Little Feat is an American rock band formed by singer-songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist Lowell George and keyboardist Bill Payne in 1969 in Los Angeles. Although the band has undergone several changes in its lineup, the music remains an eclectic blend of rock and roll, blues, R&B, boogie, country, folk, gospel, soul, funk and jazz fusion influences.
...Lowell George met Bill Payne when George was a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Payne had auditioned for the Mothers, but had not joined. They formed Little Feat along with former Mothers' bassist Roy Estrada and drummer Richie Hayward from George's previous band, the Factory. Hayward had also been a member of the Fraternity of Man whose claim to fame was the inclusion of their "Don't Bogart Me" on the million-selling Easy Rider film soundtrack. The name of the band came from a comment made by Mothers' drummer Jimmy Carl Black about Lowell's "little feet". The spelling of "feat" was an homage to the Beatles.....The (group's) first two albums received nearly universal critical acclaim, and "Willin'" became a standard, subsequently popularized by its inclusion on Linda Ronstadt's album Heart Like a Wheel. (Read more at Wikipedia.)
Links to Peel
Little Feat were among the artists signed by the Warner Brothers and Reprise labels at the time (1969-1972) when they were succeeding Elektra as the "hippest" American record company, with a roster including Peel favourites like Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, Ry Cooder, John Fahey, the Grateful Dead, Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell. As the band included former members of the Mothers of Invention and the Fraternity of Man, Peel naturally took an interest and played their early albums, whose musical style appealed to him as it sometimes resembled Ry Cooder (who played on the first Little Feat album), and Captain Beefheart during his time with the Reprise label. (Indeed, bassist Roy Estrada left Little Feat to join Beefheart's Magic Band). Later the band took on board the New Orleans R&B rhythms popularised in the early 1970s by artists like Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, the rediscovered Professor Longhair and fellow Reprise artists The Meters.
At first Little Feat were a cult band whose critical reputation was not matched by commercial success, until their fame grew with the release of the 1974 album Feats Don't Fail Me Now. They visited Britain for the first time in January 1975, as part of the Warner Brothers Music Show, and "stole the show" in a concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, even though they were billed as support band to the Doobie Brothers, a far more successful act in the US but less highly regarded by Peel and British rock audiences. Peel rated this concert among the best gigs he ever attended. Reviewing the music of 1975 in the end-of-year issue of The Listener, he ended his article (reprinted in The Olivetti Chronicles, pp.175-9) by writing; "Hopes for 1976? That Little Feat will come to Britain again."
From then on Little Feat were played not just by Peel, but on other radio shows which featured album-oriented rock, and remained one of the most acclaimed groups of their era until Lowell George's death in 1979. They were one of the few 1970s bands who retained Peel's respect, appearing in both the Festive Fifty and the Peelenium.
On 30 September 2003, Peel recalled not taking up the opportunity to meet Lowell George on an occasion in the Seventies:
"Lowell George is somebody I would have liked to have met. I was once invited to go and have an Indian with him and some record company people when the band were in London, I suspect for the last time. By that time he had a very serious heroin problem and I felt that having been through a similar thing with a member of another band that I liked very much indeed and sat and tried to talk to him as he actually sat in a restaurant with his face in his food I thought, I really can't go through that again, not with somebody I revere like Lowell George. So I didn't go and apparently he was in a bad state but nevertheless I do with I'd gone."
Festive Fifty Entries
- Peelenium 1975: Long Distance Love
Other Shows Played
(The following list was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive. Please add more information if known.)
- 28 November 1970: Hamburger Midnight (LP - Little Feat) Warner Bros
- 22 May 1971: unknown
- 29 February 1972: Cold Cold Cold (LP – Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros.
- 10 March 1972: Tripe Face Boogie (LP - Sailin' Shoes) Warner Brothers
- 17 March 1972: A Apolitical Blues (LP - Sailin' Shoes) Warner Brothers
- 24 March 1972: Trouble (LP - Sailin' Shoes) Warner Brothers
- 04 April 1972: Willin’ (LP – Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros.
- 14 April 1972: Easy To Slip (LP – Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros
- 28 April 1972: Texas Rose Café (LP – Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros.
- 12 May 1972: Tripe Face Boogie (LP - Sailin’ Shoes) Warner Brothers
- 16 June 1972: Teenage Nervous Breakdown (LP – Sailin’ Shoes) Warner Bros.
- Radio Luxembourg Tracklistings 3: A Apolitical Blues (LP - Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros (released May 1972)
- 19 April 1973: Kiss It Off (LP – Dixie Chicken) Warner Bros
- 15 May 1973: Fat Man In The Bathtub (LP – Dixie Chicken) Warner Bros
- 20 March 1975: Spanish Moon (album - Feats Don't Fail Me Now) Warner Bros
- 19 February 1976: Long Distance Love (7") Warner Bros.
- 27 February 1976: Long Distance Love (7" - Long Distance Love / Romance Dance) Warner Bros.
- 28 December 1976: Long Distance Love (LP-The Last Record Album) Warner Bros FF#26 (JP: 'Well, if it had been left up to me, there'd have been five or six Little Feat tracks in the Festive 50.')
- 22 April 1977: Time Loves A Hero (complete LP)
- 03 October 1977: Willin' (12", Album: Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros.
- 22 December 1977: Rocket In My Pocket (LP – Time Loves A Hero) Warner FF#60
- 09 February 1978: Dixie Chicken (2xLP - Waiting For Columbus) Warner Bros.
- 09 February 1978: Tripe Face Boogie (2xLP - Waiting For Columbus) Warner Bros.
- 09 February 1978: Rocket In My Pocket (2xLP - Waiting For Columbus) Warner Bros.
- 07 July 1978: Rock & Roll Doctor (LP - Feats Don't Fail Me Now) Warner Brothers
- 28 August 1978: Long Distance Love (7") Warner
- 26 December 1978: Long Distance Love (LP - The Last Record Album) Warner Bros.
- 19 July 1979: Fat Man In The Bathtub (LP - Dixie Chicken) Warner Bros (Dedicated to John Walters, who has spent the weekend at a health farm.)
- 30 July 1979: Kiss It Off (LP - Dixie Chicken)
- 19 November 1979: Kokomo (LP - Down On The Farm) Warner Bros. (Mentions feeling sad when playing the Little Feat track, as singer Lowell George had died just a few months earlier.)
- 27 November 1979: Down On The Farm (LP - Down On The Farm) Warners
- 05 December 1979: Be One Now (LP - Down On The Farm) Warners
- 25 March 1980: Rock N' Roll Doctor (LP – Feats Don't Fail Me Now) Warner Bros
- 07 April 1980: Long Distant Love (LP - The Last Record Album) Warner
- 30 July 1981: Rock And Roll Doctor (album - Hoy- Hoy!) Warner Bros. K 66100
- 04 August 1981: Forty-Four Blues (album - Hoy- Hoy!) Warner Bros. K 66100
- 13 August 1981: Lonesome Whistle (album - Hoy- Hoy!) Warner Bros. K 66100
- 12 December 1983: Long Distance Love (7") Warner Brothers
- 04 November 1987: Strawberry Flats (LP - Little Feat) Warner Bros.
- 10 May 1988: Long Distance Love (LP - The Last Record Album) Warner Bros.
- 07 June 1988: Texas Rose Cafe (LP - Salin' Shoes) Warner Brothers
- 10 March 1990 (BFBS): Down Below The Borderline
- 10 July 1992: Willin'
- 22 May 1993 (BFBS): Roll Um Easy (LP - Dixie Chicken) Warner Bros.
- 16 December 1994: Brides Of Jesus (LP – Little Feat) Warner Bros
- 20 August 1997: Roll Um Easy (LP - Dixie Chicken) Warner Bros.
- 21 January 1999 (Radio Eins): Fat Man In The Bathtub
- 23 November 1999: Long Distance Love (LP - The Last Record Album) Warner Bros. Peelenium 1975
- 13 February 2003: Willin' (LP: Sailin' Shoes) Warner Bros.
- Lowell George solo
- 05 April 1979: (Peel has got hold of a copy of the solo LP by Little Feat's Lowell George: "It's not great, to be honest with you, but any Lowell George is better than none. Certainly substantially better than the proverbial jab in the sub-navels with a sharp stick.")
20 Million Things (LP - Thanks I'll Eat It Here) Warner
- 23 April 1979: 20 Million Things (LP - Thanks I'll Eat It Here) Warner
- Peeling Back The Years: Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor (LP – Feats Don’t Fail Me Now)
- John Walters: But before we finish this programme, can you pick one record from that first ten years that you might say, “No, that’s still all right for me. It’s old-fashioned pre-punk music, but I can still hear that”?
- John Peel: Well, almost anything by Little Feat would do very nicely, because they are one of the few bands from that era whose music I can still listen to and enjoy. And I would say after the Faces at Sunderland, the second-best gig that I ever went to in my life was Little Feat playing at the Rainbow, when they were very much the opening band but it was one of those things were you have a kind of foreknowledge of it, and I knew as soon as I walked into the place – and I was the only person that had ever played Little Feat records on the radio at that time. Nicky Horne had just started to, but he’d come in at about the third LP, I think.
- JW: Because it was released here.
- JP: Because it was released here. The first one hadn’t been at that time. And I adored Little Feat, and as soon as I got into the Rainbow I was aware that everybody else in the audience, regardless of what it said on the posters about the Doobie Brothers and things, that everybody there was there to see Little Feat. And indeed they were, and the place – they all went mad, and Little Feat were genuinely taken aback and didn’t know what to do, and it was a wonderful night. So almost anything would do. Years ago, as you know, we had a ban in the programme, and have pretty much maintained it, that any record that has the words rock and roll in it doesn’t get played. But Little Feat’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor’ is an exception to that rule.