Keep the New Year Rollin’ – Live with Little Feat
Despite it being a new work week, let’s keep the New Year’s vibe goin’ for just a little longer. Hope you liked that live Doors stuff as much as I did. Today let’s dip in to more live music, this time from another band that was always killer on stage – Little Feat.
During the early 1970s musicians still hung over from the Sixties scrambled to find a niche for themselves along a musical horizon that was broader than ever. Even with all the choices available at the time, Little Feat was still hard to pigeonhole. The band melted rock, blues, country, New Orleans swing and whacked-out psychedelia into a tasty stew. The Feat debuted in 1971 but made its biggest impact with Dixie Chicken in 1973.
Led by Lowell George, these boys liked to play – and by the time they finally produced an official live album (Waiting For Columbus, in 1978) they were one of the tightest touring outfits around. That was the beginning of the end of Little Feat’s first chapter: Lowell George died in 1979 of a drug overdose. However most of the classic unit, led by pianist Bill Payne, guitarist Paul Barrere and drummer Richie Hayward, soldiered on with a variety of lead singers.
The Feat is one of those bands who’s always cool with amateur tapers, so there are literally thousands of shows out there and their live material is fairly easy to find on the web. Oh, and these boys aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Unbelieveable.
The only time I ever attended a show at Houston’s venerable Liberty Hall was a Little Feat gig in 1973 or 1974. I remember being totally impressed with George’s charisma as a frontman, and with his multitasking on stage as he often sang, played lead guitar and pounded rhythm on cowbells and stuff all at the same time. So I’ve included a couple cuts – “Sailin’ Shoes” and “Tripe Face Boogie” – from Liberty Hall, most likely one of the shows I attended.
Little Feat has released an excellent, import-only, three disc live set – 40 Feat: The Hot Tomato Anthology features choice live cuts from every era of the band.
YouTube: “Dixie Chicken” with Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Jesse Winchester on the TV show “Midnight Special” (1977)
YouTube: “Fat Man In The Bathtub” from 1976