Jake Jazz | NYC | 09/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hate being the guy that's leaving all the 5 star reviews for the Little Feat albums (I left a 5 star for Down on the Farm last week, after 25 years of listening to it), but I'm currently listening to this particular album pathologically over and over again, so I have no choice but to answer the (currently) sole 3 star review with the following.
The self titled Little Feat album was the one Little Feat album I never owned back in the day, in the early eighties after Lowell George's death when I first got into the band. None of the songs were on the live album, Waiting for Columbus, except Willin', which was also on Sailin' Shoes, so I figured I didn't need another studio version (although now I am looking for any version of the song I can get -- just picked up Heart Like a Wheel because Linda Ronstadt does it on that record...). Also, I think it was out of print, so I would have had to get it on LP, and my record player was out of commission for part of this period -- but I digress.
As I said above, I am currently obsessively listening to this album, and I have analyzed what I like about it quite a bit, and it is fresh in my mind.
The music on the album is unlike anything Little Feat would ever do again. It is more mainstream rock like ("like" because none of this ever got onto the radio) in that it is less funky (for lack of a better work) than what they would do later, but also more experimental. The band shows a lot of good musicianmanship (if that's a word); everyone plays all out all the time. Bill Payne sticks to piano, and holds down the chord changes (while playing every key on the keyboard -- really reaching for them, but with a lot of taste), while Lowell George plays some extremely far out slide guitar fills throughout (Ry Cooter plays slide on Willin' and Forty-Four Blues -- and it's interesting to compare the styles of two slide guitar collosusses). Later Little Feat had the dueling guitars, so Payne was a bit more restrained, and had a multiple keyboard set-up.
The song writing is awsome as well. Stawberry Flats... Willin'... Hamburger Midnight... I've been the One... Truck Stop Girl... These are all very honest songs with interesting lyrics and great vocal performances. Half the songs on the album have been covered by other artists at one time or another. The band was young and full of energy, the music is raw and interesting, and really cutting edge. It is definitely different from what they turned into, but that is not a criticism -- at least not in this case.
I think the previous critique gets it wrong in several instances. Little Feat were not a southern rock band, but a California band. I think they had some early success with Dixie Chicken (great album, too), and so people kind of put them into that category, and later on, after Lowell George's death, they kind of marketed themselves as a New Orleans party band, but other than some funky beats (which southern bands do not have a monopoly on) there really wasn't anything linking them to the south in their hay-day. They never played the blues (at least not in the Allman Brothers sense of the word) or tried to get the macho Lynard Skynard guitar thing going, opting for understated interplay between the instruments.
The present album has these elements in a more raw form, but it is really fun to hear Lowell George turn up his guitar and rock out over some really cool tunes. Great Album."
Le First et mon préféré !
Jean-marie Croizat | Besançon, France | 11/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Après Weasel ripped my flesh où Lowell ne faisait que rire, là il nous faisait bondir de joie avec ses compères Roy Estrada, Ritchie Hayward et Bill Paynes. Des Serpents partout au café Texan de Rose, Weeds, white and ... c'est bien sur Willin' avec les éternels glissando de Ry, un autre antropo de la musique routière américaine. Une pèche et des sentiments."
Feats misunderstood gem
Bloodbath_and_Beyond | usa | 02/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many diehard Feat fans don't fully get this debut album by the band who only consisted of Lowell George, Ritchie Hayward, Bill Payne and of course former Mothers Of Invention member Roy Estrada on bass. George himself had been a member of Zappa's band for a brief time, and of course theres never been a concrete reason for his departure or firing (there are many circulating rumors however). Yes, the band doesn't have their signature funk inspired New Orleans styled rock/blues yet, but this album is still awesome. The opener from Payne, Snakes On Everything along with Strawberry Flats and Hamburger Midnight are the best tracks here. They have a raw, less refined approach than later efforts. The bands trademark albums Dixie Chicken, Feats Dont Fail Me Now, The Last Record Album and of course Time Loves A Hero all captured and pefected that fat/clean sound of a great country inspired blues rock n roll band who injected the elements of cooking funk. The debut album even parts of their second album Sailin' Shoes which also contained this line up found the band with their original sound. Which has a Stones influence for sure.
Like before stated, the songs are rawer, there's more guitar and genreally the earthy funk/rock of the DC band isn't here yet. But it doesnt matter, this is a unique album and it's more mellower moments like the orchestrated Takin' My Time and the affection blues tribute Forty Four Blues/How Many More Years really show the bands roots and what George's vision was. Coming from Zappa's group had obviously had a small impact on him as this album lyrically certianly has some more bizarre and humorous tales of life and freak-dom. This in turn, leads many fans to think the album sounds underdevloped and 'primitive'. But give it a listen, as it is one of the great lost records of it's time. [the original version of probably the bands most famous song Willin' is featured on this album with slide guitar by Ry Cooder]"