Little Feat – Little Feat (1971)

January 29, 2010

Little Feat’s eponymous debut started out as a little-known record filled with trucker love songs, road anthems, and its fair share of slide guitar. While the album sold only 12,000 copies in 1971, it remains the band’s best effort. It contains the definitive version of their classic, “Willin’,” and is the closest the band ever came to the raw, roadhouse vibe they tried to cultivate.

Led by Lowell George, the band put together an exceptional set beginning with “Snakes on Everything.” The track is a straight rocker and sets the stage nicely with George’s fluid slide work. The A side then takes a sentimental turn with the vocal harmonies of “Strawberry Flats,” the loneliness and regret that runs through “Truck Stop Girl,” and the prayer-like contemplation of “Brides of Jesus.” The theme continues with “Willin’,” a song about lovesickness and isolation. Ry Cooder guests on slide guitar for Lowell George who injured his hand during the sessions.

“Hamburger Midnight” sounds like a barroom fight with wailing guitars and vocals. “Forty-Four Blues: How Many More Years” is an enjoyable medley of Howlin’ Wolf covers, and the the rest of the B side is marked by the same laid back, western aesthetic that dominates the disc’s opening cuts.

Buoyed by images of smuggling, smoking and struggle, “Little Feat” is a major moment in the band’s catalogue and stands as one of the finest examples of western blues/rock of the early 1970s.

HIghlights:

Strawberry Flats, Truck Stop Girl, Willin’, Hamburger Midnight, Forty-Four Blues: How Many More Years

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3 Responses to “Little Feat – Little Feat (1971)”

  1. Davis Says:

    extremely well written and insightful!

  2. Bill Baldwin, Jr. Says:

    I agree on the quality and insight of the comments. I Going to rehearsals at Warner Bros. Studios..listening to Little Feat on a stage featuring the Camelot set or something close to it was “different.”

    And so too was Little Feat. The original group with Lowell, Bill Payne, Roy Estrada and Richie Hayward was my favorite, although I think the addition of Paul Barrier was a plus: The fearsome excellence of the players and their generosity in allowing me to be there: Richie let me sit in on breaks and Lowell remarking “you’re pretty good”, words I’ve remembered with great fondness these past 39 years.

    • seanclifford Says:

      Thanks for your comments, Bill! Makes me want to post more often. I truly love the album and wish more people today appreciated Little Feat’s music. I’m 26, and most of my friends say “who” when I say “Lowell George can play guitar!”


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