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It is only 34 minutes and 18 seconds long but it is a work of genius. Little Feat’s output with Lowell George was extraordinary. Every single album is brilliant but if I had to pick only one, I’d pick this, their fourth release from 1974. With classics like Rock n Roll Doctor, Oh Atlanta, Spanish Moon and the imperious silky funk of Skin it Back it is absolutely irresistible.
But how do you describe their music? It is a unique stew of elements. Swamp rock is a term often used and it probably says it best. Their music seems rooted, not in one genre but in many. It’s kind of funky, kind of bluesy, kind of folkish, sort of jazz and sort of rock n roll. And yet none of those really. No-one had sounded like them before, no-one has sounded like them since. They were tight but oh so loose. Somehow keeping their groove through wonky time signatures, absolute masters of the space between the notes, if you know what I mean. They are quite simply amazing musicians.
It is music that makes you want to groove, that makes you smile and feel warm. If you listen to all seven of their 1970s studio albums from Little Feat to Down On The Farm, it is almost as if they are one record, so musically consistent are they. There’s no difficult second album, no staleness creeping in by 1979, it’s all classy, all the time.
In the UK, incredibly, this album didn’t chart. The Last Record Album got to #36, Time Loves A Hero got to #8 (their highest in UK) the wonderful like album Waiting For Columbus got to #43, Down On The Farm stalled at #46 and Hoy Hoy the compilation spent one week at #76
In the USA, this was their first charting record, making #36 and going gold, The Last Record Album also peaked at #36, Time Loves A Hero #34, Waiting For Columbus was their highest charting album making #18, Down On The Farm got to #29, Hoy Hoy #39 and four post Lowell George albums also charted.
All of which goes to prove that if you want to feel real nice, ask the rock n roll doctor’s advice.