy Money" was a RLJ song covered by Lowell George.  George helped her get a recording deal.

The Rolling Stones were big promoters of Little Feat and Mick Taylor played with them live on a few occasions.  Lowell George also plays slide on one tune on Mick Taylor's first solo album.

My apologies I had it backwards. Credit to Rickie Lee Jones. I just assumed it was Lowell that wrote it.

@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'?!