Little Feat Reviews

Read my reviews of albums released by Little Feat:

1970: Little Feat (8/10)

I love Sailin’ Shoes. And I generally enjoy the albums that came after it (though not as much as Sailin’ Shoes, which is definitely a favourite of the ’70s). So this first record, the one everyone gets to after they become fans, came as a bit of a shock. (As it always does. Yes, I’m a cliche.)

The music is much more straight-ahead blues rock, with some countryish and rootsy elements. It’s sort of southern rock adjacent though I don’t quite hear that as much as others do. (Also, aren’t these guys from California?!?!) I do hear the influence of the Band, though. (Though I will say it’s not as pronounced as some have made it out to be.)

The big reason this record stands out among numerous other blues rock albums of the era – aside from its slightly more diverse sound – is Lowell George’s songs. They are already weirder than just about any other blues rock songwriter’s. That’s a huge blessing, given how much of this stuff was around in 1970.

It’s impeccably played, of course. There’s not a single Little Feat record that isn’t. But it’s impressive that this version of this band was this good at blues rock, given how they became associated with funkier music not that many years later.

The weird Howlin’ Wolf tribute/pastiche doesn’t really work as well as everything else – and sounds the most derivative of everything here – but it’s well-played and it’s easy to forget it exists.

I suspect I’m being a little more kind to this than I should be. But I have a deep fondness for George’s weird songs and a fondness for this kind of music, especially when done differently.

Read my reviews of albums released in 1970.

1972: Sailin’ Shoes (9/10)

Whether or not this is Little Feat’s best record it is my favourite. It’s the first record where they adopted their patented genre-hopping, and it’s a great set of quirky (and not so quirky) songs from George (and Payne). “Texas Rose Cafe” is my favourite thing here, as nothing better encapsulates the band’s musical abilities and George’s bizarre, sometimes borderline avant garde approach to songwriting. But the songs are all strong, the performances are on (as you would expect from a band famed for their playing abilities) and just about everything is note perfect.

Read my reviews of music from 1972.

1973: Dixie Chicken (8/10)

A lot of people seem to view this record as their best or, at the very least, the record upon which Little Feat hit their stride up until Lowell George fell apart.

Well, as an unabashed fan of Sailin’ Shoes, I must say I have a hard time accepting that view. I get why people like this, I just think it’s not its predecessor.

The band is bigger and, as a result, the sound is fuller than it was before. It’s arguable that everything is better integrated too – instead of jumping from style to style and genre to genre, everything is combined into Little Feat’s patented version of eccentric funky southern boogie rock.

And George remains a great songwriter, able to make you laugh as much as anything else. His idiosyncrasy has been tamed slightly by the band’s growing professionalism and size, but it’s still there.

But I just like the weirder, more idiosyncratic version of the band more. This is still pretty great.

Read my reviews of 1973 albums.

1974: Feats Don’t Fail Me Now (8/10)

Apparently I never wrote a review of this album that I’ve heard probably as many times as Dixie Chicken. It was probably on my list for when it came up for my podcast. Read my reviews of albums released in 1974.

1975: The Last Record Album (???)

I have failed to listen to the last few Lowell George studio albums. Read my reviews of music from 1975.

1977: Time Loves a Hero (???)

I know a couple of songs here from the live album but I have yet to listen to this. Read my reviews of 1977 albums.

1978: Waiting for Columbus (8?/10)

Received rockist opinion views this as one of the great live albums of the era and I really wanted to believe it. But I don’t think I ever quite liked it as much as I thought I was supposed to. I didn’t review it at the time and I haven’t listened to it in over a decade, so that probably tells you this rating is too high.

Read my reviews of albums released in 1978.

1979: Down on the Farm (???)

Read my reviews of music from 1979.

1988: Let It Roll (???)

I have never listened to any of the reunion albums. Read my reviews of 1988 albums.

1990: Representing the Mambo (???)

Read my reviews of albums released in 1990.

1991: Shake Me Up (???)

Read my reviews of music from 1991.

1995: Ain’t Had Enough Fun (???)

Read my reviews of 1995 albums.

1998: Under the Radar (???)

Read my reviews of albums released in 1998.

2000: Chinese Work Songs (???)

Read my reviews of music from 2000.

2008: Join the Band (???)

Read my reviews of 2008 albums.

2012: Rooster Rag (???)

Read my reviews of albums released in 2012.