Monday, March 12, 2018

Lowell George (1945 – 1979) Little Feat

Singer songwriter, Lowell George (harmonica and slide guitarist) and Bill Payne (keyboard) formed Little Feet in 1969. The name for the band came about because Lowell’s feet were small and they decided to spell it “feat" in homage to The Beatles. Lowell had been with the Factory which was formed in 1965. The group had a couple of tracks produced by Frank Zappa but after they failed to impact they disbanded.

He briefly joined The Standells, then in late 1968; he became a member of the Mothers of Invention for a short time.

The original line-up of Little Feet was bassist Roy Estrada (former Mothers of Invention) and drummer, Richie Hayward (The Factory) along with Lowell George and Bill Payne. The group underwent several line-up changes in the early years and Kenny Gradney replaced Estrada in 1972. Paul Barrere (guitarist and vocals) and Sam Clayton (percussion and vocals) completed the new band. Little Feat initially played a cross section of music but established them self as a New Orleans funk outfit. Throughout the 70s they released a series of studio albums. Both Little Feat and Sailin' Shoes sold well.

By 1973, Dixie Chicken, became one of the band's most popular albums.

A year later Feats Don't Fail Me Now was released and again featured the New Orleans funk sound.

The band started to move towards jazz rock driven mainly by Bill Payne and by the time they released The Last Record Album, George was uncomfortable.

His relationship with Bill Payne became strained and plans were made to disband the group and reform it without Payne. Although Lowell George produced most of the group’s albums his song writing contribution became less as the group moved into jazz fusion. George established himself as a respected musician and songwriter and was particularly noted for crafting sophisticated melodies and lyrics, as well as working to high production standards. During his professional career he recorded with many other musicians including John Cale, Harry Nilsson, Robert Palmer and The Meters.

Waiting for Columbus (1978) was a live album which met with great critical acclaim. Considered by many to be one of the best live albums ever recorded it featured Ry Cooder.

The album Down on the Farm was not completed until after his death.

Laterally George was battling addiction and by the time he recorded his only solo album called Thanks, I'll Eat It Here in 1975, he had put on excess weight.

Whilst promoting album he collapsed on stage and died aged 34 in 1979. Little Feat subsequently reformed but never were quite able to reach the same level of success as the original line-up with Lowell George.

Worth a listen

Willin' (1970)

Forty Four Blues: How many more years (1970)

Sailing Shoes (1972)

Triple Face Boogie (1972)

Dixie Chicken (1973)

Two Trains (1973)

Lafayette Railroad (1973)

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